A Latvian hacker has attained cult status on the social networking site Twitter after exposing the finances of state-owned banks and utilities to Latvian TV.
Using the alias “Neo” – a reference to the film, The Matrix – the “Robin Hood” hacker claims that he is trying to expose those who are profiteering from the recession in a country that has introduced highly unpopular austerity policies.
The Latvian government has recently introduced pay cuts for key public workers, with teachers recently taking a 33% pay cut to 300 lat (around US$600) per month but ‘Neo’ has claimed that Aris Zigurs, CEO of Riga’s heating company, paid himself a 16,000 lat ($32,000) bonus last year — a hefty sum for a publically-owned utility. Neo has also revealed that bankers at one of the country’s leading banks, bailed out by the state due to the global economic crisis, have not taken the pay-cuts that they had previously promised.
The anonymous hacker, who is believed to be based in Britain, claims to be part of a group – called the Fourth Awakening People’s Army – that downloaded more than seven million confidential tax documents from the State Revenue Service, thought to include private data for more than 1,000 companies.
It is claimed that the leaking of data is to expose wastage amongst the elite in the public sector in Latvia, a country currently struggling with a 23% unemployment rate.