Tor Usage Soars in Turkey Following the Government’s Attempted Twitter Ban

The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.
– John Gilmore

We’ve already seen authoritarian governments lash out against Twitter in the recent pasti Most notably, last May when the Saudi “religious police chief” stated that “anyone using social media sites – and especially Twitter – “has lost this world and his afterlife”. You can read my article on the absurd incident here if you missed it. 

Last week, Turkey joined the list of Twitter haters amongst government, and attempted to ban the social media service. So what did the citizens of Turkey do? As John Gilmore predicted in 1993, they interpreted the censorship as damage and routed around it. From The Washington Post:

At first the Twitter ban was relatively easy to circumvent and quickly backfired asTwitter exploded with activity in the country. Because most ISPs were implementing the ban by Domain Name System redirection, users could simply change their DNS server to rely on a public server outside the country who wasn’t engaging in the same misdirection. But on Saturday, researchers saw a shift in the way the block was implemented. Instead of DNS redirection, Twitter now appears to be blocked at the IP level.

But there are still a few ways to circumvent the ban, including using a Virtual Private Network to forge an encrypted tunnel outside of Turkey, using SMS (the method tweeted about by Twitter’s policy account near the beginning of blocking efforts), and Tor. Because the anonymous browsing tool reroutes users’ traffic through onion nodes throughout the world, it helps users bypass local censorship.

Here’s an image that demonstrates the recent surge in Tor usage:

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 11.26.01 AM

We saw something similar last summer, after the Snowden revelations first emerged. I covered it in the post: Tor Usage Doubles Globally in the Wake of Snowden Revelations.

Full Washington Post article here.

In Liberty and a Free Internet,
Michael Krieger

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Tor Usage Soars in Turkey Following the Government’s Attempted Twitter Ban originally appeared on A Lightning War for Liberty on March 24, 2014.

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from A Lightning War for Liberty

Ukraine Leader In New Leaked Recording: 8 Million Russians In Ukraine “Must Be Killed With Nuclear Weapons”

While the NSA is busy justifying its spying of every American its existence thanks to famous Moscow resident Edward Snowden, its Russian counterparts have been busy intercepting even more phone Ukrainian conversations.

After a month ago a leaked phone call between US assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland and the US envoy to the Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt confirmed that it was the US that was pulling the strings in what was about to be a violent coup overthrowing Ukraine’s president Yanukovich, “someone” has just leaked another phone conversation, this time between parliamentarian Nestor Shufrych and former PM and ideological leader of the Ukraine “revolution” Yulia Tymoshenko and most probable future president of West Ukraine, in which Tymoshenko is makes the following threats, “It’s going too far! Bugger! We must grab arms and go whack those damn katsaps [a Ukrainian word used to refer to the Russians in a negative tone] together with their leader”, “I’ll use all my connections, I’ll raise the whole world – as soon as I’m able to – in order to make sure.. Bugger!.. not even scorched earth won’t remain where Russia stands” although all her empty threats collapse in the last sentence of the phone conversation in which she says, regarding the Crimea annexation, that “we are going to take it to the Hague International Criminal Court.” Good luck with that.

But the smoking gun, and where Putin once again shows just how masterful of a chess player he is, is the following statement by Tymoshenko, after asked, rhetorically, by her counterparty, “what should we do now with the 8 million Russians that stayed in Ukraine. They are outcasts“… to which she replies: “They must be killed with nuclear weapons.

Needless to say, that is not how you make Russian friends, or diffuse geopolitical tensions with your superpower neighbor, who just happens to be set on recreating USSR 2.0. Because just like that Putin has his provocation carte blanche, as the second something, anything happens to any ethnic Russian in east Ukraine, Putin can point to precisely this conversation as proof of how Ukraine’s “government” feels toward the ethnic minorities in the east, and why “they deserve to be protected” the Russian bearhug. Which has been precisely Putin’s plan all along.

