Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 1st Nov 2017 23:33 UTC
Internet & Networking

This week, representatives from Google, Facebook, and Twitter are appearing before House and Senate subcommittees to answer for their role in Russian manipulation during the 2016 election, and so far, the questioning has been brutal. Facebook has taken the bulk of the heat, being publicly called out by members of Congress for missing a wave of Russian activity until months after the election.

But one of the most interesting parts of yesterday's proceedings actually came after the big companies had left the room, and a national security researcher named Clint Watts took the floor. Watts is one of the most respected figures in the nascent field of social media manipulation - and when it came time to diagnose root of Russia's platform meddling, he put much of the blame on the decision to allow anonymous accounts. As long as Russian operatives can get on Twitter and Facebook without identifying themselves, Watts diagnosed, foreign actors will be able to quietly influence our politics.

I decided to keep this particular part of the hearings currently underway out of the previous item I posted because I feel it's too important not to be discussed on its own merit. The concept of anonymity online is a complex issue, and instinctively, I want to say it's one of the greatest things about the internet. What part of it are we willing to give up - assuming we still have it or parts of it to begin with - to prevent dictators like Putin from meddling with our elections?

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Comment by Lazarus
by Lazarus on Thu 2nd Nov 2017 00:09 UTC
Lazarus
Member since:
2005-08-10

Banning online anonymity only benefits people in power. You bet it'll be pushed hard.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by Lazarus
by blockplanning on Thu 2nd Nov 2017 00:27 UTC in reply to "Comment by Lazarus"
blockplanning Member since:
2015-03-22

I think that's an awfully inaccurate generalization; victims of cyber-bullying and online harassment are relatively powerless and would benefit significantly from a persistent online identify.

Persistent online identity shifts potential for abuse towards powerful people, but it benefits everybody.

Whether or not it's a good thing depends entirely on how trustworthy authority is relative to the general population.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by Lazarus
by Lazarus on Thu 2nd Nov 2017 00:46 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Lazarus"
Lazarus Member since:
2005-08-10

Getting rid of anonymity will not get rid of bullying.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Comment by Lazarus
by tylerdurden on Thu 2nd Nov 2017 02:59 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Lazarus"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

So many liberties and freedoms have been curtailed in the name of "thinking of the Children." It's so depraved in a sense.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Lazarus
by yoshi314@gmail.com on Thu 2nd Nov 2017 09:11 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Lazarus"
yoshi314@gmail.com Member since:
2009-12-14

it will give the bullies a face and identity. or they will switch to bullying you in real life.

i mean, anonymity in internet is great, until you start receiving online death threats.

then you might prefer to actually identify whoever is tormenting you, just because they might actually not be jokiing around. which means that imperfect anonymity is also pretty useful.

it's a double edged sword, and there is no perfect solution to this problem, unless you are perfectly anonymous online to start with - then whoever is harassing you online won't know who you are.

Edited 2017-11-02 09:13 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by Lazarus
by Brendan on Thu 2nd Nov 2017 22:51 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Lazarus"
Brendan Member since:
2005-11-16

Hi,

I think that's an awfully inaccurate generalization; victims of cyber-bullying and online harassment are relatively powerless and would benefit significantly from a persistent online identify.


That's only scratching the surface - it'd also help to stop spammers, scammers, identity thieves, malware creators and a lot of other cyber-crime; where currently it's too hard to find the person responsible and virtually impossible to block them.

Ironically; for rigging elections it's like worrying about a small paper-cut on your finger while your legs are being shredded. Voters are routinely manipulated by deceitful marketing by almost everyone including the candidates and their parties, large companies, etc (and then after the election there's the whole "represent the lobby groups and not the people" problem). Why shouldn't Russia be allowed to participate in the farce that the democratic process has become? It can't make anything worse!

- Brendan

Reply Score: 5

Comment from Joe
by joekiser on Thu 2nd Nov 2017 01:18 UTC
joekiser
Member since:
2005-06-30

The only thing that matters is that the voting booth retains anonymity.

58% of Americans are afraid to openly discuss their political positions. That implies that there is a disconnect between the powers that be and the general populace. A year later, the powers that be are wondering why the pre-election polls were wrong. Figure out the rest.

Sincerely,

Joe Kiser
(who did not vote for Trump)

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment from Joe
by M.Onty on Thu 2nd Nov 2017 10:56 UTC in reply to "Comment from Joe"
M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23

58% of Americans are afraid to openly discuss their political positions. That implies that there is a disconnect between the powers that be and the general populace.

I would hazard a guess it is more likely to imply a disconnect between electors; an aggressive polarisation which makes 58% of them assume they will be judged harshly for having a different opinion, by peers with no interest in understanding their reasoning.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment from Joe
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 2nd Nov 2017 11:08 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment from Joe"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

it is more likely to imply a disconnect between electors; an aggressive polarisation which makes 58% of them assume they will be judged harshly for having a different opinion, by peers with no interest in understanding their reasoning.


