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A member of the Internet group Anonymous which has held protests in many countries against the CoS every month since January, 2008.

"Scientology versus the Internet" refers to a number of disputes relating to the Church of Scientology's efforts to suppress material critical of Scientology on the Internet through the use of lawsuits and legal threats.[1][2][3] In late 1994, the Church of Scientology began using various legal tactics to stop distribution of unpublished documents written by L. Ron Hubbard. The Church of Scientology is often accused of barratry (or malicious litigation and intimidation)[citation needed] through the filing of SLAPP suits. The official church response is that its litigious nature is solely to protect its copyrighted works and the unpublished status of certain documents.[4]

Various critics of the Church of Scientology argue that the church is a scam and that these secretive writings are proof, or that the documents contain evidence that the Church of Scientology's medical practices are illegal and fraudulent.[5][6] Scientology has been convicted of fraud in the courts of several nations, although not those of the United States. Critics have said that the Church of Scientology is abusing copyright law by launching lawsuits against outspoken critics of the organization.[7]

Contents

alt.religion.scientology

The newsgroup alt.religion.scientology was created in 1991 by Scott Goehring, partly as a joke, partly for the purpose of informing the public about Scientology.[8] Debate over the pros and cons of Scientology waxed and waned on the newsgroup through the first three years of its existence, and flame wars were common, as they were on most other newsgroups.

The online battle is generally seen to have begun with the arrival of Dennis Erlich to alt.religion.scientology in mid-1994. A former high-ranking official in the organization who had been personally affiliated with L. Ron Hubbard, Erlich's presence on the newsgroup caused a number of regular participants there to sit up and take notice.[8][9]

The Xenu revelation

On December 24, 1994, the first of a large number of anonymous messages was posted to alt.religion.scientology, containing the text of the "secret" writings of Scientology known as the OT Levels (OT stands for "Operating Thetan"). Included among these postings was OT III (Operating Thetan Level Three), which gave L. Ron Hubbard's description of the "Xenu story". Although the Xenu story was published in the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1977, this action brought on the actions of lawyers representing Scientology, who contacted various newsgroup participants and posted warnings demanding that the unauthorized distribution of the OT writings cease. The lawyers described the documents as "copyrighted, trademarked, unpublished trade secrets", and the distribution of the materials as a violation of copyright law and trademark law.[10] The first postings of the OT documents were done through an anonymous remailer, and the identity of the person who made them available on the newsgroup was never discovered. However, Dennis Erlich posted replies to these messages on the newsgroup, and his replies contained the entire text of the original messages (including the disputed materials). Scientology's lawyers therefore approached him, declaring that Erlich had re-published the copyrighted works in his newsgroup messages. Erlich's reply to this was to deny their requests to remove his postings from the newsgroup.

Attempt to remove alt.religion.scientology

On January 11, 1995, Scientology lawyer Helena Kobrin attempted to shut down the Usenet discussion group alt.religion.scientology by sending a control message instructing Usenet servers to delete the group on the grounds that:

(1) It was started with a forged message; (2) not discussed on alt.config; (3) it has the name "scientology" in its title which is a trademark and is misleading, as a.r.s. is mainly used for flamers to attack the Scientology religion; (4) it has been and continues to be heavily abused with copyright and trade secret violations and serves no purpose other than condoning these illegal practices.[8][11]

In practice, this rmgroup message had little effect,[12] since most Usenet servers are configured to disregard such messages when applied to groups that receive substantial traffic, and newgroup messages were quickly issued for those servers that did not do so. However, the issuance of the message led to a great deal of public criticism of Scientology by free-speech advocates.

Raids and lawsuits

Shortly after the initial legal announcements and rmgroup attempt, representatives of Scientology followed through with a series of lawsuits against various participants on the newsgroup, including Dennis Erlich. The first raid took place on February 13, 1995.[13] Accompanied by Scientology lawyers, federal marshals made several raids on the homes of individuals who were accused of posting Scientology's copyrighted materials to the newsgroup. Raids took place against Arnaldo Lerma (Virginia),[14] Lawrence Wollersheim and Robert Penny of FACTNet (Colorado), and Dennis Erlich (California). Internationally, raids took place against Karin Spaink (The Netherlands) and Zenon Panoussis (Sweden). In addition to filing lawsuits against individuals, Scientology also sued The Washington Post for reprinting one paragraph of the OT writings in a newspaper article, as well as several Internet service providers, including Netcom, Tom Klemesrud, and XS4ALL. It also regularly demanded the deletion of material from the Deja News archive.

Participants in alt.religion.scientology began using quotes from OT III in particular to publicize the online battle over the secret documents.[15] The story of Xenu was subsequently quoted in many publications, including news reports on CNN[16] and 60 Minutes.[17] It became the most famous reference to the OT levels, to the point where many Internet users who were not intimately familiar with Scientology had heard the story of Xenu, and immediately associated the name with Scientology. The initial strikes against Scientology's critics settled down into a series of legal battles that raged through the courts. The Electronic Frontier Foundation provided legal assistance to defendant Tom Klemesrud and his attorney Richard Horning helped find Dennis Erlich Pro Bono defense. Daily reports of the latest happenings were posted to alt.religion.scientology. The newsgroup's popularity exploded. As the months and years wore on and the lawsuits continued without end, however, a number of participants in the newsgroup grew silent and moved on.

In the wake of the Scientology actions, the Penet remailer, which had been the most popular anonymous remailer in the world until the Scientology "war" took place, was shut down. Johan Helsingius, operator of the remailer, stated that the legal protections afforded him in his country (Finland) were too thin to protect him and he was forced to close down the remailer as a result.[18][19][20]

Scientology's online campaign

After failing to remove the newsgroup, Scientologists adopted a strategy of newsgroup spam and intimidation.[21] Scientologists and hired third parties regularly flood the newsgroup with pro-scientology messages, vague anti-scientology messages, irrelevant comments, and accusations that other posters are secret Scientologists intent on tracking and punishing posters. This makes the newsgroup virtually unreadable via online readers such as Google Groups, although more specialized newsreading software that can filter out all messages by specific "high noise" posters make the newsgroup more usable.[citation needed]

While legal battles were being fought in the courts, an equally intense and aggressive campaign was waged online. The newsgroup alt.religion.scientology found itself at the center of an electronic maelstrom of information and disinformation, as the newsgroup itself was attacked both literally and figuratively. Tens of thousands of junk messages were spammed onto the newsgroup, rendering it nearly unreadable at times when the message "floods" were at their peaks.[21] Over one million sporgery articles were injected into the newsgroup by Scientology management and staff; former Scientology staff member Tory Christman has spoken at length about her involvement in these attacks. Lawyers representing Scientology made public appeals to Internet service providers to remove the newsgroup completely from their news servers.[22] Furthermore, anonymous participants in the newsgroup kept up a steady stream of flame wars and off-topic arguments. Participants on the newsgroup accused Scientology of orchestrating these electronic attacks, though the organization consistently denied any wrongdoing.

