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Ukrainian Protesters Receive Mass Text Message Ordering Them To Disperse 233

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the remember-when-you-did-that-in-the-80s dept.
schneidafunk writes " Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.' was the message sent to thousands of protesters as a new law prohibiting public demonstrations went into effect." From NYTimes: "... Protesters were concerned that the government seemed to be using cutting-edge technology from the advertising industry to pinpoint people for political profiling. Three cellphone companies in Ukraine ... denied that they had provided the location data to the government or had sent the text messages, the newspaper Ukrainskaya Pravda reported. Kyivstar suggested that it was instead the work of a 'pirate' cellphone tower set up in the area."
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Ukrainian Protesters Receive Mass Text Message Ordering Them To Disperse

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  • New laws (Score:5, Informative)

    by schneidafunk (795759) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @01:05PM (#46036649)

    This chart [craphound.com] has some interesting tidbits on laws that were just put in place in the Ukraine.

  • In other Kiev news (Score:5, Informative)

    by gman003 (1693318) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @01:21PM (#46036833)

    I've been following this stuff all day, because this just got seriously violent:
    > Police authorized to use firearms, two dead from shooting already
    > Ban on using fire hoses in sub-zero weather lifted
    > Hospitals tending to wounded protesters have been attacked by police
    > Snipers out in force
    > Armored Personnel Carriers already deployed, an Army tank unit is being moved into the city
    > Opposition members of government resigning en masse
    > over 100,000 protesters in Kiev main square

    Things are very bad for Ukraine right now. I don't fully understand the ideological issues they're fighting over, but I can certainly recognize the nature of the government's response.

    Everybody should scan through this - the images alone are powerful: https://twitter.com/Euromaidan... [twitter.com]

  • by aviators99 (895782) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @01:23PM (#46036859) Homepage

    TFA say:

    The NY Times reports that the "Ukrainian government used telephone technology to pinpoint the locations of cell phones in use near clashes between riot police officers and protesters early on Tuesday."

    The NY Times does not say that at all. It does say what the summary says. According to the NYT, The carriers claim that they did not give location data to the government, and that a "pirate cell tower" was used.

  • Re:New laws (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @01:31PM (#46036947)

    "the Ukraine" is a linguistic holdover from the Soviet Union when this was shorthand for "The Ukrainian SSR." Like terms "Moldavia", "Belorussia", and "Turkmenia", it is used by pro-putin English speakers as a linguistic barb against citizens of those countries, knowing that it can be excused as a slip of the tongue if they are ever called out on it. You should not use the term "the Ukraine" as it is outdated and belongs on the scrapheap of history.

  • by ZouPrime (460611) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @01:48PM (#46037169)

    And the fact that the NSA is, on pro rata of the population, 20 times smaller than the Stasi. And the fact that they don't have any enforcement arm, while the Stasi had the power to arrest anyone at will. And that they don't systematically create files on their citizens, you know, what the Stasi job was by design. Nor to they hire informant among the public. And they don't seem to be politically active (or if they are, they are crazy bad at it), while the Stasi was closely tied to East Germany and almost took over the country at some point, the way Poutine (ex KGB, remember) did in Russia. So yeah, exactly the same. Especially if you have no idea of what you are talking about.

  • by ZouPrime (460611) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @02:07PM (#46037389)

    Well, that's the theory. In actual reality, the relationship between the NSA, the FBI and the CIA is far from easy. In fact, lack of collaboration between them is one of the biggest reason why 9/11 happened. They roles and responsibilities sometime overlap. For example, the NSA isn't the only signal intelligence organisation in the US. The military has their own. Historically, the CIA had their own too. But the NSA never had any enforcement branch, while a shitload of US organisations have (did you know NASA has its own law enforcement division?)

    Obviously, if you see the US government (or any other government) as some kind of monolithic entity that always goes the same direction in unity, you won't care about the distinctions between all these organisations. In reality, it's far, far from being that simple. Politics is everywhere, even in the intelligence community.

  • by Katatsumuri (1137173) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @02:20PM (#46037555)

    I don't fully understand the ideological issues they're fighting over

    A quick summary:

    The protests started small and peaceful when president Yanukovich bowed to Russian pressure and reversed the political course away from signing the association agreement and trade deal with EU. Many people had high hopes for that and got disappointed. Still, the protests were in 10,000 people bracket, demanding to keep the EU course, and were almost dissolving in a few weeks, except for a few die-hard fans.

