The hacker network Anonymous has released what it claims to be a cache of personal details on the members of the extremist Westboro Baptist Church.
This after after church said it planned to picket Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The scene of a mass shooting where 26 children and adults died Friday would seem an unlikely spot for a protest ... for any other group of humans.
Westboro Baptist said it planned a demonstration at the Newtown, Conn., school, which apparently didn't sit well with supporters of Anonymous.
Itself a subversive community of activists and trolls of a different sort, the "hacktivist" group appears to have taken down the church extremists' website.
Most likely this was done through a distributed denial of service, or DDoS attack. They also posted a YouTube video threatening to “destroy” the group.
Westboro is a small group based in Topeka, Kansas, notorious for picketing the funerals of soldiers and victims of shootings with tastelessly-worded placards.
The main theme? Tragic events are God’s punishment for the existence of homosexuality.
A document posted on Pastebin earlier today claims to reveal physical addresses of the group’s founding Phelps family, including personal information.
Telephone numbers, even a social security number, as well as background information on the group and its close coterie of members, were posted.
Anonymous supporters typically refer to this data as a target’s “dox,” though it is unclear how public these personal details already were for Westboro’s members.
Organizers with Anonymous are meanwhile encouraging supporters via Twitter to bombard the Kansas radicals with calls “all night and all day.”
A representative of Westboro, possibly its regular spokeswoman Shirley Phelps-Roper, also carried out a Reddit IAmA, or “Ask Me Anything,” earlier Sunday.
By using the nickname GodSentCTShooter and professing the group's views, this user not surprisingly met very few questions and plenty of irritation from Redditors.
Also not surprisingly, this isn’t the first time Westboro and Anonymous have clashed.
In 2011, a supporter of Anonymous took part in a radio debate with Shirley Phelps-Roper, during which a small group of hackers took down several parts of Westboro’s site during the show.
Amid the more radical forms of dissent against Westboro from Anonymous, tens of thousands of people have signed White House petitions against the group.
Both seek to legally recognize Westboro as a hate group, its rhetoric so damaging that it can no longer be classified as “free speech,” but “hate speech.”