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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Spying On Themselves?

Eric Pape writes:

In a crackdown, the video, photos, and blogs used to rally international support can help Iranian authorities identify protestors for arrest. Sophisticated Web users might know how to reduce this risk by adopting pseudonyms, masking the identity of their computers, and creating proxy servers that make information harder to trace to its source. (Some are even savvy enough to do the obvious: avoid posting photos and video, or giving names, that clearly identify individuals, especially if the video shows them clashing with authorities.)

But the truth is that many people are not taking such precautions--especially when confronted by more immediate concerns such as someone bearing down on them with clubs or guns, or a basij militia member aiming his motorcycle into a crowd. The cell phones the protestors are using to transmit text, photo, video and some Tweets are also easy to pinpoint geographically by the authorities who control the service. CNN reported this morning that some demonstrators were being told to remove the SIM cards in their phones to avoid being tracked.

This should be a concern, because the fact is that most revolutionary moments don’t succeed. And when they fail, authorities usually move to consolidate their power, methodically ferreting out dissenters and punishing them with jail sentences, exile, disappearance, or death. In the old days, authorities relied heavily on informers and spies—and they still do—but to some extent the age of the camera phone, Twitter, Youtube and Facebook mean that protesters are now spying on themselves.

link: Marked for Death by Twitter - Page 1 - The Daily Beast


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