In the early days of the World Wide Web, Scientology attempted a similar strategy to make finding websites critical of the organization more difficult. Scientology employed Web designers to write thousands of Web pages for their site, thus flooding early search engines.[23] This problem was solved by the innovation of clustering responses from the same Web server, showing no more than the top two results from any one site (e.g. Google).

Since the inception of the Internet, Scientology has made a policy of using copyright infringement laws to prosecute various Scientology critics posting exposing information on the Web. The Church uses legal pressure combined with blackmail and character assassination to attempt to win many court cases in which it involves itself.[24] On the other side of the battle, many Web-page developers have linked the words "Dianetics" and "Scientology" to Operation Clambake. This resulted in the anti-Scientology site having the highest Google index on the term for a while, which in turn resulted in Scientology persuading Google to remove links to the site[25] until international outcry led to the links being restored. This might be considered an early example of a Google bomb, and has led to questions about the power and obligations of Internet search providers.

In the 1990s Scientology was distributing a special software package for its members to protect them from "unapproved" material about the church. The software is designed to completely block out the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology, various anti-Scientology web sites, and all references to various critics of Scientology. This software package was derided by critics, who accused the organization of censorship and called the program "Scieno Sitter", after the content-control software net-filter program Cyber Sitter. Since no updates have been reported since 1998 (and the original filter program only worked with Windows 95) the package is unlikely to be in use with recent operating systems and browsers due to software rot.[23]

In June 2006, Scientology lawyers sent cease-and-desist letters to Max Goldberg, founder of the website YTMND, asking him to take down all sites that either talked about or mocked Scientology, which had recently become a fad on the site following a popular South Park episode. Goldberg responded by saying that the "claims are completely groundless and I'm not removing anything," adding to the members of the site, "it should only be a matter of time before we're sued out of existence." In response, YTMNDers created yet more sites about Scientology, and these were highlighted on the main page. They also campaigned to Google bomb "The Unfunny Truth About Scientology" site. As of February 2009, no legal action has been taken against YTMND or Goldberg.

In August 2007, MSNBC quoted Associated Press in an article on the Wikipedia Scanner, that computers owned by the Church of Scientology have been removing criticism in the Scientology entry on Wikipedia.[26] A Fox News article also reported that Church of Scientology computers had been used to delete references of the relationship between Scientology and the Cult Awareness Network, in the article on the Cult Awareness Network on Wikipedia.[27] In May 2009, the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee decided to restrict access to its site from Church of Scientology IP addresses, to prevent self-serving edits by Scientologists.[28][29] A "host of anti-Scientologist editors" were topic-banned as well.[28][29] The committee concluded that both sides had "gamed policy" and resorted to "battlefield tactics", with articles on living persons being the "worst casualties".[28]

Project Chanology

In early 2008, another protest against the Church of Scientology was organised by the Internet-based Anonymous, which originally consisted of users of the English speaking imageboard 4chan and forums such as Somethingawful.com, and several Internet Relay Chat channels, among other Internet-based communities claiming affiliation with Anonymous.

Protest by Anonymous against the practices and tax status of the Church of Scientology.

On January 14, 2008, a video produced by the Church of Scientology featuring an interview with Tom Cruise was leaked to the Internet and uploaded to YouTube.[30][31][32] The Church of Scientology issued a copyright violation claim against YouTube requesting the removal of the video.[33] In response to this, Anonymous formulated Project Chanology.[34][35][36][37] Calling the action by the Church of Scientology a form of Internet censorship, members of Project Chanology organized a series of denial-of-service attacks against Scientology websites, prank calls, and black faxes to Scientology centers.[38]

Message to Scientology.ogv
"Message to Scientology", January 21, 2008

On January 21, 2008, Anonymous announced its goals and intentions via a video posted to YouTube entitled "Message to Scientology", and a press release declaring a "War on Scientology" against both the Church of Scientology and the Religious Technology Center.[37][39][40] In the press release, the group states that the attacks against the Church of Scientology will continue in order to protect the right to freedom of speech, and end what they believe to be the financial exploitation of church members.[41] A new video "Call to Action" appeared on YouTube on January 28, 2008, calling for protests outside Church of Scientology centers on February 10, 2008.[42][43]

On February 2, 2008, 150 people gathered outside of a Church of Scientology center in Orlando, Florida to protest the organization's practices.[44][45][46][47] Small protests were also held in Santa Barbara, California,[48] and Manchester, England.[45][49] On February 10, 2008, about 7,000 people protested in more than 93 cities worldwide.[50][51] [52] Many protesters wore masks based on the character V from V for Vendetta (who in turn was influenced by Guy Fawkes), or otherwise disguised their identities, in part to protect themselves from reprisals from the Church of Scientology.[53][54] Anonymous held a second wave of protests on March 15, 2008 in cities all over the world, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Vancouver, Toronto, Berlin, and Dublin. Anonymous held its third protest against Scientology on April 12, 2008.[55][56] Named "Operation Reconnect", it aimed to increase awareness of the Church of Scientology's disconnection policy.[30] A fourth protest occurred on May 10, 2008 and a fifth (Operation Sea Arrrgh) occurred on June 14, 2008.

Wikileaks

In March 2008, Wikileaks published a 612-page Scientology manual on the eight different Operating Thetan levels, considered secret by the Church of Scientology.[57] Three weeks later, Wikileaks received a warning from the Church of Scientology that the manual was copyrighted and that its publication infringed intellectual-property rights.[57] Wikileaks refused to remove the material, and its operator released a statement saying that Scientology was a "cult" that "aids and abets a general climate of Western media self-censorship."[57] A Church of Scientology International spokeswoman, writing to FOXNews.com, said: "I can only assume that religious bigotry and prejudice is driving their activity, as there is no altruistic value in posting our copyrighted scriptures, despite Wikileaks' self-serving statements to the contrary. Posting entire books and hundreds of pages of published works is not 'Sunshine Policy' but wholesale copyright infringement."[57] A Wikileaks spokesperson stated: "We thought it was a small issue, and our normal fare is government corruption and military secrets, so it seemed that this nutty religious organization was pretty inconsequential in terms of what we normally do. But after receiving these legal threats from them ... it was time for us to make a stand."[57]

Notable legal actions

A few of the court cases were decided in favor of Scientology, while most of the cases were settled out of court. Many cases have been criticized as examples of malicious litigation and its members and lawyers have been indicted and fined for such actions. Noteworthy incidents in the later years of the online war included:

