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Twitter this! Social Media as Surveillance during the Toronto G20

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Kate Milberry

on 16 April 2013

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Transcript of Twitter this! Social Media as Surveillance during the Toronto G20

what you tweet Social Media as Surveillance
during the Toronto G20 Twitter This! Kate Milberry, PhD
Faculty of Information
University of Toronto 1920s "pinko" threat
1950s McCarthyism
1960s Civil Rights Movement
1970s Countercultral Revolution (COINTELPRO)
1980s Environmental movement
1990s Anti-Globalization movement Infiltration:
Lower levels of a militant Quebec anarchist group (media confirmation)
"Brenda" & "Khalid" >> G20 Joint Intelligence Group; 1 year investigation/ infiltration of Southwestern Ontario anarchist groups (media confirmation)
Unnamed operative >> 1-2 year infiltration of Ottawa activist community by (media confirmation)
Mark Kennedy >> Metropolitan Police Service, 7 years undercover spying on environmental activists in London
Bryan Van Brunt >> Seattle PD, 2 year infiltration of area activists
"Karen Sullivan" >> FBI; 2 year infiltration of Anti-War Committe in Minnesota (Prosecutor confirmation) Surveillance:
Police visted known activists at work and home
Police attended organizing meetings, covertly or openly; waited outside
Anedotal accounts of email sniffing
Cybersurveillance: monitoring of Facebook, Twitter & other online spaces & networks "An independent inquiry into this aspect of G20 policing is necessary to investigate the extent of undercover operations & address the limits on what police infiltrators can & cannot do while on assignment."
~Canadian Civil Liberties Association CCLA Recommendation:
That the role of undercover police informants in relation to G20 protest groups be examined and that the limits on what police can and cannot do while working undercover in protest groups be addressed
(Report on Policing & Governance at the Toronto G20) US federal agents use social networking sites to gather valuable information from & about suspects:

Discover personal communications
Establish motives and personal relationships
Find location information
Prove/disprove alibis
Establish crime or criminal enterprise

(Electronic Frontier Foudation, FOI request) Facebook is "often cooperative with emergency requests."
Twitter "will not preserve data without legal process."
(EFF FOI request) How did the Toronto Police use
social media during the G20? Elliot Madison:
Political anarchist, NYC
Tin Can Comms Collective
2009 Pittsburgh G20 protest
Listened to public police scanner & tweeted police locations Accused of "communicating with various protestors, and protest groups...[via] internet based communications, more commonly known as 'Twitter'. The observed 'Twitter' communications were noted to be relevant to the direction of the movement of the Protestors...in order to avoid apprehension..."
Charges dopped Byron Sonne
"G20 Hacker"
Crowning jewel in the Billion Dollar Security Tiara
Computer security expert who "poked" or hacked the G20 security system & found it wanting Social Graph Analysis Law enforcement use social media:
"to identify certain social graphs & social connections between activists." (Evgeny Morozov)
profile activists, build cases against them Build out activists' social networks & draw inferences about their behaviour, based on:
who activists follow
who they are followed by
the events they say they will attend
other personal information disclosed via online social works Byron had publicly stated that he would monitor public police scanners & tweet information during the G20
Performed a "white hat hack" of G20 "security theatre" - countermeasures intended to provide the feeling of greater security without actually improving security
White hat hacker = a computer security expert (like Byron) who specializes in penetration testing & in other testing methodologies to ensure the security of an organization's information systems
Posted results of his G20 security hack on Twitter Byron Sonne Elliot Madison Chance encounter with police while taking photos of the fence being built put Byron on the law enforcement radar
Taken from a city bus that the police stopped after 9 days of physical surveillance suggesting Byron was the subject of concerted
Denied bail two times
Jailed for 11 months
5 of the original 6 charges were dropped
Released May 18, 2011 under strict, seemingly punitive, bail conditions La Fin
(merci) Kate Milberry, PhD
www.geeksandglobaljustice.com Publication Ban "Strategies of Containment"
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