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questionable content, possibly linked ? ? ?

Category: Question (Page 1 of 3)

Russian bloggers with over 3,000 followers must register with the government

I’ve seen this stated as fact in numerous places, that bloggers in Russian with over 3,000 followers must register with the government. Is it true?

BBC, August 2014:

It means bloggers with more than 3,000 daily readers must register with the mass media regulator, Roskomnadzor, and conform to the regulations that govern the country’s larger media outlets.

Internet companies will also be required to allow Russian authorities access to users’ information.

It includes measures to ensure that bloggers cannot remain anonymous, and states that social networks must maintain six months of data on its users.

The information must be stored on servers based in Russian territory, so that government authorities can gain access.

Related: Livejournal’s links to the Russian government.

Facebook’s famous missing 470 banned Russian accounts or pages

September 2017, Alex Stamos, official Facebook post:

“In reviewing the ads buys, we have found approximately $100,000 in ad spending from June of 2015 to May of 2017 — associated with roughly 3,000 ads — that was connected to about 470 inauthentic accounts and Pages in violation of our policies. Our analysis suggests these accounts and Pages were affiliated with one another and likely operated out of Russia.”

CNBC October 2017, tries to link 200 Twitter accounts to those 470 FB:

“Some of those same suspicious accounts on Facebook, however, also have ties to another 200 accounts on Twitter, a realization it shared with congressional investigators last week.”

Recode September 2017:

“Beyond publishing its findings, Facebook shared more granular details with its peers — standard practice for many tech giants, which generally band together to address online threats, such as hackers. With the aid of that information, Twitter discovered about 200 Kremlin-aligned accounts directly tied to some of the profiles Facebook previously identified. None of those suspicious Twitter accounts had purchased sponsored tweets, the company told lawmakers.”

So what are the full 470 items on FB’s suspended list? Twitter released their 2,700~ list already.

Many outlets are reporting today, including this Bloomberg November 2017 post, that Facebook will allow some users to see if they directly followed malicious accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency:

“The tool will appear by the end of the year in Facebook’s online support center, the company said in a blog post Wednesday. It will answer the user question, “How can I see if I’ve liked or followed a Facebook page or Instagram account created by the Internet Research Agency?” That’s the Russian firm that created thousands of incendiary posts from fake accounts posing as U.S. citizens. People will see a list of the accounts they followed, if any, from January 2015 through August 2017.”

Sounds like that list is maybe not yet available publicly at this time. I wrote to Library of Congress to see if it’s already been entered into the public record. Maybe they can help…

Conservative targeting, ad buys and fake news

From Hopenothate October 2017 article about death of fake news creator Paul Horner:

“Horner claimed he hated Trump but targeted conservatives with his stories because they were more profitable. He reached wide audiences, often on websites masquerading as more reputable news sources.”

I see this sentiment echoed in other places as well. NY Times, November 2016 article about fake news ‘sausage factories’:

“He set up a website, posted gushing stories about Hillary Clinton and waited for ad sales to soar.

“I don’t know why, but it did not work,” said the student, Beqa Latsabidze, 22, who was savvy enough to change course when he realized what did drive traffic: laudatory stories about Donald J. Trump that mixed real — and completely fake — news in a stew of anti-Clinton fervor.

More than 6,000 miles away in Vancouver, a Canadian who runs a satirical website, John Egan, had made a similar observation. Mr. Egan’s site, The Burrard Street Journal, offers sendups of the news, not fake news, and he is not trying to fool anyone. But he, too, discovered that writing about Mr. Trump was a “gold mine.””

Are there records of ad-buys to go with content and keywords which were pro-Trump and which would be basically agnostic as to the veracity of the actual information contained on the pages where the ads are located? AdSense records?

Question: profiteering from fake news

I don’t remember seeing it addressed in any committee hearings, but perhaps it was. Has anyone answered how much money Google has made as a result of AdSense ads placed on fake news sites? Would be really interesting to see an analysis on that…

Volodin’s Prism

Continuing a branch from Internet Research Agency source reference sheet.

