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Peru: Bloggers Targeted by Hackers

Disagreements between bloggers and their readers may often take place within the comments section, and can continue in the form of debate and discussion. However, for some Peruvian bloggers, some of their views motivated some to take actions to silence these differing opinions. The blogger Carlos Quiróz, also known as Peruanista [es] had his YouTube channel erased due to waves of complaints by a group who disagreed with him. In addition, Francisco Canaza of Apuntes Peruanos [es] was on the receiving end of a hacking attack that left his blog offline for days.

Many are asking what did these bloggers do to deserve these types of attacks? Do their opinions on uncomfortable topics make them a target by those who disagree? Is that a valid reason for these types of attacks?

Carlos Quiróz of Peruanista [es] wonders why his YouTube accounts were suspended, where he lost hundreds of videos that took two years of work.

¿Qué podría motivar este abuso? Acaso ha sido el último video que subí con Cynthia McKinney enviando un mensaje de solidaridad a los pueblos indígenas y afro descendientes de las Americas. … Podrían ser los videos donde denuncio y expongo en detalle acerca del genocidio de Bagua en la selva peruana … Acaso fueron los videos donde yo he protestado contra el Tratado de Libre Comercio entre EEUU y Perú …

Afortunadamente tengo todos mis videos archivados y los voy a subir en otro website de videos. A lo mejor debería mover mis blogs también, porque Google -dueños de Youtube- tambien es dueño de Blogger. Un ejemplo más del abuso que uno se expone frente a los monopolios de las corporaciones privadas.

What could have caused this abusive action? Perhaps it was the last video that I uploaded of Cynthia McKinney sending a message of solidarity to the indigenous peoples and African descendants in the Americas. … Could it be the videos where I denounced and provided details about the genocide in Bagua located in the Peruvian jungle … Perhaps it was the videos where I protested against the Free Trade Agreement between U.S. and Peru …

Fortunately I have archived all my videos and I will upload videos on another website. Maybe I should move my blog too, because Google, which is also the owner of YouTube, also owns Blogger. This is an example of an abuse that is exposed against the monopolies of private corporations.

The controversial nature of some of the subject matter attracts many who disagree. Kisha explains how many of these critics band together to launch waves of “complaints” against a channel [es] even if it may not be in violation of the terms and conditions of YouTube. However, due to the large volume of complaints, these channels are often suspended or erased. Regardless of any disagreements with the opinions of bloggers like Quiroz, Isabel Guerra of Las Burbujas Recargadas [es] writes that the actions of these critics are unacceptable:

Es público; no es ningún secreto que Peruanista (Carlos Quiroz) y yo hemos discrepado muchas veces y que yo más de una vez le he dicho que no exagere y etc. … Por muchas discrepancias y pleitos que se puedan tener con alguien, hacer que le cierren la cuenta, la verdad, es una señal muy peligrosa.

It is out in the public, it is no secret that Peruanista (Carlos Quiróz) and I have disagreed many times, and on more than one occasion, I said that he should not exaggerate, etc. Despite many differences and disputes that one can have with another person, to make an account close, is truly, a very dangerous sign.
Screenshot of the Canaza's site that had been hacked. It reads "it has fallen!"

Screenshot of the Canaza's site that had been hacked. It reads ‘it has fallen!’

Apuntes Peruanos [es], the blog of Francisco Canaza was hacked. While his blog is being repaired, he set up an “emergency” blog called En el Exilio [es] (In Exile), where he provides details of the sequence of events that led to the hacked site.

Apuntes Peruanos sufrió un ataque mayor y quedó fuera de línea por casi 9 horas. Como lo comenté, fue el segundo ataque en lo que va de la semana, y este sí comprometió a todo el site. El resumen es que varios archivos esenciales del WordPress fueron comprometidos, editados a discreción del atacante. Aún falta mucho para saber qué pasó y en qué dimensión. Hemos guardado copia de varios archivos y scripts php para luego analizarlos. He recibido muchas muestras de apoyo, por diversos medios y por personas que ni siquiera me conocen. No me queda más que agradecerlos a todos.

