The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 TeasersRussian Reaction Blog
Telegramming Incompetence
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New Reply
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

banning-telegram-fail.gif

Artists’ rendition of Roskomnadzor trying to block Telegram.

The problem isn’t even so much the cack-handed authoritarianism, though that’s bad enough. Russian web censor Roskomnadzor’s (RKN) blockage of Telegram several days ago will negatively affect the 15 million Russians who use the platform, which combines the functionality of Twitter (public blogs, channels) and WhatsApp (mobile comms). It was built by Pavel Durov, the libertarian developer behind Vkontakte who has assumed a cult-like status amongst the Russian technorati.

So here’s our first problem: Blocking Telegram isn’t cool. Now to be sure, liberal hipster kreakl iFags might be the scum of the Earth, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to piss them off for no reason. Part of the reason that the USSR collapsed was because it was really, really not cool. Smart people learn from others’ mistakes. Not so smart people learn from their own past mistakes. Really stupid people don’t learn at all.

Second problem: It’s not just the kreakls using Telegram. 15 million is a lot of people, and it includes all manner of entities – from the company that I do some consulting for here, which does its internal communications through Telegram, to large corporations, Kremlin-linked politologists and Kremlin insiders, state institutions, and media organizations such as RT (which, incidentally, continues to blithely broadcast on Telegram). Incidentally, since Telegram is so popular amongst the cognitive elites, not even the usual pro-Kremlin voices have bothered much with justifying it.

blocking-ips

But the third and biggest problem is that RKN is too incompetent to actually… well, block the damn thing. As I write this, Telegram is still easily accessible to me, and to most other Russians, even without VPN. The reality is that banning a tech-savvy web service with hundreds of millions of dollars in its warchest is far harder than pogroming marginal nationalist and liberal webzines. Since the block, Telegram has been routing its clients to IP addresses belonging to Amazon and Google cloud services that were not yet on RKN’s blacklist. This has led to an amusing Whack-a-Mole game, as RKN has blocked some 20 million IPs, mostly associated with Amazon and Google cloud services. This has shut down parts of the Russian Internet – by some estimates up to 0.5% of it – mostly individuals, corporations, and services that have absolutely nothing to do with Telegram or even social media. This is hardly a major concern for RKN, since Russia has limited rule of law and the chances of any of them successfully suing it for lost earnings are slim to zero.

The official justification is that Telegram wouldn’t share information on its users with the FSB. As RKN’s director Alexander Zharov said in a perfect self-parody, “The attempts of some Telegram channels to get their users to download VPN is an attempt to frame themselves as an elite. As if they’re at the ball, and those who don’t have VPN, can only peer in from the window. But I think that it should be important for people to consider who they’re close to – with terrorists, or with normal people.

But then again, the civilized approach in situations where communications companies refuse to budge on privacy – as practiced in, say, the US – is to hack them, instead of blocking them (or rather, 0.5% of your own Internet). Ironically, this serves to confirm Durov’s own very dim impressions of the human capital component of Russian siloviks: “In Russia, the FSB guys I’ve interacted with were not impressive. They were of middling ability; not really qualified. In the United States, the FBI is different. The ones who questioned me were competent. They spoke multiple languages. They had done their research, and knew exactly what questions to ask. They were of a high caliber. And I understood that America has so many resources dedicated to security that it is downright scary. Law enforcement in America is so much more efficient.

But as Leonid Bershidsky points out, the real causes of the blockage might be a bit more mercenary.

Earlier this month, Herman Klimenko, Putin’s internet adviser, recommended that Telegram users switch to ICQ. That messaging service reached its peak at the turn of the century and was acquired by the Russian company Mail.ru in 2010, long after its fortunes waned. “I like ICQ,” Klimenko said. “It’s a fully functional messenger that is by no means inferior to Telegram from an ordinary user’s point of view.” Though Klimenko later said that he’d only meant it as an example, Putin’s press secretary Dmitri Peskov announced that he was trying ICQ. Kremlin staffers, he said, would soon choose an alternative to Telegraph for their daily use.

A month ago, according to App Annie, ICQ was the tenth most downloaded social networking app in Russia. It is now in fifth place. Another Mail.ru-owned messenger, TamTam, was the 51st most downloaded app in the category a month ago. It stands at 11th place. Regardless of whether Telegram is actually accessible to Russians, Mail.ru is benefiting from the government’s move.

Mail.ru is controlled by Megafon, a cellular operator which, in turn, is controlled by Alisher Usmanov, one of Russia’s richest men and a strong Putin loyalist. Vkontakte, which founder Pavel Durov exited after Usmanov acquired a share, is part of Mail.ru.

Telegram was the biggest competitor to Mail.ru’s messenger apps because many Russians prefer Russian internet services to U.S. ones. Russia is the only country where search and social networking aren’t dominated by Silicon Valley companies. And — perhaps coincidentally — Telegram stands as the only app banned for not turning over encryption keys.

That’s how Putin’s Russia operates: It’s never clear whether government moves are part of a conscious policy or a business undertaking. Sometimes, it’s a little of both. Lost somewhere in the process are the millions of ordinary users: Their interests aren’t even a consideration.

Third possible reason:

telegram-keys

The thin-skinned goons in epaulettes at the FSB were too triggered by Durov’s publicity stunt in sending them the “keys” to Telegram’s office.

Meanwhile, perhaps the most frustrating thing of all – at least so far I’m concerned – is that it’s not Google or Facebook which are getting shut down, both of which are at this point mere adjuncts to the NSA and agents of a hostile foreign power. It’s not Apple that’s getting kicked out of Russia, which can be closed down by merely enforcing Russia’s laws against propaganda of homosexuality. It’s not Signal or Tor that are getting blocked, both of which are almost certainly CIA tools. In a sense, the Kremlin’s behavior is much sicker than that of China or Iran, which despite their lack of regard for free speech are at least safeguarding their elites from American surveillance and protecting their culture from Western cultural subversion.

No, of course it is Telegram that is getting blocked – the strongest Russian IT brand after Yandex and Kaspersky, but one which had the misfortune of standing in the way of a Kremlin-friendly billionaire’s profits, or which triggered the goons in epaulettes too much, or which said goons in epaulettes found too hard to hack, which enraged them so much that they banhammered 0.5% of the Russian Internet. Each explanation is more dismal than the last.

Incidentally, it also illustrates why confidence in the present Russian regime declines amongst youth, amongst Moscow residents, and especially amongst the cognitive elites (as indicated in numerous polls). It is embarrassing to be associated with it or to have to defend it, even amongst those who were or would otherwise be well-disposed to it.

PS. The one silver lining is that as Alexey Kovalev points out, such incompetence is basically the most succinct refutation of the Russiagate conspiracy theory:

Watching this debacle, many Russians are wondering: How is it possible that a country accused of waging sophisticated cyberwarfare campaigns around the world is so utterly incompetent in domestic tech affairs? There is now a theory circulating on Russian Facebook that the ban was deliberately botched so as to create exactly this kind of plausible deniability. Like most conspiracy theories, it’s far-fetched but illustrative: People would rather believe in sabotage than state-sponsored incompetence so gross that it threatens the country’s own IT backbone.

Or it would be. But problem is that he has 25,000 Twitter followers, whereas just Louise Mensch has an order of magnitude more. So even this makes zero impact.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Censorship, Russia 
Hide 71 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. Telegram is such a Russian service that it was launched in 2013 but only added a Russian language version 6 months ago.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  2. the civilized approach in situations where communications companies refuse to budge

    I am not if it is civilized but you go after executives, the American way.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Nacchio
    Joseph P. Nacchio is an American executive who was chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Qwest Communications International from 1997 to 2002.

    He was convicted of 19 counts of insider trading in Qwest stock on April 19, 2007[1] – charges his defense team claimed were U.S. government retaliation for his refusal to give customer data to the National Security Agency in February, 2001.[2] This defense was not admissible in court because the U.S. Department of Justice filed an in limine motion,[3] which is often used in national security cases, to exclude information which may reveal state secrets. Information from the Classified Information Procedures Act hearings in Mr. DiNaccio’s case was likewise ruled inadmissible.[4]

    On July 27, 2007, he was sentenced to six years in federal prison, and after appeals failed he reported to Federal Correctional Institution, Schuylkill in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania on April 14, 2009 to serve his sentence.[5] Nacchio finished serving his sentence on September 20, 2013.[6]

    A CEO who resisted NSA spying is out of prison. And he feels ‘vindicated’ by Snowden leaks.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2013/09/30/a-ceo-who-resisted-nsa-spying-is-out-of-prison-and-he-feels-vindicated-by-snowden-leaks/?utm_term=.8655c027d229

    All other communication companies allowed NSA to install splitters (btw, by subcontracted companies that originated in Israel) to collect all communication traffic.

    Shady Companies With Ties to Israel Wiretap the U.S. for the NSA (by James Bamford)

    https://www.wired.com/2012/04/shady-companies-nsa/

    https://www.activistpost.com/2017/07/two-israeli-companies-spying-world.html
    “And the prism was shaped like a prism, and the light signals would come in, and they’d be split by the prism. And one copy of the light signal would go off to where it was supposed to be going in the telecom system, and the other half, this new cloned copy of the cables, would actually go one floor below to NSA’s secret room.

    “… And in the secret room was equipment by a private company called Narus, the very small company hardly anybody has ever heard of that created the hardware and the software to analyze these cables and then pick out the targets NSA is looking for and then forward the targeted communications onto NSA headquarters.”

    In James Bamford’s 2008 interview, he mentions two Israeli companies, Narus and Verint, that almost nobody knew about. They played a key role in developing and selling the technology that allowed NSA to deploy its PRISM spying program:

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  3. aaaa

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  4. OR….Telegram just could do what is legally required of them ,like Twitter,Facebook and google do in Russia…..and then carry on as normal.

    Far from being incompetent it’s actually quite impressive the “technically illiterate’ security services manages to shutdown 1/200th of Russia’s internet temporarily, governments across the west launching a simple service on the internet experience much more proportionally greater problems in doing so.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Putin just shat, and it smells sweet. Is tasty, too. Yummy!

    There’s nothing impressive at all in accidentally shutting off 0.5% of the Russian internet just to shut off a service, and being unable to shut off what they actually wanted to.

    By the way it just showed another inexplicable weakness of Russia. I understand that it might be somewhat more expensive due to a lack of sufficient economies of scale, but Russia should build its own cloud services and encourage its companies to use them.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  5. Hipsters could probably consider as forcing everyone to change to ICQ as cool in some perverted way.

    It’s like giving away your Nintendo Switch, to play on Gameboy and Sega Mega Drive.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser
    >Nintendo Switch

    What is that?

    >Gameboy

    My childhood. ;_;

    Incidentally, I have used ICQ, but never Durov's Telegram.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  6. Runet is becoming some kind of parody of late 1990s American internet. As if buying livejournal and making it into the Russian company was not funny enough. Now ICQ is getting trending. I’m just waiting now for when Myspace becomes the official venue for government communication.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jayce
    Honestly had no idea ICQ even still existed until I read this article. Too bad the Russians couldn't save AIM before it was too late.
    , @Anatoly Karlin
    https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/team_chat.png
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  7. @Dmitry
    Runet is becoming some kind of parody of late 1990s American internet. As if buying livejournal and making it into the Russian company was not funny enough. Now ICQ is getting trending. I'm just waiting now for when Myspace becomes the official venue for government communication.