  • Scientology's lawsuit against ex-member Arnaldo Lerma, his provider Digital Gateway, and The Washington Post. Lerma posted the Fishman Affidavit that contained 61 pages including the story of Xenu, a story simultaneously denied and claimed as a trade secret by the Church of Scientology.[8]
  • Zenon Panoussis, a resident of Sweden, was also sued for posting Scientology's copyrighted materials to the Internet. In his defense, he used a provision of the Constitution of Sweden that guarantees access to public documents. Panoussis turned over a copy of the NOTs documents to the office of the Swedish Parliament and, by law, copies of all documents (with few exceptions) received by authorities are available for anyone from the public to see, at any time he or she wishes. This, known as the Principle of Public Access (Offentlighetsprincipen), is considered a basic civil right in Sweden. The case, however, was decided against Panoussis. The results of his case sparked a legal firestorm in Sweden that debated the necessity of re-writing part of the Constitution.[58][59]
  • In 1995 Scientology caused a raid on the servers of Dutch Internet provider XS4ALL and sued it and Karin Spaink for copyright violations arising from published excerpts from confidential materials. There followed a summary judgment in 1995, full proceedings in 1999, an appeal in 2003[60][61] which has been upheld by the Supreme Court of Netherlands in December 2005, all in favor of the provider and Karin Spaink.[62]
  • Dennis Erlich and Scientology settled their lawsuits. Erlich withdrew from the online battle entirely, and all mention of him was removed from Church of Scientology material.[8][24][63]
  • Activist Keith Henson was sued for posting a portion of Scientology's writings to the Internet. Henson defended himself in court without a lawyer, while at the same time he carried out protests and pickets against Scientology. The court found that Henson had committed copyright infringement, and the damage award against Henson was immense: $75,000, an amount which Scientology said was the largest damages ever awarded against an individual for copyright infringement. Henson's case became increasingly more complex and ongoing, with a misdemeanor conviction of interfering with religion in Riverside County, California. In his Internet writings, Henson said that he was forced to flee the United States and seek asylum in Canada due to ongoing threats against him.[8][64]
  • Scientology is one of the first organizations to make use of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). In June 1999, Scientology used the controversial law to force AT&T Worldnet to reveal the identity of a person who had been posting anonymously to alt.religion.scientology with the pseudonym of "Safe".[65]
  • In March 2001, legal threats from Scientology lawyers forced Slashdot to remove text from one of its discussion boards, after an excerpt from OT III was posted there. Slashdot noted this as the first time a comment had to be removed from its system due to copyright concerns, and retaliated by posting a list of links to anti-Scientology websites.[66]
  • The organization also used the DMCA to force the Google search engine to erase its entries on the controversial anti-Scientology Web site Operation Clambake in March 2002, though the entry was reinstated after Google received a large number of complaints from Internet users. The publicity stemming from this incident led Google to begin submitting DMCA takedown notices it received to the Chilling Effects archive, which archives legal threats of all sorts made against Internet users and Internet sites.[67][68]
  • In September 2002, lawyers for Scientology contacted Internet Archive (archive.org), the administrators of the Wayback Machine and asserted copyright claims on certain materials archived as historical contents of the Operation Clambake site. In response, the Wayback Machine administration removed the archive of the entire Clambake site, initially posting a false claim that the site's author had requested its removal. This claim has been removed but (as of January 2010) the site still returns a "Blocked Site Error" from the Wayback archive.[68]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/25/ddos_scientology_controversy/
  2. ^ http://ibls.com/cs/blogs/internet_law/archive/2008/01/30/hackers-disable-scientology-website-declare-war.aspx
  3. ^ http://www.canadiancontent.net/commtr/internet-group-launches-war-scientology-following-youtube-video_874.html
  4. ^ Freedom Magazine, Vol 27, Issue 4: An open letter from the Church of Scientology
  5. ^ See for instance Jacobsen, Jeff. "Medical claims within Scientology's secret teachings", 1996
  6. ^ O'Connor, Mike. "How Scientology claims to cure physical illness", 2003
  7. ^ For instance, see Hausherr, Tilman. "NOTS34: criminality successfully protected by copyright law"
  8. ^ a b c d e f Grossman, Wendy. "Copyright Terrorists". Net. Wars. New York: New York University Press. pp. 77–78. ISBN 0-8147-3103-1. http://www.nyupress.org/netwars/textonly/pages/chapter06/ch06_.html. Retrieved 2006-06-11. 
  9. ^ Grossman, Wendy M. (December 2005). "alt.scientology.war" (3.12). Wired magazine. pp. 3. http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/3.12/alt.scientology.war.html. Retrieved 2007-07-19. "His critical posts, with quotations from the church literature, turned alt.religion.scientology from debating club to battlefield." 
  10. ^ Prendergast, Alan (1995-10-04). "Hunting rabbits, serving spam: The net under siege". Denver Westword. Village Voice Media. http://www.westword.com/1995-10-04/news/hunting-rabbits-serving-spam-the-net-under-siege/full. Retrieved 2008-03-08. 
  11. ^ http://www.xs4all.nl/~kspaink/cos/rnewman/usenet/rmgroup
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ The Church of Scientology vs. Dennis Erlich, Tom Klemesrud & Netcom
  14. ^ Ryan, Nick (2000-03-23). "The gospel of the web". Technology. The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2000/mar/23/religion.internet. Retrieved 2007-10-12. 
  15. ^ Roland Rashleigh-Berry. "The XENU Leaflet" (download in various formats). Operation Clambake. http://www.xenu.net/archive/leaflet/. 
  16. ^ "Church of Scientology protects secrets on the Internet". CNN. August 26, 1995. http://www.cnn.com/US/9508/scientology/. 
  17. ^ Lesley Stahl. 60 Minutes, (December 28, 1997) "The Cult Awareness Network". CBS News.
  18. ^ The Church of Scientology vs. anon.penet.fi
  19. ^ Prendergast, Alan (1995-10-04). "Stalking the Net". Denver Westword News. Village Voice Media. http://www.westword.com/1995-10-04/news/stalking-the-net/full. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  20. ^ Helmers, Sabine (1997-09-01). "A Brief History of anon.penet.fi". CMC Magazine. http://www.december.com/cmc/mag/1997/sep/helmers.html. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  21. ^ a b Jones, Colman (1996-07-04). "Freedom Flames Out on the 'Net - Who launched the largest-ever sabotage of the Internet?". NOW Magazine. http://www.nowtoronto.com/issues/15/44/News/feature.html. Retrieved 2006-12-03. 
  22. ^ Lippard, Jim; Jacobsen, Jeff (1995), "Scientology v. the Internet: Free Speech & Copyright Infringement on the Information Super-Highway", Skeptic (The Skeptics Society) 3 (3): pp. 35–41, http://www.discord.org/~lippard/skeptic/03.3.jl-jj-scientology.html, retrieved August 9, 2009 
  23. ^ a b Brown, Janelle (1998-07-15). "A Web of their own". Salon (Salon.com). http://archive.salon.com/21st/feature/1998/07/15feature.html. Retrieved 2006-06-21. 
  24. ^ a b Freedom Magazine, Vol 27, Issue 4: A Crime By Any Other Name. See "Dennis Erlich: Copyright Terrorist". (Archived January 16th, 1999.)
  25. ^ Matt Loney; Evan Hansen (2002-03-21). "Google pulls anti-Scientology links". CNet. http://news.com.com/2100-1023-865936.html. Retrieved 2006-12-12. 
  26. ^ New online tool traces Wikipedia edits: PCs in Scientology officialdom removed criticism in church's entry, MSNBC, Associated Press, Brian Bergstein, August 15, 2007
  27. ^ Wal-Mart, CIA, ExxonMobil Changed Wikipedia Entries, August 16, 2007, Fox News, Rhys Blakely, Fox News Network, LLC.
  28. ^ a b c Shea, Danny (2009-05-29). "Wikipedia Bans Scientology From Site". The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/29/wikipedia-bans-scientolog_n_208967.html. Retrieved 2009-05-29. 
  29. ^ a b Metz, Cade (2009-05-29). "Wikipedia bans Church of Scientology". The Register. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/05/29/wikipedia_bans_scientology/. Retrieved 2009-05-29. 