Apuntes Peruanos suffered a major attack and remained offline for nearly 9 hours. As I commented, it was the second attack so far this week and this one affected the entire site. In summary, several of the core WordPress files were compromised, edited at the discretion of the attacker. Much remains to find out what happened and to what degree. We have kept copies of multiple files and php scripts to analyze. I have received many displays of support through various types of media and from people who do not even know me. I can only thank them all.

Ernesto of Física3 [es] also agrees that this type of negative behavior should not be tolerated:

Si, es cierto en la blogosfera no todos pueden estar de acuerdo, pero cuando tu irracionalidad te lleva al querer silenciar a la otra voz, no te diferencias mucho de la dictadura china, … la verdad es que no la veíamos venir pero luego de leer este comentario en el blog de Gran Combo, uno no puede sino pensar que esto no es aislado.

Yes, it is true that not everyone can agree in the blogosphere, but when your irrationality leads you to want to silence other voices, you are no different than the Chinese dictatorship, …. the truth is that we did not see this coming, but after reading a comment in the Gran Combo blog, one cannot help but think that this is not an isolated incident.

It has become evident that independent bloggers have drawn the ire of others with different interests and intolerant attitudes. Perhaps even more important than finding out who is behind these attacks is that many bloggers continue to use increased security methods. However, some bloggers like Luis Aguirre of Bloodyhell [es] describes how the Peruvian blogosphere cannot be looked at in the same way and it has become a cutthroat environment due to the economic interests at stake.

estamos en una coyuntura donde la blogósfera ya no pasa caleta ni piola como ejercicio de la libertad de expresión. Si alguien como (el presidente) García pide que desde internet se realice una ofensiva contra lo que él considera “desinformación” entonces es de esperar que oficialismo y oposición, propaganda y periodismo, comiencen a confundirse en una pelea post a post o tuit a tuit. Más aún con elecciones encima, las municipales y las presidenciales. Hace rato que la blogósfera dejó de ser inocente.

la miseria de la red: si hasta el momento los grandes cerebros mundiales no saben cómo hacer rentable en ella la creación de contenido e información, en el Perú la mermelada como paradigma cultural ha convertido ese hermafroditismo de encarte publicitario y opinión personal la única norma económicamente viable en webs, blogs y tuits. Una lástima. Porque las presiones comerciales se transforman en presiones por salvaguardar intereses -la quincena, hombre- y, en última instancia, por silenciar otros blogs, comentarios u opiniones incómodos.

We are in a situation where the blogosphere no longer goes unnoticed in exercise of freedom of expression. If someone like (President) García calls via the internet for a crackdown against what he considers “misinformation,” then it can only be expected that the government and opposition, propaganda and journalism, begin to confuse themselves in a fight, post for post or tweet for tweet. Even more, with municipal and presidential elections coming soon. For some time now, the blogosphere is no longer innocent.

The misery of the internet: if until now, the world's greatest minds do not know how to make the creation of content and information profitable, then in Peru, money as a cultural paradigm has become that hermaphroditism of insert advertisement and personal opinion as the only economic viable way on websites, blogs and tweets. What a shame. Because the commercial pressures have become pressures to safeguard interests – salaries – and ultimately, to silence other blogs.

6 comments

  • […] Global Voices Online AKPC_IDS += “896,”;Popularity: unranked [?] Related ArticlesBookmarksTags New […]

  • This type of activity is indeed a travesty as it is a violation of Free Speech.. I saw WordPress mentioned.. If they determine that it is a compromised WordPress file that caused that one situation of loss, please tell them to certainly share their findings over at the WordPress website (if they’ve not thought of the same already).. WP will surely, openly wish to know of any such vulnerability that thusly affects the free exchange, sharing of information..

    Warmest wishes from Talking Rock, Georgia..

  • […] Global Voices examined the persecution of bloggers in Honduras by hackers and the complicity of internet giants Google. […]

  • […] government has been mirrored by hackers and swarmers attacking indigenous rights bloggers. A good lesson about backing up files, and not placing one’s trust in precarious corporate platforms like […]

  • […] government has been mirrored by hackers and swarmers attacking indigenous rights bloggers. A good lesson about backing up files, and not placing one’s trust in precarious corporate platforms like […]

  • […] thriving blogospheres in Latin America, with more than 10,000 active blogs. However, according to a recent report on Global Voices, two popular Peruvian bloggers – Carlos Quiróz of Peruanista and Francisco Canaza of Apuntes […]

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