    Honestly had no idea ICQ even still existed until I read this article. Too bad the Russians couldn’t save AIM before it was too late.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Lol -

    Although has been owned for years now by Mail.ru as said above- they advertise it like a flagship product along with the classmates shit

    Since 2014, controlling shareholder of Mail.ru is Usmanov - so it's all logical news. Now I'm curious to download ICQ for the first time.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  8. @Gerard2
    OR....Telegram just could do what is legally required of them ,like Twitter,Facebook and google do in Russia.....and then carry on as normal.

    Far from being incompetent it's actually quite impressive the "technically illiterate' security services manages to shutdown 1/200th of Russia's internet temporarily, governments across the west launching a simple service on the internet experience much more proportionally greater problems in doing so.

    Putin just shat, and it smells sweet. Is tasty, too. Yummy!

    There’s nothing impressive at all in accidentally shutting off 0.5% of the Russian internet just to shut off a service, and being unable to shut off what they actually wanted to.

    By the way it just showed another inexplicable weakness of Russia. I understand that it might be somewhat more expensive due to a lack of sufficient economies of scale, but Russia should build its own cloud services and encourage its companies to use them.

    Read More
    • Replies: @inertial
    I highly doubt that Putin has anything to do with it, or that he even understand what exactly is happening.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  9. @reiner Tor
    Putin just shat, and it smells sweet. Is tasty, too. Yummy!

    There’s nothing impressive at all in accidentally shutting off 0.5% of the Russian internet just to shut off a service, and being unable to shut off what they actually wanted to.

    By the way it just showed another inexplicable weakness of Russia. I understand that it might be somewhat more expensive due to a lack of sufficient economies of scale, but Russia should build its own cloud services and encourage its companies to use them.

    I highly doubt that Putin has anything to do with it, or that he even understand what exactly is happening.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I didn’t say he did.

    I just summarized what Gerard2 wrote. He found this example of bumbling incompetence “impressive.”

    You now resorted to the second line of defense: the shit might stink and is inedible, but it was not Putin personally who shat on the table in front of all of us; it was merely one of his men. Well, Putin is responsible for what his subordinates do.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  10. @inertial
    I highly doubt that Putin has anything to do with it, or that he even understand what exactly is happening.

    I didn’t say he did.

    I just summarized what Gerard2 wrote. He found this example of bumbling incompetence “impressive.”

    You now resorted to the second line of defense: the shit might stink and is inedible, but it was not Putin personally who shat on the table in front of all of us; it was merely one of his men. Well, Putin is responsible for what his subordinates do.

    Read More
    • Replies: @inertial
    I am not defending anything, I just don't think Putin personally pulls every single lever in Russia. Or are you simply using "Putin" as the shorthand for the Russian government, the way they do it in the Western media? In this case, carry on.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  11. @Jayce
    Honestly had no idea ICQ even still existed until I read this article. Too bad the Russians couldn't save AIM before it was too late.

    Lol -

    Although has been owned for years now by Mail.ru as said above- they advertise it like a flagship product along with the classmates shit

    Since 2014, controlling shareholder of Mail.ru is Usmanov – so it’s all logical news. Now I’m curious to download ICQ for the first time.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  12. the FBI is different. The ones who questioned me were competent. They spoke multiple languages. They had done their research, and knew exactly what questions to ask. They were of a high caliber. And I understood that America has so many resources dedicated to security that it is downright scary. Law enforcement in America is so much more efficient.”

    But, then the head of the FBI, investigating Russia, couldn’t tell what Gazprom is…Durov is just a classic case of “низкопоклонство перед Западом”, so typical among the Russian liberals – I bet he shared his keys with the FBI years ago.

    Telegram is NOT a Russian brand, and the company is not based in Russia. If it was, it could have been expropriated by a Kremlin-friendly oligarch the way VK was. 93% of TG’s user base is outside of Russia.

    Bershidsky believes that the Russian campaign against Telegram will eventually succeed as Google and Amazon will be compelled to dump Telegram to preserve their Russian business. I’m inclined to agree.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Facebook has to move its servers to Russia and will be checked later in the year.
    , @The Big Red Scary
    низкопоклонство перед Западом

    Durov's a poser. Better to just ignore him, since he obviously enjoys the attention so much. The real issue is to build alternatives to Signal and Telegram that are both credible and popular. If the Kremlin had the necessary foresight and principle, they could easily and cheaply be the patrons for such a project. Just endow a foundation with a small budget to renovate a vagonzavod as a tech coop and let the nerds sort out the rest.

    Not holding my breath.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  13. I do sense there could one day be an eventual VPN ban, in a few years. Not now – but this kind of move is preparing the legal groundwork, even as a sideproduct.

    https://ria.ru/society/20180413/1518596583.html

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  14. @Felix Keverich

    the FBI is different. The ones who questioned me were competent. They spoke multiple languages. They had done their research, and knew exactly what questions to ask. They were of a high caliber. And I understood that America has so many resources dedicated to security that it is downright scary. Law enforcement in America is so much more efficient.”
     
    But, then the head of the FBI, investigating Russia, couldn't tell what Gazprom is...Durov is just a classic case of "низкопоклонство перед Западом", so typical among the Russian liberals - I bet he shared his keys with the FBI years ago.

    Telegram is NOT a Russian brand, and the company is not based in Russia. If it was, it could have been expropriated by a Kremlin-friendly oligarch the way VK was. 93% of TG's user base is outside of Russia.

    Bershidsky believes that the Russian campaign against Telegram will eventually succeed as Google and Amazon will be compelled to dump Telegram to preserve their Russian business. I'm inclined to agree.

    Facebook has to move its servers to Russia and will be checked later in the year.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  15. @reiner Tor
    I didn’t say he did.

    I just summarized what Gerard2 wrote. He found this example of bumbling incompetence “impressive.”

    You now resorted to the second line of defense: the shit might stink and is inedible, but it was not Putin personally who shat on the table in front of all of us; it was merely one of his men. Well, Putin is responsible for what his subordinates do.

    I am not defending anything, I just don’t think Putin personally pulls every single lever in Russia. Or are you simply using “Putin” as the shorthand for the Russian government, the way they do it in the Western media? In this case, carry on.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I don’t think that sarcastic remarks need to be explained that much in detail. Yes, I used him as a shorthand for the Russian government.

    But since you brought up Putin’s personal responsibility, let me assert here that

    - Putin has led the country for nearly two decades; all people on all levels of government are either appointed by him, or appointed by his appointees, or the appointees of his appointees, and so on.
    - This was a major screwup. Even if some lower level officials decided the case, he should by now have been informed about it.
    - Not only was it a major screwup, but it was probably decided by relatively high level officials, probably just a couple levels below him.

    So at the very minimum he’s responsible for incompetent people being in positions and for not punishing them.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  16. There’s no way that Durov’s activities could be tolerated. Could someone like him operate in China? Telegram must be removed from the Russian internet, and will be. It would be impressive if that happened quickly and efficiently, but more important that it happens by hook or by crook.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  17. @inertial
    I am not defending anything, I just don't think Putin personally pulls every single lever in Russia. Or are you simply using "Putin" as the shorthand for the Russian government, the way they do it in the Western media? In this case, carry on.

    I don’t think that sarcastic remarks need to be explained that much in detail. Yes, I used him as a shorthand for the Russian government.

    But since you brought up Putin’s personal responsibility, let me assert here that

    - Putin has led the country for nearly two decades; all people on all levels of government are either appointed by him, or appointed by his appointees, or the appointees of his appointees, and so on.
    - This was a major screwup. Even if some lower level officials decided the case, he should by now have been informed about it.
    - Not only was it a major screwup, but it was probably decided by relatively high level officials, probably just a couple levels below him.

    So at the very minimum he’s responsible for incompetent people being in positions and for not punishing them.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    This was a major screwup.
     
    I do not necessarily think of it this way. Pavel Durov is a wealthy and technologically-savvy man, he is arguably smarter than anyone who works at Roskomnadzor, and he is determined to use his vast resources to fight the block. Durov has a long-standing grudge against the Russian regime, this is his way of hitting back. He hates Russia and wants it to look stupid.

    Naturally, erasing Durov from the Russian internet will be challenging and there may be futher embarrassments along the way, but in the end, I think Russian government will get it done. And they will learn from it.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  18. @reiner Tor
    I don’t think that sarcastic remarks need to be explained that much in detail. Yes, I used him as a shorthand for the Russian government.

    But since you brought up Putin’s personal responsibility, let me assert here that

    - Putin has led the country for nearly two decades; all people on all levels of government are either appointed by him, or appointed by his appointees, or the appointees of his appointees, and so on.
    - This was a major screwup. Even if some lower level officials decided the case, he should by now have been informed about it.
    - Not only was it a major screwup, but it was probably decided by relatively high level officials, probably just a couple levels below him.

    So at the very minimum he’s responsible for incompetent people being in positions and for not punishing them.

    This was a major screwup.

    I do not necessarily think of it this way. Pavel Durov is a wealthy and technologically-savvy man, he is arguably smarter than anyone who works at Roskomnadzor, and he is determined to use his vast resources to fight the block. Durov has a long-standing grudge against the Russian regime, this is his way of hitting back. He hates Russia and wants it to look stupid.

    Naturally, erasing Durov from the Russian internet will be challenging and there may be futher embarrassments along the way, but in the end, I think Russian government will get it done. And they will learn from it.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  19. @Dmitry
    Hipsters could probably consider as forcing everyone to change to ICQ as cool in some perverted way.

    It's like giving away your Nintendo Switch, to play on Gameboy and Sega Mega Drive.

    >Nintendo Switch

    What is that?

    >Gameboy

    My childhood. ;_;

    Incidentally, I have used ICQ, but never Durov’s Telegram.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  20. Durov is so Russian that he posted this video on his VK page back in 2014

    The video ends with a “Glory to Ukraine!” shout. How very Russian of him.

    Anatoly is right though, if the kremlins want to ban encrypted communication tools that can be used by terrorists, they should have started with Tor and Signal which are indeed CIA tools (Tor is obvious as it is funded by the US government, and Signal’s biggest promoter is another CIA tool who goes by the name of Edward Snowden).

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    No, first they should ban Facebook and Google.

    Is Yandex any good? I once had a Ukrainian girlfriend with a Yandex email address. It should be the equivalent of gmail, an app should be created which uploads all contents (previous emails etc.) from gmail and then uploads it to a Yandex account, and then gmail should be banned, but the ban should be announced in a timely manner. So users would have like two months to change to Yandex, and they would be able to do that in a user-friendly way.

    Otherwise I found it previously cool that people like holocaust deniers or Snowden etc. could find refuge in Russia. Though promoting a Russian tool instead of Telegram for government employees would make sense. But otherwise I don't think it makes sense to reduce freedom, because it's usually seen uncool, and there's no big advantage to it.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  21. @Spisarevski
    Durov is so Russian that he posted this video on his VK page back in 2014

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnZnvFIJKB8

    The video ends with a "Glory to Ukraine!" shout. How very Russian of him.

