The hacktivist group Anonymous last week vowed to release the identities of up to 1,000 members of the white supremacist group Ku Klux Klan, and on Friday, apparently delivered on that promise. A long-winded list of alleged Ku Klux Klan members is now available on the Internet, however the list has not been independently verified.
The list, posted to text-saving site Pastebin, often includes the first and last names and social media accounts of alleged members of the KKK and related groups.
In a statement introducing the list, Anonymous pointed out that some of the names are marked "alias" because members of such groups often don't use their real names. "Some aliases we were unable to crack," Anonymous said in the statement. "The Klan sometimes hides behind several online identities. Given name or alias, these are the real people underneath the hoods." The list also includes social media pages of various KKK chapters and affiliates.
Operation KKK: The data release was part of Anonymous' self-proclaimed cyber war against the hate group, dubbed "Operation KKK," or #OpKKK on social media. The initiative was launched in November 2014 after the KKK threatened to use "lethal force" against protestors in Ferguson, Missouri, following the police killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.
In a press release last month, Anonymous announced it had gained access to enough KKK information to release up to 1,000 of its members' identities and planned to do so in November around the anniversary of the Ferguson protests.
Some social media users have already taken to the alleged KKK members' social media pages expressing disapproval of their supposed white supremacist beliefs. "Racism will die just like everyone on this Earth," Google+ user Ken Hammond wrote on alleged KKK member Aaron Walker's Google+ page. "There are few left and as we teach our children to love all, that's when it really dies."
The hacking process: In the memo, Anonymous wrote that collecting the data was an 11-month process that involved human intelligence and interviewing expert sources, among other methods. The hacktivist group wrote that, at times, alleged KKK members unknowingly gave themselves up.
"Members often told on themselves to us about their connections with the KKK during various chat conversations we had with Klan members and affiliates throughout the course of our operation," Anonymous said in the memo. "You never know who you are talking to on the Internet."
To cap off the memo for the KKK data dump, the group recognized that the name reveal is controversial but said it was justified. "We consider this data dump as a form of resistance against the violence and intimidation tactics leveraged against the public by various members of Ku Klux Klan groups throughout history," the Anonymous statement read.
On Thursday, protestors in several-hundred cities across the world marched in the Millions Mask March, a global demonstration organized by Anonymous since 2012. According to a press release from the hacktivist group, the motto for this year's march was "building a better future through collective action."
Correction: Nov. 6, 2015
Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article stated Anonymous announced in 2014 it would release the list of alleged KKK members. Anonymous made this announcement in October 2015.
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