This week again is all about social media. One wants to block the social media usage within the borders of his country and another one does not want that to happen but at that the time plans to shut down another platform for social media in November. Oh and another stakeholder decided to block complete phone service per se. Much more effective than just blocking smart phone services like Blackberry Messenger. This week has been pretty busy with these kind of news.
What happened? Riots sparked in London due to the death of a person who was allegedly shooting at policemen. The policemen shot him dead and one week later Scotland Yard found out that the guy did not even have a loaded gun and the bullet that almost killed an officer was fired from a police firearm. Anyway, the death sparked some protests which grew fast, turned into violent demonstrations, chaos and plundering – opportunity arose they say – and finally spread to other British cities. Someone from Scotland Yard must have told the Prime minister ‘Sir, they are using mobile phones and the Internet to coordinate themselves and that is why when our men arrive, they are already gone and are plundering a different district’. The Prime minister in all his wisdom then decided it would be a good idea to do something about it. Because every government tries to limit of its citizens on the Internet – ehm I mean protect them from all the evil on the Internet – the deal was made. Let us agree with Research in Motion to help us get the protesters by them making us available their Blackberry Messenger data – which is actually encrypted and therefore it would be interesting to know what the details of that plan might have been. Is there an Escrow in BBM RIM? Because Twitter was also used to organize and direct the protests the Prime minister happily also announced planning on shutting down the access to Twitter from within British ISPs. Smart move Mr. Prime minister. You just added the most experienced digital mob to your opponents. You don’t have to tell Anti-Sec twice that you are planning on censoring the Internet just because you are a ‘helpless’ government. Let us put it that way: not a lot of smart decisions were made these days.
While Anti-Sec already announced that they are not happy with the decision of the PM of the UK, some parts of Anonymous grouped themselves together in order to plan a huge takedown: Facebook. On November 5, 2011 Facebook shall be taken down. It is a wild guess but I think trying to DDoS Facebook, Google, Yahoo or Amazon is kind of a LOT of work. I am actually pretty convinced that this is not gonna work out but anyway. Oh yeah, why they are doing it? Well they say that Facebook violates privacy rights (what they do) and that is why they should get taught a lesson. Well, why not, let’s see what happens.
A similar incident as in the Britain sparked another censorship approach, this time in the US. In San Francisco a man was shot by BART police after they were called in because of a ‘wobbly drunk’. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation the police reported the man came after them with a knife. This incident sparked protests and subsequently a group repeatedly wanted to block train services in SF by protesting. Because they announced to use cellphone to coordinate, BART took action. EFF wrote: ‘Bay Area Rapid Transit officials have said they shut down power Thursday evening to cellular towers for stations stretching from downtown to the San Francisco’s airport after learning protesters planned to use mobile devices to coordinate its demonstration’. So if we don’t want to do anything about it, we just shutdown cell phone services? In case emergency dial …well ya, there is not much to dial anymore. Luckily everything went fine and officials are happy that nothing happened – because they were so smart to power down the cell phone towers. What the f…? Next time, they might announce to use DHL and UPS to coordinate…too bad for all the companies in SF who need their daily delivery. It is not only a sign of weakness but also a complete lack of reasoning. As in the case of the UK you only end up with a larger and stronger opposition .. well that is what you get for not being smart me thinks. Nonetheless, this is also censorship. And according to current US law, BART police does not even have the right to power down the cellphone towers. Maybe they were just accidentally down for maintenance.
My last line is left to Anonymous, Retweet by me: @AnonymousIRC: “Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime.” ~Potter Stewart | Good night!