Imagine a corporation that engages in economic activity without guidance or direction from humans. Programmed with a mission statement—maximize profit for shareholders from the sale of widgets, for example—the corporation could own capital, enter contracts, and employ robots. People could even be hired for more creative tasks. Such an entity would live on the Internet, distributed across thousands or millions of nodes (stakeholders who host the DAC on their computer).
First of all, the propagandist must insist on the purity of his own intentions and at the same time, hurl accusations at the enemy. But the accusation is never made haphazardly or groundlessly. The propagandist will never accuse the enemy of just any misdeed; he will accuse him of the very intention that he himself has and of trying to commit the very crime that he himself is about to commit.”
My current operating theory goes something like this, vis-a-vis Russia.
- Internet crackdowns followed popular anti-corruption protests
- Youth movements were organized/re-directed to support pro-statist agenda.
- Those movements perfected techniques to astro-turf and manipulate media locally, and exported their techniques to Europe and United States.
- Internet Research Agency, and friends, are examples of organizational models to perpetuate those techniques and missions abroad.
- IRA infitrated social movements and social media in US using same combination of tools.
- Somehow “coincidentally” these IRA et al efforts dovetailed perfectly with a certain presidential campaign environment.
“But 2011 began with the Arab Spring chasing out the rulers of Tunisia and Egypt, and ended with Moscow’s middle classes taking to the streets in Facebook-organized protests against electoral corruption. Facebook did more than just make it easier to organize; in a year of popular revolution, it let some Russians feel they were part of something bigger, that they had a chance. It was a profound shock to Putin’s government.”
… “Opposition websites were hit with powerful and coordinated distributed denial of service attacks, trolling, and disinformation. Deluged with pro-government propaganda, local news platforms basically gave up trying to separate fact from political fiction. The sheer volume of fake news, plus its sophistication, meant algorithms could no longer tell the difference.”
Wikipedia Internet in Russia article:
“In September 2011 Russia overtook Germany on the European market with the highest number of unique visitors online. In March 2013 a survey found that Russian had become the second most commonly used language on the web. “
Same Slate source as above:
… “In 2012, new censorship measures were brought in, using technologies that indiscriminately block addresses and inspect each packet of data.”
Wikipedia Internet Censorship in Russia article:
“Since 2012, Russia maintains a centralized internet blacklist (known as the “single register”) maintained by the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor). The list is used for the censorship of individual URLs, domain names, and IP addresses. It was originally introduced to block sites that contain materials advocating drug abuse and drug production, descriptions of suicide methods, and containing child pornography. It was subsequently amended to allow the blocking of materials that are classified as extremist, call for illegal meetings, or contain other content deemed illegal.”
… “Internet service providers (ISPs) are held legally responsible for any illegal content that is accessible to their users (intermediary liability).”
… “A ban on all software and websites related to circumventing internet filtering in Russia, including VPN software, anonymizers, and instructions on how to circumvent government website blocking, was passed in 2017.”
… “Russia’s System of Operational-Investigatory Measures (SORM) requires telecommunications operators to install hardware provided by the Federal Security Service (FSB). It allow the agency to unilaterally monitor users’ communications metadata and content, including phone calls, email traffic and web browsing activity. Metadata can be obtained without a warrant. In 2014, the system was expanded to include social media platforms, and the Ministry of Communications ordered companies to install new equipment with Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) capability.”
… “As of January 2018, companies registered in Russia as “organizers of information dissemination”, such as online messaging applications, will not be permitted to allow unidentified users.”
Navalny, 2014, same Wikipedia source:
“In March 2014, in the midst of the Crimean crisis, the LiveJournal blog of Alexei Navalny, Kasparov.ru and Grani.ru were blocked by the government. These sites, which opposed the Russian government, were blocked for “making calls for unlawful activity and participation in mass events held with breaches of public order.””
“In August 2014, SORM-2 usage was extended to monitoring of social networks, chats and forums, requiring their operators to install SORM probes in their networks.”
… “The SORM device recommended by the FSB is named Omega. Equipment by Cellebrite appears to be in use. SORM also enables the use of mobile control points, a laptop that can be plugged directly into communication hubs and immediately intercept and record the operator’s traffic.”
… “Since 2010, intelligence officers can wiretap someone’s phones or monitor their Internet activity based on received reports that an individual is preparing to commit a crime. They do not have to back up those allegations with formal criminal charges against the suspect. According to a 2011 ruling, intelligence officers have the right to conduct surveillance of anyone who they claim is preparing to call for “extremist activity.””
I’ve been 🕵 investigating what it takes to become a licensed private investigator in the province of Quebec. Kind of just for fun, really, as an extension of a burgeoning interest in privacy and data protection. Apparently there is a 135 hr training requirement, but no one seems to be able to point me to an equivalent training that’s both available in English and online.
Okay, fine. So sue me for living in a French province in a bilingual country and asking for resources in English. I get it, there’s a charter to protect the French language from being overwhelmed in a predominantly English-language culture. But still. We can do both, right? I think that’s the ideal.
Anyway, I’ve been simultaneously querying a variety of agencies for help: from associations, to training providers, to provincial authorities in neighboring Ontario. My hobby is emailing people I don’t know, with some weird questions. So I’m actually pretty used to this now.
Ontario has, by comparison, an only 50 hr training requirement which is significantly less than Quebec. Unclear still if you have to actually *be* a resident of that province to be licensed there.
I don’t know though what your practice would conceivably consist of though. If you’re licensed in one province, but operating in another. Maybe I’m going about all this in the completely wrong direction. One possible pathway would be to have the operating province recognize the license given in the other. But for what benefit and to what eventual end?
I’m really not an expert on these things. I’m just someone with a lot of questions. 👀 ❓ But here’s the thing you find when you start asking the people or the agencies, or the people who are out there and who *are* the experts: no one necessarily knows the answer. The questions may never have been asked before. A specific pre-built answer may require interpretation and invention.
And few people acting in official capacities are comfortable being publicly wrong. So it’s a natural human response, I’m sure, to just not to want to answer weirdos with questions. At least that’s commonly where I end up on these hare-brained tangents of mine where I end up emailing a dozen different people for help or answers with a specific question or problem.
There exists, a certain, I guess we could call it ‘tenacity of research‘ which one may possess or perhaps develop as a personality trait… such that following through with it in fullness, and learning to harness and direct it, may actively create answers that didn’t exist before through a radical act of questioning. In the course of asking and answering certain questions, you may through patience and persistence become the eventual expert. You might just invoke an unthing into being.
I don’t know what any of this means, though vis-a-vis where we started. Except, if you gotta 🕵, then 🕵. If you look and you find there’s no answer, you make one out of what’s available and what you can dream up.