Chen, 2015, NYT article:

“Volodin, a lawyer who studied engineering in college, approached the problem as if it were a design flaw in a heating system. Forbes Russia reported that Volodin installed in his office a custom-designed computer terminal loaded with a system called Prism, which monitored public sentiment online using 60 million sources. According to the website of its manufacturer, Prism “actively tracks the social media activities that result in increased social tension, disorderly conduct, protest sentiments and extremism.” Or, as Forbes put it, “Prism sees social media as a battlefield.””

Difficult to find other sources on the subject of Volodin’s Prism. NYT is plenty canonical for present purposes, but seems like Forbes source should be easier to trace.

I don’t trust 4chan as a source, but on /pol/ May 2014 there is what may be an auto-translated paragraph, which reads:

“At present, the Russian special services have no control over these sites , however, conduct external monitoring events, and look for the ” holes” in the protection of resources to deal with the political opposition , they can already .Note , some media reported earlier to establish a system to monitor social media developed by “Medialogia” . Program “Prism” supposedly allows you to track detached blog sites and social networks by scanning 60 million sources and tracking key statements users. Under the “eye” of the program were blogs users «LiveJournal», «Twitter», «YouTube», other portals . One of the alleged instances of the program installed in the office of the first deputy head of the department of internal policy of the presidential administration Vyacheslav Volodin , RBC reports “

RBC has the recent famous IRA article, so perhaps I can find whatever the source might be here (if real).

Medialogia is a new entity here.

Searching more turns up this January 2014 piece from globalvoices.org (not sure who/what that is).

“The Russian Federal Protective Service (FSO) is asking software developers to design a system that automatically monitors the country’s news and social media, producing reports that study netizens’ political attitudes. The state is prepared to pay nearly one million dollars over two years to the company that wins the state tender, applications for which were due January 9, 2014.”

Link to the site where the tender is listed. Name, auto-translated from Russian:

“Providing services for providing the results of automatic selection of media information, studying the information field, monitoring blogs and social media”

Organization:
Special communication of the FSO of Russia

Mailing address
Russian Federation, 107031, Moscow, Bolshoy Kiselny lane, house 4,

[…]

The contact person
Karygin Mikhail Yakovlevich”

Globalvoices also links out to iz.ru January 2014 article (auto-translated).

“Professionals, using specialized systems, will have to provide FSO with a personal compilation of messages from bloggers, which will allow daily monitoring of significant events on specific topics and regions. In addition, monitor negative or positive color of events. Information materials will be preliminarily processed, they will be grouped on specific topics: the president, the administration of the president’s administration, the prime minister, opposition protests, governors, negative events in the country, incidents, criticism of the authorities.”

Advox / Globalvoices (supported by Ford Foundation), which I’m starting to agree with, also says, in regards to the above iz.ru article:

“Izvestia’s coverage of the story bears all the hallmarks of Kremlin-friendly reportage, sandwiching comments by one critic of the FSO between two supporters of monitoring the Internet.”

Globalvoices links to this as the Medialogia website.

This text from their corporate site seems to match pretty well the Prism NYT description at top:

Blog monitoring and analysis reports

Medialogia offers regular blogosphere monitoring and analysis for companies. Monitoring sources: more than 40,000 social media, including LiveJournal, Twitter, VKontakte, [email protected], Ya.ru, industry blogs and forums.”

Is this a real company and product? Hard to really tell.

Tacking this on here, though not strictly related – it came up in similar searches and seems worth saving: Russia Beyond, December 2016 on new Russian cyber-security doctrine.

In his words, Russia’s government has paid special attention to countering new “Twitter revolutions,” those similar to the ones that occurred in the Middle East in the beginning of the decade.

“The Arab Spring demonstrated that Facebook, Twitter and other instant messaging services allow a lot of content that threatens social and political stability. The main thing is that we don’t have an effective model for blocking such processes,” said Demidov.

 

 

Handkerchief & The Ghost of Marius the Giraffe

There’s a line in a 2014 Buzzfeed article about some supposedly leaked documents relating to the Internet Research Agency that I keep puzzling over. It reads:

“The archetypes for the accounts are called Handkerchief, Gay Turtle, The Ghost of Marius the Giraffe, Left Breast, Black Breast, and Ass, for reasons that are not immediately clear.”

