Members of Anonymous recently claimed responsibility for attacks on several Australian government Web sites.

"Over the past few days, a self-proclaimed splinter group of Anonymous has defaced ten Queensland government-focused Web sites as a means of protesting Federal Government proposals in relation to web access data retention. ... A screen shot of the defacement may be seen here," writes iTWire's David Heath.

"The Twitter handle @Op_Australia makes the claim in this tweet," writes The Register's Simon Sharwood. "A webchat channel at anonops.com named opAustralia referenced in other tweets is active, and offers a link to newswire story about the government's proposed data retention policies."

"The proposed security expansions would mean everything from social networking to emails would be monitored and stored for up to two years, and intelligence agencies would be given increased access to sites such as Facebook and Twitter," writes News.com.au's Claire Connelly. "'We no longer know about many of the activities of our governments while our governments have the means to accumulate unprecedented vast banks of data about us,' Anonymous Australia said. 'Whilst our own rights to privacy dwindle, corporate rights to commercial confidentiality and intellectual property skyrocket.'"

"Australians, the hacking group said in a statement, were being forced to 'surrender passwords and internet usage data,' under the guise of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS)," writes International Business Times' Erik Pineda.