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  • Hubert Marlin

Social Networks Governments spying


The technological era that seems to dominate the world is marked by the transmutation of terms, which seem to translate a kind of perversion of truths, by a game of words no less pernicious. The term security has become synonymous with control. Instead of protecting the citizens of their country, States conspire to seek methods of absolute control of the world populace. The Orwellian universe is no longer a view of the mind but something palpable, which has since found a certain legitimacy, in the concept of security. Also, very few people still remember that analyse of data and monitoring are essential tools in areas such as volcanology where the natural element that poses a plausible threat to human life, should be closely monitored. If one considers that now, the population has become this volcano that must be monitored, it would be interesting to know which entity, extreme surveillance of the population seems to protect.The answer is simple for security specialists. Order. However, for the citizen, it concerns the protection of an established order which serves mainly to forbid freedom of questioning by muzzling the masses. Social networks have opened an undeniable window on the privacy of the world's citizens, so it is normal for them to worry quite rightly, about the use of their data, which are found in social networks, where the expression of thought, is more and more repressed by various mechanisms, some more sophisticated than others.

At a time when the US administration has just imposed as law, the access to social networks accounts, for any visa applicant who want to enter the United States, with the exception of diplomats, it is clear that, it’s not necessarily potential terrorists who are targeted by this maneuvering, but rather ordinary people who at one time or another could have expressed their sincere opinions on US policy in the world. The US administration sends a clear message to those who openly criticize its international policy, which has remained very unpopular on the web since the beginning of the war on terror in 2001. The terrorists, the real ones, even when paradoxically they would like to visit a country they do not like, have the means to circumvent this kind of measures, because as diversionary professionals, even when they would use social networks, they know how to camouflage themselves. Few can remember this German citizen whose visa had been revoked because of a blog post criticizing the deadly policy of President Barack Obama.

Governments, whether autocratic, democratic or somewhere in between, are all looking to exploit the Internet to their advantage. Administrations, including of countries considered liberals such as the United States, or France have since tried to guide the online discourse and influence public opinion in the acceptance of their policies often questionable. In more authoritarian states, the manipulation of Internet use, has become an essential aspect of domestic politics. The precise tactics governments use in their countries, depend largely on their priorities.

In democracies, governments and political parties use social media to promote their agendas and drown opposition. The administration of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, for example, reportedly created automated social media accounts, called Penabots, to overshadow online protest movements, spreading hashtags, and spam messages on Twitter. This technique called astroturfing, gives the appearance of a fictitious local support, or unpopularity. American and French intelligence agencies, also reportedly used the same methods during social movements like Occupy Democrats or "Black Lives Matter" in the United States and Yellow Vests in France to try to sink the popular craze of these movements. In Saudi Arabia, the government tried astroturfing by creating automated accounts that aimed to discredit a member of the Qatari royal family while the question about a possible succession of the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al -Thani was on the table. The 2016 presidential elections in the United States, highlighted the chaos that manipulation on social media could create, as robots linked to Donald Trump's campaign spread misinformation on Twitter and Facebook. However, if governments understand that it is imperative to control what is broadcasted on the internet, they also understand that completely cutting off their connectivity is not a viable option, especially since the internet has become the daily bread of heavy weight of the oligarchy, like google Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, who have enormous means in the influence of elections, not simply by their financial contribution to politician’s campaigns, but also and especially by the manipulation of the masses with methods combining neuromarketing, to the induced speculation , which would manipulate millions of voters to vote for their favorite candidate, as it was in 2012 with personalized Facebook messages that reminded some users of the platform to go out and vote.