This is a real problem on both sides. Contrary to popular opinion, most Americans aren't either extreme left or extreme right - the vast majority are regular folk down in the middle who have no interest int he extremist nonsense from the extreme sides - however, since you have no idea who is extreme and who isn't, people feel it's safer to just... Not say anything at all. It effectively silences the reasonable middle, to which the vast majority of us belong (note that what is left, middle, and right differs greatly per country; e.g. Bernie Sanders would be right-wing by Dutch standards).

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment from Joe
by judgen on Fri 3rd Nov 2017 15:46 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment from Joe"
judgen Member since:
2006-07-12

The one thing you can say about the left is that they are at least always collectivist in some form and the right is more about the individual. The rest is politics as usual depending on the wants of the constituencies.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Comment from Joe
by zima on Sat 4th Nov 2017 21:07 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment from Joe"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Also not necesserilly the case. ;) The left is more likely to protect rights and freedoms of minority groups like gays or unemployed, so that's about the individual. OTOH the right is for example more into religion, which is the essence of collectivism.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment from Joe
by judgen on Mon 6th Nov 2017 08:29 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment from Joe"
judgen Member since:
2006-07-12

The left protecting minorities? Do not make me laugh. Mao in PRC, Pol Pot in Kampuchea, Chaucescu in Romania and so on paints a good picture on how the left treats minorities once in power.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment from Joe
by zima on Wed 8th Nov 2017 14:51 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment from Joe"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

I gave specific and verifiable mainstream examples... You picked the most extreme examples (and not very accurate - majority of people had it hard under most of those regimes; plus arguably, many of those merely claimed to be on the left; so why aren't you against democracy, since many soviet-block countries had "democratic" in their names; or why didn't you mention the nazis, since they placed "socialist" in their name NSDAP as part of propaganda?)

Meanwhile, you princess live comfortably, sheltered and cozy in one of generally ~left nordic welfare states... (and who knows, I might yet become a ~refugee of sorts in one of them ;) ...largely because I, an individual, will be treated there much better than in my so called "home" country)

Reply Score: 2

If you believe the Russia narrative..
by bassbeast on Thu 2nd Nov 2017 03:05 UTC
bassbeast
Member since:
2007-11-11

I have a bridge you might be interested in. Look at her approval ratings before she started running, 16%. After a year and a half of the media slobbering all over her? 15%. Basically a mummified turd of Richard Nixon could have beaten her in a general election.

We didn't need Russia to show us what we already knew, we already knew about her taking a hammer to devices under subpoena, already knew about her dirty dealing the SOS job with pay to play deals with countries like Qatar, already knew she changed position more often than a windsock in a hurricane, knew about her passing out, her "spells" where she would just spaz out or couldn't catch her breath, the list goes on.

The only thing that was shocking about the 2016 election is the money men thought they could push someone so universally hated, someone who came off like she was entitled to the job of POTUS and who called anyone who didn't agree with her an "ist" had a chance in hell of winning. She basically spat on the flyover states, didn't even bother to campaign in many swing states because she thought she had it in the bag, she was about the worst possible candidate that the DNC could have shoved out on stage.

Reply Score: 1

Bold assumption
by emphyrio on Thu 2nd Nov 2017 04:17 UTC
emphyrio
Member since:
2007-09-11

That question makes the bold assumption that giving up anonymity would prevent election meddling.

On the basis of the prevalence of identity theft alone, that assumption needs to be buried under a garbage dump with a stake through its heart.

Edited 2017-11-02 04:19 UTC

Reply Score: 0

Screw loose
by Gestahlt on Thu 2nd Nov 2017 06:39 UTC
Gestahlt
Member since:
2011-10-17

Well,

https://www.rt.com/news/407919-twitter-multi-million-offer-rt/

I usually dont give much credit to RT but this whole debate is hipocrisy in its finest.

For me it just looks like a witch hunt and everyone pointing fingers. And i dont think Trumps election has much to do with Russia. I bet the majority of the people who elected him (well at least 1/3), wanted to harm the establishment fully knowing he is a retard.

And regarding to meddling with foreign affairs: The US are in no position to point fingers.. you know.. stones and glass houses.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Screw loose
by enx23 on Thu 2nd Nov 2017 07:34 UTC in reply to "Screw loose"
enx23 Member since:
2008-12-17

Are you a troll from Russia?

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Screw loose
by Gestahlt on Thu 2nd Nov 2017 09:23 UTC in reply to "RE: Screw loose"
Gestahlt Member since:
2011-10-17

Nah, but i think the russian propaganda is working on me.

It is only this "holier than thou" attitude is annoying me. Not only in politics.

Reply Score: 2

Hypocrite
by viton on Thu 2nd Nov 2017 07:06 UTC
viton
Member since:
2005-08-09

>> to prevent dictators like Putin from meddling with our elections?
I believe you have some evidence. Ahaha.
You’re so pissed off that liberal hypocrisy pushed by US trash media is finally comes under fire. You cannot lie forever.

Do you find it acceptable for Clinton to meddle with our elections?
http://www.mychinews.com/politcs/how-u-s-meddled-in-russian-electio...

