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A screenshot of the defaced website

A group of hacktivists, known as the ZCompany Hacking Crew (ZHC), has defaced the website of the far-right English Defense League (EDL) and hacked into the group’s Gmail account.

“We will chase you, expose your racism and even remove you from the web,” a message from the hackers read.

The defaced website also shows e-mails taken from the EDL’s Gmail account which ZHC claims shows a misuse of subscription fees and harassment of “innocent people.” The hacked englishdefenseleague.org now redirects to englishdefenceleague.net. (Screenshots of the hacked website are available here.)

The EDL is a street movement that sprung up in 2009 following a protest by an Islamist group against returning British troops. It is accused by critics of being racist -- a charge the organization denies -- and Islamophobic.

An activist from ZHC told RFE/RL on Facebook chat that the e-mails show that “the EDL Admins are using EDL funds for their own personal gain and many innocent people are being charged into the EDL fund not knowingly.”

ZHC didn’t provide any details of the nature of the exploit, but did say their team included social engineers and defacers.

The EDL haven’t responded to request for comment. Nor have the owners of the Gmail accounts highlighted on the defaced page.

The ZHC activist said that their group of hacktivists got together in 2008 to protest “oppression in Kashmir.” “We have grown tired of brutality against people in Palestine, Muslims, and the occupation of the Indian Army in Kashmir,” the hacker said.

The group received notoriety at the end of 2010 for their role in what they described as cleaning up Facebook. The Daily Beast had details at the time:

Soon, a digital flier began to appear on the Facebook walls of groups and pages the hackers say are Zionist, right-wing, and anti-Islamic. Its message: "On the evening of the 31st of December 2010 (New Years Eve), TeaM P0isoN and ZCompany Hacking Crew will clean up Facebook.”

The social network, which now boasts more than 500 million active users, was not doing a sufficient enough job deleting these Pages, it read, "so therefore we are taking action."

Starting at midnight, the two hacker groups—they called themselves “sister groups”—began working in unison. They claimed to have found an exploit—a glitch in the code much like the one Facebook admitted to today. It was unleashed when Facebook updated to its new profiles and the hackers were using it to alter the offending pages so that they appeared blank.

One of the deleted Facebook pages belonged to the EDL.

The EDL has been hacked before. In February 2011, a hacker known as TriCk, a member of TeaMp0isoN, defaced the EDL’s website. In 2010, unknown hackers breached a database containing the personal details of supporters, causing the EDL to apologize.

According to the ZHC, there may be more to come. “Details of supporters and donors of EDL will be made public soon. A racist organization like you don’t deserve to exist. And we ZHC will leave no stone upturned in exposing your lies,” the message from the hackers read.

(Photo by Anomalily)
I stumbled upon something interesting the other day: Kindle porn.

There is a Flickr group, I Love My Kindle, featuring close-ups of e-readers: Kindles next to steaming mugs of hot coffee, on the tables of hipster cafes, resting in the loving hands of their owners, alongside glasses of wine, cigars, cats sprawled on back porches. You can see plenty of similar shots on Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest.
(Flickr photo by arellis49)

Early love for e-readers tended to be more utilitarian. The early adopters spoke as if they had just come from a beautiful, exciting relationship (which eventually fizzled out) and fallen into the arms of someone a lot more sensible. People talked about the savings they could make on price, the amount of books they could now carry in their backpacks, the wide selection, and the speed of availability. They talked about the practicalities of the device: How it's easier to find a comfortable reading position in bed with an e-reader or how the pages don’t flip shut when reading one-handed. But you didn’t hear much about beauty.

(Flickr photo by stephoto27)

That seems to be changing, though, and there does seem to be a growing aesthetical appreciation for the e-reader. In these photos, you can see something familiar, something we have always had with books: a sense of place. Aside from the tactile talk -- the touch of the paper, the feel of the spine -- and the smell, when people expressed their love for books, they were often expressing love for a place, a moment. A fireplace, a favorite chair, a window with a view, tucked up in a cozy bed on a cold winter’s night. All of that pleasure -- really just the pleasure of reading -- was focused on the physical object, the book. (You can see plenty of this love on the Book Porn Tumblr.) Their love, in other words, was perhaps a little misplaced.

(Flickr photo by arellis49)

I think that is what we’re seeing here with these photos. Our love of the moment is projected onto the device. Just like opening a book, powering up a Kindle can redefine the space around us.

Obviously, books have had hundreds of years to get under our skin, but the early aesthetes might be a portent of how we might feel about our e-readers in the future. We are not waxing lyrical much about the soft swish as we flick a page, the rubbery security of the bezel, but we probably will soon. (Amazon has added a tactile feel to its page turns on its high-end Paperwhite.) And what’s interesting is the sense of continuity -- just how similar the aesthetics of book and Kindle porn are.

(Flickr photo by Anomalily)

It could, of course, just be the narcissism of the Instagram generation, a fetish for consumer durables in the same vein as the “unboxing" phenomenon. But my bet is that we'll see much more of this type of thing in the future. We will continue sowing the seeds of our inevitable e-reader nostalgia years from now, when screen readers are replaced by godknowswhat.

(Flickr photo by dianecordell)
(Flickr photo by dianecordell)

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