According to the Daily Mirror, a number of official websites connected to French municipalities were hacked at the end of last week to coincide with the Charlie Hebdo massacre and the hostage taking at the Jewish supermarket. The newspaper reported that the home screens of websites belonging to the towns of Jouy-le-Moutier, Piscop, Goussainville, Val D'Oise and Ezanville (all surrounding Paris) were defaced with a Jihadist ISIS black flag and a message which translates as "The Islamic State Stay Inchallah, Free Palestine, Death to France, Death to Charlie." The hacker concerned declares himself to be an Algerian using the name L’APoca-Dz, and is also associated with a number of previous defacements of Israeli connected websites with anti-semitic messages.
All the sites concerned were quickly returned to normal. Meanwhile, the technology world as a whole has been supportive of the cause of freedom of speech and shown solidarity with Charlie Hebdo, the French people and everyone who condemns terrorist actions such as those of last week. This has been seen both in the rise of the #JeSuisCharlie hashtag and the news that Google is providing financial assistance to the publishers of Charlie Hebdo to ensure that a million copy print run will be achieved for the next issue rather than the more usual 60,000.
More worryingly, and absolutely predictably, the politicians and spymasters are using the Charlie Hebdo attack as a reason for more monitoring of our online and telephone conversations. A couple of months ago, the powers that be were suggesting that the likes of Google and Apple were helping terrorists by making device encryption a default. Now the chairman of the UK House of Commons' Intelligence and Security Committee, and former Defence Secretary, Malcolm Rifkind has gone on record to warn it is increasingly difficult to access the evidence needed to combat terrorism.
Rifkind, speaking on BBC Radio 4, said that the objective is to "enable intelligence agencies in Britain and France and other democracies to be able to get hold of these communications to try and prevent incidents of this kind" referring to email, social messaging and other Internet-related communications technologies. He went on to insist that intelligence agencies have to have "the power to intercept particularly international communications that might be relevant."
Which proves the point, once again, that just as terrorists aim to reduce our freedoms and gain power from their actions so the politicians strive to do exactly the same. By using the terrorist threat, and the climate of fear that comes with it, privacy and personal freedoms are increasingly sought to be eroded while state power is increased...