WARNING: Do Not read these Books if you are not a Jedi

boeken2

(( Updated on December 18, 2017 ))

(1) “Freedom tm” by Daniel Suarez, 2010, Quercus, London

(2) “iGod” a science fiction novel by Willemijn Dicke  inspired and introduced by Dirk Helbing, 2017, printed in Great Britain by Amazon

 

These books are more than just Science Fiction novels. They are shocking and awesome in the sense that what they forecasted and describe is happening right now…….

Even worse in my case. Several important patterns I had recently perceived unfolding in  our network society, but had not communicated to anyone, where already written down in these two books. Prescient the writers must be. Just like “1984” which is being implemented now in 2017 as if that book was a manual for authoritarian dicktatorship.

I sincerely hope that our emerging worldwide “collective intelligence with distributed authority” can bend these frightening trends in a more constructive direction, without killing billions of people. I guess you know what to do: connect and cooperate trans-tribal boundaries.

jaap van till, TheConnectivist

Update: PS. These books describe scenario’s. The main objective of scenario’s is not, as most people incorrectly think, to describe what is likely or what the authors and most of us would like. No, the objective is to just imagine that the scenario would unfold however unexpected it may be, and together prepare actions and decisions to cope with such situations. “What must we do when this happens”. That is also the way pilots are trained, not by learning them to fly in wonderful weather with perfect planes, but by preparing them in the cockpit together for sudden alarms.  In these uncertain and transitionary times we should react fast and appropriate together,  instead of close our minds and dream of returning to the past.

My personal SF scenario is as follows:

[ Let us work together on this planet to create a “global brain” consisting of > 10^10 (10 billion) CONNECTED PEOPLE, living part of NATURE,  that cooperate to solve problems and construct value from diversity  for local communities, that exhibit ‘collective intelligence with distributed authority’. ICT, AI IoT, blockchains and robots are TOOLS to reach that objective ] ~ jaap van till, december 2017

The “global brain metaphor” describes the leaps of evolution every time a certain threshold of 10 billion components is exceeded: https://theconnectivist.wordpress.com/2016/09/30/the-1planet-project-1-the-global-brain-metaphor/

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Onderdeel Verkiezingsprogr Piratenpartij Amsterdam: de “Beter Breedband” Aanpak

FttH aansluitingen

UPDATE Op 9 dec 2017 heeft de ALV van de Piratenpartij Amsterdam onderstaande  BETER BREEDBAND aanpak aanvaard ter uitvoering van het gestelde in het verkiezingsprogramma H.7 over een netwerk in de stad.

Jaap van Till, TheConnectivist 

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Samen Werken aan Beter Breedband

Opgesteld als input voor verkiezingsprogramma Piratenpartij GR2018

ir. Jaap van Till, lidnr. 1413, versie 5,        Versie 4 dd. 8 dec. 2017

1. De Piratenpartij zet zich in voor het samen werken aan “BETER BREEDBAND” netwerkaansluitingen voor internet access in het HELE land.

• voor ALLE woningen, huizen, kantoren, boerderijen;

• met hogere snelheid (capaciteit) en hogere kwaliteit van de verbindingen;

• ten behoeve van grotere sociale cohesie, betere educatie en samenwerking in de

netwerkmaatschappij ten behoeve van alle burgers en bedrijven;

• ten behoeve van een beter vestigingsklimaat; synergie en innovatie via . netwerkdiensten.

2. Konkreet kan dit bereikt worden door:

Afdwingen van een Universal Service (US) verplichting aan de providers van betaalbare aansluitingen overal (zie boven) met minimaal 1 Gbps, symmetrisch, sustained en met hoge beschikbaarheid.

3. Nadere toelichting van bovenstaande termen.

a. Internet access is tegenwoordig een basisvoorziening. In dit stuk ligt hier de focus op omdat er bottlenecks en mismatches in vraag en aanbod zijn die de Piratenpartij wenst op te heffen ten behoeve van het algemeen belang i.p.v. verdienmodellen en (grotendeels buitenlandse-) aandeelhouderswaarde voorrang te geven. Vaak is Internet access onderdeel van packages (zg. “tripple play” of “quatro play” van TV kanalen, telefonie, internet en soms mobiele abonnementen), soms ook nog verticaal geintegreerd met content zoals voetbal wedstrijden of exclusieve films om klanten te binden. De diensten bovenop internet toegang zijn heftig in beweging en ontwikkelen zich onstuimig. ‘Betere bandbreedte’ en kunnen opschalen overal in het land is voor die verdere ontwikkeling van cruciaal belang en geeft vele nieuwe opportunities voor waardecreatie.

b. Universal Service. Dat is een begrip wat werd ingevoerd overal ter wereld voor de verdere uitrol van telefoonaansluitingen in het begin van de vorige eeuw. Die uitrol stagneerde namelijk omdat bijna alleen bedrijven en rijke burgers een telefoonverbinding namen. Om de uitrol naar alle bureaus en alle woonhuizen te bevorderen, het was immers in ieders belang om meer mensen te kunnen bereiken, stond men het telefoonbedrijf toe om kruis subsidies van rijken naar armen te benutten. Daar was maatschappelijke concensus over. En het betekende dat iedereen in het hele land voor het zelfde eenmalig aansluitbedrag en dezelfde maandelijkse aansluitkosten een zwarte telefoon kreeg onafhankelijk van de fysiekeomstandigheden. Ook de vuurtorenwachter ver weg werd dus niet gestraft voor de plaats waar hij woonde en werkte. De kruissubsidie vereffende die verschillen. En het cherrypicken (alleen het laaghangend fruit plukken) werd gestopt.

