Friday 15 December 2017

'Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance'

Demonstrators in Kiev receive disturbing mass text

Christopher Hooton,

It sounds like something out of George Orwell's 1984, a message thought to be from authorities (though the sender appeared only as '111') and sent out on mass to the public warning of civil disobedience and presuming their cooperation in the matter.

In fact, 'subscribers' may not even have been protesters but those simply in proximity to the rallies in the Ukrainian capital, with the New York Times reporting: "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 Guardian reports that the country's Interior Ministry denies sending the SMS messages, but recipients remain unconvinced, with one demonstrator telling the publication: "I think these texts are stupid and are targeting people who are easily scared. They are not going to scare off the people who are already protesting."

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