Tomorrow sees the start of the Climate Camp protest / demo / hippy / anarchist festival, which is being held at a some supposedly as yet still secret location in London.
- What in earth are they going to do for a whole week ?
- How much of the detailed scientific and political power arguments about "Climate Change" will actually be mentioned in the press and media coverage of this event ?
Spy Blog is interested in the use and possible abuse of SMS text messaging to help organise this event, which, like the G20 protests seems to be trying to organise / manipulate several groups of people to gather at symbolic rallying points , most of which are associated with Climate Change "baddies" like oil company headquarters, bio-fuel and carbon trading speculators etc., which are allegedly not meant to be targets of protest.
Prepare to Swoop
And remember, be ready and waiting for your SMS message, in London, on Wed 26th August at 12 noon. You'll need to bring your gear for the Camp, but try to pack light!
Your mobile number
[text entry box] [text entry box]
UK only please, without country code eg. 07956-999666.
[text entry box]
Providing your e-mail address is optional, but will allow us to inform you of any changes before swoop day.
* Please only sign up if you are coming to the Camp on the day of the swoop: Wednesday 26 th August.
* You will not receive a confirmation text message when you sign up.
* Your web browser may produce a warning about an invalid SSL certificate -- this is nothing to worry about, your information is still encrypted while being sent to our server and nobody else can read it.
Note: We take security seriously (both yours and our own) and will do our best to keep your number safe, encrypted on a server outside the UK. However, once we start sending messages it is trivial for the authorities to get details of those who receive them from the network operators. Likewise, it's easy for the authorities to obtain the details of all mobile phones within a specific geographical area (assuming battery inserted). If concerned, don't take your mobile to the action - get a new unregistered "Pay As You Go" mobile and use that on the day.
The fact that such precautions (such as they are) and warnings are at all necessary, shows how little trust there is between the organisers and the police, and does not bode well for a peaceful event.
The SMS alerts signup website, as stated above, does indeed skimp on using a "proper" SSL digital certificate, which throws up all sorts of error messages, and which will put off a few people who think, correctly, that it looks like a criminal phishing website.
This SMS alert signup web page https://smsalerts.tachanka.org/cc/storenumber.php does appear to be based in the USA, rather than the UK.
The inclusion of a link to a non existent graphic file "G20@)logo.jpg" in the mobile phone number submission confirmation web page, is indicative of the link between this event and with some of the G20 protests in April.
That event, which saw the death of a member of the public, Ian Tomlinson, also featured
what seemed to be a deliberately staged confrontation between the Police and some demonstrators, who were heavily outnumbered by members of the press and independent photographers at the only unboarded up window for several blocks around the Bank of Scotland in Threadneedle Street.
Obviously the Metropolitan Police should not have to bother to Intercept the content of these text messages, if they actually happen, since there are likely to be several Confidential Human Intelligence Sources or Agents Provocateurs already helping to organise this Climate Camp "swoop".
Based on past experience, what is very likely to happen is that the mobile phone SMS gateway service will not instantly deliver several hundred, or several thousand SMS text messages at 12 noon, either because of network congestion, or because the organisers are not paying for a premium business service, and are trying to do this on the cheap.
The signup workflow has no means of authentication of tomorrow's genuine SMS message, which is to reveal the location of the Climate Camp site, where all these groups are meant to magically converge.
It would have been very easy to have displayed an individual confirmation code for each mobile phone number that was signed up, which could have been included in each individual climate camp SMS text alert message sent out on Wednesday..
There is now a chance that some "disruption" will be caused by false SMS messages (it will only take a few to each group at the rally point locations).
This tactic could be used to entice the organisers representatives at each rally point location to "phone home" to the central organisers, thereby producing a pattern for Communications Traffic Data analysis of "friendship trees" of "co-conspirators"., which will abuse the privacy and security of many innocent people.
As if Snooping on the Climate Camp Swoopers via SMS was not enough, the Metropolitan Police also seem to be tracking and data mining "social networks" like Twitter, Facebook , Flickr and blogs etc. - see the next Spy Blog article.