It is not surprising that after this recording was leaked, that Tymoshenko admitted the validity of the recording except for this part, because she knows just how greatly it can and will be used against her once Putin decides it is time to expand a little further beyond just Crimea.

Some of the other statements, transcribed by RT, confirming just how powerless Ukraine truly is in this struggle between David backed by the world’s most insolvent and natgas hungry countries, and an ascendent Kremlin goliath:

Tymoshenko, who plans to run in Ukraine’s presidential election, expressed confidence that she would have found “a way to zap those assholes [Russia].”


“I’ll use all my connections, I’ll raise the whole world – as soon as I’m able to – in order to make sure.. Bugger!.. not even scorched earth won’t remain where Russia stands,” she promised.


Despite being incapacitated by spinal disc hernia the ex-PM stressed she’s ready to “grab a machine gun, you know what I’m saying, and go shoot this bastard [Putin] in the forehead.”

Full recording below:


via Zero Hedge Tyler Durden

High Speed Click Fraud: Over One Third Of All Internet “Traffic” Is Fake

“When you bundle bots, clicks fraud, viewability and the lack of transparency [in automated ad buying], the total digital-media value equation is being questioned and totally challenged,” warns one advertising group executive as the WSJ reports about 36% of all Web traffic is considered fake, the product of computers hijacked by viruses and programmed to visit sites. This means, simply put, that marketers, who are pouring billion of dollars into online advertising, are confronting an uncomfortable reality: rampant fraud… and the fraud is only going to get worse…


Via WSJ,

Spending on digital advertising—which includes social media and mobile devices—is expected to rise nearly 17% to $50 billion in the U.S. this year. That would be about 28% of total U.S. ad spending. Just five years ago, digital accounted for 16%.

The big question is whether attitudes will change if signs of fraud increase.

Billions of dollars are flowing into online advertising. But marketers also are confronting an uncomfortable reality: rampant fraud.


About 36% of all Web traffic is considered fake, the product of computers hijacked by viruses and programmed to visit sites, according to estimates cited recently by the Interactive Advertising Bureau trade group.


So-called bot traffic cheats advertisers because marketers typically pay for ads whenever they are loaded in response to users visiting Web pages—regardless of whether the users are actual people.

The fraudsters erect sites with phony traffic and collect payments from advertisers through the middlemen who aggregate space across many sites and resell the space for most Web publishers. The identities of the fraudsters are murky, and they often operate from far-flung places such as Eastern Europe, security experts say.

Big advertisers are in “crisis”

Chief Executive Vivek Shah, the chairman of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, said at the group’s annual conference last month that Internet advertising was facing a “crisis.”



“The clients we work with would love to spend more money in digital,” says Quentin George, a co-founder of ad-technology consulting firm Unbound. “But until we give them more control and transparency on how the money is being spent, they will continue to have questions and hold money back.”



“We’re aware of the concerns within the industry about ad fraud and are working to address those concerns as they pertain to our business,” a GM spokeswoman says.

One wonders just how “valuable” all those social media companies really are if the bots and fraud was removed? This isn’t the first time we have discussed this, but it seems even the advertisers are now doubting the new word order of “social” and “mobile” as the panacea for ad spend.


via Zero Hedge Tyler Durden

Jerry Brito: Hey FAA, Let the Drones Go Free!

Drone beerAccording to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), we
need regulation before drones are allowed to take to American
skies. She says that what regulators must consider is, “When is a
drone picture a benefit to society?” And there’s the rub. For many,
it is entrepreneurs who must first demonstrate that new
technologies are beneficial to society before they are allowed to
use them. It’s an inversion of a basic tenet of liberty that has
served common law countries well: everything which is not forbidden
is allowed. It is regulators who should prove that a technology
causes real harm before restricting its use.

