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Using Crowdsourcing To Identify Vancouver Rioters 397

Posted by timothy
from the hey-you-two-get-a-mask dept.
Fudge Factor 3000 writes "The Canucks' loss in the last game of the Stanley Cup Finals resulted in complete mayhem in downtown Vancouver. Everything from upturned cars set alight to looting was commonplace. Unfortunately, most of the perpetrators were able to maintain their anonymity by disappearing into the crowds. Fortunately, bystanders took several pictures and videos of the carnage. Now, websites (including both Facebook and Tumblr) have set up pages to use crowdsourcing to identify the hooligans."
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Using Crowdsourcing To Identify Vancouver Rioters

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  • Wow (Score:4, Funny)

    by kamapuaa (555446) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @07:56PM (#36469672) Homepage

    People care about hockey? And enough to riot?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I read "rioters" as "routers" expecting a map of the internets in Vancouver, then read the summary... I guess I'll just have to carry on doing my own wardriving for the time being...

      • Re:Wow (Score:4, Funny)

        by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @09:09PM (#36470292) Homepage Journal

        There are some editing errors in the OP, which make misunderstanding natural. For instance, it says "(in both Facebook and have been set up to use crowdsourcing to identify the hooligans."

        This is Canada. I take that to properly read: (in both Facebook and French) have been set up to use crowdsourcing to identify the hooligans."

    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Funny)

      by mangu (126918) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @08:00PM (#36469716)

      People care about hockey? And enough to riot?

      Different people, different worries [imgur.com]

      • Re:Wow (Score:5, Funny)

        by interkin3tic (1469267) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @08:11PM (#36469800)
        US: walmart has a $300 sale on widescreen TVs.
        • by Kittenman (971447)

          US: walmart has a $300 sale on widescreen TVs.

          Cheaper in Vancouver. You just throw a brick through a window and grab it.

          • by Sulphur (1548251)

            US: walmart has a $300 sale on widescreen TVs.

            Cheaper in Vancouver. You just throw a brick through a window and grab it.

            Overheard: "Honey, do you think I'm made of bricks?"

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by NFN_NLN (633283)

        People care about hockey? And enough to riot?

        Different people, different worries [imgur.com]

        Vancouver is similar to the worst US cities before the housing bust. It costs 11 times the average income to buy the average house. This would put servicing housing debt at 72% of your gross income. There isn't much industry and therefore job prospects aren't the greatest. The average young person is likely to live in debt their entire lives if they stay. I don't see how people can live without drawing equity from their homes to pay daily expenses. Add on top of that foreigners driving up the price of

        • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jjohnson (62583) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @09:05PM (#36470270) Homepage

          Vancouver housing prices weren't the cause of the riot. Neither were disaffected youth angry about the cost of living.

          While the housing market is grossly overinflated, the rental market is sane. Young people simply rent instead of buying, and rent quite nice places too because the main driver of inflating housing costs are foreign investors buying up all the condo stock. Metro Vancouver's unemployment rate (7.6%) is lower than Canada's overall, and has been pretty constant for the last decade. There's no large, pent up reservoir of anger.

          The cause of the riots was 1) corralling 100,000 fans downtown to watch the game on outdoor screens, and 2) a large portion of those fans being drunk suburban kids looking to get their riot on. Blame lackluster police presence if you want. It was hooliganism pure and simple. Look at the photos. Look at their expensive shoes. Those Canucks jerseys they're all wearing aren't cheap. They're young, middle-class drunks having fun.

          • Re:Wow (Score:5, Informative)

            by NFN_NLN (633283) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @09:43PM (#36470476)

            Vancouver housing prices weren't the cause of the riot. Neither were disaffected youth angry about the cost of living.

            While the housing market is grossly overinflated, the rental market is sane. Young people simply rent instead of buying, and rent quite nice places too because the main driver of inflating housing costs are foreign investors buying up all the condo stock. Metro Vancouver's unemployment rate (7.6%) is lower than Canada's overall, and has been pretty constant for the last decade. There's no large, pent up reservoir of anger.