These internet users were targeted because of their posts, that showed their pro-democrats, ideology. A reminder that according to many analysts had changed the face of an election that was tight in some states between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. Technology is transforming the practice of policing and intelligence. In addition to the proliferation of declared surveillance technologies, such as body cameras and license plate readers, police forces use social media to monitor their targets and create profiles of peoples connected in social networks. Which implies that when you have an interesting profile you have a second secret profile in the software that is used to monitor your cybernetic activity, by the police which track your every act and gesture. Police forces are even able to trigger the camera of your tablet computers and phones, without your knowledge. Social medias are fertile ground for information gathering, and analysis. Facebook has more than two billion active users a month. its affiliate Instagram has 800 million monthly users; and Twitter has 330 million active users a month, While social media analytics cover a range of increasingly sophisticated technologies, and companies are developing more creative ways to harness data embedded in social communications, social media monitoring by Police states, that are now the prerogative of all democracies and autocratic regimes can be divided into three broad categories. First an individual, a group of individuals or affiliation (for example, an online hashtag); are tracked by the traces left by their cybernetic activity. The second point combines computer surveillance, with human surveillance, using an informant, or a friend of the target who unknowingly serves as a back door to the intimacy of its link on social networks. Public accounts not covered by customized security settings limiting access, also provide information . The third, more conventional method uses analytical software, to generate data on individuals, groups, associations, or locations. Apart from these shadowy methods, the police can access social media platforms management directly to request information from companies like Facebook or google. These information concern basic subscriber information about metadata, including the content of messages on individuals or group of affiliated persons. However, each platform has various mechanisms to deal with these direct requests, and levels of legal procedure are required. The more the data are private, the stronger the legal protections. In general, it happens that these requests are done in the secret between companies like Facebook or Google and governments which are potential customers. In spite of everything very little is known, about what is woven in the high spheres of the society. Political leaders and leaders of big data companies both rubbing themselves in muffled saloon.The more pernicious intelligence agencies like the CIA are using other coward methods to spy on citizens directly by trapping TVs, iPhones, WhatsApp, Android, and many other electronic products. All these devices and services are likely, according to documents posted by WikiLeaks, to be spied by the US intelligence agency. Since April 2016, and WhatsApp's decision to encrypt all conversations, its competitors have followed and the majority of email applications are considered tamper-proof. WhatsApp uses, like some of its competitors, the Signal protocol, which allows for absolute encryption of messages - the company itself does not have access to it. WikiLeaks, by unveiling the CIA's "Vault 7" document set, showed that the agency had access to all messages on all phones it bugged. Meanwhile, even the FBI, the US federal police had criticized, early 2016, the encryption of WhatsApp. How did the CIA succeed? By taking full control of the device, remotely. "It's not a defeat of encryption. If you compromise a phone, you do not care about encryption anymore, "said Nicholas Weaver, a researcher at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley, California, quoted by the Wired website. By hacking devices upstream, the CIA was able to thwart all application protection processes. " The agency uses a combination of malicious software (malware), viruses, Trojans and unknown vulnerabilities of manufacturers to access the devices," explained the specialized site Cnet.com. This collection of tools seems to have been bought by the CIA, day after day, from third parties. Apple has been particularly targeted. According to WikiLeaks, a special unit of the CIA was responsible for "infesting, controlling and collect data from iPhones".The easy availability of detailed information about the activities of individuals has transformed social networks into a vital source of information, which in a racialist society is used to harass the black community. Since, some figures on police surveillance of a city like New York have come to light, Black and Hispanic communities are under increased control of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) when the District Attorney New York is the main user of information collected in social networks. The New York Police Intelligence Division, which includes a team of detectives and agents qualified in the "knowledge of new technologies and street jargon," use social media to monitor and anticipate " events in New York. Large scale and criminal activities, "as well as to assist other units in criminal investigations. The juvenile justice division of the department focuses on the analysis of activity in social networks of all young people whose membership in gangs is suspected.In addition, a special social networking unit within the Mapping Division of the New York Police Department is analyzing block-by-block, youth activity in gang-covered territories, to facilitate the monitoring of gang members. Checking their exchanges on Facebook, drawing heavily on methods of geolocation posts and their content, that say much about the daily routes of individuals tracked on the Internet by the police.Like many teens, youth who join gangs, communicate on social media. They post photos of parties and tag videos with the names of their gang members. By the age of ten, the majority of young people in the suburbs of New York City are hunted down by police on the internet. A stalking that usually extends infinitely for years, as long as the young person is on social networks whether he has committed a crime or not.In the United States, criminal conspiracy laws allow for the representation of friends gathered at a party as evidence of a criminal act. So, publishing on social networks can have important consequences in the real world. And even liking a post can be used by police forces against individuals.In an example very little publicized as it is something very banal in New York. Asheem Henry was arrested largely because of posts on social networks he had published as a teenager. His youngest brother, Jelani, was subsequently arrested after being wrongly identified as a suspect in an attempted murder; At the time of his arrest, the prosecutor used evidence that Jelani, then 14, had "liked" publications concerning his brother's gang, in order to persuade the judge to refuse bail and to send him to jail in Rikers Island. Jelani spent two years at Rikers Island awaiting trial - including nine months in solitary confinement - until his case was finally closed. Matt Mitchell, security researcher at CryptoHarlem, says, "If you are black or brown, the content of your social networks has a cost: it's a virtual pipeline that sends you directly to jail.Of course, actions that can draw attention to social media are random. Just clicking the "Like" or "Favorite" button on a comment on a message or sharing a video, or photos, is deeply contextual and can be almost impossible to interpret.

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