Nu bevinden we ons in een vergelijkbaresituatie [2]. De uitrol van glasvezel (optic fiber) infrastructuren stokt, of blijft aan het einde van de straat hangen. Of zoals in grote steden komt de fiber infra het flatgebouw of appartementsgebouw niet verder binnen. Wij stellen voor om voor die “moeilijke” eindstukken weer US in te voeren. Ook nu weer geldt dat het in ieders belang is om met meeraansluitingen serieus hoge snelheid en hoge kwaliteit verbindingen te hebben.

Zoiets zou kunnen via een US fonds waar op lange termijn ook weer inkomsten uit kunnen komen. US vereist wel een ander “regelgevend regime” dan de huidige ‘infrastructuur concurrentie’ en mantra’s over ‘marktwerking’, die duidelijk vastgelopen zijn. Bovendien zou het uitsluitend voor de lagen 0, 1 en 2 van de digitale infrastructuur moeten gelden.

c. 1 Gbps, symmetrisch en sustained. Op 5 december j.l. stuurde de nieuwe Staatssecretaris Mona Keijzer een Brief naar de Kamer waarin zij ontkent dat er problemen zijn met de “uitstekende” digitale verbindingsinfrastructuur in ons land. Die zou stukken beter zijn dan de in de ons omringende landen. En er wordt nog steeds hard aan gewerkt om die te blijven verbeteren en daarin wordt door de bedrijven flink geinvesteerd. Men zegt thans geen sterke vraag te hebben ontmoet naar nog veel hogere snelheden dan bijv. 100 Mbps wat hier en daar geleverd wordt, zie [1]. Klinkt aardig maar het klopt niet. KPN en Ziggo (de duopolie) zijn inderdaad zeer hard bezig om hun optic fiber backbone en infrastructuur steeds dichter bij huizen en bedrijfsgebouwen te krijgen en gaan dan via convertors (zijn duur en power + onderhoud vereisend) verder over twisted pair koperdraden resp. coaxkabel langs de huizen. Waarom zo’n hybride netwerk en niet die laatste ca.100 meter ook verglazen? Te duur? Te tijdrovend in aanleg? Ik vermoed dat ze er om andere redenen zo lang mogelijk mee willen wachten. Raar, want ook voor de 5G mobiel uitrol zullen micro cellen via een veel fijnmaziger glas netwerk moeten worden aangesloten. Is dat wachten erg? Ja, want die stukjes koperdraad vormen een belemmering en een rem op verdere ontwikkeling van de digitalisering. De ACM heeft al aangegeven dat de huidige specificaties van aansluit snelheid te vaag zijn. Klanten krijgen mooie cijfers te horen. Via persberichten over de “hoge snelheid”. Maar dat is alleen de download snelheid. En in de specificatie staat dan TOT 50 Mbps. Omdat de werkelijke snelheid sterk fluctueert door de medegebruikers krijg je dan effectief (ook wel genoemd ‘sustained’) maar een stroom van bijv. 15 Mbps. Het is zoiets als op een pak melk zetten “bevat TOT 1 liter” en er dan maar 1/3 liter indoen.

Ik raad u aan uw werkelijke download en upload snelheid eens een paar keer per dag te meten met de APP “Net Analyser Pro” van Techet.net Dan vindt je bijv. dat de “tot 20 Mbps” verbinding maar gemiddeld 15 down en 3 up is. Buiten de steden is het nog erger. Vanwege de lange koperdraden (demping en overspraak), waar telefonie goed mee ging, krijg je maar een paar honderd Kbps internet over de lijn en uploaden, wat voor agrarische rapportages nodig is,  duurt uren, als de kinderen ten miste even niet Skypen of Facebooken. En toch moeten ze voor ADSL het volle tarief betalen. Alle providers via koper en sommige zelfs via glas bieden asymmetrische snelheden aan. Dat wil zeggen sneller downloaden dan uploaden. Toch is “symmetrisch” voor de zakelijke klanten (dus ook boeren en MKB) een vereiste. Als je met elkaar bijv. tussen vestigingen communiceert, is de snelheid waarmee je upload dus ook de snelheid waarmee het aan de andere kant van het netwerk eruit komt, ondanks het feit dat download bitrate aldaar veel hoger is. Dus als je bijv. allebei met 15/3 Mbps aangesloten bent kan je maar 3/3 Mbps met elkaar communiceren. Als ik heel langzaam door de telefoon praat kan men het aan de andere kant van de lijn niet sneller beluisteren. Bedrijfsgebruik en andere vormen van digitaal communiceren en samenwerken wordt dus in de huidige digitale infrastructuur afgeknepen.

4. Situatieschets en motivaties voor onze stellingname.

Een andere kwestie die de aanbieders en bestuurders nog niet helemaal hebben ontvangen is het feit dat aan de kant van de aangeslotenen niet langer EEN telefoontoestel, EEN TV ontvanger voor het hele gezin en EEN PC aan de netten hangt. Maar inhuis netwerken met tientallen computers in allerlei vormen en uitvoeringen zoals smartphones, laptops, pads, printers en hele series andere dingen je s’nachts eigenlijk zou moeten uitzetten.