            Employment rate is not always the best indicator as people are often underemployed. The common term is the "working poor" and it is well documented:

            """" Seth Klein with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says that's because a lot of British Columbians make very low wages. "They can't make ends meet. They're faced with terrible trade-offs between paying the rent, feeding the kids, or heating the house." """
            - http://www.news1130.com/news/local/article/241285--bc-has-highest-child-poverty-rate-of-all-canadian-provinces [news1130.com]

            """ The poverty rate for people of all ages in BC also rose to 12 percent. It was the highest overall poverty rate of any province for the 11th consecutive year. """
            - http://mostlywater.org/bcs_poverty_rate_still_highest_canada [mostlywater.org]

            """ Despite the manipulation of statistics by various government agencies, more people are hungry in this country and in this province than we have seen for a long time. Food banks are multiplying, each one reporting that there is not enough in contributions to meet the need. It is reported that 700,000 people in Canada rely on food banks to feed themselves and their families... The fact is that the majority of the poor in Canada and in British Columbia are working. """

            - http://www2.canada.com/oceansidestar/news/story.html?id=418878d9-429c-4361-acf5-c06f05079302 [canada.com]

            Also, I'm not sure how renting from foreigners who are driving up and/or controlling condo prices contributes to peace of mind.

            • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

              by jjohnson (62583) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @10:04PM (#36470580) Homepage

              I don't dispute the problems with poverty in Vancouver. I see it every day. My wife teaches at a high school in Whalley, Surrey. I go through Chinatown a couple days a week.

              What I'm disputing is that the riot was caused by social unrest. The pictures tell an obvious tale: half the crowd is wearing expensive Canucks jerseys and have nice haircuts. The ones who've been identified from the photos are rich kids from the burbs. If you see sunglasses, they're expensive designer sunglasses. This was hooliganism, not the poor rising up.

              Foreign investment in real estate is a mixed blessing. It drives up prices, preventing the poor and the young from owning property, but it also gluts the rental market driving rental prices down. A common complaint among investors is that they're unable to finance the purchase solely by renting it out. The only unambiguously good thing is that the demand for more condos allows the city to require an apportionment of new construction to go for social housing.

        • Re:Wow (Score:4, Interesting)

          by germansausage (682057) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @10:41PM (#36470718)
          There were 2 groups that started the rioting. First there were the hard core rioters. These were the same bunch who riot at G8 meetings. The "Black Bloc". Actually they couldn't give a fuck about politics or hockey. For them, rioting and looting and mixing it up with the cops is a sort of urban "extreme sport". They came equipped with bandana's and geologist hammers.

          The second group were a new bunch. The facebook rioters. Riot 2.0 as it were. These were the dumbasses who came downtown so they could take pictures of themselves standing in front of burning cars so they could post them on their facebook. Status "At A Riot. Epic :) :) :) "

          Add to that a huge number of 18-25 year old kids, rat-arse drunk and happy to participate as long as the group is big enough to give them some sort of anonymity.

          Angry Canuck fans may have been there but were probably a minority. Groups 1 and 2 would have rioted win or lose.
        • Re:Wow (Score:4, Informative)

          by Dahamma (304068) on Friday June 17, 2011 @01:44AM (#36471500)

          Vancouver is similar to the worst US cities before the housing bust. It costs 11 times the average income to buy the average house. This would put servicing housing debt at 72% of your gross income.

          1) that's still not as bad as New York City, and I don't see massive sports-related riots there when the Yankees lose.

          2) look at the rioters - the average age was probably under 24 - I don't care where you are, 24 year olds are not buying homes these days

          3) the same thing happened when the Canucks lost in '94, and housing prices were not much of an issue back then

          Pissed off, impressionable, DRUNK hockey fans caused the riot. Occam's razor - why try to read social injustice and malaise into an act when booze and testosterone will do just fine...

    • Re:Wow (Score:4, Informative)

      by Korveck (1145695) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @08:02PM (#36469732)
      Keep your ignorance away from here. Ice hockey is the biggest sport in Canada. In Vancouver, the Stanley Cup final game 7 is THE biggest sports event. The anticipation for Canucks to win their first Stanley Cup title is huge.

      However, the hockey game is unlikely the true reason behind the riot. The rioters were prepared to riot. They brought the tools with them to set fire before the game even started. Many of the arrested were known rioters, who caused problems before the Winter Olympics in 2010.
      • by MacTO (1161105)

        I'm guessing that it's a mix. I heard passers comment that they weren't fans, and they wanted to start a riot. There were also plenty of intoxicated fans who were more than ready to riot in defeat and probably would have caused as much destruction with a victory party.

        As for the crowd sourcing, they're going to have an easy time identifying people but a terrible time proving guilt. I've seen videos of people posing in front of the mayhem, even though they probably didn't take part in it. When I went to

      • by Mashiki (184564)

        Actually it's the second largest sport depending on the year. It's either hockey or lacrosse.

