Investigation after campaign website hacked

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AN INVESTIGATION is under way after a website set up in opposition to GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) wind turbine plans was hacked and disabled.

The site, ‘No Way GSK’, which was set up by the Ferryden Action Group, was attacked last week. Attempts to access it led to an on-screen warning that using the site could potentially damage computers and it has since been deactivated.

A statement posted by the administration team this week said the decision to deactivate the site was taken as they believed it had “served its purpose”.

The action group, which consisted mainly of Ferryden residents, was established last year to oppose GSK’s proposals for two 426-feet high wind turbines across River South Esk, opposite the village, at its Cobden Street factory.

Some of the villagers opposed the idea due to a number of reasons including the scale of the turbines, the potential loss of view and concerns about the possible effect on the area’s wildlife and the website was one strand of their campaign along with leafleting and door-knocking to gauge opinion.

Before the company’s planning application was lodged with Angus Council and during the consultation phase, the site also linked to an online petition which attracted more than 200 signatories. The plans were rejected by nine votes to two at the development standards committee’s August meeting.

The group was not without controversy, however, and earlier this year was accusations of bullying by some supporters of GSK’s plans were raised during a Ferryden Community Council meeting and denied by members present.

The action group’s online statement said: “We’ve decided to put the ‘No Way GSK’ website on the back burner. We believe it’s served its purpose, and hopefully played some small part in helping to inform and organise local protest against GSK’s crazy plans to erect two giant wind turbines within their Montrose facility.

“As the planners rejected their scheme by an overwhelming 9 votes to 2, we now anticipate a definitive dismissal of their appeal in February 2013. We’d like to take the opportunity to thank each and every one of you who participated, campaigned, leafleted and submitted written objections. Thanks for now - the ‘No Way GSK’ team.”

Action group spokesman Ian Paton this week confirmed that the website was hacked at around 8.30am last Tuesday.

He said: “Our ISP’s firewalls automatically detected the hostile intrusion and are helping us with our ongoing enquiries regarding the source of the attack. The site has also been cleared by major search engines such as Google.

“While we did have a backup available to restore, we felt the site had reached a natural conclusion and so we have left a simple note thanking all the people who participated, petitioned, leafleted, campaigned and submitted their objections to such great effect.”