  30. ^ a b John Cook (March 17, 2008). "Scientology - Cult Friction". Radar Online (Radar Magazine). http://radaronline.com/from-the-magazine/2008/03/scientology_anonymous_protests_tom_cruise_01.php. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  31. ^ Warne, Dan (January 24, 2008). "Anonymous threatens to "dismantle" Church of Scientology via internet". APC Magazine (National Nine News). http://www.apcmag.com/7905/anonymous_threatens_to_dismantle_church_of_scientology_via_internet. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  32. ^ KNBC Staff (January 24, 2008). "Hacker Group Declares War On Scientology: Group Upset Over Church's Handling Of Tom Cruise Video". KNBC. http://www.knbc.com/news/15132759/detail.html. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  33. ^ Vamosi, Robert (January 24, 2008). "Anonymous hackers take on the Church of Scientology". CNET News (CNET Networks, Inc.). http://www.news.com/8301-10789_3-9857666-57.html. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  34. ^ George-Cosh, David (January 25, 2008). "Online group declares war on Scientology". National Post (Canwest Publishing Inc.). http://www.nationalpost.com/news/canada/story.html?id=261308. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  35. ^ Singel, Ryan (January 23, 2008). "War Breaks Out Between Hackers and Scientology – There Can Be Only One". Wired (CondéNet, Inc.). http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/01/anonymous-attac.html. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  36. ^ Feran, Tom (January 24, 2008). "Where to find the Tom Cruise Scientology videos online, if they're still posted". The Plain Dealer (Newhouse Newspapers). http://www.cleveland.com/entertainment/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/entertainment-0/120116724530070.xml&coll=2. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  37. ^ a b Chan Enterprises (January 21, 2008). "Internet Group Declares "War on Scientology": Anonymous are fighting the Church of Scientology and the Religious Technology Center" (PDF). Press Release (PRLog.Org). http://www.prlog.org/10046797-internet-group-anonymous-declares-war-on-scientology.pdf. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  38. ^ Matthew A. Schroettnig, Stefanie Herrington, Lauren E. Trent (2008-02-06). "Anonymous Versus Scientology: Cyber Criminals or Vigilante Justice?". The Legality. http://www.thelegality.com/archives/22. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  39. ^ Thomas, Nicki (January 25, 2008). "Scientology and the internet: Internet hackers attack the church". Edmonton Sun (Sun Media). http://www.edmontonsun.com/News/Edmonton/2008/01/25/4794425.html. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  40. ^ Dodd, Gareth (Editor); Agencies (January 25, 2008). "Anonymous hackers vow to "dismantle" Scientology". Xinhua News Agency. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-01/25/content_7495986.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  41. ^ Brandon, Mikhail (January 28, 2008). "Scientology in the Crosshairs". The Emory Wheel (Emory University). http://www.emorywheel.com/detail.php?n=24945. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  42. ^ Feran, Tom (January 31, 2008). "The group Anonymous calls for protests outside Scientology centers - New on the Net". The Plain Dealer (Newhouse Newspapers). http://www.cleveland.com/entertainment/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/entertainment-0/1201771820310820.xml&coll=2. Retrieved 2008-02-04. 
  43. ^ Vamosi, Robert (January 28, 2008). "Anonymous names February 10 as its day of action against Scientology". CNET News (CNET Networks, Inc.). http://www.news.com/8301-10789_3-9859513-57.html. Retrieved 2008-01-28. 
  44. ^ Braiker, Brian (February 8, 2008). "The Passion of ‘Anonymous’: A shadowy, loose-knit consortium of activists and hackers called 'Anonymous' is just the latest thorn in Scientology's side". Newsweek (Newsweek, Inc.): pp. Technology: Newsweek Web Exclusive. http://www.newsweek.com/id/109410. Retrieved 2008-02-09. 
  45. ^ a b Barkham, Patrick (February 4, 2008). "Hackers declare war on Scientologists amid claims of heavy-handed Cruise control". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media Limited). http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/feb/04/news. Retrieved 2008-02-03. 
  46. ^ Staff (February 3, 2008). "Group Lines Road To Protest Church Of Scientology". WKMG-TV (Internet Broadcasting Systems and Local6.com). http://www.local6.com/news/15205679/detail.html. Retrieved 2008-02-03. 
  47. ^ Eckinger, Helen; Gabrielle Finley, Katherine Norris (February 3, 2008). "Anti-Scientology group has protest rally". Orlando Sentinel. http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/orange/orl-cfbriefs03_508feb03,0,1439702.story. Retrieved 2008-02-03. 
  48. ^ Standifer, Tom (February 4, 2008). "Masked Demonstrators Protest Against Church of Scientology". Daily Nexus (University of California, Santa Barbara): pp. Issue 69, Volume 88. http://www.dailynexus.com/article.php?a=15686. Retrieved 2008-02-04. 
  49. ^ Eber, Hailey (February 4, 2008). "Anti-Scientologists Warm Up for February 10". Radar Online (Radar Magazine). http://www.radaronline.com/exclusives/2008/02/antiscientologists-warming-up-for-february-10.php. Retrieved 2008-02-04. 
  50. ^ Carlos Moncada (2008-02-12). "Organizers Tout Scientology Protest, Plan Another". TBO.com. http://suncoastpinellas.tbo.com/content/2008/feb/12/organizers-tout-scientology-protest-plan-another/. Retrieved 2008-02-13. 
  51. ^ Andrew Ramadge (2008-02-14). "Scientology protest surge crashes websites". News.com.au (News Limited). http://www.news.com.au/technology/story/0,25642,23212002-5014239,00.html. Retrieved 2008-02-14. 
  52. ^ Andrew Ramadge (2008-03-17). "Second round of Anonymous v Scientology". News.com.au (News Limited). http://www.news.com.au/technology/story/0,25642,23389091-5014239,00.html. Retrieved 2008-03-17. 
  53. ^ Harrison, James (The State News) (February 12, 2008). "Scientology protestors take action around world". http://www.statenews.com/index.php/blog/entertainment/2008/02/internet_group_. Retrieved 2008-02-14. 
  54. ^ Forrester, John (2008-02-11). "Dozens of masked protesters blast Scientology church". The Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2008/02/11/dozens_of_masked_protesters_blast_scientology_church/. Retrieved 2008-02-15. 
  55. ^ Davies, Shaun (March 20, 2008). "Scientology strikes back in information war". National Nine News (ninemsn). http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=409940. Retrieved 2008-03-20. 
  56. ^ Andrew Ramadge (2008-03-20). "Scientology site gets a facelift after protests". News.com.au (News Limited). http://www.news.com.au/technology/story/0,25642,23407107-5014239,00.html. Retrieved 2008-03-20. 
  57. ^ a b c d e http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,368315,00.html
  58. ^ Macavinta, Courtney (1998-09-15). "Short Take: Scientologists win Net court case". CNET. http://news.com.com/Short+Take+Scientologists+win+Net+court+case/2110-1023_3-215586.html. Retrieved 2007-08-10. 
  59. ^ Macavinta, Courtney (1999-03-30). "Scientologists settle legal battle". CNET. http://news.com.com/Scientologists+settle+legal+battle/2100-1023_3-223683.html?tag=item. Retrieved 2007-08-10. 
  60. ^ Hines, Matt (2003-09-08). "Scientology loss keeps hyperlinks legal". CNET. http://news.com.com/2100-1028_3-5072581.html. Retrieved 2007-08-10. 
  61. ^ Libbenga, Jan (2003-09-08). "Scientologists loses copyright case". The Register. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2003/09/08/scientologists_loses_copyright_case/. Retrieved 2007-08-10. 
  62. ^ Final Victory! XS4ALL and Karin Spaink Win Scientology Battle, Press Release, December 16, 2005
  63. ^ Freedom Magazine, Vol 27, Issue 4: A Crime By Any Other Name. Redacted version.
  64. ^ Zapler, Mike (2007-07-07). "Scientology critic seeks pardon". San Jose Mercury News. http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_6320693. Retrieved 2007-08-11. 
  65. ^ Goodin, Dan (1999-06-03). "Scientology subpoenas Worldnet". CNET. http://news.com.com/2100-1023-226676.html. Retrieved 2007-08-10. 
  66. ^ "Scientologists Force Comment Off Slashdot". Slashdot. 2001-03-16. http://slashdot.org/yro/01/03/16/1256226.shtml. Retrieved 2007-09-05. 
  67. ^ Google Begins Making DMCA Takedowns Public
  68. ^ a b Bowman, Lisa M. (2002-09-24). "Net archive silences Scientology critic". CNET. http://www.news.com/2100-1023-959236.html. Retrieved 2007-09-17. 

