www.nettime.org
Nettime mailing list archives

<nettime> sms(SMUT-system) use at WTO meeting - sydney
dr.woooo on Thu, 9 Jan 2003 18:56:38 +0100 (CET)


[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> sms(SMUT-system) use at WTO meeting - sydney



fwd: of  a discussion of sms and PIMP technology and indymedia at protests.

Hi,

I heard of some innovative ways that people were utilising SMS on mobile
phones, to share information in a decentralised way at the WTO protests at
Sydney.

I was wondering if anyone could write a little report / "how to" on this to be
shared quite widely, if it is possible to write about it without compromising
peoples security.

I've been thinking about how sms could be used / misused at demos and
possibilities ... 

this discussion could be pretty interesting and an idea that others could
utilise elsewhere. keeping mindful of security, it might be worth spreading
these ideas.

was a PIMP system also used to send audio reports to sydney indymedia ? *


does anyone understand how to construct a P.I.M.P this is an under utilised
technology that has great potential to make independent media available to alot
of people and multiply the number of voices, commenting on and reporting direct
actions etc.

* where they were miraculously converted to text. try searching melbourne
indymedia for examples.

> Thanks moz,
> 
> can you write something a bit more extensive giving context of how it was
> used, including this stuff below to circulate to lists like nettime, 
> slash.autonomedia.org, infoshop news etc.
> 
> are there ways you can see to overcome the costs.
> 
> i'm a bit bothered to hear that it was useful for keeping the cops informed,
> as i am firmly opposed to communication with the cops. could it be used
> securely without the cops getting access.
> 
> doc.
> 
> moz <moz {AT} > wrote ..
> > > I heard of some innovative ways that people were utilising SMS on
> > > mobile phones, to share information in a decentralised way at the
> > > WTO protests at Sydney.
> > 
> > It was hideously expensive, is the thing to remember. 20c per message
> > to each user, and over $500 for the three days AFAIK. Plus it needed
> a
> > laptop connected to a cellphone, which cost another $100 or so (buy
> > prepay phone, discard SIM after event). That's the main downside that
> > I can see. But as a comms setup it worked brilliantly, keeping
> > protesters and cops fully informed of where some of the protest was
> > at.
> > 
> > Moz
>From moz <moz {AT} > 
To dr.woooo {AT} nomasters.org 
Date Thu, 9 Jan 2003 21:46:24 +1100 
Subject Re: [nowto] sms use at WTO meeting 
 

Hello dr,

> can you write something a bit more extensive giving context of how
> it was used, including this stuff below to circulate to lists like
> nettime, slash.autonomedia.org, infoshop news etc.

Unfortunately no, I already got my ass kicked by the authors for
mentioning them in the wrong place a while ago. If they want you to
know, they'll tell you sort of thing. In the meantime, here's some
speculation about other aspects of it.

One possible is to bulk-buy SMS, that's a service that is advertised
in mass-marketting magazines. Not sure how that works, as I've never
dealt with them directly.

> are there ways you can see to overcome the costs.

There are commercial providers of SMS, one of whom I used to work for,
and they pay as little as 1c/SMS, but it'd be tricky to hook up with
one for a protest. Could be done though, and if I'd had more than 24
hours notice I possibly could have hooked it up.

> i'm a bit bothered to hear that it was useful for keeping the cops
> informed, as i am firmly opposed to communication with the cops.
> could it be used securely without the cops getting access.

No. SMS is inherently insecure both at a radio level, and a dataflow
level. The phone companies watch these things closely for unusual
behaviour, and what SMUT does is fucking strange by any measure.
Combine "a recently bought prepay phone sending hundreds of SMS
messages very quickly" with "the cops are on terrorist alert because
of the protests", and you've got a direct feed of that phone's traffic
into police HQ in about ten seconds flat. Or it might "accidentally"
get "crosswired" into a couple of cop phones, phrase that however you
will. The other way it shows up is intense SMS traffic in the protest
zone, and in repeated message text. I work in this field, and I've
spent hours, days, weeks coding up fraud detection routines, and I
can't imagine that the phone companies would even be interested in not
knowing about this sort of shit (because they'd have to pay for code
changes to make SMUT not show up in the alert list). Once the phone
companies know, it's going to leak to the cops pretty fast.

A commercial provider is less likely to trip any of the alerts (an
extra 1000 messages a day is bugger all compared to the million or so
a week that certain people send out), and as long as we were willing
to accept a bit of spam we could even avoid most of the repeated text
problems. But, and this is a big BUT, we'd need to tie down the legals
before we approached them, because getting your feed yanked by ASIO is
not something that a commercial bunch is going to want to risk.
Imagine getting a note from your cell provider "SMS services to other
carriers are unavailable until further notice" (because we helped the
anti-WTO terrorists). They want to avoid that :^)

It's hard to call, but either the CDMA 2 way radio's that the yanks
were using at the olympics or just the cheapo dick smith units that
folk in Melbourne use already are probably as good as anything else.
The plod have to actively monitor the channels to get anywhere, and
no-one thinks that they're particularly secure. So the users are
careful, as opposed to the SMS thing where some people were not as
careful as they could have been.

Remember that Sydney activists are not especially well coordinated or
organised compared to Melb. We don't even monitor the plod radio for
fucks sake, let alone anything tricky like reacting to what they say
they'll do. I'll be in Melb for Critical Mass this month to see what
it's like down there, because I've only seen activism in Sydney so far
(I'm from NZ). Seems to vary a lot between cities so far.

Moz

 http://www.infoshop.org/inews

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: majordomo {AT} bbs.thing.net and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime {AT} bbs.thing.net