    Anatoly is right though, if the kremlins want to ban encrypted communication tools that can be used by terrorists, they should have started with Tor and Signal which are indeed CIA tools (Tor is obvious as it is funded by the US government, and Signal's biggest promoter is another CIA tool who goes by the name of Edward Snowden).

    No, first they should ban Facebook and Google.

    Is Yandex any good? I once had a Ukrainian girlfriend with a Yandex email address. It should be the equivalent of gmail, an app should be created which uploads all contents (previous emails etc.) from gmail and then uploads it to a Yandex account, and then gmail should be banned, but the ban should be announced in a timely manner. So users would have like two months to change to Yandex, and they would be able to do that in a user-friendly way.

    Otherwise I found it previously cool that people like holocaust deniers or Snowden etc. could find refuge in Russia. Though promoting a Russian tool instead of Telegram for government employees would make sense. But otherwise I don’t think it makes sense to reduce freedom, because it’s usually seen uncool, and there’s no big advantage to it.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  22. In a sense, the Kremlin’s behavior is much sicker than that of China or Iran, which despite their lack of regard for free speech are at least safeguarding their elites from American surveillance and protecting their culture from Western cultural subversion.

    You forgot monitoring and controlling their population, the same as the Kremlin wants to do.
    Zhongnanhai likes its local Durovs as much as the Kremlin likes Russian rebels.

    No, of course it is Telegram that is getting blocked – the strongest Russian IT brand after Yandex and Kaspersky

    Aside from Durov himself, there is not much Russian in Telegram.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    But how American is it? It’s encrypted, so at least the Americans can’t monitor it either.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  23. @Mitleser

    In a sense, the Kremlin’s behavior is much sicker than that of China or Iran, which despite their lack of regard for free speech are at least safeguarding their elites from American surveillance and protecting their culture from Western cultural subversion.
     
    You forgot monitoring and controlling their population, the same as the Kremlin wants to do.
    Zhongnanhai likes its local Durovs as much as the Kremlin likes Russian rebels.

    No, of course it is Telegram that is getting blocked – the strongest Russian IT brand after Yandex and Kaspersky
     
    https://twitter.com/durov/status/951243462912995328

    Aside from Durov himself, there is not much Russian in Telegram.

    But how American is it? It’s encrypted, so at least the Americans can’t monitor it either.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    Durov and his Telegram are NOT being investigated over "Russian interference". This is how we know they cooperate with NSA/FBI. Contrast it with how Kaspersky has been treated.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  24. @reiner Tor
    But how American is it? It’s encrypted, so at least the Americans can’t monitor it either.

    Durov and his Telegram are NOT being investigated over “Russian interference”. This is how we know they cooperate with NSA/FBI. Contrast it with how Kaspersky has been treated.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Maybe because it’s not based in Russia, and is a well-known opponent of Putin and his government?

    The same arguments you guys were using.

    Anyway, it might cooperate with the CIA and the FBI, but you know that for sure about Facebook and Google. Why go after a potential NSA tool instead of a surely NSA tool?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  25. @Felix Keverich
    Durov and his Telegram are NOT being investigated over "Russian interference". This is how we know they cooperate with NSA/FBI. Contrast it with how Kaspersky has been treated.

    Maybe because it’s not based in Russia, and is a well-known opponent of Putin and his government?

    The same arguments you guys were using.

    Anyway, it might cooperate with the CIA and the FBI, but you know that for sure about Facebook and Google. Why go after a potential NSA tool instead of a surely NSA tool?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    Maybe because it’s not based in Russia, and is a well-known opponent of Putin and his government?

    The same arguments you guys were using.
     
    Unlikely. For the officials in US government to use our arguments would require deep understanding of Russia that they simply do not posess.


    Why go after a potential NSA tool instead of a surely NSA tool?
     
    The owners of Facebook and Google do not the same personal history with Russia that Durov has. Go read up on how he lost control of VK.com and you will understand why Russian government may see him as a threat.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  26. @reiner Tor
    Maybe because it’s not based in Russia, and is a well-known opponent of Putin and his government?

    The same arguments you guys were using.

    Anyway, it might cooperate with the CIA and the FBI, but you know that for sure about Facebook and Google. Why go after a potential NSA tool instead of a surely NSA tool?

    Maybe because it’s not based in Russia, and is a well-known opponent of Putin and his government?

    The same arguments you guys were using.

    Unlikely. For the officials in US government to use our arguments would require deep understanding of Russia that they simply do not posess.

    Why go after a potential NSA tool instead of a surely NSA tool?

    The owners of Facebook and Google do not the same personal history with Russia that Durov has. Go read up on how he lost control of VK.com and you will understand why Russian government may see him as a threat.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    For the officials in US government to use our arguments would require deep understanding of Russia
     
    Durov doesn't even have a Russian passport. It needs no deep understanding at all.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  27. There are good reasons to criticize the Russian government’s handling of the Telegram situation (better to invest into real alternatives than to feed the narcissistic fire of posers like Durov). But for those who are interested in these kinds of issues, it would be a good idea to talk to some knowledgeable people and not to take Durov or Yasha Levine too seriously.

    There are some common misconceptions being repeated in these threads over and over again, the most pernicious of which is that some players are trustworthy and others are untrustworthy because of the personalities or source of funding behind them. Only truly free software, which can be compiled and distributed by everyone, has a chance of being established as trustworthy. So Signal and Telegram are both out. Tor is still in. (Signal and Telegram are open source, but they want you to use their servers, and you have no way of knowing what they’ve actually compiled. Tor is not only open source, but freely distributed.)

    As for the untrustworthy services, like Signal, Telegram, Facebook and Google– they can still be used for secure communication if you encrypt your message with PGP (free software) and then cut and paste. The trustworthiness of the messenger is and should be irrelevant.

    (By the way, the IT department at my institution in Moscow is incompetent, and they leave me no choice but to use Tor in order to communicate between my desktop in my office and my laptop, both of which are owned by my institution.)

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    Only truly free software, which can be compiled and distributed by everyone, has a chance of being established as trustworthy. So Signal and Telegram are both out.
     
    I'd say trustworthy systems are trustworthy regardless of owner. Other systems can be divided into surely NSA (FSB, etc.) controlled systems and possibly NSA (etc.) controlled ones. I fail to see why attack the latter without attacking the former. There should at least be some incentive not to cooperate with the NSA, or at a minimum to keep it confidential.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  28. @Dmitry
    Runet is becoming some kind of parody of late 1990s American internet. As if buying livejournal and making it into the Russian company was not funny enough. Now ICQ is getting trending. I'm just waiting now for when Myspace becomes the official venue for government communication.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
    Yeah, I know that one guy. I can you introduce you to him. At least unlike Durov and Levine, he's not a poser.
    , @reiner Tor
    Wasn't the IRC a thing in the second half of the nineties? I'm not sure when it went out, though, but maybe earlier than 2004.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  29. @Felix Keverich

    the FBI is different. The ones who questioned me were competent. They spoke multiple languages. They had done their research, and knew exactly what questions to ask. They were of a high caliber. And I understood that America has so many resources dedicated to security that it is downright scary. Law enforcement in America is so much more efficient.”
     
    But, then the head of the FBI, investigating Russia, couldn't tell what Gazprom is...Durov is just a classic case of "низкопоклонство перед Западом", so typical among the Russian liberals - I bet he shared his keys with the FBI years ago.

    Telegram is NOT a Russian brand, and the company is not based in Russia. If it was, it could have been expropriated by a Kremlin-friendly oligarch the way VK was. 93% of TG's user base is outside of Russia.

    Bershidsky believes that the Russian campaign against Telegram will eventually succeed as Google and Amazon will be compelled to dump Telegram to preserve their Russian business. I'm inclined to agree.

    низкопоклонство перед Западом

    Durov’s a poser. Better to just ignore him, since he obviously enjoys the attention so much. The real issue is to build alternatives to Signal and Telegram that are both credible and popular. If the Kremlin had the necessary foresight and principle, they could easily and cheaply be the patrons for such a project. Just endow a foundation with a small budget to renovate a vagonzavod as a tech coop and let the nerds sort out the rest.

    Not holding my breath.

    Read More
    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  30. @Anatoly Karlin
    https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/team_chat.png

    Yeah, I know that one guy. I can you introduce you to him. At least unlike Durov and Levine, he’s not a poser.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  31. @Anatoly Karlin
    https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/team_chat.png

    Wasn’t the IRC a thing in the second half of the nineties? I’m not sure when it went out, though, but maybe earlier than 2004.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  32. @The Big Red Scary
    There are good reasons to criticize the Russian government's handling of the Telegram situation (better to invest into real alternatives than to feed the narcissistic fire of posers like Durov). But for those who are interested in these kinds of issues, it would be a good idea to talk to some knowledgeable people and not to take Durov or Yasha Levine too seriously.

    There are some common misconceptions being repeated in these threads over and over again, the most pernicious of which is that some players are trustworthy and others are untrustworthy because of the personalities or source of funding behind them. Only truly free software, which can be compiled and distributed by everyone, has a chance of being established as trustworthy. So Signal and Telegram are both out. Tor is still in. (Signal and Telegram are open source, but they want you to use their servers, and you have no way of knowing what they've actually compiled. Tor is not only open source, but freely distributed.)

    As for the untrustworthy services, like Signal, Telegram, Facebook and Google-- they can still be used for secure communication if you encrypt your message with PGP (free software) and then cut and paste. The trustworthiness of the messenger is and should be irrelevant.

    (By the way, the IT department at my institution in Moscow is incompetent, and they leave me no choice but to use Tor in order to communicate between my desktop in my office and my laptop, both of which are owned by my institution.)

    Only truly free software, which can be compiled and distributed by everyone, has a chance of being established as trustworthy. So Signal and Telegram are both out.

    I’d say trustworthy systems are trustworthy regardless of owner. Other systems can be divided into surely NSA (FSB, etc.) controlled systems and possibly NSA (etc.) controlled ones. I fail to see why attack the latter without attacking the former. There should at least be some incentive not to cooperate with the NSA, or at a minimum to keep it confidential.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary

    I fail to see why attack the latter without attacking the former.
     
    Sure. However, I don't see the point of directly attacking either without providing a real alternative. This is like spending all your resources on antibiotics and not having enough for food. You'll end up immune-compromised anyway and die from some other infection against which your antibiotics are useless.

    I think the fact is that most people don't really care about their privacy. GPG is fairly easy to use, but people don't use it. Revealed preference. It could be easier to use, and better integrated with other services. But maybe it's like the brushing of teeth. You need a major public hygiene campaign for years and years to convince people to take care of themselves.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  33. @Felix Keverich

    Maybe because it’s not based in Russia, and is a well-known opponent of Putin and his government?

    The same arguments you guys were using.
     
    Unlikely. For the officials in US government to use our arguments would require deep understanding of Russia that they simply do not posess.


    Why go after a potential NSA tool instead of a surely NSA tool?
     
    The owners of Facebook and Google do not the same personal history with Russia that Durov has. Go read up on how he lost control of VK.com and you will understand why Russian government may see him as a threat.

