The hacker group Anonymous has targeted the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), taking down the website and publicly releasing home phone numbers, addresses, emails, and other personal information of directors and staff.
PERF became an activist target after media outlets, including the Guardian, highlighted the nonprofit think tank's role in coordinating conference calls with mayors of major metropolitan cities about how to deal with Occupy encampments. Weeks after the conference calls were convened, a series of police raids targeted encampments in major U.S. cities such as New York, Oakland, and Portland.
On Nov. 19, Anonymous Operations tweeted, "A private NGO called #PERF is helping to train & coordinate #Occupy raids nationally ... PERF, Expect us!"
The attack occurred the next day, and PERF staff and directors' personal information was posted online. A screen shot tweeted by Anonymous showed an error message which read: PoliceForum.org seems to be down. :(
Reddit posted a hacker conversation about the action. Apparently, not everyone was impressed.
The executive director of PERF is Sherwin B. Chuck Wexler, a member of the Advisory Council for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. PERF board members include an assortment of police chiefs known for their track records of using heavy-handed tactics against protesters of the anti-globalization movement and mass demonstrations organized around Republican party national conventions. According to a bio for Wexler, "PERF’s research has a direct impact on policy and practice in policing around the world."
PERF's website is back up now. Before the attack occurred, the organization responded to the recent media attention with a public statement. "Over the last few days, the Police Executive Research Forum has been the subject of several false articles and blog postings alleging that we have been coordinating police crackdowns on Occupy protests," the message reads. "This is not true. PERF conducted two conference calls for the sole purpose of allowing police chiefs to compare notes about their experiences with 'Occupy' protests."
Anonymous is famous for releasing YouTube videos about its actions. Here's the one C@b!nCr3w, the anonymous hackers taking credit for the attack, created about the PERF stunt. ("Don't dox and drive" refers to "doxing," hacker slang for releasing individuals' personal data.)