Further reading

External links


which has held global-wide protests against the CoS every month since January, 2008.]]

Scientology has been involved in a number of disputes on the Internet related to suppressing material critical of Scientology through the use of lawsuits and legal threats. In late 1994, the Church of Scientology began using various legal tactics to stop distribution of unpublished documents written by L. Ron Hubbard. The Church of Scientology is often accused of barratry (or malicious litigation and intimidation). The official church response is that its litigious nature is solely to protect its copyrighted works and the unpublished status of certain documents.[1]

Various critics of the Church of Scientology argue that the church is a scam and that these secretive writings are proof, or that the documents contain evidence that the Church of Scientology's medical practices are illegal and fraudulent.[2][3] Scientology has been convicted of fraud in the courts of several nations, although not those of the United States. Critics have said that the Church of Scientology is abusing copyright law by launching lawsuits against outspoken critics of the organization.[4]

Contents


alt.religion.scientology

Welcome to mortal combat between two alien cultures - a flame war with real bullets.

alt.scientology.war, Wired magazine 3.12, December 1995

The newsgroup alt.religion.scientology was created in 1991 by Scott Goehring, partly as a joke, partly for the purpose of informing the public about Scientology.[5] Debate over the pros and cons of Scientology waxed and waned on the newsgroup through the first three years of its existence, and flame wars were common, as they were on most other newsgroups.

The online battle is generally seen to have begun with the arrival of Dennis Erlich to alt.religion.scientology in mid-1994. A former high-ranking official in the organization who had been personally affiliated with L. Ron Hubbard, Erlich's presence on the newsgroup caused a number of regular participants there to sit up and take notice.[5][6]

Xenu T.V

Xenu T.V is a website that was founded in 1998 by Mark Bunker (Wise Beard Man) which is devoted to exposing the truths about scientology with ex-scientologists personal accounts about the CoS along with protest videos and legal videos.[1][7]

The Xenu revelation

On December 24, 1994, the first of a large number of anonymous messages was posted to alt.religion.scientology, containing the text of the "secret" writings of Scientology known as the OT Levels (OT stands for "Operating Thetan"). Included among these postings was OT III (Operating Thetan Level Three), which gave L. Ron Hubbard's description of the "Xenu story". This action brought on the actions of lawyers representing Scientology, who contacted various newsgroup participants and posted warnings demanding that the unauthorized distribution of the OT writings cease. The lawyers described the documents as "copyrighted, trademarked, unpublished trade secrets", and the distribution of the materials as a violation of copyright law and trademark law.[8] The first postings of the OT documents were done through an anonymous remailer, and the identity of the person who made them available on the newsgroup was never discovered. However, Dennis Erlich posted replies to these messages on the newsgroup, and his replies contained the entire text of the original messages (including the disputed materials). Scientology's lawyers therefore approached him, declaring that Erlich had re-published the copyrighted works in his newsgroup messages. Erlich's reply to this was to deny their requests to remove his postings from the newsgroup.

Attempt to remove alt.religion.scientology

On January 11, 1995, Church lawyer Helena Kobrin attempted to shut down the Usenet discussion group alt.religion.scientology by sending a control message instructing Usenet servers to delete the group on the grounds that

(1) It was started with a forged message; (2) not discussed on alt.config; (3) it has the name "scientology" in its title which is a trademark and is misleading, as a.r.s. is mainly used for flamers to attack the Scientology religion; (4) it has been and continues to be heavily abused with copyright and trade secret violations and serves no purpose other than condoning these illegal practices.[5][9]

In practice, this rmgroup message had little effect [2], since most Usenet servers are configured to disregard such messages when applied to groups that receive substantial traffic, and newgroup messages were quickly issued for those servers that did not do so. However, the issuance of the message led to a great deal of public criticism of Scientology by free-speech advocates.

Raids and lawsuits

Shortly after the initial legal announcements and rmgroup attempt, representatives of Scientology followed through with a series of lawsuits against various participants on the newsgroup, including Dennis Erlich. The first raid took place on February 13, 1995.[10] Accompanied by Scientology lawyers, federal marshals made several raids on the homes of individuals who were accused of posting Scientology's copyrighted materials to the newsgroup. Raids took place against Arnaldo Lerma (Virginia),[11] Lawrence Wollersheim and Robert Penny of FACTNet (Colorado), and Dennis Erlich (California). Internationally, raids took place against Karin Spaink (The Netherlands) and Zenon Panoussis (Sweden). In addition to filing lawsuits against individuals, Scientology also sued The Washington Post for reprinting one paragraph of the OT writings in a newspaper article, as well as several Internet service providers, including Netcom and XS4ALL. It also regularly demanded the deletion of material from the Deja News archive.

Participants in alt.religion.scientology began using quotes from OT III in particular to publicize the online battle over the secret documents.[12] The story of Xenu was subsequently quoted in many publications, including news reports on CNN[13] and 60 Minutes.[14] It became the most famous reference to the OT levels, to the point where many Internet users who were not intimately familiar with Scientology had heard the story of Xenu, and immediately associated the name with Scientology. The initial strikes against Scientology's critics settled down into a series of legal battles that raged through the courts. The Electronic Frontier Foundation provided legal assistance to several of the defendants, and daily reports of the latest happenings were posted to alt.religion.scientology. The newsgroup's popularity exploded. As the months and years wore on and the lawsuits continued without end, however, a number of participants in the newsgroup grew silent and moved on.