    For the officials in US government to use our arguments would require deep understanding of Russia

    Durov doesn’t even have a Russian passport. It needs no deep understanding at all.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    Durov doesn’t even have a Russian passport.
     
    Really? His wikipedia page says otherwise...

    He sure got lots of people confused. :/
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  34. @reiner Tor

    For the officials in US government to use our arguments would require deep understanding of Russia
     
    Durov doesn't even have a Russian passport. It needs no deep understanding at all.

    Durov doesn’t even have a Russian passport.

    Really? His wikipedia page says otherwise…

    He sure got lots of people confused. :/

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Maybe he still has it, but Wikipedia says he travels on his other citizenship, which he acquired for $250,000 in 2014. So once his passport expires, will he just walk into a Russian consulate to renew it? Will he, in fact, renew it?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  35. @reiner Tor

    Only truly free software, which can be compiled and distributed by everyone, has a chance of being established as trustworthy. So Signal and Telegram are both out.
     
    I'd say trustworthy systems are trustworthy regardless of owner. Other systems can be divided into surely NSA (FSB, etc.) controlled systems and possibly NSA (etc.) controlled ones. I fail to see why attack the latter without attacking the former. There should at least be some incentive not to cooperate with the NSA, or at a minimum to keep it confidential.

    I fail to see why attack the latter without attacking the former.

    Sure. However, I don’t see the point of directly attacking either without providing a real alternative. This is like spending all your resources on antibiotics and not having enough for food. You’ll end up immune-compromised anyway and die from some other infection against which your antibiotics are useless.

    I think the fact is that most people don’t really care about their privacy. GPG is fairly easy to use, but people don’t use it. Revealed preference. It could be easier to use, and better integrated with other services. But maybe it’s like the brushing of teeth. You need a major public hygiene campaign for years and years to convince people to take care of themselves.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  36. @Felix Keverich

    Durov doesn’t even have a Russian passport.
     
    Really? His wikipedia page says otherwise...

    He sure got lots of people confused. :/

    Maybe he still has it, but Wikipedia says he travels on his other citizenship, which he acquired for $250,000 in 2014. So once his passport expires, will he just walk into a Russian consulate to renew it? Will he, in fact, renew it?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    Who cares, he will remain a Russian citizen either way. It's not important. But your confusion shows just how easy it is for a foreigner to get things wrong about Russia and Russians, which brings me back to my original point:

    Durov and his Telegram are NOT being investigated over “Russian interference”. This is how we know they cooperate with NSA/FBI.
     
    Telegram has a lot more users in US than in Russia, and I very much doubt US "national security community" would be ok with that, if they weren't 100% certain that Durov is on their side.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  37. OT

    Although it’s well known that the American version of events seems at least somewhat dubious, the Russian version is also at least somewhat questionable.

    Last year, the Americans officially claimed that 58 of the 59 Tomahawks hit their intended targets. The Russians & Syrians claimed that only 23 hit their targets. However, the Syrians later could only show pictures of the remains of exactly one (1) missile outside of Shayrat. Independent sources showed 44 targets hit, and it was claimed some targets were hit by more than one missile, a claim whose veracity was impossible for me to corroborate.

    Now we have this new missile strike. Are there any pictures or other corroboration of the missiles which were shot down? Or the missile sites where they went? Something? Anything?

    It’d be nice to have a clear picture of what went on there.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Frederic Bastiat
    Before the strike it was leaked that 8 targets were in consideration including "two Syrian airfields, a research center and a chemical weapons facility". [1]

    After the strike it was announced by McKenzie that three targets were bombed [2]:
    * "77 missiles destroyed the Barzah Research and Development Center. It does not exist anymore. This will set the Syrian CW program by years."
    * "22 missiles hit the Him Shinshar Chemical Weapons Storage Site. All coalition forces were involved in kinetic strikes"
    * "7 missiles were employed against a third target"

    :
    * Against the Barzah Research and Development Center:
    * Here the targets in red [3]:
    https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-hmZTa7KK_oo/WtMVq9hSJmI/AAAAAAAAaSI/RVJqCPq1pv4f4ESJ5dT4v6AZbdnMWNvDQCLcBGAs/s1600/siria%2Bataque%2BEEUU%2Bbrit%25C3%25A1nico%2Bfranc%25C3%25A9s%2B2018-4-14%2Bzonas%2Bblancos%2B1a.jpg
    * A possible strike pattern according to the above numbers [3]:
    https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-FybtMd68Cfk/WtMWwMNB7TI/AAAAAAAAaSc/vfGo7Gm4vcwi-vXCcb4eBhXsBTC9EmLaQCLcBGAs/s1600/siria%2Bataque%2BEEUU%2Bbrit%25C3%25A1nico%2Bfranc%25C3%25A9s%2B2018-4-14%2Bzonas%2Bblancos%2B1b.jpg
    * The actual damage done by allegedly 34 tons of explosives (in succession) [see Twitter thread for more details]:
    https://twitter.com/vpkivimaki/status/985593196376977409
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=54&v=FhW2G-ynvBc


    * Against the Him Shinshar
    * Targets in red [3]:
    https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-RqYUlkj1yp8/WtMlKQSyjlI/AAAAAAAAaS0/-Cc8m3v2g7MAPlJY2WpxX3jzpLU59O0FQCLcBGAs/s1600/siria%2Bataque%2BEEUU%2Bbrit%25C3%25A1nico%2Bfranc%25C3%25A9s%2B2018-4-14%2Bzonas%2Bblancos%2B2a.jpg
    * Strike pattern according to the numbers [3]:
    https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-p1_G17je-LQ/WtMmeZwtVBI/AAAAAAAAaTY/dL2jlsnMHdQrTIVffpIeZitvkxxxz1pGgCLcBGAs/s1600/siria%2Bataque%2BEEUU%2Bbrit%25C3%25A1nico%2Bfranc%25C3%25A9s%2B2018-4-14%2Bzonas%2Bblancos%2B2%2Bimpactos.jpg
    * The actual damage
    https://twitter.com/DigitalGlobe/status/985319969742381056

    * The third target:
    * Target in red [3]: https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-SB_1agXpYQ0/WtMuWCpsp_I/AAAAAAAAaTs/bBfJdoJSZ7UdHMU_Vqs4SLUMkjUedRE9ACLcBGAs/s1600/siria%2Bataque%2BEEUU%2Bbrit%25C3%25A1nico%2Bfranc%25C3%25A9s%2B2018-4-14%2Bzonas%2Bblancos%2B3a.jpg
    * Strike pattern [3]:
    https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-dLdL1wQ5NFY/WtMvRoje0wI/AAAAAAAAaUE/2xmC1HYiEyotaWYqvZAXLqBrwZ3z693xgCLcBGAs/s1600/siria%2Bataque%2BEEUU%2Bbrit%25C3%25A1nico%2Bfranc%25C3%25A9s%2B2018-4-14%2Bzonas%2Bblancos%2B3%2Bimpactos.jpg
    * Actual damage:
    https://static01.nyt.com/newsgraphics/2018/04/13/syria-us-strikes/a25a23b1089c393919bac5ad82970f5b0721b470/homs-before-after-bunker-600.jpg

    Consider:
    * that the facility most probably had no military meaning (chemical or otherwise), as is confirmed by an OPCW inspection in November 2017 [4] and by the fact that first responders did not wear any protective gear
    https://twitter.com/AlSuraEnglish/status/985094026167599104
    * that the supposed attack on meaningless buildings would have cost around $165 Million [5]
    * that the strike was expected to be an escalalation of the previous strike which targeted a military facility
    * that the damage is not consistent with what missiles are supposed to have done as FB has calculated [6]; 34 ton of explosions in close succession on the first target; see also [3] for this and this tomahawk demonstration video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sa7ZX58Kk4
    * that there is video evidence of at least 1-2 missiles being shot down
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvwtuKY8D54
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vx5ez_KuV5c
    * The Russian claim of 71 shot down missiles is substantiated by the sources of an Western propaganda outlet, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights[7]


    ----
    Sources:
    [1] https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/12/trump-decision-on-syria-strikes-coming-fairly-soon.html
    [2] (Sources in the link) https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-04-14/highlights-pentagon-press-briefing-syria-airstrikes
    [3] (In Spanish) http://charly015.blogspot.de/2018/04/llego-el-ataque-contra-siria.html
    [4] https://southfront.org/us-led-strike-on-syria-most-of-missiles-spent-on-empty-target-opcw-report-says-no-chemical-weapons-there/
    [5] https://www.businessinsider.de/trump-us-syria-strike-how-many-missiles-were-fired-2017-2018-4?r=US&IR=T
    [6] http://www.unz.com/akarlin/ww3/#comment-2289684
    [7] http://www.syriahr.com/en/?p=89324
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  38. @reiner Tor
    Maybe he still has it, but Wikipedia says he travels on his other citizenship, which he acquired for $250,000 in 2014. So once his passport expires, will he just walk into a Russian consulate to renew it? Will he, in fact, renew it?

    Who cares, he will remain a Russian citizen either way. It’s not important. But your confusion shows just how easy it is for a foreigner to get things wrong about Russia and Russians, which brings me back to my original point:

    Durov and his Telegram are NOT being investigated over “Russian interference”. This is how we know they cooperate with NSA/FBI.

    Telegram has a lot more users in US than in Russia, and I very much doubt US “national security community” would be ok with that, if they weren’t 100% certain that Durov is on their side.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    So? He lives abroad, and uses another passport. Apparently none of his employees are Russian. He's also a known enemy of the Kremlin. Again, it needs no special explanation why he wasn't investigated, unlike Kaspersky, which is well-known to be friendly to Putin and the Kremlin.

    The US promotes Tor, which - as The Big Red Scary pointed out - is completely safe irrespective of its owners, because it figures that it's a bigger problem to its enemies (Iran, China, Russia, Venezuela, etc.) than to the US. I think the US surveillance state could just hack your computer and see what you're using, Tor is only as safe as your computer itself. Is there a reason to think Telegram somehow protects the devices themselves? If not, why would US security services be less OK with Telegram than with Tor?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  39. @Felix Keverich
    Who cares, he will remain a Russian citizen either way. It's not important. But your confusion shows just how easy it is for a foreigner to get things wrong about Russia and Russians, which brings me back to my original point:

    Durov and his Telegram are NOT being investigated over “Russian interference”. This is how we know they cooperate with NSA/FBI.
     
    Telegram has a lot more users in US than in Russia, and I very much doubt US "national security community" would be ok with that, if they weren't 100% certain that Durov is on their side.

    So? He lives abroad, and uses another passport. Apparently none of his employees are Russian. He’s also a known enemy of the Kremlin. Again, it needs no special explanation why he wasn’t investigated, unlike Kaspersky, which is well-known to be friendly to Putin and the Kremlin.

    The US promotes Tor, which – as The Big Red Scary pointed out – is completely safe irrespective of its owners, because it figures that it’s a bigger problem to its enemies (Iran, China, Russia, Venezuela, etc.) than to the US. I think the US surveillance state could just hack your computer and see what you’re using, Tor is only as safe as your computer itself. Is there a reason to think Telegram somehow protects the devices themselves? If not, why would US security services be less OK with Telegram than with Tor?

