"Dear Subscriber", Indeed.

Ominous Text Message Sent to Protesters in Kiev Sends Chills Around the Internet

Protesters and journalists standing in the vicinity of fighting between the riot police and demonstrators in Kiev on Tuesday received an ominous text message on their phones: "Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance."

A text message sent to the phones of people close to clashes in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, on Tuesday read: "Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance."

While it was unsigned, and local phone companies denied sending it, the text message -- which echoed language in a new law making it a crime to participate in protests deemed violent -- was widely read as a warning from the government.

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5 Responses:

  1. Gunnar says:

    After the revolution you will get data service for a month.

  2. nooj says:

    I, for one, would love to read some whistleblowing about Russian telecom/government spying. Would that be considered harming our national security?

    • phuzz says:

      Well, this is the Ukraine, so technically not part of Russia (which is part of the reason behind this current unpleasantness).
      Secondly, I would imagine that someone spilling Russian security secrets would be more likely to suffer an 'unfortunate accident'. I think Snowdon is unlikely to be offed by the CIA. Probably.

  3. thielges says:

    The good news is that creepy takeovers of pervasive technology like cellular are coming to light. The various systems involved in cell networks implement a set of features that seem to be designed for troubleshooting and analysis. Those same features can be retasked to implement widespread surveillance and control.

    Remember when BART flipped a switch and cut off cell service to everyone across the system? You can use your cellphones but only at the whims of the authorities.

    The time is ripe for decentralized P2P packet switched text message network relaying over bluetooth or wifi. Packets would relay as you casually get in the proximity of other people. The only way to jam such a network would be electromagnetic jamming at a very large scale. Add an IR channel to foil that :-)

    • James says:

      UV works in sunlight, IR doesn't, but it's illegal to shoot UV lasers into the air unless you make sure they are decoliminated well enough to protect death drone sensors and airline pilots.