In the wake of the Scientology actions, the Penet remailer, which had been the most popular anonymous remailer in the world until the Scientology "war" took place, was shut down. Johan Helsingius, operator of the remailer, stated that the legal protections afforded him in his country (Finland) were too thin to protect him and he was forced to close down the remailer as a result.[15][16][17]

Scientology's online campaign

After failing to remove the newsgroup, Scientologists adopted a strategy of newsgroup spam and intimidation.[18] Scientologists and hired third parties regularly flood the newsgroup with pro-scientology messages, vague anti-scientology messages, irrelevant comments, and accusations that other posters are secret Scientologists intent on tracking and punishing posters. This makes the newsgroup virtually unreadable via online readers such as Google Groups, although more specialized newsreading software that can filter out all messages by specific "high noise" posters make the newsgroup more usable.Template:Fact

While legal battles were being fought in the courts, an equally intense and aggressive campaign was waged online. The newsgroup alt.religion.scientology found itself at the center of an electronic maelstrom of information and disinformation, as the newsgroup itself was attacked both literally and figuratively. Tens of thousands of junk messages were spammed onto the newsgroup, rendering it nearly unreadable at times when the message "floods" were at their peaks.[18] Over one million sporgery articles were injected into the newsgroup by Scientology management and staff; former Scientology staff member Tory Christman has spoken at length about her involvement in these attacks. Lawyers representing Scientology made public appeals to Internet service providers to remove the newsgroup completely from their news servers. [3] Furthermore, anonymous participants in the newsgroup kept up a steady stream of flame wars and off-topic arguments. Participants on the newsgroup accused Scientology of orchestrating these electronic attacks, though the organization consistently denied any wrongdoing.

In the early days of the World Wide Web, Scientology attempted a similar strategy to make finding websites critical of the organization more difficult. Scientology employed Web designers to write thousands of Web pages for their site, thus flooding early search engines.[19] This problem was solved by the innovation of clustering responses from the same Web server, showing no more than the top two results from any one site (e.g. Google).

Since the inception of the Internet, Scientology has made a policy of using copyright infringement laws to prosecute various Scientology critics posting exposing information on the Web. The Church uses legal pressure combined with blackmail and character assassination to attempt to win many court cases in which it involves itself.[20] On the other side of the battle, many Web-page developers have linked the words "Dianetics" and "Scientology" to Operation Clambake. This resulted in the anti-Scientology site having the highest Google index on the term for a while, which in turn resulted in Scientology persuading Google to remove links to the site[21] until international outcry led to the links being restored. This might be considered an early example of a Google bomb, and certainly has led to interesting questions about the power and obligations of Internet search providers.

In the 1990s Scientology was distributing a special software package for its members to protect them from "unapproved" material about the church. The software is designed to completely block out the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology, various anti-Scientology web sites, and all references to various critics of Scientology. This software package was derided by critics, who accused the organization of censorship and called the program "Scieno Sitter", after the content-control software net-filter program Cyber Sitter. Since no updates have been reported since 1998 (and the original filter program only worked with Windows 95) the package is unlikely to be in use with recent operating systems and browsers due to software rot.[19]

In June 2006, Scientology lawyers sent cease-and-desist letters to Max Goldberg, founder of the website YTMND, asking him to take down all sites that either talked about or mocked Scientology, which had recently become a fad on the site following a popular South Park episode. Goldberg responded by saying that the "claims are completely groundless and I'm not removing anything," adding to the members of the site, "it should only be a matter of time before we're sued out of existence." In response, YTMNDers created yet more sites about Scientology, and these were highlighted on the main page. They also campaigned to Google bomb "The Unfunny Truth About Scientology" site. As of February 2009, no legal action has been taken against YTMND or Goldberg.

In August 2007, MSNBC quoted Associated Press in an article on the Wikipedia Scanner, that computers owned by the Church of Scientology have been removing criticism in the Scientology entry on Wikipedia.[22] A Fox News article also reported that Church of Scientology computers had been used to delete references between Scientology and the Cult Awareness Network, in the article on the Cult Awareness Network on Wikipedia.[23] In May 2009, the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee decided to restrict access to its site from Church of Scientology IP addresses, to prevent self-serving edits by Scientologists.[24][25] A "host of anti-Scientologist editors" were topic-banned as well.[24][25] The committee concluded that both sides had "gamed policy" and resorted to "battlefield tactics", with articles on living persons being the "worst casualties".[24]

Project Chanology

In early 2008, another protest against the Church of Scientology was organised by the Internet-based group Anonymous, which originally consisted of users of the English speaking imageboards 4chan and 711chan.org, and several Internet Relay Chat channels, among other Internet-based communities claiming affiliation with Anonymous.

against the practices and tax status of the Church of Scientology.]]

On January 14, 2008, a video produced by the Church of Scientology featuring an interview with Tom Cruise was leaked to the Internet and uploaded to YouTube.[26][27][28] The Church of Scientology issued a copyright violation claim against YouTube requesting the removal of the video.[29] In response to this, Anonymous formulated Project Chanology.[30][31][32][33] Calling the action by the Church of Scientology a form of Internet censorship, members of Project Chanology organized a series of denial-of-service attacks against Scientology websites, prank calls, and black faxes to Scientology centers.[34]


On January 21, 2008, Anonymous announced its goals and intentions via a video posted to YouTube entitled "Message to Scientology", and a press release declaring a "War on Scientology" against both the Church of Scientology and the Religious Technology Center.[33][35][36] In the press release, the group states that the attacks against the Church of Scientology will continue in order to protect the right to freedom of speech, and end what they believe to be the financial exploitation of church members.[37] A new video "Call to Action" appeared on YouTube on January 28, 2008, calling for protests outside Church of Scientology centers on February 10, 2008.[38][39]

On February 2, 2008, 150 people gathered outside of a Church of Scientology center in Orlando, Florida to protest the organization's practices.[40][41][42][43] Small protests were also held in Santa Barbara, California,[44] and Manchester, England.[45][41] On February 10, 2008, about 7,000 people protested in more than 93 cities worldwide.[46][47] Many protesters wore masks based on the character V from V for Vendetta (who in turn was influenced by Guy Fawkes), or otherwise disguised their identities, in part to protect themselves from reprisals from the Church of Scientology.[48][49] Anonymous held a second wave of protests on March 15, 2008 in cities all over the world, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Vancouver, Toronto, Berlin, and Dublin. The global turnout was estimated to be between 7000 and 8000.[50] Anonymous held its third protest against Scientology on April 12, 2008.[51][52] Named "Operation Reconnect", it aimed to increase awareness of the Church of Scientology's disconnection policy.[26] A fourth protest occurred on May 10, 2008 and a fifth (Operation Sea Arrrgh) occurred on June 14, 2008.

