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Thread: Putin's cybervigilantes

  1. #1
    The Un-Holy One The Man's Avatar
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    Putin's cybervigilantes


    Here, at an Opposition demonstration in St. Petersburg on October 7th (Putin's birthday), a journalist working for Open Russia (independent, pro-Opposition online media group and political block in own right) encounters "activists" from so-called Je Suis Maidan, a play on Je Suis Charlie, and the Maidan revolution in Ukraine. Their goal is to prevent any "Maidans" in Russsia.

    To accomplish that, they photograph people who attend pro-Opposition demos.

    They then use special Russian-developed software, "FindFace", which can identify the people in the photos by finding their social media accounts, especially on the biggest Russian social network, VKontakte.

    They then publish the people's photos and social media info on their website: JE SUIS MAIDAN


    The people then get trolled and harassed online, and sometimes the trolls get their hands on tbeir real life info, addresses, phone numbers, place of work. Then - try to ruin their lives, get them fired, expelled from university, etc. Even people have been physically atracked and assaulted already. Crazy.

    And this isn't the government doing this. Not the FSB or Roskomnadzor (the official online and media censor agency). Just some amateur "patriots".

    Then, on top of these guys, you have the "Safe Internet League", and their "CyberWatch"


    CyberWatch claims to have, by now, 20,000 "volunteers" around the country


    They scour Russian cyberspace, every day, looking, ostensibly, for any "bad" content: pro-suicide groups on social media (it is a big issue there), porn sites, and various extremist materials. All of this they flag and report to Roskomnadzor and FSB and other such "competent authorities".

    The SIL was founded in 2011, and have indeed become very big now, even holding regional conferences, such as this one in Dagestan


    CyberWatch, aside from their thousands of volunteers, also have a hotline where people can call in (or text or email) with tips about nefarious online content.

    Since their founding in 2011, and until late 2016, by the article I read, SIL and CyberWatch have helped the authorities shut down 80 social media groups and block 14,000 sites! Among other things, they have helped lay 830 criminal charges related to child pornography; 600 related to various extremist and separatist content; 7,000 related to suicide propaganda; and 5,000 related to drug trafficking: https://openrussia.org/mobile/notes/714890/

    The trouble is, a lot of groups and sites they identify as "extremist" are merely people who openly criticized the government. Among Muslim groups, any completely non-violent, otherwise law abiding entity which simply dared disagree with the official dogmas of the Kremlin-approved Muftiate alse gets slapped with the "extremist" label and cracked down upon. And simply disagreeing with the reannexation of Crimea gets you labelled a "separatist" (which can get you jailed for 5 fucking years, btw).

    It really is kinda genius of Putin. The Internet is the biggest threat to all dictators, waking up their citizens against them. But Putin has been able to employ citizens themselves to help fight this threat against him... Crafty SOB...
    Thanks from labrea

  2. #2
    Veteran Member PACE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Man View Post

    Here, at an Opposition demonstration in St. Petersburg on October 7th (Putin's birthday), a journalist working for Open Russia (independent, pro-Opposition online media group and political block in own right) encounters "activists" from so-called Je Suis Maidan, a play on Je Suis Charlie, and the Maidan revolution in Ukraine. Their goal is to prevent any "Maidans" in Russsia.

    To accomplish that, they photograph people who attend pro-Opposition demos.

    They then use special Russian-developed software, "FindFace", which can identify the people in the photos by finding their social media accounts, especially on the biggest Russian social network, VKontakte.

    They then publish the people's photos and social media info on their website: JE SUIS MAIDAN


    The people then get trolled and harassed online, and sometimes the trolls get their hands on tbeir real life info, addresses, phone numbers, place of work. Then - try to ruin their lives, get them fired, expelled from university, etc. Even people have been physically atracked and assaulted already. Crazy.

    And this isn't the government doing this. Not the FSB or Roskomnadzor (the official online and media censor agency). Just some amateur "patriots".

    Then, on top of these guys, you have the "Safe Internet League", and their "CyberWatch"


    CyberWatch claims to have, by now, 20,000 "volunteers" around the country


    They scour Russian cyberspace, every day, looking, ostensibly, for any "bad" content: pro-suicide groups on social media (it is a big issue there), porn sites, and various extremist materials. All of this they flag and report to Roskomnadzor and FSB and other such "competent authorities".

    The SIL was founded in 2011, and have indeed become very big now, even holding regional conferences, such as this one in Dagestan


    CyberWatch, aside from their thousands of volunteers, also have a hotline where people can call in (or text or email) with tips about nefarious online content.

    Since their founding in 2011, and until late 2016, by the article I read, SIL and CyberWatch have helped the authorities shut down 80 social media groups and block 14,000 sites! Among other things, they have helped lay 830 criminal charges related to child pornography; 600 related to various extremist and separatist content; 7,000 related to suicide propaganda; and 5,000 related to drug trafficking: https://openrussia.org/mobile/notes/714890/

    The trouble is, a lot of groups and sites they identify as "extremist" are merely people who openly criticized the government. Among Muslim groups, any completely non-violent, otherwise law abiding entity which simply dared disagree with the official dogmas of the Kremlin-approved Muftiate alse gets slapped with the "extremist" label and cracked down upon. And simply disagreeing with the reannexation of Crimea gets you labelled a "separatist" (which can get you jailed for 5 fucking years, btw).

    It really is kinda genius of Putin. The Internet is the biggest threat to all dictators, waking up their citizens against them. But Putin has been able to employ citizens themselves to help fight this threat against him... Crafty SOB...
    I think we all need a moratorium on the internet; shut it down for a couple of weeks.

    Seriously, just shut it down, only bank transactions, orders, etc. can be accessed, no reviews, no personal commentary, no pictures, no other interactions.

    It would be an interesting experiment, and it would also, teach Silicon Valley a highly needed lesson.
    Thanks from The Man

  3. #3
    The Un-Holy One The Man's Avatar
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    A regional branch of the Education Ministry has issued a memo instructing schools to photograph students involved in opposition demonstrations.

    Opposition leader and presidential hopeful Alexei Navalny organized a series of anti-corruption demonstrations this year ahead of presidential elections next March. Teachers have been caught on camera ridiculing students who attend unauthorized rallies.

    Vladimir Milov, an opposition politician, posted a posted a letter from the Vladimir regionís Education department instructing schools to step up oversight demonstrations and hand out information about opposition groups.

    Teachers were urged to take "gigapixel" quality pictures of demonstrators and post them to an anti-opposition website, where demonstrators are outed by matching their pictures to their Vkontakte sites.
    Russian Teachers Should Photograph Opposition Students, Education Officials Say

    Wow...

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