I’m unable to find any additional clarifying statements about what this means from other sources. Many repetitions of the same phrasing as this Buzzfeed article are available, but none explaining this.

  • What is meant by ‘archetypes’ for accounts? Is it like a general model personality profile that operators use to create new false identities? (That’s what I’m assuming)
  • What do each of the names refer to specifically? What are the archetypes?
  • Where are the leaked emails (and English translations) of the specific documents which mention these ‘archetypes’?

Location: Other Offices

Entity: Other firms. Addresses. Co-located groups.

As in IRA/FAN/GLAV STPETBG.

Senate Intelligence Committee Panel on Disinformation and Social Media

I watched all three hours of this today, live:

…and have to admit I found it utterly fascinating.

The main theme I took away from it is that “Washington” seems to want to move towards legislative oversight of social media

Is the Akashic Record a massive violation of privacy?

According to the internet, the Akashic Records are a kind of magical record of everything that ever happened, is happening or will happen. Wikipedia quotes Alice Bailey in 1927:

The akashic record is like an immense photographic film, registering all the desires and earth experiences of our planet. Those who perceive it will see pictured thereon: The life experiences of every human being since time began, the reactions to experience of the entire animal kingdom, the aggregation of the thought-forms of a karmic nature (based on desire) of every human unit throughout time.

The inestimable “Crystal Links” references an associated myth:

“A Chinese man named Sujujin was reported to need only the first name of anyone to access the Akasha and describe their life history.”

From a privacy and data protection perspective, this sounds pretty alarming. Why aren’t adequate security measures in place? Why haven’t the known risks been mitigated? Who is responsible in the event of a data breach? What rights do I have as a data subject to not be included in this so-called “Book of Life”?

Countless pathways to infringement of PII (personally identifying information) have been laid out by careless Practioners in books such as Linda Howe’s How to Read the Akashic Record.

For thousands of years, mystics, masters, and sages from various world traditions have read the Akashic Records-a dynamic repository that holds information about every soul and its journey. Once reserved for a “spiritually gifted” few, this infinite source of wisdom and healing energy is now available for readers everywhere to answer questions big and small.

If you ask me, giving free and unrestricted access to just anyone to the universe’s vault of secrets about every person creates a major vector for harassment, hate postings and many other types of abuse.

I reached out to AKASHIC RECORDS LIMITED via their LinkedIn profile to find out what they were doing to bring their systems into compliance in advance of the GDPR coming into force on 25 May, 2018. I have yet to hear back from them. To be on the safe side, I also reached out to LIFES AKASHIC RECORDS LIMITED, also a UK company. I’m uncertain which of these organizations, if any, are responsible for this mess. For what is supposed to be the biggest database in the Universe, I couldn’t even find an official website.

Keyboard that inputs words not letters

Is there a way on Mac OS X Sierra to enter whole words rapidly, instead of letter-by-letter, as per normal typing?

I’ve experimented a lot with Dragon Dictate for text entry and it can work well under specific circumstances – one of which is having an allowance for vocalizations in the workplace (not always convenient).

What I’m after is to basically be able to set up word banks, and then rapidly plop in values from each group to form descriptive sentences  for SEO on a high volume of images. Since many of the subjects of the images repeat again and again, I’m wanting to split them up into re-usable chunks.

So it could be a little like this, genericized:

[Person][Action][Preposition][Location]

Where each item is a bank of related words, which I can quickly flip through to find the correct combination, something like:

Man walking on a beach

I have aText, which is a decent basic text expander app, and I see people talking about some autocomplete options in Mac OS, but so far nothing quite fits the bill.

I guess the closest I’ve come so far has been finding (more on iOS) some applications for augmentative/assistive communications boards, like so:

If I were able to customize this kind of thing with my own word banks, and make it into like an app that can be called up system-wide (or at least in Firefox), and which will output strings of text into Google Sheets + allow for easy switching to regular text/letter-by-letter entry style, I would be pretty much golden…

Maybe I’ll just have to cobble it together myself though, it looks like.

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