View this article.

from Hit & Run

Carl Icahn’s Next No-Brainer? “A Major Sell-Down Of Artificial Market Is Coming”

Sprinkled in between Herbalife promotion and eBay board decimation, CNBC’s favorite crowd-pleaser Carl Icahn offered a few pearls of wisdom that the TV anchors were un-prepared for:


Of course, Icahn did not specify the timing which provided just enough cover for the talking heads to confirm their “but stocks are a buy” perspective. We wonder whether the “sell-down” is as big a “no-brainer” as many of Carl’s other ideas.

Icahn had plenty to say:







The Market…



As an aside, isn’t it stunning that the business media hang on every word out of the billionaire investor’s mouth (and twitter feed) when it is related to a “buy” or an upward move in stocks… but, once it is in the ball-park of something less than a strong buy to the moon, the comments are briskly dismissed as if he were the next Harry Dent…


via Zero Hedge Tyler Durden

Philly Dem D.A. Slams Penn. Democrat Attorney General Over Accusations of Racism, Ethical Issues in Investigation of Corrupt Philly Democrats

rufus seth williamsLast weekend, the Philadelphia Inquirer

broke the story
of a three-year investigation into corrupt
politicians the paper’s sources alleged was shut down by
Pennsylvania’s attorney general, Kathleen Kane a Democrat elected
in 2012. The investigation started in 2010 under Republican
attorney general Tom Corbett, who was elected governor of
Pennsylvania that year and whose term was finished by two other

Kane defended her decision, saying the investigation (which
netted five black Democrats from Philadelphia) was
by racism and serious ethical issues, including the
reliance on a main witness who got a deal for other government
fraud charges in exchange for wearing a wire while doing business
with Pennsylvania politicians. Kane said the investigation was

by her Republican predecessors, that a Republican
district attorney agreed with her determination, and that the
closed investigation was publicized in an effort by an “old boys
club” out to get there. She showed up to the offices of the
Inquirer to answer questions flanked by a “personal
attorney,” and answered no questions herself.

Kane’s accusations, which implicate a slew of prosecutors still
working in the state of Pennsylvania, have not been taken lightly.
Philadelphia’s district attorney, Democrat R. Seth Williams, took
to the op-ed pages of the Inquirer, behind a pay wall, to respond
to what he called Kane’s “escalating excuses for her refusal to
pursue evidence of political corruption” and the way “she publicly
attacked respected career prosecutors and investigators in a
desperate attempt to absolve herself.”

Williams, who pointed out he’s the first and only African
American elected to be a prosecutor in Pennsylvania, began by
addressing the “explosive charges of racism Kane has bandied
about,” writing that he’s seen racism and it had nothing to do with
the investigation, in which members of his office had participated.
To that point, Williams stressed that Kane didn’t bring accusations
of “serious ethical and legal issues” to members of her office now
working for the DA when she alleged she became aware of them,
months ago.

He also called the supposed vendetta against her by career
prosecutors a “conspiracy theory advanced by the attorney general,”
saying he believed the prosecutors involved didn’t leak the details
to the Inquirer, something both the prosecutors and the
reporters told him. Williams also wrote that the investigation into
the corrupt Democrats was handed over to federal authorities, who
hadn’t made a determination on the case. So, Williams wrote, Kane
didn’t have a difficult decision to make; she could’ve left it in
the hands of the feds. Instead, according to Williams, she
requested the files back from the feds, and then shut down the

Williams also called into question Kane’s
contention that she couldn’t prosecute the case:  “In other
words, she apparently has electronic recordings of numerous elected
officials taking while promising their votes – and she has to let
them off scot-free because she would be incapable of convincing a
jury of their guilt?”

Williams noted that prosecutors build cases around the testimony
of “very bad men” all the time, even murderers, while Kane claims
she can’t build a case because “the main witness got a deal on a
bunch of government fraud charges.”