    Read More
    • Replies: @neutral
    Tor is safe for the US government because they created it and thus know how to to bypass the security, its not because they can hack your computer directly. This also means Tor is utterly unsafe unless you consider the US regime harmless...
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  40. @reiner Tor
    So? He lives abroad, and uses another passport. Apparently none of his employees are Russian. He's also a known enemy of the Kremlin. Again, it needs no special explanation why he wasn't investigated, unlike Kaspersky, which is well-known to be friendly to Putin and the Kremlin.

    The US promotes Tor, which - as The Big Red Scary pointed out - is completely safe irrespective of its owners, because it figures that it's a bigger problem to its enemies (Iran, China, Russia, Venezuela, etc.) than to the US. I think the US surveillance state could just hack your computer and see what you're using, Tor is only as safe as your computer itself. Is there a reason to think Telegram somehow protects the devices themselves? If not, why would US security services be less OK with Telegram than with Tor?

    Tor is safe for the US government because they created it and thus know how to to bypass the security, its not because they can hack your computer directly. This also means Tor is utterly unsafe unless you consider the US regime harmless…

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Is it not both decentralized and open source? So even theoretically almost impossible to crack.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  41. @neutral
    Tor is safe for the US government because they created it and thus know how to to bypass the security, its not because they can hack your computer directly. This also means Tor is utterly unsafe unless you consider the US regime harmless...

    Is it not both decentralized and open source? So even theoretically almost impossible to crack.

    Read More
    • Replies: @neutral
    Its a bit like that saying: "if your votes mattered, the government would ban it", if Tor was truly a way to prevent the US regime from spying on you they would have stopped it already.

    Then you will come across stories like this: https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/government-contractor-tor-malware/

    Now imagine for a moment how much the government is doing that is not being made public.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  42. @reiner Tor
    Is it not both decentralized and open source? So even theoretically almost impossible to crack.

    Its a bit like that saying: “if your votes mattered, the government would ban it”, if Tor was truly a way to prevent the US regime from spying on you they would have stopped it already.

    Then you will come across stories like this: https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/government-contractor-tor-malware/

    Now imagine for a moment how much the government is doing that is not being made public.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I’m not an expert, but doesn’t the malware get onto your computer? As I wrote, they can crack you anyway, just not Tor.

    By the way your ISP can see that you’re using Tor (just not what exactly you’re doing), I’d be surprised if the NSA wouldn’t automatically see it. Then they will try to crack your computer, and chances are, they will be able to do that.

    Anyway, Tor itself is not easy to crack (the malware mentioned in the article used flash, which is not recommended by the Tor developers), and any security holes could easily be spotted by the community (it’s open source), but they crack dumb users (who are using flash on Tor), and most (all?) users are dumb.

    The US national interest in developing it is the hope that it will be more corrosive to other regimes than their own. Either because some enemy governments have less resources and/or programming talent to crack it (Iran?) or because their governments are more vulnerable to being color revolutioned.

    The same applies to Telegram. Its users can be cracked elsewhere. The US regime probably perceives that it can crack its users anyway (highly likely, the vast majority of them use Windows or MacOS etc.), so it’s in its interest to promote tools which are more difficult for others to crack, giving it an edge.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  43. No, of course it is Telegram that is getting blocked – the strongest Russian IT brand

    Telegram is not a Russian IT brand.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  44. @neutral
    Its a bit like that saying: "if your votes mattered, the government would ban it", if Tor was truly a way to prevent the US regime from spying on you they would have stopped it already.

    Then you will come across stories like this: https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/government-contractor-tor-malware/

    Now imagine for a moment how much the government is doing that is not being made public.

    I’m not an expert, but doesn’t the malware get onto your computer? As I wrote, they can crack you anyway, just not Tor.

    By the way your ISP can see that you’re using Tor (just not what exactly you’re doing), I’d be surprised if the NSA wouldn’t automatically see it. Then they will try to crack your computer, and chances are, they will be able to do that.

    Anyway, Tor itself is not easy to crack (the malware mentioned in the article used flash, which is not recommended by the Tor developers), and any security holes could easily be spotted by the community (it’s open source), but they crack dumb users (who are using flash on Tor), and most (all?) users are dumb.

    The US national interest in developing it is the hope that it will be more corrosive to other regimes than their own. Either because some enemy governments have less resources and/or programming talent to crack it (Iran?) or because their governments are more vulnerable to being color revolutioned.

    The same applies to Telegram. Its users can be cracked elsewhere. The US regime probably perceives that it can crack its users anyway (highly likely, the vast majority of them use Windows or MacOS etc.), so it’s in its interest to promote tools which are more difficult for others to crack, giving it an edge.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  45. @reiner Tor
    OT

    Although it's well known that the American version of events seems at least somewhat dubious, the Russian version is also at least somewhat questionable.

    Last year, the Americans officially claimed that 58 of the 59 Tomahawks hit their intended targets. The Russians & Syrians claimed that only 23 hit their targets. However, the Syrians later could only show pictures of the remains of exactly one (1) missile outside of Shayrat. Independent sources showed 44 targets hit, and it was claimed some targets were hit by more than one missile, a claim whose veracity was impossible for me to corroborate.

    Now we have this new missile strike. Are there any pictures or other corroboration of the missiles which were shot down? Or the missile sites where they went? Something? Anything?

    It'd be nice to have a clear picture of what went on there.

    Before the strike it was leaked that 8 targets were in consideration including “two Syrian airfields, a research center and a chemical weapons facility”. [1]

    After the strike it was announced by McKenzie that three targets were bombed [2]:
    * “77 missiles destroyed the Barzah Research and Development Center. It does not exist anymore. This will set the Syrian CW program by years.”
    * “22 missiles hit the Him Shinshar Chemical Weapons Storage Site. All coalition forces were involved in kinetic strikes”
    * “7 missiles were employed against a third target”

    :
    * Against the Barzah Research and Development Center:
    * Here the targets in red [3]:

    * A possible strike pattern according to the above numbers [3]:

    * The actual damage done by allegedly 34 tons of explosives (in succession) [see Twitter thread for more details]:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=54&v=FhW2G-ynvBc

    * Against the Him Shinshar
    * Targets in red [3]:

    * Strike pattern according to the numbers [3]:

    * The actual damage

    * The third target:
    * Target in red [3]:
    * Strike pattern [3]:

    * Actual damage:

    Consider:
    * that the facility most probably had no military meaning (chemical or otherwise), as is confirmed by an OPCW inspection in November 2017 [4] and by the fact that first responders did not wear any protective gear

    * that the supposed attack on meaningless buildings would have cost around $165 Million [5]
    * that the strike was expected to be an escalalation of the previous strike which targeted a military facility
    * that the damage is not consistent with what missiles are supposed to have done as FB has calculated [6]; 34 ton of explosions in close succession on the first target; see also [3] for this and this tomahawk demonstration video

    * that there is video evidence of at least 1-2 missiles being shot down

    * The Russian claim of 71 shot down missiles is substantiated by the sources of an Western propaganda outlet, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights[7]

    —-
    Sources:
    [1] https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/12/trump-decision-on-syria-strikes-coming-fairly-soon.html
    [2] (Sources in the link) https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-04-14/highlights-pentagon-press-briefing-syria-airstrikes
    [3] (In Spanish) http://charly015.blogspot.de/2018/04/llego-el-ataque-contra-siria.html
    [4] https://southfront.org/us-led-strike-on-syria-most-of-missiles-spent-on-empty-target-opcw-report-says-no-chemical-weapons-there/
    [5] https://www.businessinsider.de/trump-us-syria-strike-how-many-missiles-were-fired-2017-2018-4?r=US&IR=T
    [6] http://www.unz.com/akarlin/ww3/#comment-2289684
    [7] http://www.syriahr.com/en/?p=89324

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    This is very thorough and well-researched! Did you do it yourself?

    Good stuff!
    , @reiner Tor
    My main concern is still the lack of pictures of the downed missiles (I guess they should already be found), and in this age of the smartphone I’d also expect more than a couple videos of seventy-something events (though perhaps it being at night is a good explanation).

    Not that a few videos are too meaningful to a layperson like me. I remember well when in 1991 we were shown those videos of the American Patriot air defense systems downing Scuds. (As it later turned out, nothing of the sort happened at all.) But the lack of videos is still unexpected.

    Speaking of Iraqi Scuds, the Kuwait War was also a good example of American dishonesty when reporting their glorious military adventures. Besides the lies about the Patriot air defense system, they also claimed on the first couple of days that they had already destroyed 80% of Iraqi military abilities within less than 24 hours. Later it turned out that it was far from being the truth. (The war was an easy enough victory, so few people remember it. The fact that they kept lying during an easy victory doesn’t bode well about how they’d tell the truth during a war which wouldn’t go so well... Though maybe all militaries would do the same.)

    Overall yours is a pretty good summary, and far from unconvincing either. Thanks for it! I have already used it elsewhere.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  46. http://tass.com/science/1000229

    Very interesting. Can someone with technical knowledge elaborate on this?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Neal
    Essentially he's saying that: "We don't want to be Amazon. We want to be in the business of making products and not in the business of selling/delivery products."

    What are "Payloads Manufacturing" exactly? Is that spy and commercial satellites? Rich space tourists?
    How is he intends to own this segment? He has no control over "Payloads Manufacturing". Does the US Gov. allows him to manufacture their spy satellites? How is he going to produce "rich space tourists"? Talk about wishful thinking.

    Ask Peter Theil about the idea of "Wanting to own 1% of a huge competitive market instead of 100% of a small growing market."
    , @Thorfinnsson
    Rogozin is correct--today.

    However the launch vehicle market is likely to grow ten-fold by mid-century.

    It will likely settle into a stable international oligopoly comparable to the widebody jet airliner and high-bypass turbofan engine markets.

    A major technical problem for Russia in competing in launch is its geography. The closer you are to the equator the more payload you can put into orbit.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  47. Meanwhile, perhaps the most frustrating thing of all – at least so far I’m concerned – is that it’s not Google or Facebook which are getting shut down, both of which are at this point mere adjuncts to the NSA and agents of a hostile foreign power.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/SargonofAkkad/comments/8dmmli/as_russia_nukes_half_the_web_to_ban_his_app_pavel/

    Over the weekened I plan to translate the full interview with RKN’s chief. It’s a hoot: he’s just so incredibly blunt, he openly states they’re about to bully Google and Amazon, and switch to Facebook by the end of the year.

    But what’s hilarious is the magnitude of the struggle. Thus far half of Amazon’s cloud assets, half of Google’s cloud assets and a chunk of Microsoft Azure have all been banned, leading to unexpected failure of things ranging from Volvo’s maintenance databases to Eve Online’s chat.