Wikileaks

In March 2008, Wikileaks published a 612-page Scientology manual on the eight different Operating Thetan levels, considered secret by the Church of Scientology.[53] Three weeks later, Wikileaks received a warning from the Church of Scientology that the manual was copyrighted and that its publication infringed intellectual-property rights.[53] Wikileaks refused to remove the material, and its operator released a statement saying that Scientology was a "cult" that "aids and abets a general climate of Western media self-censorship."[53] A Church of Scientology International spokeswoman, writing to FOXNews.com, said: "I can only assume that religious bigotry and prejudice is driving their activity, as there is no altruistic value in posting our copyrighted scriptures, despite Wikileaks' self-serving statements to the contrary. Posting entire books and hundreds of pages of published works is not 'Sunshine Policy' but wholesale copyright infringement."[53] A Wikileaks spokesperson stated: "We thought it was a small issue, and our normal fare is government corruption and military secrets, so it seemed that this nutty religious organization was pretty inconsequential in terms of what we normally do. But after receiving these legal threats from them ... it was time for us to make a stand."[53]

Notable legal actions

A few of the court cases were decided in favor of Scientology, while most of the cases were settled out of court. Noteworthy incidents in the later years of the online war included:

  • Scientology's lawsuit against ex-member Arnaldo Lerma, his provider Digital Gateway, and The Washington Post. Lerma posted the Fishman Affidavit that contained 61 pages of the allegedly trade-secret and copyrighted story of Xenu.[5]
  • Zenon Panoussis, a resident of Sweden, was also sued for posting Scientology's copyrighted materials to the Internet. In his defense, he used a provision of the Constitution of Sweden that guarantees access to public documents. Panoussis turned over a copy of the NOTs documents to the office of the Swedish Parliament and, by law, copies of all documents (with few exceptions) received by authorities are available for anyone from the public to see, at any time he or she wishes. This, known as the Principle of Public Access (Offentlighetsprincipen), is considered a basic civil right in Sweden. The case, however, was decided against Panoussis. The results of his case sparked a legal firestorm in Sweden that debated the necessity of re-writing part of the Constitution.[54][55]
  • In 1995 Scientology caused a raid on the servers of Dutch Internet provider XS4ALL and sued it and Karin Spaink for copyright violations arising from publishing excerpts from confidential materials of Scientology. There followed a summary judgment in 1995, full proceedings in 1999, an appeal in 2003[56][57] which has been upheld by the Supreme Court of Netherlands in December 2005, all in favor of the provider and Karin Spaink.[58]
  • Dennis Erlich and Scientology settled their lawsuits. Erlich withdrew from the online battle entirely, and all mention of him was removed from Church of Scientology material.[5][20][59]
  • Activist Keith Henson was sued for posting a portion of Scientology's writings to the Internet. Henson defended himself in court without a lawyer, while at the same time he carried out protests and pickets against Scientology. The court found that Henson had committed copyright infringement, and the damage award against Henson was immense: $75,000, an amount which Scientology said was the largest damages ever awarded against an individual for copyright infringement. Henson's case became increasingly more complex and ongoing, with a misdemeanor conviction of interfering with religion in Riverside County, California. In his Internet writings, Henson said that he was forced to flee the United States and seek asylum in Canada due to ongoing threats against him.[60][5]
  • Scientology is one of the first organizations to make use of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). In June 1999, Scientology used the controversial law to force AT&T Worldnet to reveal the identity of a person who had been posting anonymously to alt.religion.scientology with the pseudonym of "Safe".[61]
  • In March 2001, legal threats from Scientology lawyers forced Slashdot to remove text from one of its discussion boards, after an excerpt from OT III was posted there. Slashdot noted this as the first time a comment had to be removed from its system due to copyright concerns, and retaliated by posting a list of links to anti-Scientology websites.[62]
  • The organization also used the DMCA to force the Google search engine to erase its entries on the controversial anti-Scientology Web site Operation Clambake in March 2002, though the entry was reinstated after Google received a large number of complaints from Internet users. The publicity stemming from this incident lead Google to begin submitting DMCA takedown notices it received to the Chilling Effects archive, which archives legal threats of all sorts made against Internet users and Internet sites.[63][64]
  • In September 2002, lawyers for Scientology contacted Internet Archive (archive.org), the administrators of the Wayback Machine and asserted copyright claims on certain materials archived as historical contents of the Operation Clambake site. In response, the Wayback Machine administration removed the archive of the entire Clambake site, initially posting a false claim that the site's author had requested its removal. This claim has been removed but (as of December 2008) the site still returns a "Blocked Site Error" from the Wayback archive.[64]