        Anyway, they should have just read the riot act [wikipedia.org]. Waited 30mins, then started arresting anyone who refused to leave. That's what it's there for, and I have no problems with it being used as such. Really slapping a few people who are being the centres of the riot in prison for a few years is good(the max you can get is life aka 25 years). The rest you can give 2yr conditional discharges(aka don't fuck up, and it

        • When was the last time lacrosse was more popular than hockey in Canada? By depending on the year do you mean years and years ago?

          • by Mashiki (184564)

            Quite often. There's a reason why Canada has 2 national sports.

            • And those reasons are mostly historical. To say that lacrosse has been more popular than hockey in Canada as a whole within the last thirty years is plain ignorance. According to http://www.cbc.ca/news/story/2010/06/07/con-lacrosse-cra.html [www.cbc.ca] the Canadian Lacrosse Association represents 40,000 members. That is insignificant compared to the popularity of hockey.

              Lacrosse may have had its ups and downs in terms of popularity, but it has been a long time since it has been more popular than hockey in Canada.

          • by Mashiki (184564)

            Interesting. Because everything I've heard has been contrary to that. Hell we didn't even get any bulletins about it, because reading it would be major news in law enforcement circles here.

            • I thought so too. Here's a blog post [openfile.ca] by a "semi-regular" cbc reporter who was there and says they were broadcasting it over loudspeakers in both English and French.

              "The riot police then start blasting a message over a loudspeaker in French and then English. I am watching the cameraperson’s back and realize I am being read the riot act."

        • by cstdenis (1118589)

          They did read the riot act quite early. Thousands of people were still there.

          There were a lot of cops, but they were still far outnumbered to arrest everyone.

      • ... The rioters were prepared to riot. They brought the tools with them to set fire before the game even started.

        "Tools to set fire..." You mean, matches. Maybe even lighters. Yeah, I think carrying a Bic lighter with you definitely indicates an intent to riot.

        • by AK Marc (707885)
          Go set a car on fire with a lighter. I'll wait.
        • by dryeo (100693)

          Probably the Molotov cocktails I saw on the news.

        • Reportedly a few members of the local anarchist crowd brought flammable materials, gasoline, fire extinguishers (to be used to smash windows or as weapons) , gas masks, bandanas etc, and came *prepared* to start a riot. The majority of the trouble there was caused by a few individuals (apparently the police arrested around 100 people, when its in a crowd of 100,000 people that's not a high percentage. They will be arresting more).
          In short, the embarrassing riot we saw was propagated by a small number of peo

    • Why not? We pound our keyboards over Android vs. iOS.

    • This is not flamebait, I was surprised as well. +1 Suprised if you want.
  • by digitalderbs (718388) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @08:02PM (#36469728)
    It's a good idea, but it appears that the photos section on the facebook page has already been vandalized. More than 80% of the photos are multiple copies of photos taken by the media, and another 10-15% are random unrelated photos. I hope they're accepting photos and videos from an email address too.
  • Yay for Facebook! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ZipK (1051658) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @08:02PM (#36469738)
    Facebook's greatest value to humanity may be as a honeypot to stupid people who post their misdeeds for all the public (and law enforcement agencies) to see.
    • Facebook's greatest value to humanity may be as a honeypot to stupid people who post their misdeeds for all the public (and law enforcement agencies) to see.

      I would say RTFA but even the summary says that it's for other people identifying the rioter, not the rioter posting a picture of himself burning that police car.

      • Plenty of photos of the event clearly show rioters posing for the photos (in front of a burning car flashing a V-sign etc).

        There are even some photos and videos showing how such photos were made (you see both the photographer and the model), and it's clear that a lot of material there was willingly made by the participants themselves.

    • by Fractal Dice (696349) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @08:43PM (#36470080) Journal
      The problem is that it's not really the drunks you want to get (despite the fact that they did a lot of the damage), it's the instigators in bandanas who started trouble then melted away into the crowd once they had set things in motion. I'm not saying the stupid people shouldn't be dragged out and shamed, but don't pat yourself on the back if you're catching only the "useful idiots"
      • by Caerdwyn (829058) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @09:48PM (#36470496) Journal

        It doesn't matter whether there were "anarchists" looking to cause trouble by "starting things". It's zero excuse at all. Everyone who participated, regardless of whether they intended to riot as a premeditated act or not, is a willing participant. A criminal. "I saw someone else doing it first!" is not an excuse to break windows, stab people, torch cop cars, or loot. And it should not be cause to reduce the punishment.