    Is the war against Telegram a prelude in the war against Google & Co.?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  48. @Frederic Bastiat
    Before the strike it was leaked that 8 targets were in consideration including "two Syrian airfields, a research center and a chemical weapons facility". [1]

    After the strike it was announced by McKenzie that three targets were bombed [2]:
    * "77 missiles destroyed the Barzah Research and Development Center. It does not exist anymore. This will set the Syrian CW program by years."
    * "22 missiles hit the Him Shinshar Chemical Weapons Storage Site. All coalition forces were involved in kinetic strikes"
    * "7 missiles were employed against a third target"

    :
    * Against the Barzah Research and Development Center:
    * Here the targets in red [3]:
    https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-hmZTa7KK_oo/WtMVq9hSJmI/AAAAAAAAaSI/RVJqCPq1pv4f4ESJ5dT4v6AZbdnMWNvDQCLcBGAs/s1600/siria%2Bataque%2BEEUU%2Bbrit%25C3%25A1nico%2Bfranc%25C3%25A9s%2B2018-4-14%2Bzonas%2Bblancos%2B1a.jpg
    * A possible strike pattern according to the above numbers [3]:
    https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-FybtMd68Cfk/WtMWwMNB7TI/AAAAAAAAaSc/vfGo7Gm4vcwi-vXCcb4eBhXsBTC9EmLaQCLcBGAs/s1600/siria%2Bataque%2BEEUU%2Bbrit%25C3%25A1nico%2Bfranc%25C3%25A9s%2B2018-4-14%2Bzonas%2Bblancos%2B1b.jpg
    * The actual damage done by allegedly 34 tons of explosives (in succession) [see Twitter thread for more details]:
    https://twitter.com/vpkivimaki/status/985593196376977409
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=54&v=FhW2G-ynvBc


    * Against the Him Shinshar
    * Targets in red [3]:
    https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-RqYUlkj1yp8/WtMlKQSyjlI/AAAAAAAAaS0/-Cc8m3v2g7MAPlJY2WpxX3jzpLU59O0FQCLcBGAs/s1600/siria%2Bataque%2BEEUU%2Bbrit%25C3%25A1nico%2Bfranc%25C3%25A9s%2B2018-4-14%2Bzonas%2Bblancos%2B2a.jpg
    * Strike pattern according to the numbers [3]:
    https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-p1_G17je-LQ/WtMmeZwtVBI/AAAAAAAAaTY/dL2jlsnMHdQrTIVffpIeZitvkxxxz1pGgCLcBGAs/s1600/siria%2Bataque%2BEEUU%2Bbrit%25C3%25A1nico%2Bfranc%25C3%25A9s%2B2018-4-14%2Bzonas%2Bblancos%2B2%2Bimpactos.jpg
    * The actual damage
    https://twitter.com/DigitalGlobe/status/985319969742381056

    * The third target:
    * Target in red [3]: https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-SB_1agXpYQ0/WtMuWCpsp_I/AAAAAAAAaTs/bBfJdoJSZ7UdHMU_Vqs4SLUMkjUedRE9ACLcBGAs/s1600/siria%2Bataque%2BEEUU%2Bbrit%25C3%25A1nico%2Bfranc%25C3%25A9s%2B2018-4-14%2Bzonas%2Bblancos%2B3a.jpg
    * Strike pattern [3]:
    https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-dLdL1wQ5NFY/WtMvRoje0wI/AAAAAAAAaUE/2xmC1HYiEyotaWYqvZAXLqBrwZ3z693xgCLcBGAs/s1600/siria%2Bataque%2BEEUU%2Bbrit%25C3%25A1nico%2Bfranc%25C3%25A9s%2B2018-4-14%2Bzonas%2Bblancos%2B3%2Bimpactos.jpg
    * Actual damage:
    https://static01.nyt.com/newsgraphics/2018/04/13/syria-us-strikes/a25a23b1089c393919bac5ad82970f5b0721b470/homs-before-after-bunker-600.jpg

    Consider:
    * that the facility most probably had no military meaning (chemical or otherwise), as is confirmed by an OPCW inspection in November 2017 [4] and by the fact that first responders did not wear any protective gear
    https://twitter.com/AlSuraEnglish/status/985094026167599104
    * that the supposed attack on meaningless buildings would have cost around $165 Million [5]
    * that the strike was expected to be an escalalation of the previous strike which targeted a military facility
    * that the damage is not consistent with what missiles are supposed to have done as FB has calculated [6]; 34 ton of explosions in close succession on the first target; see also [3] for this and this tomahawk demonstration video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sa7ZX58Kk4
    * that there is video evidence of at least 1-2 missiles being shot down
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvwtuKY8D54
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vx5ez_KuV5c
    * The Russian claim of 71 shot down missiles is substantiated by the sources of an Western propaganda outlet, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights[7]


    ----
    Sources:
    [1] https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/12/trump-decision-on-syria-strikes-coming-fairly-soon.html
    [2] (Sources in the link) https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-04-14/highlights-pentagon-press-briefing-syria-airstrikes
    [3] (In Spanish) http://charly015.blogspot.de/2018/04/llego-el-ataque-contra-siria.html
    [4] https://southfront.org/us-led-strike-on-syria-most-of-missiles-spent-on-empty-target-opcw-report-says-no-chemical-weapons-there/
    [5] https://www.businessinsider.de/trump-us-syria-strike-how-many-missiles-were-fired-2017-2018-4?r=US&IR=T
    [6] http://www.unz.com/akarlin/ww3/#comment-2289684
    [7] http://www.syriahr.com/en/?p=89324

    This is very thorough and well-researched! Did you do it yourself?

    Good stuff!

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  49. This is an informative discussion. I wonder if Anatoly favors Telegram over ICQ because he’s a transhumanist futurist and sees Telegram as the bitcoin of chat programs, rather than as another part of the NSA’s empire (as some other commenters allege)?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  50. Many Russian commenters here, and not only Russian, seem to be under the impression that Telegram is permitted to exist by the NSA (and other alphabet soup agencies) because it is secretly cooperating with them.

    Telegram may very well be cooperating with the NSA, or perhaps the NSA has penetrated Telegram’s servers. We can’t know.

    But fundamentally the US government does not work like that. As totalitarian as it would like to be, it’s still anchored in Anglo-American laws, traditions, and culture.

    The US government can’t simply ban a website or program. A court can issue an injunction for various violations of law, see for instance the recent seizure of Backpages for allegedly aiding human trafficking and prostitution.

    All kinds of privacy tools the government doesn’t like are freely available in America. VPNs, Telegram, encryption, burner phones, old-fashioned pay phones, etc.

    Generally the government gets its tentacles into organizations through indirect methods, as the commenter utu pointed out: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/telegramming-incompetence/#comment-2295935

    The US government also engages in signal boosting by investing in protocols and programs that serve its interests. Tor and Signal are good examples, and I immediately distrust any alleged dissident who promotes Signal in particular (Snowden and Weeve). Google was also nurtured by the US intelligence community.

    That said we will probably start seeing formal censorship in the 2020s in the USA. The need to combat “racism” (and, of course, enemies of the Empire) will overwhelm the Constitution.

    The good news is that while our enemies are evil and powerful, just like in Russia they are stupid. A good example is the recent Mueller raid on Trump’s lawyer Cohen. The purpose of the raid was to uncover shit about the payoff to Stormy Daniels. If they were smart they’d be looking for evidence of violating laws in the 70s, 80s, and 90s in the course of real estate and casino deals.

    As for Pavel Durov his objections to the Russian government strike me as quite principled, and I don’t believe he’s collaborating with my government. As it’s impossible to know I agree with the commenter who said that real privacy requires tools that don’t require you to trust anyone.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    US passed a law that banned Kasperky software from government computers, they unleashed a campaign of smears against the company.

    FBI sent its agents to investigate the Russian restaurants in NYC: the owner and staff were asked if they support Putin...

    On the other hand, Durov and his Telegram have never encountered this kind of harassment, despite their rising prominence in the US, and possibility of Telegram being used for "Russian election meddling", don't you think it's a little bit suspicious?
    , @neutral

    The US government can’t simply ban a website or program.
     
    The "government" doesn't have to do it because the ADL, SPLC, and all the Silicon Valley SJW corporations are doing exactly that.

    And before we get into the tired old "censorship is only about what government does" debate, being censored and destroyed by non government forces (which the US "government" seems to endorse anyway) does not make it any less harmful. You also have to question just how different Google, ADL, Facebook are from the government, to me they are de facto already part of the government.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  51. @FET
    http://tass.com/science/1000229

    Very interesting. Can someone with technical knowledge elaborate on this?

    Essentially he’s saying that: “We don’t want to be Amazon. We want to be in the business of making products and not in the business of selling/delivery products.”

    What are “Payloads Manufacturing” exactly? Is that spy and commercial satellites? Rich space tourists?
    How is he intends to own this segment? He has no control over “Payloads Manufacturing”. Does the US Gov. allows him to manufacture their spy satellites? How is he going to produce “rich space tourists”? Talk about wishful thinking.

    Ask Peter Theil about the idea of “Wanting to own 1% of a huge competitive market instead of 100% of a small growing market.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    Payloads is indeed largely satellites.

    "Rich space tourists" is the small and growing market here.

    There are about a quarter million ultra-high net worth individuals (net worth over $30m, comparable to a millionaire in the Gilded Age) globally. Some fraction of them would love a space vacation.

    Of course this market will be captured by the most economical rocket manufacturers. Initially the manufacturers will carry the passengers themselves, but eventually there will be space lines just like we have airlines now.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  52. @FET
    http://tass.com/science/1000229

    Very interesting. Can someone with technical knowledge elaborate on this?

    Rogozin is correct–today.

    However the launch vehicle market is likely to grow ten-fold by mid-century.

    It will likely settle into a stable international oligopoly comparable to the widebody jet airliner and high-bypass turbofan engine markets.

    A major technical problem for Russia in competing in launch is its geography. The closer you are to the equator the more payload you can put into orbit.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mitleser

    A major technical problem for Russia in competing in launch is its geography. The closer you are to the equator the more payload you can put into orbit.
     
    Russians are interested in Sea Launch which provides a solution for a reason.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  53. @Neal
    Essentially he's saying that: "We don't want to be Amazon. We want to be in the business of making products and not in the business of selling/delivery products."

    What are "Payloads Manufacturing" exactly? Is that spy and commercial satellites? Rich space tourists?
    How is he intends to own this segment? He has no control over "Payloads Manufacturing". Does the US Gov. allows him to manufacture their spy satellites? How is he going to produce "rich space tourists"? Talk about wishful thinking.

    Ask Peter Theil about the idea of "Wanting to own 1% of a huge competitive market instead of 100% of a small growing market."

    Payloads is indeed largely satellites.

    “Rich space tourists” is the small and growing market here.

    There are about a quarter million ultra-high net worth individuals (net worth over $30m, comparable to a millionaire in the Gilded Age) globally. Some fraction of them would love a space vacation.

    Of course this market will be captured by the most economical rocket manufacturers. Initially the manufacturers will carry the passengers themselves, but eventually there will be space lines just like we have airlines now.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  54. @Thorfinnsson
    Many Russian commenters here, and not only Russian, seem to be under the impression that Telegram is permitted to exist by the NSA (and other alphabet soup agencies) because it is secretly cooperating with them.

    Telegram may very well be cooperating with the NSA, or perhaps the NSA has penetrated Telegram's servers. We can't know.

