Hacktivist group Anonymous has promised to strike back with an internet blackout if the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is approved.
A vote on the legislation was delayed this week and is not likely to be held until the new year. However, Anonymous suggested that this delay is a smokescreen, and that the law "further proves the reality of corporate rule and totalitarianism".
"SOPA tramples civil rights laws, fair use, freedom of press and freedom of speech. Under SOPA an average person could be arrested, fined, sued and spend time in a federal prison for as little as uploading a video to YouTube or even linking to one," Anonymous said in a statement.
The group has vowed to strike back in a big way if the legislation becomes law, and has called on its members to deface web sites with protest messages in a bid to get the anti-Act message to as many people as possible.
"Let's replace the face of the internet with a clear message about how we feel about censorship. Replace the front page of every web site we can with a simple, clear protest page," Anonymous said.
"Encourage friends, businesses, organisations, social media to take a stand alongside us in the same way. Get this image and message everywhere online. Plant the seeds of dissent wherever they can grow."
The hackers said that supporters should also deface billboards and advertisements with similar messages.
"Get people talking. Put the truth not only where it can be seen, but where it cannot be avoided. This is something everyone can do. We are legion, this is our voice, people are listening, we will be heard," the statement said.
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