Alleen al zo’n laptop genereert per subveldje op je browserscherm een korte maar hevige sessie met een computer bijv. in Japan voor een interactief advertentieplaatje. Hoe sneller de internet verbinding is hoe meer van deze parallel sessies, die ieder aandringen (herzenden vraag) om reactie over het net te krijgen, worden opgestart; zodat de capaciteit van de verbinding opgeslokt wordt. De gebruiker bijv. een scholier, went aan zo’n hoge snelheid verbinding en wil die thuis ook ….

Wat ook niet in de Kamerbrief geadresseerd wordt is dat het het leveren van behoorlijke internet snelheden niet een project is wat klaar is, zoals “EU eis van 30 Mbps gehaald”, of vanaf nu gewoon langzaam kan groeien door bijv. meer Vectoring of DOCsis 3.0 uit te gaan rollen.

Neen het is een voortgaand proces met een gestage exponentiele groei in eisen aan de capaciteit. Alleen een volledig verglaasde digitale infrastructuur kan toekomstbestendig en met behoorlijke stappen in snelheid (capaciteit) verhoogd worden. In een aantal landen zien we nu daartoe al “GigaBit network access” aanbieden, reden waarom wij dit ook in ons land nu al aanbevelen om samen aan te gaan werken. Die 1 / 1 Gbps aansluitingen zijn dan startpunt (daarom staat er minimaal 1 Gbps in bovenstaande eis)  om nog vele jaren deze basissnelheid te kunnen verhogen of op verzoek hogere aansluitings-kwaliteit te kunnen leveren. Alleen met fiber optic network access kan dit serieus doorgroeien, vandaar dat alleen deze toekomstbestendig is en niet steeds nieuwe hardware in het netwerk vereist.

Alleen daarmee kunnen we nieuwe en krachtige computer gebaseerde diensten en systemen gaan ontwikkelen en bouwen zoals het deze week onthulde Holo , zie [4]. Het ontwikkel team heeft mij al laten weten dat ze heel graag Nederlandse software en netwerk wizzards willen inschakelen om op hun platform spannende dingen te laten draaien. Maar dan moeten de de-centrale server boxen die mensen kunnen aanschaffen wel snel en symmetrisch op internet aangesloten zijn.

Een andere trend die hogere uploadsnelheden is het maken en editen van video opnames die in teamverband worden bekeken en verbeterd. Bijv. om Vlogs of Youtube film kanalen te vullen. Dit neemt heel sterk toe en men ontwikkelt games en andere uitingsvormen, waar nieuwe werkgelegenheid uit voortvloeit. Ook dit vereist hoge sustained datastromen en niet stotterende beeldjes.

Ten slotte in dit verband nog dit over [1] : ELKE laptop of PC  heeft al jaren een 1 Gbps poortje voor een Ethernet- of USB kabeltje om aan te sluiten op een LAN of modem.  Symmetrisch  (via een IC van 50 cent binnenin de laptop).  Zeur dan dus niet dat er geen vraag naar hogere snelheden (en symmetrische aansluitingen) is.

De recente Stratix BreedbandAtlas geeft niet alleen de status van alle panden in NL wat betreft aansluitingen op breedband maar ook de KWALITEIT (soort kabels en hoogste snelheid) daarvan die maximaal “voorradig” is. Online te zien, via de link van [3] kunt u inzoomen naar uw eigen woonhuis of woning.

5. Problemen en beletsels die we samen moeten oplossen

Kort gezegd zijn de belemmeringen in het buitengebied en de binnensteden verschillend. In de buitengebieden liggen bedrijven en boerderijen zeer random verspreid in het land, hoewel de afstand tot wegen erg meevalt (een paar honderd meter). Dichtheid van woningen is laag, zodat sleuven door het terrein moeilijk gedeeld kunnen worden. En aantal klanten (belangrijk voor beurswaarde providers) is relatief laag. Betekent dus dat vraagbundeling voor breedband aldaar een noodzaak is, en de bewoners aldaar hebben echte urgente problemen met hun huidige verbindingen. Moet dus samen opgelost worden, terwijl de inwoners er best wat voor over hebben, kan mogelijk de Universal Service eis de extra zet geven om Beter Breedband ook daar vlot te trekken.

In de binnensteden en flatwijken is men bij de uitrol van optic fiber aansluitnetten op een ander probleem gestuit. De aansluiting bij de voordeur brengen is niet voldoende. Binnenshuis en zeker in flatgebouwen en appartementsgebouwen moet er eenmalig binnenshuis ook een backbone bekabeling worden aangelegd, waar alle bewoners aan meedoen en meebetalen. Dit vereist initiatief en solidariteit in de VVE. Bijkomend probleem is dat in de binnensteden er heel weinig ruimte onder de straat over is om buisjes in te graven, afgezien van de overlast die graven geeft. Onder de straat ligt ca. een halve meter koperdraad en andere buizen.

Oplossingsrichting in de steden

Willen de providers niet verder met “glas” naar bedrijven en huizen dan hun respectieve Straatkast cq. Kabelkast? Ok, dan komen wij ze tegemoet ! Dan leggen wij in een wijk of straat samen de buizen met glas binnenshuis en onder de straat naar de dichtstbijzijnde “kast waar glas start”. Die kasten worden dan het “ISRA” punt, beheersgrens tussen providers en abonnees. En via een glaslas wordt de verbinding via optic fiber end-to-end. Mogelijk kunnen deze wijk / straat initiatieven ondersteund worden via een Universal Service fonds.