        Stop making excuses and pointing fingers. The reason that people rioted is that every last one of them who participated wanted to riot, had a choice to make on whether to riot or not, and chose to break windows, to attack people, to trash whatever car they were closest to, and to steal from stores. There are no extenuating circumstances. If a thousand people did it, a thousand people need to be in jail, not ten or a hundred. This isn't "harmless childhood pranks" or "social justice" (I swear, I want to shoot people who claim that as an excuse for stealing big-screen TVs. Literally.); it's blood and thuggery.

        Extra punishment for agent provacateurs? Yes. Free pass for drunks and hockey-garbage? NO.

  • It's kind of a shame. I thought this sort of crap would stay in Europe. Soccer Game riots are relatively frequent here in Europe, were as sports events in the U.S. and Canada have always seemed notably non-violent and family friendly.
    It's one of the few things that actually work way better across the pond than over here. Massive sport event riots is one thing the U.S. and Canada really shouldn't copy from Europe.

    • by istartedi (132515)

      Sports riots happen all the time in the US. Maybe you don't get news about them as much over there. Maybe the scale is less dramatic. I'm not certain. I just know that sports riots happen here [independent.co.uk]. Note, the link is a UK source reporting on a California riot from several years ago, which argues against my theory that people outside the US don't get news about our riots.

      Anyway, it's kind of nice to think that there's a myth about America that involves us not being violent.

      Now, what would be the best objectiv

  • by Annirak (181684) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @08:25PM (#36469916)

    This is not a case of CCTV. Rather, these images have been submitted from mobile devices and cameras.

    This is not a case of privacy invasion. People have committed criminal acts out in public, fully knowing that people are filming. They're begging to be identified.

    Furthermore, the police did not set up these facebook pages; these are set up by concerned citizens who are appalled by the behaviour seen last night. The police have set up a system for submitting evidence, but they have not started a "crowd-sourced" identification initiative as of yet. So maybe the police is doing crowd-sourced evidence gathering, but certainly not analysis.

    I want to point out how the police behaved in this riot. They stood their ground, but did not use an unnecessary force. They rarely engaged directly with the rioters; they just held a line, and occasionally fired tear gas, flashbangs, and pepperspray into the crowd. This is one recent case of police in the news NOT confiscating/breaking everyone's recording devices.

    I think the Vancouver police and the RCMP deserve some commendation for how they handled this riot. They did not prevent as much property damage as they could have, but on the otherhand, they took a far more measured approach to interaction with the rioters than has been taken in the past and they are seemingly embracing social media, rather than raging in fear of it.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 16, 2011 @09:45PM (#36470484)

      The Vancouver Police and RCMP (Abbotsford, Surrey, Maple Ridge, and probably most of the cops in the metro area) knew that if they pushed too hard it would get bad.

      I watched the news on CBC and CTV live, and CBC itself has enough video to catch the people who set the cars on fire, because 4 of those cars (the prius?, the truck, and the two copcars) were right outside the CBC's offices. CTV has video of people looting the HBC and London Drugs because Rob Brown was caught right in the thick of it.

      As for the police breaking up the crowds, what they did was broke them up starting in front of the CBC and Canada Post area and whittled them down by barricading the streets using the riot gear and making the crowds smaller and smaller, eventually there was just one group of probably 100 people who continued to vandalize things, but the perps who started it were probably long gone by then.

      And contrary to media reports, some of the people in the buildings were employees keeping looters out, they were plainclothed and had fire extuingishers.

      The Coach store, was looted (you can tell from TV) and that's probably the only store that was actually carrying expensive items near the windows. London Drugs and HBC, the window/door areas tend to be where cosmetics and checkout tills are, so I imagine the dollar value in merchandise stolen was probably in the low thousands, and the actual glass and building damage might exceed the merchandise losses. The coach, LV, Hermes, Tiffany and Gucci stores are all located around the same Hotel, but the coach building is more visible. The LV store is actually located inside the Hotel, so if they smashed the windows they might have got away with the display items in the window, but not much else.

      The Futureshop, people were trying to get into, but I can tell you that would have failed since it's on the second floor and has the same kind of barricade the London Drugs has. The London Drugs people actually kicked-in the barricade. My observation here is that the barricade failed because it wasn't designed to have 10 people kicking it for 20 minutes with no law enforcement around.