    But then the rulers decided they could simply "clean up" the remaining protesters at night using riot police. They beat up the poor guys (mostly students) badly. Dozens of people were heavily injured and had to stay in hospital. A few have gone missing. Extreme unjustified brutality was filmed on multiple cameras.

    That's when the protests scaled up to 500,000 people at some points. They also formed militia troops from ex-military to keep them safe. And the demands shifted from the EU topic to the replacement and punishment of the police minister, prime minister, and possibly the president. Still, the protests were largely peaceful, they were just not going to dissolve this time. And the president chose to ignore them completely and wait it out. It's winter, after all.

    After two months of waiting, seeing people won't go home, they decided to criminalize the protests, free speech in press and social media, and a whole range of other common freedoms, giving more power to the police at the same time. Bypassing all due procedures (not even counting votes), a 10-pack of corresponding laws was passed. Then everyone with a brain saw it was sliding towards a dictatorship, and disagreements with the riot police got hotter and hotter, until it eventually came to tear gas on one side and Molotov cocktails on the other side, and now also bullets.

    If you want more detail, browse the BBC new archives, their coverage is generally good. The only common mistake in Western press is that they still call these protests "pro-EU", when in fact now it's more "anti-Yanukovitch and his party". The most active protesters are from the nationalist right wing and are strongly against any union either with EU or with Russia. And the bigger, more peaceful crowd is also more concerned about overthrowing the oppressive government right now, and discuss the foreign policy later.

  • by M0HCN (2981905) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @02:49PM (#46037947)

    OpenBTS, some SDR boards, a bulding overlooking the site, total cost maybe $5K or so and a week or so of codesmithing.

    The trick is to jam the 3 and 4G services so as to force the phones to fall back on basic GSM with its notoriously broken authentication and crypto. For someone who can afford a handful of Ettus research products this is not a big deal to pull off.

    Of course the other trick is to not get caught by the powers that be, unless of course you are the powers that be....

    73 Dan.

  • by Katatsumuri (1137173) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @02:51PM (#46037979)

    There are two things more to explain the occasional over-reacting with the police force.

    1. President Yanukovich comes from the east-Ukrainian criminal clan. He has served two terms in prison (IIRC for street robbery), which were later officially discarded with some help from his high-standing friends, allowing him to take high posts and even become a President. He received financial and other support from other ex-clan members (now respectable businessmen) and from Russia, who saw him as a better alternative to the nationalist candidates. East Ukraine voted for him and his party because they are easterners and they speak Russian. He has a deadly mix of "never give in" mentality and unconditional arrangements with his backers, so he generally doesn't like to negotiate with anyone. He also has full control over the Parliament majority and the court system, making him a de-facto dictator, so he also seldom has any need to negotiate.

    2. Not everyone is happy with Yanukovich's heavy and greedy rule, even in his environment, so there is an off chance someone occasionally mis-informs him, provoking controversial situations.

  • by gman003 (1693318) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @07:12PM (#46040969)

    Already saw that one. Yes, you can find footage of police being attacked without any apparent activity on their part. But you can find the same in reverse - police snipers shooting people who are not fighting back, or bashing people's heads in while they're already on the ground.

    This is combat. Not everyone is going to be 100% in control - you're going to have some people throwing molotovs at police because "fuck the police", just as you're going to have police brutality because "fuck protesters".

    But you know what? The protesters aren't looting buildings or destroying public property (with the exception of digging up some streets for rocks to build walls with, and one statue of Lenin). They aren't stealing TVs or clothes the way rioters did in England. They're organizing defenses, shelter, and medical aid. They're listening to speeches. They're attacking the police who have been attacking them for months. They've given the whole "peaceful protest" thing a go, and the government's response was to step up the attacks and basically start building a totalitarian regime. If they keep trying the peaceful protest route, they're just going to end up dead or in a dictatorship.

    Who are the ones hiring street thugs as muscle? The government. Who are the ones destroying hospitals or forcing doctors to not treat patients? The police. Who are the ones kidnapping and murdering people? The Berkut. Who's calling in a goddamn tank division to suppress the revolt?

    I'm listening to the protesters because, while there's always some shades of gray and no conflict is black and white, this is maybe 0xDDDDDD against 0x222222.

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