Willen we dit? Zo ja, dan wordt het tijd dat we samen met de handen gaan wapperen. Het aardige van optic fiber digitale infrastructuren is dat ze zeer lang, 20-30 jaar, meegaan met minimaal onderhoud (OPEX); toekomstvast zijn qua verder omhoog kunnen brengen van de capaciteit. Nadeel is dat er eenmalige investeringen (CAPEX) in aanleg en aansluiting moeten worden gedaan, die uitgesmeerd over de lange termijn al veel lagere totale kosten betekenen dan blijven upgrade van de korte stukjes koperdraad met hele dure en kwetsbare kastjes.

Tijd voor gemeentes en rijk om in het algemeen lange termijn belang nu de hobbels voor Beter Breedband te nemen. De Piraten Partij neemt hiervoor het initiatief.

6. Verwijzingen

[1] Kamerbrief dd. 5 december 2017 van het Ministerie EZK met reactie op Rapport ‘Nederland op Glasvezel’ van FCA; ondertekend door mr. drs. M.C.G. (Mona) Keijzer,Staatssecretaris van Economische Zaken en Klimaat.

[2] “Waarom de aanleg van glasvezel in Nederland stokt –Doordat KPN liever zijn bestaande kopernetwerk oplapt, dreigt de aanleg van supersnel glasvezelnet tot stilstand te komen. Experts vrezen dat Nederland zijn wereldwijde koppositie verliest –“, David Bremmer, AD, 06-12-17.

[3] De Stratix breedband atlas. Nieuwsgierig naar de breedbanddekking op uw locatie?Site van de BreedbandAtlas.nl is onlangs live gegaan en het is mogelijk om via eeninteractieve kaart de dekking van consumentenbreedband voor alle panden in Nederland te zien.

[4] Voorbeeld van een nieuwe dienstverlening via symmetrische breedband: HOLO ontwikkelproject: https://theconnectivist.wordpress.com/2017/12/06/we-can-take-back-the-internet-with-holo-shared-p2p-hosting/

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We Can Take Back The Internet with Holo Shared P2P Hosting

Holo vignet

Dear all,

Yes we can take back Internet from the greedy money extractors and advertiser driven businesses. And from controlaholic governments behind which are the ruthless 1% ers.

  1. Example how to this is given by the recently launched Holo user community. See Twitter @H_O_L_O and the link below.

Holo is a decentralized cloud hosting platform that enables fully-functional distributed applications to serve mainstream Internet users, and provides the massively scalable crypto-accounting infrastructure required to host and manage these applications at enormous volumes of usage.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/take-back-the-internet-with-shared-p2p-hosting-money-community#/

Try it and tell me what you think.

2. For the positioning and assessment of Holo I recommend you read the short article by Emaline Friedman: “Imagining Data Communities”

https://medium.com/h-o-l-o/envisioning-distributed-apps-58f1b6711d80

3. I guess high capacity network access with FttH is recommended to connect Holo boxes.

jaap van till, TheConnectivist

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Stop the #CensorshipMachine Now vs. EU law proposal

EDRi #stopCensorship

Protecting Digital Freedom

  1. Following the launch of the controversial proposed Copyright Directive in September 2016, the European Parliament and the Member States (gathered in the Council of the European Union) are now developing their positions.

Now it’s the time to send a clear message to European Parliament and national governments to oppose the “censorship machine”!

https://edri.org/contact-ep-juri/       EDRi

#FixCopyright  @piratenpartij

2.  

Together with 82 other organisations we have published (yet another) open letter that warns of the dangers of the Commissions © reform proposal for innovation, freedom of expression, creativity, education, research & the competitiveness of the EU:

 

jaap van till, TheConnectivist

Posted in Censorship, Copyright, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Russian Mass Manipulation. Case: Catalonia

RT Catalonia

The ‘combination’: an instrument in Russia’s information war in Catalonia

Mira Milosevich-Juaristi. ARI 92/2017 – 20/11/2017

Original version in Spanish: La “combinación”, instrumento de la guerra de la información de Rusia en Cataluña

Theme

The ‘combination’ (kombinaciya) is an operation which integrates diverse instruments (cyber warfare, cyber-intelligence, disinformation, propaganda and collaboration with players hostile to the values of liberal democracy) in Russia’s information war in Catalonia during and in the wake of its illegal referendum.

Summary

The principal objective of this paper (which serves to complement a previous work on ‘disinformation’)1 is to: (1) analyse the facts of Russian interference in the illegal referendum in Catalonia, along with the motives and objectives which guided the actions of the current Russian regime; (2) show how Russian interference in Catalonia forms part of an information war, an asymmetric military method which Russia employs in the US and Europe; and (3) evaluate the response of the West (the US, the EU and NATO) and determine whether or not it has been up to the challenge of Russia’s information war.

“Russian military doctrine defines as one of its principal objectives not to destroy the enemy but rather to influence him”

While Westerners tend to conflate ‘disinformation’ with ‘information war’ –while distinguishing between ‘cyber warfare’ and ‘strategic communication’– the Kremlin uses ‘disinformation’ as one of the instruments of the ‘combination’, demonstrating in practice that ‘cyber warfare’ and ‘information war’ –while seemingly synonymous– are interdependent phenomena.