    But fundamentally the US government does not work like that. As totalitarian as it would like to be, it's still anchored in Anglo-American laws, traditions, and culture.

    The US government can't simply ban a website or program. A court can issue an injunction for various violations of law, see for instance the recent seizure of Backpages for allegedly aiding human trafficking and prostitution.

    All kinds of privacy tools the government doesn't like are freely available in America. VPNs, Telegram, encryption, burner phones, old-fashioned pay phones, etc.

    Generally the government gets its tentacles into organizations through indirect methods, as the commenter utu pointed out: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/telegramming-incompetence/#comment-2295935

    The US government also engages in signal boosting by investing in protocols and programs that serve its interests. Tor and Signal are good examples, and I immediately distrust any alleged dissident who promotes Signal in particular (Snowden and Weeve). Google was also nurtured by the US intelligence community.

    That said we will probably start seeing formal censorship in the 2020s in the USA. The need to combat "racism" (and, of course, enemies of the Empire) will overwhelm the Constitution.

    The good news is that while our enemies are evil and powerful, just like in Russia they are stupid. A good example is the recent Mueller raid on Trump's lawyer Cohen. The purpose of the raid was to uncover shit about the payoff to Stormy Daniels. If they were smart they'd be looking for evidence of violating laws in the 70s, 80s, and 90s in the course of real estate and casino deals.

    As for Pavel Durov his objections to the Russian government strike me as quite principled, and I don't believe he's collaborating with my government. As it's impossible to know I agree with the commenter who said that real privacy requires tools that don't require you to trust anyone.

    US passed a law that banned Kasperky software from government computers, they unleashed a campaign of smears against the company.

    FBI sent its agents to investigate the Russian restaurants in NYC: the owner and staff were asked if they support Putin…

    On the other hand, Durov and his Telegram have never encountered this kind of harassment, despite their rising prominence in the US, and possibility of Telegram being used for “Russian election meddling”, don’t you think it’s a little bit suspicious?

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor

    FBI sent its agents to investigate the Russian restaurants in NYC: the owner and staff were asked if they support Putin...
     
    I tried to look it up, but couldn’t find it. Do you have, sources, by any chance?
    , @Thorfinnsson
    Kaspersky and similar programs have access to the files on your PC and thus are a natural security concern. I am a happy Kaspersky customer incidentally.

    Telegram has no such access.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  55. @Thorfinnsson
    Many Russian commenters here, and not only Russian, seem to be under the impression that Telegram is permitted to exist by the NSA (and other alphabet soup agencies) because it is secretly cooperating with them.

    Telegram may very well be cooperating with the NSA, or perhaps the NSA has penetrated Telegram's servers. We can't know.

    But fundamentally the US government does not work like that. As totalitarian as it would like to be, it's still anchored in Anglo-American laws, traditions, and culture.

    The US government can't simply ban a website or program. A court can issue an injunction for various violations of law, see for instance the recent seizure of Backpages for allegedly aiding human trafficking and prostitution.

    All kinds of privacy tools the government doesn't like are freely available in America. VPNs, Telegram, encryption, burner phones, old-fashioned pay phones, etc.

    Generally the government gets its tentacles into organizations through indirect methods, as the commenter utu pointed out: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/telegramming-incompetence/#comment-2295935

    The US government also engages in signal boosting by investing in protocols and programs that serve its interests. Tor and Signal are good examples, and I immediately distrust any alleged dissident who promotes Signal in particular (Snowden and Weeve). Google was also nurtured by the US intelligence community.

    That said we will probably start seeing formal censorship in the 2020s in the USA. The need to combat "racism" (and, of course, enemies of the Empire) will overwhelm the Constitution.

    The good news is that while our enemies are evil and powerful, just like in Russia they are stupid. A good example is the recent Mueller raid on Trump's lawyer Cohen. The purpose of the raid was to uncover shit about the payoff to Stormy Daniels. If they were smart they'd be looking for evidence of violating laws in the 70s, 80s, and 90s in the course of real estate and casino deals.

    As for Pavel Durov his objections to the Russian government strike me as quite principled, and I don't believe he's collaborating with my government. As it's impossible to know I agree with the commenter who said that real privacy requires tools that don't require you to trust anyone.

    The US government can’t simply ban a website or program.

    The “government” doesn’t have to do it because the ADL, SPLC, and all the Silicon Valley SJW corporations are doing exactly that.

    And before we get into the tired old “censorship is only about what government does” debate, being censored and destroyed by non government forces (which the US “government” seems to endorse anyway) does not make it any less harmful. You also have to question just how different Google, ADL, Facebook are from the government, to me they are de facto already part of the government.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    These non-government forces also don't ban websites or programs, though that's changing as we saw with the Daily Stormer fiasco and the refusal to allow Gab on Google Play and the iPhone.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  56. @Felix Keverich
    US passed a law that banned Kasperky software from government computers, they unleashed a campaign of smears against the company.

    FBI sent its agents to investigate the Russian restaurants in NYC: the owner and staff were asked if they support Putin...

    On the other hand, Durov and his Telegram have never encountered this kind of harassment, despite their rising prominence in the US, and possibility of Telegram being used for "Russian election meddling", don't you think it's a little bit suspicious?

    FBI sent its agents to investigate the Russian restaurants in NYC: the owner and staff were asked if they support Putin…

    I tried to look it up, but couldn’t find it. Do you have, sources, by any chance?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    https://www.rt.com/usa/422919-teremok-putin-secret-meetings/
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  57. @reiner Tor

    FBI sent its agents to investigate the Russian restaurants in NYC: the owner and staff were asked if they support Putin...
     
    I tried to look it up, but couldn’t find it. Do you have, sources, by any chance?
    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Putting aside the fact that the story is not in any way corroborated (only source is RT, which would for example be impossible to use on normies; even RT didn’t bother to call the inspectors to ask for their version of the story, or at least failed to mention it), this was not the FBI, but some overzealous local sanitary inspectors. The reason why Telegram doesn’t get sanitary inspections (overzealous or not) is that it’s not a restaurant.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  58. @Frederic Bastiat
    Before the strike it was leaked that 8 targets were in consideration including "two Syrian airfields, a research center and a chemical weapons facility". [1]

    After the strike it was announced by McKenzie that three targets were bombed [2]:
    * "77 missiles destroyed the Barzah Research and Development Center. It does not exist anymore. This will set the Syrian CW program by years."
    * "22 missiles hit the Him Shinshar Chemical Weapons Storage Site. All coalition forces were involved in kinetic strikes"
    * "7 missiles were employed against a third target"

    :
    * Against the Barzah Research and Development Center:
    * Here the targets in red [3]:
    https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-hmZTa7KK_oo/WtMVq9hSJmI/AAAAAAAAaSI/RVJqCPq1pv4f4ESJ5dT4v6AZbdnMWNvDQCLcBGAs/s1600/siria%2Bataque%2BEEUU%2Bbrit%25C3%25A1nico%2Bfranc%25C3%25A9s%2B2018-4-14%2Bzonas%2Bblancos%2B1a.jpg
    * A possible strike pattern according to the above numbers [3]:
    https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-FybtMd68Cfk/WtMWwMNB7TI/AAAAAAAAaSc/vfGo7Gm4vcwi-vXCcb4eBhXsBTC9EmLaQCLcBGAs/s1600/siria%2Bataque%2BEEUU%2Bbrit%25C3%25A1nico%2Bfranc%25C3%25A9s%2B2018-4-14%2Bzonas%2Bblancos%2B1b.jpg
    * The actual damage done by allegedly 34 tons of explosives (in succession) [see Twitter thread for more details]:
    https://twitter.com/vpkivimaki/status/985593196376977409
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=54&v=FhW2G-ynvBc


    * Against the Him Shinshar
    * Targets in red [3]:
    https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-RqYUlkj1yp8/WtMlKQSyjlI/AAAAAAAAaS0/-Cc8m3v2g7MAPlJY2WpxX3jzpLU59O0FQCLcBGAs/s1600/siria%2Bataque%2BEEUU%2Bbrit%25C3%25A1nico%2Bfranc%25C3%25A9s%2B2018-4-14%2Bzonas%2Bblancos%2B2a.jpg
    * Strike pattern according to the numbers [3]:
    https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-p1_G17je-LQ/WtMmeZwtVBI/AAAAAAAAaTY/dL2jlsnMHdQrTIVffpIeZitvkxxxz1pGgCLcBGAs/s1600/siria%2Bataque%2BEEUU%2Bbrit%25C3%25A1nico%2Bfranc%25C3%25A9s%2B2018-4-14%2Bzonas%2Bblancos%2B2%2Bimpactos.jpg
    * The actual damage
    https://twitter.com/DigitalGlobe/status/985319969742381056

    * The third target:
    * Target in red [3]: https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-SB_1agXpYQ0/WtMuWCpsp_I/AAAAAAAAaTs/bBfJdoJSZ7UdHMU_Vqs4SLUMkjUedRE9ACLcBGAs/s1600/siria%2Bataque%2BEEUU%2Bbrit%25C3%25A1nico%2Bfranc%25C3%25A9s%2B2018-4-14%2Bzonas%2Bblancos%2B3a.jpg
    * Strike pattern [3]:
    https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-dLdL1wQ5NFY/WtMvRoje0wI/AAAAAAAAaUE/2xmC1HYiEyotaWYqvZAXLqBrwZ3z693xgCLcBGAs/s1600/siria%2Bataque%2BEEUU%2Bbrit%25C3%25A1nico%2Bfranc%25C3%25A9s%2B2018-4-14%2Bzonas%2Bblancos%2B3%2Bimpactos.jpg
    * Actual damage:
    https://static01.nyt.com/newsgraphics/2018/04/13/syria-us-strikes/a25a23b1089c393919bac5ad82970f5b0721b470/homs-before-after-bunker-600.jpg

    Consider:
    * that the facility most probably had no military meaning (chemical or otherwise), as is confirmed by an OPCW inspection in November 2017 [4] and by the fact that first responders did not wear any protective gear
    https://twitter.com/AlSuraEnglish/status/985094026167599104
    * that the supposed attack on meaningless buildings would have cost around $165 Million [5]
    * that the strike was expected to be an escalalation of the previous strike which targeted a military facility
    * that the damage is not consistent with what missiles are supposed to have done as FB has calculated [6]; 34 ton of explosions in close succession on the first target; see also [3] for this and this tomahawk demonstration video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sa7ZX58Kk4
    * that there is video evidence of at least 1-2 missiles being shot down
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvwtuKY8D54
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vx5ez_KuV5c
    * The Russian claim of 71 shot down missiles is substantiated by the sources of an Western propaganda outlet, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights[7]


    ----
    Sources:
    [1] https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/12/trump-decision-on-syria-strikes-coming-fairly-soon.html
    [2] (Sources in the link) https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-04-14/highlights-pentagon-press-briefing-syria-airstrikes
    [3] (In Spanish) http://charly015.blogspot.de/2018/04/llego-el-ataque-contra-siria.html
    [4] https://southfront.org/us-led-strike-on-syria-most-of-missiles-spent-on-empty-target-opcw-report-says-no-chemical-weapons-there/
    [5] https://www.businessinsider.de/trump-us-syria-strike-how-many-missiles-were-fired-2017-2018-4?r=US&IR=T
    [6] http://www.unz.com/akarlin/ww3/#comment-2289684
    [7] http://www.syriahr.com/en/?p=89324

    My main concern is still the lack of pictures of the downed missiles (I guess they should already be found), and in this age of the smartphone I’d also expect more than a couple videos of seventy-something events (though perhaps it being at night is a good explanation).

