New Anti-Corruption Social Network In Russia Requires Numerous Personal Details To Join: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

from the how-secure-is-that-database? dept

As the murder of the opposition politician Boris Nemtsov last week reminds us, the political situation in Russia is not just difficult, but extremely dangerous. Presumably hoping that technology might offer a relative safe way to cope with this situation, a Russian NGO has announced that it will be launching a nationwide social network dedicated to fighting bribery and corruption. You might expect that anonymity would be a crucial aspect, given the risks faced by those who choose to join. And yet, as this RT article explains, that’s not the case (via @prfnv):

the new project will have one major difference from existing social networks — a complete lack of anonymity. Membership will only be granted by invitation from existing members, and even when this condition is met, the institute that launches the project promises to open accounts only after verifying the identity of potential members in real life.

The users will have to provide a lot of details about themselves — from name and date of birth, to place of work, e-mail and phone numbers. The people launching the project say that this is a necessary measure to prevent attempted slander, which they see as the main danger threatening their network.

That people could use the network to spread false accusations is certainly a risk, but hardly the main danger, which is surely that those accused of corruption may decide to settle things in the same way as Nemtsov’s enemies. Creating a network of anti-corruption activists and lawyers will make its membership database extremely desirable for many nefarious actors, who would doubtless find things like place of work and phone numbers useful for future attempts to “dissuade” people from coming forward with information about bribe-taking. Let’s just hope the new social network’s security advisers are really good.

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Comments on “New Anti-Corruption Social Network In Russia Requires Numerous Personal Details To Join: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Huh, haven't seen that before

Usually those nominated for Darwin Awards are nominated by other people, they don’t do it themselves.

Any system which can be hacked, will be hacked, so by forcing people to provide extensive personal details before they are allowed to participate in a forum for reporting corruption, either the ones putting it together are incredibly stupid, or their idea of ‘stopping corruption’ is the same as the USG’s, ‘If you can’t see it, it isn’t there’, in which case the best way to get rid of corruption is to get rid of those exposing it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

RT is partially funded by the Russian government, just as BBC is completely funded by the British government (as are many other news agencies). Yet, strangely enough, RT’s unseen sugar-daddy gets mentioned constantly in the Western press, while the BBC’s never gets mentioned. Strange how that works.

I just wish that RT (as we know it today) had been around in 2003, when the entirety of the US mainstream media were in lockstep with Bush’s goal to invade Iraq, and whored themselves out as enthusiastic cheerleaders for that invasion, rather than doing their job as journalists by allowing the dissenting viewpoints and doubts of WMD claims (of which there were many) to be heard. It was a complete snowjob on the American people, and so thorough that sadly the only place that anyone living in the US could get the truth was through the internet (as well as the only place safe to honestly talk about it without being branded an unpatriotic traitor).

My biggest complaint about RT was that they were doing non-political “fluffy” news in their early days, at a time when there was a serious need for hard-hitting reporting to expose the many lies that the US media was spewing daily.

TheResidentSkeptic says:

I see a money making opportunity here...

what’s the black market value for fake Internet Drivers Licenses? That is what gov’s have been after for a while, so let’s just get in on the ground (64th) floor of this opportunity.

I bet a site could be built where you enter any name and address, it generates the Internet Drivers License number (use a real program just to piss ’em off) with addresses of local PD and politicians… prints it off on a high-quality ID printer and mails it…


The Dumber the Politician, the Dumber the idea.

To paraphrase – Although Genius has its limits, dumb does not.

Jake says:

I’m curious as to whether this really meets the generally accepted definition of “social network”, because sharing potentially sensitive information about the activities of people known and suspected to be in bed with the Russian mob is about the last thing on Earth I’d want anybody to be able to read just by browsing a publically accessible website.

Anonymous Coward says:

The old, low-tech communist methods may have been better, or at least more secure, such as programs involving face-to-face interviews.

It’s a bad idea for any country, especially Russia right now, to do tis sort of thing over the internet. We can be sure that взяткенет will absolutely become a prime target of NSA hackers.

Russians who report abuse but are rebuffed by authorities are going to be become prime recruiting targets by US-government-funded NGOs (USAide, National Endowment for Democracy, etc) operating both openly and secretly throughout the country, whose primary objective has been to sow dissent, organize and fund radical groups, and forment violent revolutions (including against elected governments) and civil wars throughout the former Soviet empire.

Considering the enemies the Russian government is up against, data security should be a top priority. And of course the only guaranteed way for something to be 100% secure from hostile hands is to have nothing there.

Anonymous Coward says:

I didn’t know this place was Russophobe. Quite a disappointment, because you guys dig out the truth normally. The guy was an obvious american asset and the ruthless TLA agency that does this kind of business elsewhere than the US most likely shot him to add up pressure on Putin/the Russian people (who voted for him at about 75% or so last election over there), there’s 4 other parties in the Russian Duma, if he was the crazy guy so many eat up from western propaganda, I don’t think he’d let these other parties even exist. But nope, they are there.

Before you say I’m wrong and ought to wear a tinfoil hat, think about everyone who called people who knew about the NSA warantless dragnet (it was revealed in december 2005 ffs, well even before, the NYT just sat on the story for a year so as not to appear to want to hurt Bush’s second sElection.) crazy, conspiracy theorists(a TLA invented weasel words combo) and otherwise.

This comes out just after a Ukrainian official said that if the west gives them nukes they would not hesitate one second to nuke Russia. Yay for the Neo Nazis who rule Ukraine! Yay possibilities of life destruction!

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