Russian military doctrine defines as one of its principal objectives not to destroy the enemy but rather to influence him –pursuing not the extinction of opponents but instead their internal decline–. This shifts warfare from the conventional battlefield to the sphere of information, and into the terrain of psychological warfare and the distortion of perceptions. Therefore, it is clear that war with Russia is not fundamentally a physical conflict but rather one between consciousnesses. In the final analysis, the objective is always the same: win the war in the hearts and minds of the enemy.

Analysis

Russia’s victory in Catalonia

In light of previous examples of Russian interference –in the Brexit referendum, in the Dutch referendum on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, in the US presidential elections and in the German and the French elections, not to mention the cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns undertaken by Russia against its neighbours– the 2,000% increase in Russian digital activity related to Catalonia registered during the month of September has been no surprise, and neither is it an anomaly. Rather, it reflects what has been one more Russian attempt (and probably not the last) to influence the internal political situation of another country, to sow confusion and to proclaim the decline of liberal democracy.

Various high-level Russian representatives –including Yuri Korchagin, the Ambassador of the Russian Federation in Spain, Serguei Lavrov, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and President Vladimir Putin, among others– have officially expressed their ‘total support for the territorial integrity of Spain’. They claim that Russia has no interest in meddling in what is an ‘internal process’. Nevertheless, after conducting detailed analyses of pro-Russian websites and social network profiles (using, as in the case of El Pais, digital analytics), many Spanish and international news media have reported (along with many Russian communications media, including RT, the old Russia Today, Sputnik, Russia Beyond the Headlines and many state TV stations) that the Russian government has been applying the ‘combination’ of various instruments of information warfare. To this end, it has collaborated with players hostile to the West –Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and radical groups in the UK and the US supporting Brexit and Donald Trump– to intervene in the illegal referendum in Catalonia.

The contrast between the opinions of Russian diplomats and the attitudes of the Russian media should be no surprise. What George Kennan insisted on during the Cold War –that is, that one should not confuse Soviet foreign policy with Soviet external relations– is also still valid for Russia today. The external relations of Russia are –despite its violation of international law with the annexation of the Crimea– embedded within the institutional framework of the international community. Russian foreign policy is another matter altogether. The Russian foreign-policy objective is to revive Russia’s great-power status through the expansion of its zones of influence and by placing itself in competition with the US and the EU in different international scenarios. During the last three years, Russia has shown that it is capable of carrying out –and that it has the political will to do so– both military operations and information warfare at the same time. In the Ukrainian and Syrian wars, the Kremlin has combined the use of military force with the techniques of information warfare. In Western countries, where Russia’s principal objective is to gain influence, as opposed to territory, the conflict has taken the form of hybrid warfare with a special focus on the information war.

Russian activity related to the illegal referendum in Catalonia has concentrated on the transmission of both true and false messages via social networks (Facebook and Twitter) by trolls (online profiles created to disseminate pre-fabricated information), bots (dissemination of information by autonomic processes) and sockpuppets (online profiles created with the objective of generating and transmitting false, or ‘fake’, news). It has also involved intense coverage of events in Catalonia by Russia media.

As on previous occasions, the successful combination of different instruments of information warfare has required the support of the Government of the autocratic regime, in addition to the close collaboration between intelligence services (which together define the principal weaknesses and internal problems of a target country), as well as the cyber intelligentsia: the ‘web brigade’ of all the hackers, trolls, bots and sockpuppets who steal digital information and then divulge it to the media. The pirated information on different social groups shapes the definition of potential targets –possible receptors of particular messages– in the social networks.

The most significant content of the messages

The most significant information divulged by Twitter and Facebook came from Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. They defined Spain as a ‘banana republic’, arguing that Spain was on the verge of a civil war and insisting that Spain had used violent police force to block the democratic right to vote. This was retweeted and shared on Facebook by trolls and bots.

The Russian media publishing in English and Spanish –Sputnik and RT– and the Russian state television channels2 (the only source of information for most Russians) offered an ‘alternative point of view’ on the events, highlighting the supposed weaknesses of a Spain in crisis. The most significant content of these messages can be summarised as follows:

  • The use of force by the police consisted of deliberate violence that was not employed in the legitimate defence of the security of the State, but rather as a Francoist practice unworthy of a democratic State.
  • The EU would recognise the independence of Catalonia after a process of accession.
  • The EU had ordered Spain to undertake “repressive action” to stop the referendum, in an attempt to avoid another Brexit.
  • The referendum is another ‘colour revolution’, but this time within the EU, representing the first phase of the EU’s own disintegration.
  • Europeans are ‘hypocrites’ to condemn the use of force in the Ukraine by Victor Yanukovich but not that used by the Spanish police in Catalonia.
  • Spain is in the same situation as the Ukraine, and Catalonia is on the verge of a civil war like that in Donbas.
  • The referendum in Catalonia is like the referendum in the Crimea.
  • The West is responsible for the Catalan desire to become independent of Spain: it created the prior conditions for the separatists when it supported and recognised the independence of Kosovo.

The objectives and motives of the ‘combination’ in the illegal referendum in Catalonia

The fundamental objectives of employing the ‘combination’ is the same as that of disinformation: to deceive and disorient an opponent, to influence his decisions and to undermine his political, economic and military efficacy. The difference between disinformation and the ‘combination’ lies in the fact that the ‘combination’ uses a larger number of instruments (including disinformation). The principal objectives of the ‘combination’ in Catalonia are:

  1. To discredit Spanish democracy, foment division among Spanish citizens and create a divide between Spain and its EU and NATO partners.
  2. To discredit European institutions, pointing to their inefficacy and to the failure of the European project, and to sow confusion.
  3. To discredit the liberal order created and maintained by the US.
  4. To distract the attention of Russian citizens away from internal problems (including the separatism of the North Caucasus region) and to insulate them from information from foreign communications media.