Edited 2017-11-02 07:10 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Hypocrite
by zima on Fri 3rd Nov 2017 12:58 UTC in reply to "Hypocrite "
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

I suppose there's no point to meddle when the elections are rigged anyway... ;)

Reply Score: 2

Comment by p13.
by p13. on Thu 2nd Nov 2017 07:45 UTC
p13.
Member since:
2005-07-10

Pot, meet kettle.
The US of A is the last country that should get to complain avout this.
And that's IF you believe all of the overhyped propaganda out there n the subject of Russia. Is Putin a saint? No. Would i trust him over Trump? Absolutely.

People tend to havd short memories ...
The US even meddles in the affairs of allied countries. Forgot about the intelligenxe leaks already, Thom?

Eavesdropping on Merkel's phone for example ... Sure, all "friends" do that, right?
The clinton emails? The weapons of mass delusion?

Try to think for yourself.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by p13.
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 2nd Nov 2017 08:42 UTC in reply to "Comment by p13."
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

I'm against American imperialism and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan just as much. I don't understand why you try to imply I'm not? Is it because you don't like your fascist homeboy Puitin being called out?

I'll reconsider my stance on Putin once he comes clean on why Russia felt the need to slaughter almost 200 of my fellow citizens in the worst act of war against The Netherlands since World War II. Up until that point, he is nothing more than a gross war criminal who deserves to rot in a The Hague prison.

And since I can anticipate the Russian troll farm responses by now: no, it wasn't a collision; yes, George W. Bush and Barack Obama should be tried in a court of law as well for their involvement in the various wars around the world; yes, Trump is a dangerous idiot, too; yes, #NotAllRussians; etc. etc.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by p13.
by p13. on Thu 2nd Nov 2017 08:59 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by p13."
p13. Member since:
2005-07-10

My fascist homeboy Putin? I can walk to your border from where i live.
Russian troll farm? I've been posting here since Eug founded the place.

I'm against shooting down civilian aircraft. Who says i'm not? See how that works?
Did Putin push the button that fired that missile? No. Did the Russian military fire that missile? Possibly. Did Russia impede the investigation? Absolutely. Does that mean they have something to hide? Very likely.

Want to count the civilians killed by the good ole US of A in Iraq and Afghanistan? Wikileaks not enough for you? No investigation there. The "no comment" routine from the white house on anything that makes THEM look bad looks very similar to their .ru counterparts, doesn't it?
Napalm in Vietnam, uranium tipped bullets in the middle east. The ONLY country to ever use a nuclear device against another country. TWICE!

Nobody's a saint in this game. That's all i'm saying.
Pot, meet kettle.

Edited 2017-11-02 09:01 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by p13.
by tylerdurden on Thu 2nd Nov 2017 17:31 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by p13."
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

Indeed. I think people's dissonance gets tickled when they have to encounter a situation in which both sides are on the wrong.

For the US, of all countries, to complain about a foreign country just adds a rich sense of irony.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by p13.
by giddas on Fri 3rd Nov 2017 13:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by p13."
giddas Member since:
2017-11-03

All good points but the person you're replying to isn't American

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Comment by p13.
by p13. on Fri 3rd Nov 2017 13:32 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by p13."
p13. Member since:
2005-07-10

And i'm not Russian ...

I actually live close to Thom, geographically speaking.

Reply Score: 2

by design
by fkooman on Thu 2nd Nov 2017 14:58 UTC
fkooman
Member since:
2008-05-06

Actually. What happened on FB is _by design_. This amazing TED talk by Zeynep Tufekci about sums it up: https://www.ted.com/talks/zeynep_tufekci_we_re_building_a_dystopia_j...

So: the solution is not to give up your privacy, but to change FB's business model to not prosper under the exact conditions that make this election "nudging" possible

Edited 2017-11-02 14:59 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Thu 2nd Nov 2017 15:50 UTC
ilovebeer
Member since:
2011-08-08

Giving up anonymity solves nothing. It does not stop bullying. It does not stop harassment. It does not stop id theft. It does not stop crime. It does not stop anything. All of this continues to happen offline and has been happening since the dawn of humanity. You can legislate out human nature. The best way to address these types of problems is by changing the social mindset. It can be done but not until people are willing to physically engage in their communities and the world around them rather than glued to things like reality tv, gossip/"celebrity", social media, etc. Stop `liking` a picture of your "friends" food and actually go meet and share a meal with them. You know, participate in life.

As far as anonymity as it pertains to curtailing things like election meddling, propaganda, etc... People don't need their privacy or anonymity removed - two things which human beings *need* for mental & social health btw - they need to bare most of the responsibility for allowing these things to happen. People need to become more responsible and take initiative. They need to learn what it takes to become informed voters and informed people. People who believe everything they read on Facebook, or everything they hear from news channel X, etc. are just as much responsible for what happened as the Russians are.

Reply Score: 2

What about...
by kwan_e on Fri 3rd Nov 2017 13:48 UTC
kwan_e
Member since:
2007-02-18

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whataboutism

So much whataboutism in the comments.

Reply Score: 2