See also

[[Image:|32x28px]] Internet portal
File:Scientology e meter Scientology portal

Notes

  1. Freedom Magazine, Vol 27, Issue 4: An open letter from the Church of Scientology
  2. See for instance Jacobsen, Jeff. "Medical claims within Scientology's secret teachings", 1996
  3. O'Connor, Mike. "How Scientology claims to cure physical illness", 2003
  4. For instance, see Hausherr, Tilman. "NOTS34: criminality successfully protected by copyright law"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Grossman, Wendy. "Copyright Terrorists". Net. Wars. New York: New York University Press. pp. 77-78. ISBN 0-8147-3103-1. http://www.nyupress.org/netwars/textonly/pages/chapter06/ch06_.html. Retrieved on 2006-06-11. 
  6. Grossman, Wendy M. (December 2005). "alt.scientology.war" (3.12). Wired magazine. p.3. http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/3.12/alt.scientology.war.html. Retrieved on 2007-07-19. "His critical posts, with quotations from the church literature, turned alt.religion.scientology from debating club to battlefield." 
  7. http://www.xenutv.com/index.html
  8. Prendergast, Alan (1995-10-04). "Hunting rabbits, serving spam: The net under siege". Denver Westword. Village Voice Media. http://www.westword.com/1995-10-04/news/hunting-rabbits-serving-spam-the-net-under-siege/full. Retrieved on 2008-03-08. 
  9. http://www.xs4all.nl/~kspaink/cos/rnewman/usenet/rmgroup
  10. The Church of Scientology vs. Dennis Erlich, Tom Klemesrud & Netcom
  11. Ryan, Nick (2000-03-23). "The gospel of the web". Technology. The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2000/mar/23/religion.internet. Retrieved on 2007-10-12. 
  12. Roland Rashleigh-Berry. "The XENU Leaflet" (download in various formats). Operation Clambake. http://www.xenu.net/archive/leaflet/. 
  13. "Church of Scientology protects secrets on the Internet". CNN. August 26, 1995. http://www.cnn.com/US/9508/scientology/. 
  14. Lesley Stahl. 60 Minutes, (December 28, 1997) "The Cult Awareness Network". CBS News.
  15. The Church of Scientology vs. anon.penet.fi
  16. Prendergast, Alan (1995-10-04). "Stalking the Net". Denver Westword News. Village Voice Media. http://www.westword.com/1995-10-04/news/stalking-the-net/full. Retrieved on 2008-01-30. 
  17. Helmers, Sabine (1997-09-01). "A Brief History of anon.penet.fi". CMC Magazine. http://www.december.com/cmc/mag/1997/sep/helmers.html. Retrieved on 2008-01-30. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 Jones, Colman (1996-07-04). "Freedom Flames Out on the 'Net - Who launched the largest-ever sabotage of the Internet?". NOW Magazine. http://www.nowtoronto.com/issues/15/44/News/feature.html. Retrieved on 2006-12-03. 
  19. 19.0 19.1 Brown, Janelle (1998-07-15). "A Web of their own". Salon (Salon.com). http://archive.salon.com/21st/feature/1998/07/15feature.html. Retrieved on 2006-06-21. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 Freedom Magazine, Vol 27, Issue 4: A Crime By Any Other Name. See "Dennis Erlich: Copyright Terrorist". (Archived January 16th, 1999.)
  21. Matt Loney; Evan Hansen (2002-03-21). "Google pulls anti-Scientology links". CNet. http://news.com.com/2100-1023-865936.html. Retrieved on 2006-12-12. 
  22. New online tool traces Wikipedia edits: PCs in Scientology officialdom removed criticism in church's entry, MSNBC, Associated Press, Brian Bergstein, August 15, 2007
  23. Wal-Mart, CIA, ExxonMobil Changed Wikipedia Entries, August 16, 2007, Fox News, Rhys Blakely, Fox News Network, LLC.
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 Shea, Danny (2009-05-29). "Wikipedia Bans Scientology From Site". The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/29/wikipedia-bans-scientolog_n_208967.html. Retrieved on 2009-05-29. 
  25. 25.0 25.1 Metz, Cade (2009-05-29). "Wikipedia bans Church of Scientology". The Register. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/05/29/wikipedia_bans_scientology/. Retrieved on 2009-05-29. 
  26. 26.0 26.1 John Cook (March 17, 2008). "Scientology - Cult Friction". Radar Online (Radar Magazine). http://radaronline.com/from-the-magazine/2008/03/scientology_anonymous_protests_tom_cruise_01.php. Retrieved on 2008-03-18. 
  27. Warne, Dan (January 24, 2008). "Anonymous threatens to "dismantle" Church of Scientology via internet". APC Magazine (National Nine News). http://www.apcmag.com/7905/anonymous_threatens_to_dismantle_church_of_scientology_via_internet. Retrieved on 2008-01-25. 
  28. KNBC Staff (January 24, 2008). "Hacker Group Declares War On Scientology: Group Upset Over Church's Handling Of Tom Cruise Video". KNBC. http://www.knbc.com/news/15132759/detail.html. Retrieved on 2008-01-25. 
  29. Vamosi, Robert (January 24, 2008). "Anonymous hackers take on the Church of Scientology". CNET News (CNET Networks, Inc.). http://www.news.com/8301-10789_3-9857666-57.html. Retrieved on 2008-01-25. 
  30. George-Cosh, David (January 25, 2008). "Online group declares war on Scientology". National Post (Canwest Publishing Inc.). http://www.nationalpost.com/news/canada/story.html?id=261308. Retrieved on 2008-01-25. 
  31. Singel, Ryan (January 23, 2008). "War Breaks Out Between Hackers and Scientology – There Can Be Only One". Wired (CondéNet, Inc.). http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/01/anonymous-attac.html. Retrieved on 2008-01-25. 
  32. Feran, Tom (January 24, 2008). "Where to find the Tom Cruise Scientology videos online, if they're still posted". The Plain Dealer (Newhouse Newspapers). http://www.cleveland.com/entertainment/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/entertainment-0/120116724530070.xml&coll=2. Retrieved on 2008-01-25. 
  33. 33.0 33.1 Chan Enterprises (January 21, 2008). "Internet Group Declares "War on Scientology": Anonymous are fighting the Church of Scientology and the Religious Technology Center" (PDF). Press Release (PRLog.Org). http://www.prlog.org/10046797-internet-group-anonymous-declares-war-on-scientology.pdf. Retrieved on 2008-01-25. 
  34. Matthew A. Schroettnig, Stefanie Herrington, Lauren E. Trent (2008-02-06). "Anonymous Versus Scientology: Cyber Criminals or Vigilante Justice?". The Legality. http://www.thelegality.com/archives/22. Retrieved on 2008-01-25. 
  35. Thomas, Nicki (January 25, 2008). "Scientology and the internet: Internet hackers attack the church". Edmonton Sun (Sun Media). http://www.edmontonsun.com/News/Edmonton/2008/01/25/4794425.html. Retrieved on 2008-01-25. 
  36. Dodd, Gareth (Editor); Agencies (January 25, 2008). "Anonymous hackers vow to "dismantle" Scientology". Xinhua News Agency. http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-01/25/content_7495986.htm. Retrieved on 2008-01-25. 
  37. Brandon, Mikhail (January 28, 2008). "Scientology in the Crosshairs". The Emory Wheel (Emory University). http://www.emorywheel.com/detail.php?n=24945. Retrieved on 2008-01-31. 
  38. Feran, Tom (January 31, 2008). "The group Anonymous calls for protests outside Scientology centers - New on the Net". The Plain Dealer (Newhouse Newspapers). http://www.cleveland.com/entertainment/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/entertainment-0/1201771820310820.xml&coll=2. Retrieved on 2008-02-04. 
  39. Vamosi, Robert (January 28, 2008). "Anonymous names February 10 as its day of action against Scientology". CNET News (CNET Networks, Inc.). http://www.news.com/8301-10789_3-9859513-57.html. Retrieved on 2008-01-28. 
  40. Braiker, Brian (February 8, 2008). "The Passion of ‘Anonymous’: A shadowy, loose-knit consortium of activists and hackers called 'Anonymous' is just the latest thorn in Scientology's side". Newsweek (Newsweek, Inc.): pp. Technology: Newsweek Web Exclusive. http://www.newsweek.com/id/109410. Retrieved on 2008-02-09. 
  41. 41.0 41.1 Barkham, Patrick (February 4, 2008). "Hackers declare war on Scientologists amid claims of heavy-handed Cruise control". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media Limited). http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/feb/04/news. Retrieved on 2008-02-03. 
  42. Staff (February 3, 2008). "Group Lines Road To Protest Church Of Scientology". WKMG-TV (Internet Broadcasting Systems and Local6.com). http://www.local6.com/news/15205679/detail.html. Retrieved on 2008-02-03. 
  43. Eckinger, Helen; Gabrielle Finley, Katherine Norris (February 3, 2008). "Anti-Scientology group has protest rally". Orlando Sentinel. http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/orange/orl-cfbriefs03_508feb03,0,1439702.story. Retrieved on 2008-02-03. 
  44. Standifer, Tom (February 4, 2008). "Masked Demonstrators Protest Against Church of Scientology". Daily Nexus (University of California, Santa Barbara): pp. Issue 69, Volume 88. http://www.dailynexus.com/article.php?a=15686. Retrieved on 2008-02-04. 
  45. Eber, Hailey (February 4, 2008). "Anti-Scientologists Warm Up for February 10". Radar Online (Radar Magazine). http://www.radaronline.com/exclusives/2008/02/antiscientologists-warming-up-for-february-10.php. Retrieved on 2008-02-04. 
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