    Not that a few videos are too meaningful to a layperson like me. I remember well when in 1991 we were shown those videos of the American Patriot air defense systems downing Scuds. (As it later turned out, nothing of the sort happened at all.) But the lack of videos is still unexpected.

    Speaking of Iraqi Scuds, the Kuwait War was also a good example of American dishonesty when reporting their glorious military adventures. Besides the lies about the Patriot air defense system, they also claimed on the first couple of days that they had already destroyed 80% of Iraqi military abilities within less than 24 hours. Later it turned out that it was far from being the truth. (The war was an easy enough victory, so few people remember it. The fact that they kept lying during an easy victory doesn’t bode well about how they’d tell the truth during a war which wouldn’t go so well… Though maybe all militaries would do the same.)

    Overall yours is a pretty good summary, and far from unconvincing either. Thanks for it! I have already used it elsewhere.

    Read More
    • Replies: @anon

    My main concern is still the lack of pictures of the downed missiles (I guess they should already be found), and in this age of the smartphone I’d also expect more than a couple videos of seventy-something events (though perhaps it being at night is a good explanation).
     
    /conspirologist mode on

    Maybe it was all false flag from the beginning to the end? Maybe there were no missiles at all? Maybe Trump and Putin just played along, and pocketed the $100 million cost of the strike? ;-)

    /conspirologist mode off
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  59. https://sdelanounas.ru/blogs/106270/#comments

    This seems relevant to Karlin’s robots post

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  60. @Felix Keverich
    US passed a law that banned Kasperky software from government computers, they unleashed a campaign of smears against the company.

    FBI sent its agents to investigate the Russian restaurants in NYC: the owner and staff were asked if they support Putin...

    On the other hand, Durov and his Telegram have never encountered this kind of harassment, despite their rising prominence in the US, and possibility of Telegram being used for "Russian election meddling", don't you think it's a little bit suspicious?

    Kaspersky and similar programs have access to the files on your PC and thus are a natural security concern. I am a happy Kaspersky customer incidentally.

    Telegram has no such access.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  61. @neutral

    The US government can’t simply ban a website or program.
     
    The "government" doesn't have to do it because the ADL, SPLC, and all the Silicon Valley SJW corporations are doing exactly that.

    And before we get into the tired old "censorship is only about what government does" debate, being censored and destroyed by non government forces (which the US "government" seems to endorse anyway) does not make it any less harmful. You also have to question just how different Google, ADL, Facebook are from the government, to me they are de facto already part of the government.

    These non-government forces also don’t ban websites or programs, though that’s changing as we saw with the Daily Stormer fiasco and the refusal to allow Gab on Google Play and the iPhone.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  62. @Thorfinnsson
    Rogozin is correct--today.

    However the launch vehicle market is likely to grow ten-fold by mid-century.

    It will likely settle into a stable international oligopoly comparable to the widebody jet airliner and high-bypass turbofan engine markets.

    A major technical problem for Russia in competing in launch is its geography. The closer you are to the equator the more payload you can put into orbit.

    A major technical problem for Russia in competing in launch is its geography. The closer you are to the equator the more payload you can put into orbit.

    Russians are interested in Sea Launch which provides a solution for a reason.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  63. anon[371] • Disclaimer says:
    @reiner Tor
    My main concern is still the lack of pictures of the downed missiles (I guess they should already be found), and in this age of the smartphone I’d also expect more than a couple videos of seventy-something events (though perhaps it being at night is a good explanation).

    Not that a few videos are too meaningful to a layperson like me. I remember well when in 1991 we were shown those videos of the American Patriot air defense systems downing Scuds. (As it later turned out, nothing of the sort happened at all.) But the lack of videos is still unexpected.

    Speaking of Iraqi Scuds, the Kuwait War was also a good example of American dishonesty when reporting their glorious military adventures. Besides the lies about the Patriot air defense system, they also claimed on the first couple of days that they had already destroyed 80% of Iraqi military abilities within less than 24 hours. Later it turned out that it was far from being the truth. (The war was an easy enough victory, so few people remember it. The fact that they kept lying during an easy victory doesn’t bode well about how they’d tell the truth during a war which wouldn’t go so well... Though maybe all militaries would do the same.)

    Overall yours is a pretty good summary, and far from unconvincing either. Thanks for it! I have already used it elsewhere.

    My main concern is still the lack of pictures of the downed missiles (I guess they should already be found), and in this age of the smartphone I’d also expect more than a couple videos of seventy-something events (though perhaps it being at night is a good explanation).

    /conspirologist mode on

    Maybe it was all false flag from the beginning to the end? Maybe there were no missiles at all? Maybe Trump and Putin just played along, and pocketed the $100 million cost of the strike? ;-)

    /conspirologist mode off

    Read More
    • LOL: reiner Tor
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    Well, there’s certainly the fact that the Americans didn’t seem to have hit many targets, and what they hit was neither militarily significant to warrant such a large scale attack, nor were they in such a bad shape as you would expect if they really were hit by so many missiles.

    On the other hand, that’s the most significant evidence we have that the Russians managed to take down many of the missiles.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  64. @Felix Keverich
    https://www.rt.com/usa/422919-teremok-putin-secret-meetings/

    Putting aside the fact that the story is not in any way corroborated (only source is RT, which would for example be impossible to use on normies; even RT didn’t bother to call the inspectors to ask for their version of the story, or at least failed to mention it), this was not the FBI, but some overzealous local sanitary inspectors. The reason why Telegram doesn’t get sanitary inspections (overzealous or not) is that it’s not a restaurant.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich

    The reason why Telegram doesn’t get sanitary inspections (overzealous or not) is that it’s not a restaurant.
     
    Are you kidding me? Why would a sanitary inspector ask questions about Putin?

    Teremok CEO confirmed the incident in a facebook post. I'm not particularly interested in the US govt side of the story, since my level of trust in US govt is approaching zero.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  65. @anon

    My main concern is still the lack of pictures of the downed missiles (I guess they should already be found), and in this age of the smartphone I’d also expect more than a couple videos of seventy-something events (though perhaps it being at night is a good explanation).
     
    /conspirologist mode on

    Maybe it was all false flag from the beginning to the end? Maybe there were no missiles at all? Maybe Trump and Putin just played along, and pocketed the $100 million cost of the strike? ;-)

    /conspirologist mode off

    Well, there’s certainly the fact that the Americans didn’t seem to have hit many targets, and what they hit was neither militarily significant to warrant such a large scale attack, nor were they in such a bad shape as you would expect if they really were hit by so many missiles.

    On the other hand, that’s the most significant evidence we have that the Russians managed to take down many of the missiles.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  66. @reiner Tor
    Putting aside the fact that the story is not in any way corroborated (only source is RT, which would for example be impossible to use on normies; even RT didn’t bother to call the inspectors to ask for their version of the story, or at least failed to mention it), this was not the FBI, but some overzealous local sanitary inspectors. The reason why Telegram doesn’t get sanitary inspections (overzealous or not) is that it’s not a restaurant.

    The reason why Telegram doesn’t get sanitary inspections (overzealous or not) is that it’s not a restaurant.

    Are you kidding me? Why would a sanitary inspector ask questions about Putin?

    Teremok CEO confirmed the incident in a facebook post. I’m not particularly interested in the US govt side of the story, since my level of trust in US govt is approaching zero.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Thorfinnsson
    It's not the US government.

    It's the City of New York government.

    Not that you should trust them either.
    , @reiner Tor

    Why would a sanitary inspector ask questions about Putin?
     
    Because he’s an idiot?

    Read your own link, it was a sanitary inspection, not the FBI.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  67. @Felix Keverich

    The reason why Telegram doesn’t get sanitary inspections (overzealous or not) is that it’s not a restaurant.
     
    Are you kidding me? Why would a sanitary inspector ask questions about Putin?

    Teremok CEO confirmed the incident in a facebook post. I'm not particularly interested in the US govt side of the story, since my level of trust in US govt is approaching zero.

    It’s not the US government.

    It’s the City of New York government.

    Not that you should trust them either.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  68. @Felix Keverich

    The reason why Telegram doesn’t get sanitary inspections (overzealous or not) is that it’s not a restaurant.
     
    Are you kidding me? Why would a sanitary inspector ask questions about Putin?

    Teremok CEO confirmed the incident in a facebook post. I'm not particularly interested in the US govt side of the story, since my level of trust in US govt is approaching zero.

    Why would a sanitary inspector ask questions about Putin?

    Because he’s an idiot?

    Read your own link, it was a sanitary inspection, not the FBI.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Felix Keverich
    You seem to enjoy arguing for the sake of arguing. :)

    Most US government officials are idiots, that's a given (the head of the FBI is an idiot: he doesn't know what Gazprom is). But they are also virulently Russophobic.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  69. @reiner Tor

    Why would a sanitary inspector ask questions about Putin?
     
    Because he’s an idiot?

    Read your own link, it was a sanitary inspection, not the FBI.

    You seem to enjoy arguing for the sake of arguing. :)

    Most US government officials are idiots, that’s a given (the head of the FBI is an idiot: he doesn’t know what Gazprom is). But they are also virulently Russophobic.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    You are incapable of ceding a point, however small it is.

    The restaurants got sanitary inspections from the NYC government, not some visit from the FBI, it’s unlikely that Telegram would ever get something like that, because, well, it’s not a restaurant.

    The stupidity of the Pointy-Haired Boss is no proof that Dilbert is stupid, too.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  70. @Felix Keverich
    You seem to enjoy arguing for the sake of arguing. :)

    Most US government officials are idiots, that's a given (the head of the FBI is an idiot: he doesn't know what Gazprom is). But they are also virulently Russophobic.

    You are incapable of ceding a point, however small it is.

    The restaurants got sanitary inspections from the NYC government, not some visit from the FBI, it’s unlikely that Telegram would ever get something like that, because, well, it’s not a restaurant.

    The stupidity of the Pointy-Haired Boss is no proof that Dilbert is stupid, too.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  71. So, rumor grapevine concerning the 24 hour American IRS outage has the following:

    1: Russian SVR was deeply dismayed by Roselkomnadzors clown car antics, and believed that Russian cyber deterrence was threatened by this public show of incompetence.

    2: IRS was taken down for 24 hours to have some lulz/bragging rights/making someone look more stupid that Roselkomnadzor. One cannot accuse the SVR of setting only modest goals for itself. 2/3 so far.

    3: IRS takedown was also because some SVR affiliated rich guys are pretty displeased with the state of US double taxation. You see, normal rich people have tax optimizers, certain Oligarchs have the SVR.

    4: Replaceing IRS website with a Roselkomnadzor notice “Website taken down for financial scamming” was considered, but not utilized due either a lack of humor or to the prophecies of Kek not being sufficiently advanced.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to All Anatoly Karlin Comments via RSS