The strategic motives of the Kremlin which underlie these practices are the following:

  1. To achieve the lifting of the economic sanctions imposed on Moscow for the annexation of the Crimea and the economic and military support provided to the pro-Russian rebels in south-eastern Ukraine, deepening internal division within the EU.
  2. To present liberal democracy as a failed model, lacking any credibility to offer moral lessons to Moscow, and not one desirable for Russia, as it only creates chaos and disorder.
  3. To foment ‘anti-Westernism’, one of the supporting pillars of the Russian regime, which maintains a deeply-rooted attitude of resentment and grievance towards the West. Russia is not only a very proud country but also a resentful and alienated one. A large part of this alienation is based on a fundamental difference in the Russian and Western points of view on Europe, the US and NATO.

The information war: origin and development

To obtain military, social, political and economic advantages through cyber intelligence and cyberattacks is part of a strategy that is not exclusive to the Kremlin (as the well-known cases of China, North Korea and the radical US groups supported the Trump candidacy amply demonstrate). Not even presenting fake news as real and authentic is an exclusively Russian practice. Respected media such as The New York Times, the BBC and The Guardian (to mention only a few) have published, intentionally or not, articles on Catalonia with much erroneous information. Nevertheless, what distinguishes Russia from other ‘cyber actors’ and disseminators of lies is the use of information warfare as a military strategy defined by and integrated into the most recent Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation, official since 2014.

As a concept, information warfare has its roots in pre-revolutionary Russia and the Bolshevik tradition, and its evolution has been shaped by: (1) the Kremlin’s mimicry of what it considers the US attitude with respect to Russian behaviour in the ‘colour revolutions’ (as interferences in the internal affairs of other countries with any eye to changing their regimes); (2) the observation of the workings of social networks during the Arab Spring; (3) by the trial and error pattern of the Kremlin’s behaviour in the Chechen War of 1999, the Georgian War of 2008, the mass protests against Putin’s government for fraud in the legislative elections of 2011, the annexation of the Crimea and the war in the Ukraine (2014); and, finally, (4) the extraordinary capacity of the Russian intelligence services to adapt to the principles of subversion relevant in the age of the Internet. The fact that since 2014 information warfare has formed part of the Military Doctrine reveals that the Kremlin considers Russia to be involved in a large-scale information war.

The perfecting of the current information war began with the second Chechen War (1999-2009), when the Federal Secret Service (FSB) concluded (based on information that citizens had disseminated about the war on social networks) that the Internet was a dangerous destabilising factor and a threat to national security that should be carefully controlled. Among the conflict scenarios where the Russian intelligence services identified and studied the ‘threats’ to national security represented by the Internet –and its infinite possibilities as an instrument of information warfare–, the 2011 protests marked a significant advance in the use of social networks. During the protests, the Kremlin realised that the automatic systems for disseminating information (that they had used since 2009, or before) were insufficient by themselves; rather, they also required an investment in human players with the object of anticipating debates online. Since then, Russian investment has centred on three main areas: communications media that operate both abroad and inside the country, such as RT and Sputnik; and the use of social networks to ensure that Russian narratives reach a broad audience in both Russian and foreign languages.

The annexation of the Crimea in 2014 –which did not require the ‘little green men’ to fire a single shot– has been the biggest success of the ‘combination’ of the various instruments of information warfare and the immediate reason why it was integrated into the Military Doctrine of 2014. The chapter devoted to ‘military dangers’ included for the first time ‘the information space and the internal sphere’. Particular emphasis was placed on ‘foreign information influence on the population… aimed at undermining the spiritual and patriotic traditions’, and on ‘the use of communications technologies against the sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity of some States, which endangers international security and peace’. One of the prime refrains of Russian doctrine is the importance of state policy in containing the influence of foreign actors in domestic Russian affairs and in the sphere of the so-called ‘zones of vital interest’. The Military Doctrine suggests that the Russian perception of the current information war is purely defensive (although it is obvious that it has been offensive, as much in the former Soviet republics as it has been in Western countries) and that it merely gives back to Westerners some of what is considered to be ‘their own medicine’.

The Western response

Russian interference during the Brexit campaign and in the US presidential elections is already under investigation. The US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence questioned representatives from Facebook, Google and Twitter about Russian interference in the US and Catalonia. Needless to say, the Spanish government should do the same. A substantial body of research on the Russian troll campaigns has already been accumulating in various Western countries for some time now. During its recent legislative elections, Germany took a series of precautions to prevent Russian interference; its Army now has a ‘cyber-brigade’ charged with countering cyber-threats. Various European and US institutions, think tanks, non-governmental organisations, journalists and analysts have created teams to combat fake news. Their job is to detect when Russian interference takes place, to describe its characteristics, define the false information and then take measures to counter it. Although those involved in the ‘Russian plot’ must be brought to justice and their information denounced as false, this is not enough. Westerners do not understand the full significance of the Russian concept of information warfare. Above all, they resist accepting that Russia is no longer a ‘strategic partner’ –or even an adversary with whom one might differ and then reach agreements– but rather an enemy, in the sense that it desires the West’s submission or destruction.

