Maybe the Most Orwellian Text Message a Government’s Ever Sent

Euromaidan in Kiev. Photo: Ата (CC)

Euromaidan in Kiev. Photo: Ата (CC)

Great find over at Motherboard:

“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”

That’s a text message that thousands of Ukrainian protesters spontaneously received on their cell phones today, as a new law prohibiting public demonstrations went into effect. It was the regime’s police force, sending protesters the perfectly dystopian text message to accompany the newly minted, perfectly dystopian legislation. In fact, it’s downright Orwellian (and I hate that adjective, and only use it when absolutely necessary, I swear).

But that’s what this is: it’s technology employed to detect noncompliance, to hone in on dissent. 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.” Near. Using a cell phone near a clash lands you on the regime’s hit list.

See, Kiev is tearing itself to shreds right now, but since we’re kind of burned out on protests, riots, and revolutions at the moment, it’s being treated below-the-fold news. Somehow, the fact that over a million people are marching, camping out, and battling with Ukraine’s increasingly authoritarian government is barely making a ripple behind such blockbuster news bits as bridge closures and polar vortexes. Yes, even though protesters are literally building catapaults and wearing medieval armor and manning flaming dump trucks.

Hopefully news of the nascent techno-security state will turn some heads—it’s right out of1984, or, more recently, Elysium: technology deployed to “detect” dissent…

[continues at at Motherboard]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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16 Comments on "Maybe the Most Orwellian Text Message a Government’s Ever Sent"

  1. i hate it when art imitates life…seriously

  2. BuzzCoastin | Jan 22, 2014 at 12:47 pm |

    a preview of what’s up next
    in Der Homeland

    the NWA is watching

    • Damien Quinn | Jan 22, 2014 at 3:11 pm |

      The seminal late 80’s gangster rap group, who’s wider social commentary is often ignored in light of their notorious glorification of drugs and crime? Is that what those guys are doing now? Well, that is surprising.

  3. Simon Valentine | Jan 22, 2014 at 12:51 pm |

    cheetah? lion? what is this beast? insurance? it can’t fight me, i am better at being it than it is. it will be a jealous god, and my pet rock. it’s almost humorous, the things people will do “for a job for money for living”. moving on to criminal activity we see “for a niche for career for fraudulent authority”. the mind conquers all. a statement which has no tense as well. where is the tautological point set when there is no point, only the calculus comic-con jesus road in on?

    education toys with the idea of associating game theory with hunter/gatherer/weaver/etc yet fails to set itself in the right, instead remaining a hypocritical repeater source of all the bipedal imitations of shit-for-brains who may or may not exist whilst true criminals go unpunished to the point of being identical to the system. buy. sell. die quicker.

    quit education. quit government. quit listening. quit everything.

  4. kowalityjesus | Jan 22, 2014 at 3:09 pm |

    In a youtube video showing the protest, one gentleman with the only alternative viewpoint had this to say, which I can neither confirm nor deny, but is an alternative view AGAINST the protesters:
    “[The protest] is about Neo-colonizers like USA who want Ukraine to join EU as
    servants if they join the bankers will rob them of everything, sell out
    their land for pennies, steal their money and lend it back with
    interest. The protesters are hired thugs of a nationalist party who
    openly side with USA and want to be in power under the whip of EU, So
    EU countries say that Ukraine has enacted dictatorial laws against
    public protests when in fact protests like these are illegal in EU and
    in EU if a protest should be held the protesters must ask permission
    from the police, Ukraine did the same legislature and what they got was
    media crying “ukraine enacts dictatorial laws” or Whelp they want to
    have same laws as we do that is so cruel…”

    Judging by at least the shot showing the methodical production of molotov cocktails there may be some conniving factions here….?

    • American Cannibal | Jan 22, 2014 at 7:50 pm |

      Great video, thanks. Do they not teach Ukrainian police stop, drop and roll? I mean, really now… they’re going to run out of fire extinguishers eventually.

      • kowalityjesus | Jan 23, 2014 at 12:59 am |

        The sheer number of molotov cocktails definitely negates the underdog factor for these protesters. In fact, I would say its quite insidious. The guy I quoted never sourced his position (although his videos were very commie), if you or anyone has any notion of what is actually happening please broadcast this!

  5. Wonder what the false-positive rate connected to that text message is. (as high as 50%? > 50%?)

    Who happened to be in buildings, who was trying to get the hell out of the area, i.e. if regime last long enough, how many innocent victims state repression is going to radicalize while the people they want are busily coming up with more effective ways to get rid of their government?on

    And of course, how much Silicon Valley “info-liberation” tech went into finding/identifying those cell phones?

  6. afuarichardson | Jan 22, 2014 at 9:17 pm |

    Thank you for posting this.

  7. Tom Sullivan | Jan 27, 2014 at 5:51 am |

    So you’d prefer Ukraine tie itself to the EU millstone and subject itself to laws created by the (unelected) European Commission? And you have the cheek to call Putin (elected) a dictator? Moron.

  8. They need to burn Kiev to the rubble it is. I pray for the many Greeks and French fighting for the long term preservation of their own cultures and ways, desperately trying to avoid a welfare state, people living in shanty towns along the roads in despair and poverty, slowly watching as their country’s very identity fade. I am all for taking in new immigrants and helping them achive the American dream regardless of where it is, but the slow, inevitable destruction of a culture by people who cannot get ahead and only wait for the government pay cheque month to month, is failure. Now, this. Orwellian reality and eventually camps compartmentalized city into smaller shanty towns of groups of people (movie ref: total recall) struggling to survive. The government controlling their every act. Absolute fall from grace. Nuclear wasteland. that whole mad max visual really stands out, as does Chernobyl. Piss enough people off and bricks will burn. Godspeed.

  9. Perfect! Now the US needs to get a dam hint and use on idiots over in ferguson.

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