The infamous hacktivist group Anonymous has delivered on its threat of doxing members of the Ku Klux Klan, publishing a list of hundreds of names of alleged members of the racist group on Thursday.
A Twitter account believed to be controlled by hackers behind the operation tweeted a link to a Pastebin containing a detailed list of names and their affiliation with local KKK groups, and links to the alleged members' social media profiles as part of its "OpKKK."
"We hope Operation KKK will, in part, spark a bit of constructive dialogue about race, racism, racial terror and freedom of expression, across group lines. Public discourse about these topics can be honest, messy, snarky, offensive, humbling, infuriating, productive, and serious all at once. The reality is that racism usually does NOT wear a hood but it does permeate our culture on every level. Part of the reason we have taken the hoods off of these individuals is not because of their identities, but because of what their hoods symbolize to us in our broader society," Anonymous wrote in the Pastebin.
Motherboard wasn't able to verify whether all the people named in the list are actually members of the KKK, but some, judging from their profiles, which display Confederate flags, pictures of swastikas, or KKK insignias, do appear to have racist inclinations. It's also unclear if these are their real names, though some are labeled as aliases.
"We hope Operation KKK will, in part, spark a bit of constructive dialogue about race, racism, racial terror and freedom of expression."
Gabriella Coleman, an academic and author of Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower Spy, the definitive account of Anonymous, told Motherboard that while it's hard to verify whether the data is legitimate, "whoever is behind it has put some thought behind the [operation]."
Referring to a previously released list of operation "talking points," Coleman said the document made her realize "that people behind this were serious and working on it for some time."
"This was not something whipped into being last week but indeed, even if they have been working on it for 11 months, the methods used invariably will lead to wrong info," they told me.
The release comes on Nov. 5, or Guy Fawkes Day, a traditionally important day for Anonymous, which has always used the Guy Fawkes' mask as a symbol. The list is the culmination of what's known as #OpKKK, an operation to expose members of the white supremacist group.
On Monday other hackers who claimed to be affiliated with Anonymous, as well as a lone hacker who claimed not to be affiliated with the group, also posted Pastebins claiming to dox KKK members, as well as a short list of senators and mayors allegedly affiliated with the racist group (the politicians denied the accusation.) Some pseudo-official Anonymous accounts on Twitter, however, distanced themselves from those operations, claiming they were not the official OpKKK.