"Subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance"
January 21, 2014 2:12 PM Subscribe
The New York Times
is reporting that anyone with a cell phone in the vicinity of Tuesday's anti-government demonstrations in Kiev received the following text message:
“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”
The language echoed the wording of tough new laws on public gatherings, the passing of which served as a spark for the radicalisation of the protest movement over the weekend. The laws went into effect on Tuesday, and provide for jail sentences of up to 15 years for participating in mass riots.
Prosecutor general Viktor Pshonka issued a statement on Monday calling the disturbances in Kiev "crimes against the state".
The Washington Post
As eerie as the text message may seem, it was likely not technically difficult to achieve. Presumably, authorities could determine who was in the vicinity of the protest by going through the records of nearby cell towers. In the United States, that type of information can be requested from mobile providers in the form of "tower dumps" which reveal the locations of hundreds or thousands of innocent citizens associated with a specific cell tower, along with suspects. A recent congressional inquiry shows that U.S. law enforcement made more than 9,000 requests for tower dumps in 2012.