Although Westerners tend to conflate ‘disinformation’ with ‘information warfare’ –even as they distinguish between ‘cyber warfare’ and ‘strategic communication’–, the Kremlin uses ‘disinformation’ as one of the instruments of the ‘combination’ and shows in practice that ‘cyber warfare’ and ‘information warfare’ while seemingly synonymous are actually are interdependent phenomena.

The West has concentrated on cyber-protection and on the technical responses to cyber threats. The NATO countries are well prepared for a ‘pure cyberwar’. Nevertheless, so far their response to the Russian information war has not been adequate for three major reasons: (1) because they have believed that Russia discredits itself by spreading false news; (2) because they do not understand that the West is at war with Russia; and (3) because they suppose that telling the truth is sufficient, which it is not.

Russia has failed according to Western criteria –it does not tell the truth– but according to its own criteria it has achieved an overwhelming success, particularly in two areas. Within Russia, the mission to engage the information war commissioned by the Military Doctrine has secured the national information space: Russians have been isolated from foreign information sources and most of the domestic media are controlled by the Kremlin. Abroad, Russia is exerting its influence over the consciousness of the masses, generating an atmosphere in which it is difficult to distinguish authentic information from half-truths and fake news.

Conclusion

The consciousness of the Western population is the key terrain of the confrontation with Russia. It is therefore insufficient to simply counter false information. Ignorance of the fact that Russian disinformation campaigns are paving the way for future action against the interests of the West is the principal danger of the ‘combination’ strategy.

It is impossible for the West to respond with total success to the ‘combination’ of instruments and tactics now employed by Moscow. While the intelligence agencies can engage in intelligence work, Western governments cannot effectively restrict information flows. They cannot restrict the use of the Internet as do the governments of authoritarian or totalitarian countries.

Russian Military Doctrine defines as one of its principal objects not to the destroy the enemy, but rather to exert influence, that is, not the extinction of opponents, but rather their internal decline. Therefore, warfare moves from conventional battlefields to the realm of information, psychological warfare and the distortion of perceptions. War with Russia is not fundamentally a physical conflict but rather one between consciousnesses. This is because, in the final analysis, the objective is always the same: win the war in the enemy’s hearts and minds.

Mira Milosevich-Juaristi
Senior Analyst at the Elcano Royal Institute and Associate Professor of the History of International Relations at the Instituto de Empresa (IE University)
 | @MiraMilosevich1


1 See Mira Milosevich-Juaristi (2017), ‘El poder de la influencia rusa: la desinformación’, ARI, nr 7/2017, Elcano Royal Institute.

2 To analyse the messages about the illegal Catalan referendum broadcast on Russian TV channels I have used the outstanding analysis of the portal EU vs DisinfoRussian, ‘TV’s view on Catalonia referendum: Europe falling apart and Spain compared to Ukraine’

===============================

This is a re-post from a recent (Nov 20) publication of the Elcano Royal Institute, a Spanish think tank:  (it is a translation from an earlier version is Spanish)   http://www.realinstitutoelcano.org/wps/portal/rielcano_en/contenido?WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=/elcano/elcano_in/zonas_in/ari92-2017-milosevichjuaristi-combination-instrument-russia-information-war-catalonia

It gives insight how and why the Russian government uses cyber interference to sow discord in foreign countries. They try to split groups into ISOLATED “tribes” that oppose and fight each other.

Our response and policy should be :

  1. To RE-connect people (connectivism !!!);
  2. Help build bridges between them. Telecommunication (internet, social networks) can support that;
  3. Recognize and support #Btweeners (aka “weak links”) who  connect different people from different tribes. This stabilizes society by #NetWeaving;
  4. Support any kind of #TransTribal Cooperation in Open Society

PS: The proposed #Brexit isolation policy is exactly the opposite of what should be done.

jaap van till , TheConnectivist

Posted in Russian interference, Russian mass manipulation of foreign elections, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

Keeping The Dream Alive

When I am gone please play this on my funeral: “Keeping the Dream Alive” ~ Freiheit (on YouTube). [  https://youtu.be/Xr2vXDLK7wk  ]

It pretty well sums up the way I feel looking back on what we did together for interconnections of billions of people and computers on Internet.

jaap van till, TheConnectivist

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Political Power of (Social) Networks

political power1This is a log of publicly available information about [mass mental manipulation of voters with the help of ICT/ internet tools and social media] , in a number of countries. Roughly listed in sequence. From recent — back to 2015/2016. I have tried to comment on the articles and books as scientific/neutral/factual as possible.

5UK British security chief warns of Russian hacking.  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/14/world/europe/britain-russia-cybersecurity-hacking.html?smid=tw-share

2World China and Russian attempts to influence, are they Softpower? The meaning of Sharp Power: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/china/2017-11-16/meaning-sharp-power?cid=int-lea&pgtype=hpg

1Sweden & Czech (excerpt from an announcement June 16, 2017):

Text zweden

1.EU Commission has announced that it will set up a study group to look at manipulation of voters with Social Media. See announcement on Twitter

1Iran  Alternative channels for the civil society: How has changed the internet landscape in ? investigates:

 

2Netherlands Two cabinet ministers and a number of MP’s have annouced that there should be done an investigation on Fake News and that proposals to fight that should be gathered. It is curious that none of them mention that a “StaatsCommission on Parlementarian Processes” has been installed by them that has these subjects as one of their subject issues (Commissie Remkes).

