Internet Hackers/Activists Release Information on Purported Conflict Minerals Purchasing

Two recent news items from the UK’s International Business Times illustrate interesting developments in the area of conflict minerals. The group known as Anonymous (referred to as “hacktivists” for their use of hacking as a tactic to promote their activist causes) targeted semiconductor manufacturer Intel and European metals trader Traxys in attacks yesterday and today.

The first article highlights Anonymous’ attacks of Intel that claim “mining companies that provide coltan to Intel are working in DR Congo”.  The article did not indicate what evidence Anonymous relied on in making the accusation.

According the article, Anonymous

dumped personal information such as usernames, password, emails as well as a heap of emails and payments database on [an activist website] as part of Operation Green Rights, which Anonymous launched last year against major oil companies…

The second article offers more details on the Traxys attack, including text from emails that Anonymous claims support their position that the company is engaged in trading illegally-sourced materials.

The article only includes excerpts from emails received by Traxys, and does not mention responses to those by Traxys.  We note this because we ourselves occasionally receive unsolicited emails from traders offering to sell a variety of ores, metals and recyclables.  Similar solicitations are commonly posted in on-line groups (such as those within LinkedIn) that are intended for metals, mining and recycling interests.

Interestingly, Anonymous itself – and its credibility – is being attacked by some within the hacking world.  Adrian Lamo, dubbed the “world’s most hated hacker” for his role in exposing certain Wikileaks sources, stated in another IBT article that Anonymous needs to be fact-checked by the media otherwise “it can be emboldened to carry out more ambitious targets.”

On a related note, at the September 2012 National Meeting of The Auditing Roundtable, Elm will be moderating and presenting at a panel discussion titled When Social Media and EHS/Sustainability Information Collide, Companies are Damaged.

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