“You don’t have to be a prosecutor to know this is how it’s
done,” Williams wrote, comparing prosecuting political corruption
to going after major drug distributors and organized crime
syndicates, each requiring “someone on the inside, someone who has
been part of the enterprise, to give evidence in exchange for
favorable treatment.” Kane’s behavior, then undermines all cases,
according to Williams, by calling into question the use of
witnesses who have turned state’s evidence.

Frank Fina, one of the prosecutors who worked on the
investigation in the attorney general’s office but is now with the
Philadelphia DA’s office, also wrote an op-ed in the
Inquirer. He took issue with Kane arriving at the
Inquirer’s office to answer questions accompanied by an attorney
 who advised her to remain silent. “I have been a lawyer for
22 years, and a public servant for almost all of that time,” Fina
writes. “I have not retained an attorney to advise me to speak, or
to remain silent. I am an attorney.” Fina insisted he and
his colleagues worked on the investigation “honestly, ably, and
with integrity,” and offered to join Kane and Inquirer
reporters to answer any questions they have about the
investigation, something he said he wouldn’t object to being

Kane’s assistant press secretary still hasn’t responded to our

follow up questions

from Hit & Run

The Turkish Government Is About To Find Out Why Bitcoin Is Not A Bubble!!!

The Turkish government has exercised its censorship chops in banning Twitter in an attempt to quell distribution of anti-government recordings, and in the process has materially popularized the service, to wit: Forbes – Streisand Effect Takes Hold As Turkey Bans Twitter

In an attempt to halt widespread allegations of corruption, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has shuttered Twitter – but so ineffectively that the number of tweets sent in the country has remained unaffected.

Last night, Erdogan announced that, following a court order, Twitter was now disabled in the country. “We’ll eradicate Twitter,” he said. “I don’t care what the international community says. Everyone will witness the power of the Turkish Republic.”

The Washington Post reports,Turkey bans Twitter — and Twitter explodes.
Of course, the Islamic leaning‎ says “Twitter users ridicule Turkey ban“.

Leaked recordings shared on Twitter include one in which Erdogan allegedly instructs his son to dispose of cash [AP]

Turkish and global social media users have mocked moves by Turkey’s government to restrict access to Twitter.

The hashtags #TwitterisblockedinTurkey and #Turkey blockedTwitter became the top trending topics globally on Friday, just hours after the Turkish government imposed the ban.

The number of tweets from Turkey reportedly rose by 138 percent as savvy Internet users, including the country’s president Abdullah Gul, found it easy to circumvent the shutdown.

“The whole world is laughing at you #ErdoganBlockedTwitter,” users tweeted, as dozens of images mocking the ban – including one showing Twitter birds covering Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s head in droppings – were shared on the platform.

Another popular tweet shared a poster of the prime minister on a Barack Obama campaign poster with the message, “Yes, we ban”.

Erdogan on Thursday night promised to “root out” and wipe out” the social media platform after users published claims of corruption against him.

Leaked recordings shared and linked on Twitter include one in which Erdogan allegedly instructs his son to dispose of large amounts of cash from a residence amid a police corruption probe.

One method of ridicule was to go around the the blocking if the Twitter domain name by using Google’s DNS (Domain Name Server) services which allowed anxious and potential Twitter users to find the Twitter website through Google’s machinations. So, what does the Turkish government do? They blocked Twitter at the IP level and then went so far as to bank Google’s DNS. This means that Turkey is attempting to block out a portion of the Internet, to wit: Turkey Blocks Google DNS as Erdogan Defends Twitter Action 
Now here comes a quick education for the old fogey-type folk that declare Bitcoin is a bubble, ponzi scheme currency with no intrinsic value. If you recall my many videos that declare the value of Bitcoin is in the protocol, and not the unit of account that everyone is calling a currency, then you may realize that the Bitcoin technology can literally take the Turkish government down. 
(go to time market 1:10 in the video for the explanation)
Those that know the Bitcoin protocol well know that it is an ideal method of overcoming centralized control in regards to value transfer. