Libyans Using Coded Dating Site Messages To Avoid Government Monitoring

from the can't-stop-technology dept

A few different people have sent over this fascinating story of how Libyans have been using a popular muslim dating site to communicate about the protests in that country. It's been widely covered how various protesters around the middle east have been using tools like Facebook and Twitter to organize and communicate, and governments have been responding to that fact, often shutting off access to those sites, or at least monitoring them very, very closely. In order to avoid that, apparently some of the conversations in Libya have migrated to this dating site. The article at ABC News includes plenty of details about how people are communicating on the site, and it's worth a read. Here's a snippet:
The phrase "May your day be full of Jasmine," for example, is a coded reference to what's been called the Jasmine Revolution sweeping the region, Mahmoudi told ABC News.

He said the response, "And the same to you. I hope you will call me" meant they were ready to begin.

If the undercover "lovers" wrote "I want love," it meant "I want liberty," Mahmoudi said.

They also communicated in code the number of their comrades supporting the revolution. The five Ls in the phrase "I LLLLLove you," for example, meant they had five people with them.
Yet another reminder that no matter how hard governments try to suppress certain forms of communication, people always seek out alternative means.

Filed Under: communications, dating, libya, messages, protests


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  1. identicon
    fogbugzd, 28 Feb 2011 @ 6:31am

    not convinced

    I don't doubt that revolutionaries have found alternatives to Facebook and twitter. However I am highly dubious when it comes to the messages and their hidden meanings. This sounds like someones fantasy about how a system might work than a practical communication system for the masses.

    If anything it is most likely to describe a private channel rather than a widespread system. I think the significance of twitter and Facebook were that the massive numbers of people could be mobilized quickly and that the protesters themselves were letting the world know what was actually happening on the ground.

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