1.Netherlands Log of Russian #agitprop activities with people/social media to sow discord: (a) before advisory referendum about EU-Ukraine, (b) before the elections for Parliament “Tweede Kamer”, (c) during the legal investigation of the #MH17 plane crash.  Article in NRC newspaper (in Dutch Language) :https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2017/11/14/kabinet-rusland-probeert-politiek-en-publieke-opinie-te-beinvloeden-14014543-a1581090

and https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2017/11/14/pro-russische-activisten-proberen-in-nederland-de-publieke-opinie-te-bespelen-14008383-a1581044

1UK. The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has launched an investigation into the way UK political parties target voters through social media with a warning that if they send political messages to people based on their individual data, they could be breaking the law.

The investigation “into the use of data analytics for political purposes” was announced by Elizabeth Denham, the information commissioner, and will go further than the watchdog’s current activity of exploring practices deployed during the European Union referendum campaign.  (…..) techniques used for gathering personal data on voters from social media and processing it for campaigning purposes does not excuse them from obligations under the Data Protection Act to tell people what it is doing with the data. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/17/inquiry-launched-into-how-uk-parties-target-voters-through-social-media

2UK  Very revealing article by  in the Guardian about what took place dring the Brexit referendum and long before that with the help op #PsyOps , ads and RU trolls and -bots https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/07/the-great-british-brexit-robbery-hijacked-democracy?CMP=share_btn_tw

1France They outwitted the Russians by injecting a huge amount of (most of it made-up) gossip about candidate Macron just before the presidential elections. So the Russian trolls had no time to sort out what was true or not, and spread it in France. The trolls lost their credibility because of nonsense messages. So this is an important lesson: use fast response and Audace Audace! (the unexpected) on Internet.

3UK. Speech of PM Th. May (Nov. 15) in which she accuses Russia with election meddling (for #Brexit)  http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-41973043  

4UK Articles in the Economist blaming the ((greed of the management of)) Social Media for the meddling: social media more Gamergate Economist (1)    and  Do social media threaten democracy 

1.World.  Russia is not the only country that interferes in the free flow of information of messages and publications and the freedom to assemble and form/ discuss viewpoints. https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/11/14/think_the_us_is_alone_18_countries_had_their_elections_hacked_last_year/  The Freedom on the Net 2017 Report (by Freedom House) :   https://regmedia.co.uk/2017/11/14/fotn.pdf  “Manipulating Social Media to Undermine Democracy”

1USA Senate Hearing . Watch Google, Twitter and Facebook lawyers testify to the Senate hearings about the meddling in and before the 2016 elections: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1863&v=mDfAFzh6doM

1Germany, Europe The first alarms about mass manipulation by personal profiling and nudging of the isolated ‘bubbles’, where raised in an academic paper first published in Germany (2015) and later translated for the Scientific American (2016) .

The first warning that Mass Mental Manipulation (MMM) was going on was published (in German) by a group of Swiss, German & Dutch scholars. published by Spektrum der Wissenschaft:

[A] Helbing, D., Frey, B. S., Gigerenzer, G., Hafen, E., Hagner, M., Hofstetter, Y., van den Hoven, J., Zicari, R. V., & Zwitter, A  (december 2015). “Digitale Demokratie statt Datendiktatur,”  http://www.spektrum.de/news/wie-algorithmen-und-big-data-unsere-zukunft-bestimmen/1375933

B. A more extended version of that paper was published (in English) two years later in Scientific Americanhttps://www.scientificamerican.com/article/will-democracy-survive-big-data-and-artificial-intelligence/
[B] Helbing, D., Frey, B. S., Gigerenzer, G., Hafen, E., Hagner, M., Hofstetter, Y., van den Hoven, J., Zicari, R. V., & Zwitter, A.: Will democracy survive Big Data and Artificial Intelligence? Scientific American, February 25, 2017)
Full text ((very much recommended read))

More about these early warnings was logged in my blog on July 15 2017: https://theconnectivist.wordpress.com/2017/06/03/the-massive-brainwashing-on-internet-how-why-who-ordered-it/

===========================

1Books About political power of Internet and networks. Recommended reading for politicians:

(a) Ann-Marie Slaughter “The Chessboard & the Web” -Strategies of Connection in a Networked World- , described in: https://theconnectivist.wordpress.com/2017/06/27/about-our-connected-future-4-policy-transition-from-entities-to-relations-between-entities/

(b) Joshua Cooper Ramo “The Seventh Sense” – Power, Fortune and Survival in the Age of Networks-, described in https://theconnectivist.wordpress.com/2017/07/16/about-our-connected-future-5-make-connections-for-constructive-network-power/

(c) My contributions to cope with the new power of networks in a democratic way are described in an earlier blog, probably a chapter in a book that I am writing: https://theconnectivist.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/np9-engines-for-the-new-power-the-four-network-effects/ . Focus there is on Multi-Tribe membership (Reed’s Law) and Btweeners (weak links) that re-connect and stabilize communities and bottom-up cooperation between a diversity of very skilled problem solvers (the powerful Van Till’s Law)

political power2

This “river” may run deeper and wider than you might have imagined. Simply throwing stones in it will not change much. navigating it and building dikes may be more constructive.

jaap van till, TheConnectivist

 

Posted in Brainwashing, Brexit, Civil Society, election meddling, Russia, social media, Trolls, Trump, Trumpism, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment