A few days ago, #pR.is0n3R, a member of the Philippine branch of Anonymous, asked his Facebook likers what they would like to tell the Philippine president. Less than an hour later, the hacker posted three mobile phone numbers of the president on the same Facebook page.
#pR.is0n3R says that it has always been difficult to route the messages of ordinary citizens to president Benigno Aquino. The hack, he claims, is an easy way for people to tell their complaints and wishes without passing through an intermediary. The hacking was not just for fun. He urged them to send the president only messages of public concern. In a comment to the likers of his Facebook page, he says that he himself sent 30 messages to the presidential phone numbers.
Hours after the three numbers were made public, the numbers were no longer active. The president’s spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a statement that there is no need for hacking because the president is always reachable.
When asked to comment about the hacking incident, Valte said:
We don’t want to dignify that particular allegation with a comment.
The Anonymous group is known for both hack attacks and socio-political protests. It has also defaced numerous Philippine local government sites last year in protest of the anti-cybercrime act. They also defaced more than 20 Chinese government websites last March during the height of the Scarborough Shoal feud.
If these are really the numbers of the president, this group surely has the skill. But while the intent is for the concerns of citizens, I’m not sure if exposing the president’s numbers is the trick to easily solving the country’s problems.