      The Sears was broken into, as well. Again, the same as the London Drugs and the HBC, mostly cosmetics and checkout tills are near the entrances.

      Photos and Video, everyone not looting had their camera out, the VPD has appealed to the public to send them all the photos and video.

      Note that a lot of these were smartphones, did you know that the EXIF data will not only tell the cops where you were, but what time, so your photos can be triangulated with other peoples images to pinpoint the instigators.

      On the other hand, also note that people came up from Seattle and Victoria. So 100,000 people downtown, and those people who came up to start things may have not even be from the Vancouver area.

      Some fault of the riots happening can be pinned on how much checking they were not doing to prevent people from bringing bags and lighters/matches.

  • Charge the NHL (Score:3, Insightful)

    by msobkow (48369) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @08:38PM (#36470042) Homepage Journal

    Charge the NHL with inciting riot and civil disorder, with co-defendents Vancouver and Boston.

    Or maybe we should outlaw sports completely, seeing as they seem to cause insanity. :p

  • Lots of vandals have been caught in photos, but soon criminals like these will simply use an IR device to to activate new features patented by Apple to disable everyone's cameras.
  • ... just as it was in the case of the thugs that were caught on camera beating up Dorian Barton.

  • by History's Coming To (1059484) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @08:49PM (#36470130) Journal
    Crowdsourcing? Sometimes you don't even need that, sometimes a muppet hands himself in because he LOVES FACEBOOK SO MUCH! Honestly. Read it and weep for humanity. [twitpic.com]
  • by dala1 (1842368) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @08:51PM (#36470152)
    People in Vancouver are standing up and saying this type of behaviour is unacceptable. Last night, they did this by taking pictures, creating forums to share evidence, and guarding businesses. Today they gathered downtown to help with the cleanup. For those of you searching for an Orwellian scenario in all of this, there's nothing to find.
    • Next time, you should do it by going out on the streets and punching in the face every idiot who tries to set a car on fire or break a shop window. Then there won't be a need to clean the streets up next morning.

      (but yeah, taking a photo first is a good idea anyway)

      • by Maow (620678) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:05PM (#36470832) Journal

        Next time, you should do it by going out on the streets and punching in the face every idiot who tries to set a car on fire or break a shop window. Then there won't be a need to clean the streets up next morning.

        (but yeah, taking a photo first is a good idea anyway)

        There was a video played on CBC TV this morning, submitted by a spectator, presented without commentary due to its shocking nature:

        A (rather large) man trying to prevent looting of The Bay on Georgia Street getting swarmed and getting the snot kicked out of him for his efforts. Final frame is him motionless on the street.

        I sympathize with your initial reaction, but it's definitely not a wise one. Much better to get pic's of criminal acts, then casually FOLLOW perpetrators, getting further pictures a block away when the face mask is down. Should be easy to remain unnoticed due to the crowds & number of cameras.

        • A (rather large) man trying to prevent looting of The Bay on Georgia Street getting swarmed and getting the snot kicked out of him for his efforts. Final frame is him motionless on the street.

          That's exactly the problem - one man against the several. That way, sure, you get swarmed. But it shouldn't be one. It should be every person living in that neighborhood. Even if you just took all those who took pics - and if they ganged up together - how many is that, and how many does it take to swarm them?

  • I never understood why so many teams' hometowns would go and destroy their own towns after their team won the championship. Perhaps with even greater irony, my alma mater won a championship (twice, actually) when I wan in undergraduate, and some of my fellow students went and trashed our town in celebration.

    Really, if you're going to trash something, shouldn't you go to sack and loot your opponents town? Sure, it would have been a long trip from Vancouver to Boston (or the other way if the winner is to
  • It seems the media down under are more interested in the sideshow rather than the the riots themselves....

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/oddstuff/5156730/Vancouver-hockey-riots-kiss-mystery [stuff.co.nz]

  • by monoqlith (610041) on Friday June 17, 2011 @01:00AM (#36471322)

    People in Boston, upon hearing about the victory, said "eh." And then resumed shouting at each other in traffic.

  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Friday June 17, 2011 @07:47AM (#36472732)

    ...you go to a riot and occasionally a soccer match breaks out!

Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it. -- Perlis's Programming Proverb #58, SIGPLAN Notices, Sept. 1982

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