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Change.org Petitions Hacked

Change.org Petitions Hacked

Change.org, one of the most widely used petition websites, with over 35 million users in 196 countries, was hacked this weekend.

Unauthorized modifications that are said to have been “cosmetic” in nature were made Friday to twelve petitions hosted on the site, according to a spokesman for the organization.

From CNN:

No personal information was stolen, spokesman Benjamin Joffe-Walt said in a written statement. He added that none of the 12 petitions targeted had its number of signatures affected.

The modified petitions included one calling for officials to end the prosecution of a Florida teen charged in connection with a same-sex relationship with a 14-year-old; a petition to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay; and a petition and to allow gay Boy Scouts leaders, said Brianna Cayo-Cotter, a spokeswoman for Change.org.

The organization said its website was taken offline while a “minor vulnerability” exploited by a hacker was fixed.  Apparently the hacker had modified text and photos on those twelve petitions after gaining access to the site.

The petition to end the prosecution of the Florida teen in question is likely for that of 18 year old Kaitlyn Hunt, a story that has made nationwide headlines in recent weeks.  Her father, Steven Hunt, set up a Change.org petition over a week ago to “Stop the prosecution of an 18 year old girl in a same-sex relationship.”

Kaitlyn Hunt was expelled from Sebastian High School and arrested and charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious battery of a child 12 to 16 years of age after it was discovered she was in a consenting relationship with a 14 year old female student.

The hacker collective Anonymous has been outspoken in its support of Hunt, and has lobbied for the resignation of the officials involved in prosecuting the girl.

In the letter released by Anonymous, the group claims the Indian River County State Attorney’s Office has “lost perspective” and vows to put together a petition with 200,000 signatures on it calling for the resignation of the officials involved.

“The truth is, Kaitlyn Hunt is a bright young girl who was involved in a consensual, same-sex relationship while both she and her partner were minors. She has a big future ahead of her and there are people, thousands of people in fact, that have no intention of allowing you to ruin it with your rotten selective enforcement.”

The group also cites alleged intolerance by the younger girl’s parents. Kaitlyn’s mother had previously posted on a Facebook page, entitled “Free Kate,” that the girlfriend’s parents “conspired with police to entrap Kaitlyn” because they disapproved of the relationship.

Also mentioned by Change.org as one of the affected petitions was one to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.

Threats from Anonymous and its “Operation Guantanamo” campaign, also known as #OpGTMO, recently forced the US military to shut down Wi-Fi access at the Guantanamo facility as a precautionary measure.

But Change.org does not believe that the affected petitions on its site were targeted for any particular reason related to the causes they represent.  A spokesman said that the petitions were all in a featured section of the website and they believe that is why they were selected.

In 2012, hackers claiming support for a “Save the Arctic” campaign leaked the employee email addresses and passwords from five of the world’s prominent oil companies said to be drilling in the Arctic, and then used that information to add over 96,000 signatures to a Greenpeace “Save the Arctic” petition.  The action drew criticism from some supporters at the time who worried it would invalidate the petition.

Change.org fared better in Friday’s incident.  As noted, the affected petitions experienced no change in signatures as the result of the website’s intrusion.

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Comments

If the information in the Kaitlyn Hunt affidavit is even remotely accurate ( http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/05/21/us/hunt-arrest-affidavit.html?_r=0 ), turning down the generous plea offer was quite the mistake.

A mistake it was indeed. But the whole “FreeKate” movement is not about truth; it is about hijacking the case and trying to portray Kate as the “victim”.

If her supporters win, the only true victim will be the law. Don’t agree with the law, find a way of portraying your prosecutors as homophones. Our courts system will move from “Twinkie defense” to “can’t uphold the law if it makes the state appear homophobic.”

This is where PC will ultimately drive society – the social contract for
Rule of Law will be null and void; replaced by PC sanctioned “victimhood” defense as well as deliberate selective application of the law.

Good luck on the days ahead, we may have already passed the point of no return.

I don’t get the “selective enforcement” part.

    marklyon in reply to Valerie. | May 26, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    The parents are convinced that nobody else is prosecuted for having sex with fourteen and fifteen year-olds. Their claim is that the only reason the case is being pursued is because of the sexual orientation of their daughter.

    They were also trying to claim that the law was old and outdated until they got thoroughly smacked down on that point; the legislature recently reconsidered the law when passing the “Romeo and Juliet” statute that allows those close in age to avoid registering as sex offenders (but yet doesn’t condone sex with those under 16).

The parents have lied about Kate’s age. She was 18 when the offences occurred. The “victim” was 14 years old, not 15 as claimed by Kate’s parents.

This is statutory rape and what is good for heterosexuals should be good for lesbians and homosexuals.

    DocWahala in reply to Aussie. | May 26, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    That’s the part of the law that GLAD community is upset with. If a lesbian is charged with a sex crime for having lesbian sex, in their viewpoint, such prosecution is homophobic. Never mind there are still laws regarding statutory rape.

    If this one is not prosecuted, watch for Man-Boy Lover organization to start becoming more vocal. The law is the law; your sexual orientation should not be a defense, especially one built on the premise the state is using the law as a weapon driven by homophobic fear.

    And yes, Kate was 18 before she met her “lover”/victim.

    Radegunda in reply to Aussie. | May 26, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    Exactly. The gay lobby tells us over and over that same-sex relationships are just like the hetero variety and that it’s “discrimination” and “hate” to treat them any differently.

    So does Kaitlyn want “equality” or does she not?

BannedbytheGuardian | May 26, 2013 at 10:19 pm

The ‘romance’ began in a school toilet. Eeeewhhh yuk.

Hunt is a predator. She was quite likely the oldest girl in the school – already having turned 18. Before the school year begun ( August) .

The 14 year was likely the youngest girl in the school having been upgraded for advanced classes from middle school.

Also Mothers – think twice about those team sports.

I really have to wonder how the oldest girl in Sebastian River High School, 2012 enrollment of 1838, even came across one of the youngest of freshmen. Under normal circumstances the two would almost never even cross paths.

Predator is exactly right. And yes, if she were mail she would be spending life on the Sex Offenders List. Lesbian is no excuse.

Juba Doobai! | May 27, 2013 at 1:38 am

The Hunt’s have lied about everything dealing with the case: their girls’ age; the minor’s parents motive for going to the police; every possible thing. They have been engaged in jury tampering from the outset, and relying on Kate’s wacky blonde looks and diminutive size to carry the day for them.

However, a minor is a minor, and Kate, who was warned twice or so to stay away from the girl (by another parent and by the child’s parents) but willfully took the girl away from her home, is a sexual predator.

Homosexuals seem to want equality before the law except when they commit crimes, then they plead discrimination.

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