Center for Strategic Assessment and forecasts

Autonomous non-profit organization

Home / Defence and security / / Articles
The signs of new time: the revolution through social networks
Material posted: Publication date: 26-08-2011

In recent months the world's media is filled with reports of unrest breaking out here and there. The world witnessed a wave of revolutions, popular uprisings and mass disturbances. Tunisia, Egypt, Iran, Libya, Moldova, Belarus, UK, China, Qatar – not just different countries and different parts of the world were at the mercy of instability. It would seem, not so similar event: the revolution and the overthrow of the regime somewhere in the East and the youth riots in the fashionable areas of London, but perhaps there is something that unites them...

Information assistance, advocacy and provocation have always played a major role in advancing the cause of revolution or a call for uprisings in various countries. Restless the turn of XIX–XX centuries was perhaps the apogee of clandestine propaganda. How else, if not through the media, it was possible to coerce the disparate masses of revolutionaries or just discontented and dissenters to take action? The activities of such publications is always accompanied by many problems. Distributors and creators of radical pamphlets and Newspapers with calls for the uprisings was waiting for prosecution and imprisonment.

Much water has flowed under the bridge since then. Changing times, changing technology, and the authorities becomes increasingly difficult to keep them under control. Now there is no need to organize a clandestine print shop and risk being in jail. The modern organizers of the disturbances are different: they just send a message to the social network via their smartphones, and within just a few minutes you can collect the required number of people, and not just to collect and organize: inform them of the time and place of the meeting without being caught in their actions.

Such views became the reason of discontent of social networks by governments of many countries, the epicentre of popular unrest. For example, during the riots in the UK the government was accused of very popular social networks Facebook and Twitter and BlackBerry Messenger that with their help have been organized and coordinated the actions of the rioters. Greatest dissatisfaction with the official authorities has caused quite popular in the foggy Albion communicators BlackBerry and their developer is a canadian company Research In Motion (RiM). The fact that the service BlackBerry Messenger allows users to exchange messages that are encrypted during transmission, then the content is not available even to the developer. The messages exchanged between users of Messenger, then relayed to Facebook and Twitter that, according to the Deputy of the British Parliament David Lammy, a significantly expanded audience.

However, despite the fact that the representatives of the RIM on the first day of the unrest has declared its readiness to cooperate with Scotland Yard in the investigation of the pogroms, and provide data about the user, his contacts, the number of messages and time of their departure with the indication of geographical coordinates of the sender at the time of shipment, they have not agreed to disclose the content of communications. To understand company executives can: sooner or later, the riots will be suppressed, and the credibility of the company from the customers will be lost forever. It is also worth noting the fact that BlackBerry smartphones have always been more of a attribute of luxury. They are leading politicians, businessmen, celebrities and the majority of corporate employees. Therefore, the question of how young people living in one of the most unreliable areas of London, suddenly in droves these expensive means of communication remains open.

A little different story with social networks Facebook and Twitter. It would seem that with their help it is much easier to track down the organizers of the riots, and therefore should be punished. So, all in the UK have recently been sentenced to four years in prison two of the British for incitement to pogroms, which they placed on the social network Facebook. Sentences 20-year-old Jordan Blackshaw and 22-year-old Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan were issued Tuesday, August 16. Convicts on their pages on Facebook calling for riots in the cities where he lived, on 9 and 10 August with the time and space fees. But it is worth noting that direct participation in the riot they did not accept. Many people start doubting, not too severely punished for writing on his page? Not for us to judge. But technically is it possible to track and arrest all who call to mess with their pages in blogs and social networks? Hardly. And who gets to decide where to draw the line between simple expression of dissatisfaction on the part of a teenager who fell under the influence of chaos and concrete, thought-out call to action?

And because the governments of various countries began to act differently. Why to track and locate all dissenters, and go to then prove their guilt. It's easier and faster to just disable access to all social networks or at all to the Internet. For example, did the Iranian authorities, who had blocked on the eve of the presidential election in 2009 access to Facebook. And mass protest actions since that election observers called Facebook revolution. Another similar term, Twitter-revolution, describe the events in Moldova in 2009 and the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt which led to regime change.

Do not go around your attention and China. The question of free access to the Internet in this country for quite some time is vital. And then, as luck would have it, massive riots in major cities. Dalian, Chengdu, Guangzhou – they all became centers of unrest that swept this August in China. And again not without social networks.

As reported in his article, the correspondent radio "Echo of Moscow" Vasily Golovin, the main tool in organizing the pogroms became an anonymous Internet. And although the authorities are trying to tighten control over him, to completely disable the social network they not solved. Skirmishes of this kind have been before, but mostly in remote rural areas, where farmers, for example, engage in fights with the police because of the violent seizure of land. However, thousands of demonstrations in the giant cities and with the participation of educated people using the Internet is the business of a new and extremely dangerous for Beijing.

Yet the social network is an amazing thing, no wonder it got its name. One only has to make on his page some thought, and wandering in the minds of people like her, wrapped up in the words, instantly smashed throughout the network. This means that there are no barriers neither time nor space, nor social, because with the advent of mobile Internet access in the network can be found at any time even in the most remote corners of the planet. But that's very difficult then to find who is right and who is wrong. Difficult, but necessary, and now the perpetrators of violence become not only the participants and the organizers themselves, but also to the owners of the companies supplying high-tech means of communication, providing a seamless communication with them. The information war is gaining momentum.


Maria Kachevskaya

RELATED MATERIALS: Defence and security
Возрастное ограничение