Using social media safely in hostile areas

Discussion in 'other security issues & news' started by mirimir, Nov 16, 2011.

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  1. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    The Zetas (ultraviolent Mexican drug gang) like social media even less than [insert username of notoriously paranoid Wilders privacy geek] does. In fact, they kill bloggers, and leave snarky notes on the bodies. While this isn't exactly news, the latest corpse has generated some buz:

    -http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Blogger-murdered-and-beheaded-in-Nuevo-Laredo-2260814.php
    -http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2011/11/15/mexico_slaying_victim_not_blogger/
    -http://www.nuevolaredoenvivo.es.tl/

    How might one use social media safely in such hostile areas?
     
  2. Hungry Man

    Hungry Man Registered Member

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    There's nothing safe about those areas and that's the long and short of it.
     
  3. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

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    Looking at some of the "official reactions" listed in that first link, it's hard not to conclude that the drug gang and the police/government (at least some of them) are one and the same.

    Regarding your question,
    There is probably no way to be completely safe. More than anything else, you have to decide if it's worth the risk and if there's anything to be gained from doing this.

    IMO the best you can do is create a brand new social media identity that uses no real info about you. Create and access the account using Tor ONLY, preferably via a bridge in another country. Be very certain that your system and anything you post does not leak any identifiable data. Unless you know how to block all the potential leaks, use the Tor browser bundle or Tails. Beyond that, tell no one about it, no matter how well you know them.
     
  4. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    Yes, it does seem that drug gangs and public institutions (police, military, government, etc) are related in many ways. Bribes and family relationships are probably major factors. Foreign governments, military, intelligence, business, etc probably also involved.

    Public institutions are ineffectual and corrupt. Traditional media have been silenced. You can't trust anyone. What's left for news and support is anonymous social media.

    That's good counsel.

    What's needed are covert and secure channels for anonymously sharing information. They must be easy to use properly.

    Are there communication channels in popular MMORPGs that could be adapted?
     
  5. noone_particular

    noone_particular Registered Member

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    My experience with the multi-player games is very limited. The ones I've tried are limited to text chat, similar to an IM program. I've never checked on whether the chat is encrypted or just plain text. Some of these games are badly hacked by the players, cheat codes, etc. The chats is often content filtered. Use the wrong term and it fails to go through or is replaced by something meaningless. They claim it's to protect the kids that play these games. IMO, it would be inconvenient at best, and possibly just as dangerous as posting directly. On a game I play occasionally, a whisper that was directed to a single player would at times go out as open chat with no advanced warning.
    The simplest method I know would be the Tor Browser bundle. If you know someone trustworthy that lives in a distant country who would post anonymously on your behalf, you could encrypt the content using PGP, then send it to them.
    If the corruption, infiltration, control, etc is that widespread, and depending on the gang or cartels level of expertise, don't rule out the possibility that they have some control or influence over your ISP as well, especially if they include government, law enforcement, and/or business. With Tor and PGP, everything is encrypted before it leaves your system, so even your ISP can't read it.
     
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