I was in high school when Tupac Shakur was killed in a drive-by shooting. His fans were mostly shocked, but largely agreed that his “death” was a hoax. Rumors quickly flew of “Tupac sightings.” Different scenarios of how Tupac was hiding from his enemies surfaced. The notion was even evident at my school, as an intramural basketball team named themselves “TID–Tupac Isn’t Dead.” TID jerseys quickly became the hottest item at my school. For over 15 years now, I have been among Tupac’s fans who have loyally awaited his return from the “dead.” Over this past weekend I thought the day had come, but I was fooled.

Over this past weekend, PBS’s website posted a story reporting that Tupac was alive and well, and living in New Zealand. Much to my dismay, PBS announced on Monday morning that the story was false, the result of hackers pirating its website. It turns out The Lulz Boat, a hacker group, had taken issue with a recent PBS program “WikiSecrets,” a documentary regarding the leakage of hundreds of thousands of classified documents that ended up on the WikiLeaks website. The Lulz Boat decided to post the spoof Tupac story as a way to let PBS know it was “less than impressed.”

WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, are currently party to multiple lawsuits. Various hacking groups have initiated attacks on legitimate organizations in order to show support for the website and its founder. While people would love to hold these hacker groups responsible, to date the groups are largely unlocatable. (Even though you can follow them on Twitter). However, rumor has it The Lulz Boat is planning an attack on the FBI this coming Friday. We’ll see if that happens. If it does, it will be interesting to see if the United States federal government takes on an even bigger role in locating and prosecuting hackers. If it does, and there is some sort of class action, I would be interested in what sort of damages I could recover for misleading me into believing Tupac was back.

– Andrew Harline

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