'Vikileaks' Twitter account closed
Anonymous user attraced more than 8,000 followers since Feb. 14
The anonymous campaign behind the "Vikileaks" Twitter account has shut down, after having purportedly posted tawdry details of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews's divorce proceedings.
Following a political uproar in which Conservatives accused opposition New Democrats of authoring the tweets that made claims about Toews's personal life, the original account on the social networking site has now been deleted.
A message posted before the micro-blogger's account closed on Friday evening said, "I am shutting down before any other innocent people are targeted. Please keep up the fight against #C30 Canada."
Vikileaks gained notoriety this week as part of the protests against the federal government's new online surveillance bill, C-30.
Critics have raised concerns about potential privacy issues with the legislation, which would offer police easier access to data about web surfers by requiring internet service providers to surrender some client information to authorities without a warrant.
Under a text field reserved for biographical information on Twitter, the anonymous account user wrote: "Vic wants to know about you. Let's get to know Vic."
The Vikileaks account then proceeded to post a string of more than 90 tweets taking jabs at the minister and his home life, including alleged quotations from affidavits from Toews's divorce. None of the claims has been verified.
The minister himself responded on his Twitter feed that he would not "get involved in this kind of gutter politics."
Baird blasts 'dirty internet trick'
Toews has also stepped back from comments he made earlier about the objections to privacy breaches, in which he said Liberal public safety critic Francis Scarpaleggia could "either stand with us or with the child pornographers."
The Ottawa Citizen newspaper reported Thursday that an IP address — a unique number identifying computers in a network — traced the account to Parliament Hill.
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During question period on Friday, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird accused the NDP of having "been caught in a nasty, dirty internet trick" — an allegation NDP whip Chris Charlton demanded Baird retract.
In earlier tweets Friday, the anonymous twitter user wrote: "I am not in Ottawa. Many people have access to the email address. The Ottawa Citizen in particular is targeting the wrong person."
The user also wrote in the evening: "I set up this project to make a point, not ensnare innocent people in a government witch hunt."
Within just three days of going online, the Vikileaks Twitter feed drew more than 8,000 followers, inspiring hundreds of retweets and jokes, before it was shut down.