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UK's Home Office under attack from Anonymous hackers

Hackers' group Anonymous claimed Saturday to have brought down the website of Britain's Home Office in protest over proposed new electronic surveillance laws.

The website went down around 9:30pm local time just moments after the shadowy global hacking network declared in a tweet, "TANGO DOWN -- http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk For your draconian surveillance proposals! Told you to #ExpectUs!"

It was still down more than an hour later, reading "service unavailable" -- reminiscent of the denial-of-service attacks launched against other sites including the website of the CIA.

The group was apparently referring to new legislation proposed by Prime Minister David Cameron's coalition government that would expand state surveillance in the name of national security.

The new laws would allow the government to conduct some trials in secret and enable authorities to track the phone calls, text messages and online activity, including emails, of the entire population.

A spokesman for the Home Office, the government department responsible for immigration, counterterrorism and law and order, told Sky News in a statement, "We are aware of some reports that the Home Office website may be the subject of an online protest."

"We have put all potential measures in place and will be monitoring the situation very closely," the spokesman added.

This is the latest in the string of high profile hacks for Anonymous, which claimed to have briefly knocked offline the website of the CIA in February.

The group has also targeted the FBI, US Justice Department and police departments across the US.