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Spain and GitHub Are Blocking an App That Helped Protesters Organize

For the last month, hundreds of thousands of people have joined demonstrations in Spain to voice their objection to the jailing of Catalan separatist leaders and support Catalonian independence. As with almost all modern activist and public protest movements, activists are using social media and apps to communicate with and organize public actions. But this week, in a move that puts the Spanish government on par with censorship-heavy places like China and Russia, the country requested that Github block access to one of those apps, by revoking local access to its Github repository. Github, which is owned by Microsoft, complied with the order.

According to Spanish news outlet El Confidencial, last week the government ordered takedowns of websites and app made by Tsunami Democratic, an activist group organizing protests in the region. To try to keep access to the app download alive, Tsunami Democratic moved the .apk file to Github. But the government shut that down, too, blocking the site in Spain. Motherboard tested the download using a VPN, and the Github repo was blocked from Madrid.

How the FBI targeted environmental activists in domestic terror investigations

The investigations, which targeted individual activists and some environmental organizations, were opened in 2013-2014, at the height of opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline and the expansion of fossil fuel production in North America.

The new FOIA documents reveal the bureau’s motivation for investigating a broad cross section of the environmental movement and its characterization of non-violent protesters as a potential threat to national security.

In 2010, the DOJ’s inspector general criticized the FBI for using non-violent civil disobedience as grounds to open domestic terrorism investigations. US citizens swept up in such investigations can be placed on terrorism watchlists and subjected to surveillance and restrictions on international travel. The designation can also lead local law enforcement to take a more confrontational approach when engaging with non-violent activists.

Stare Into The Lights My Pretties

CIA’s “Siren Servers” can predict social uprisings several days before they happen

“The CIA claims to be able to predict social unrest days before it happens thanks to powerful super computers dubbed Siren Servers by the father of Virtual Reality, Jaron Lanier.

CIA Deputy Director for Digital Innovation Andrew Hallman announced that the agency has beefed-up its “anticipatory intelligence” through the use of deep learning and machine learning servers that can process an incredible amount of data.

“We have, in some instances, been able to improve our forecast to the point of being able to anticipate the development of social unrest and societal instability some I think as near as three to five days out,” said Hallman on Tuesday at the Federal Tech event, Fedstival.

This Minority Report-type technology has been viewed skeptically by policymakers as the data crunching hasn’t been perfected, and if policy were to be enacted based on faulty data, the results could be disastrous. Iraq WMDs?”

I called it a siren server because there’s no plan to be evil. A siren server seduces you,” said Lanier.

In the case of the CIA; however, whether the agency is being innocently seduced or is actively planning to use this data for its own self-sustaining benefit, one can only speculate.

Given the Intelligence Community’s track record for toppling governments, infiltrating the mainstream media, MK Ultra, and scanning hundreds of millions of private emails, that speculation becomes easier to justify.”

FBI surveilled cars sporting pro-peace bumper stickers, targeting activists

“Tomorrow marks the 35th anniversary of Food Not Bombs—the name given to autonomous groups and independent collectives that serve free vegan and vegetarian food in opposition of poverty and hunger, and also in protest of economic disparity and rapacious militarism. But, “despite seemingly the non-controversial nature of the activist group’s titular three-word mission statement, FBI files released earlier this week show that serving up home-cooked vegan moussaka is apparently enough to warrant suspicions of terrorism.

The files, which begin in the early naughts, appear to be focused on one particular FNB chapter based out of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. The bulk of the records concern the organization’s rather obvious opposition to the Iraq war.

In fact, the release included a CD comprised of extensive surveillance footage from an anti-war protest in Richmond on July 3rd, 2003.”

The Melbourne Apartment that spies on activists

“An inconspicuous Melbourne apartment block is home to a monitoring service that keeps watch on environment groups at the request of the federal government.

The National Open Source Intelligence Centre, a private intelligence company, works under contract for the Australian Federal Police and Federal Attorney-General’s Department to monitor activist websites, blogs, Facebook and Twitter to provide warning and analysis of protest activity.

It aims to provide law enforcement agencies and other private clients with internet monitoring and analysis directed at groups engaged in “radical activism, criminal (terrorist) activity or unlawful behaviour.”

Services provided by NOSIC include “issue monitoring,” “tactical intelligence,” “threat analysis” and “trend analysis and forecasting focus on emerging patterns and trends in activism.”

NOSIC has been engaged on contract by the AFP and the Attorney-General’s Department since at least 2003. From 2006 to 2008, it was paid $184,800.

In addition to its ongoing work for the federal agencies and state police, NOSIC also provides services relating to specific events…”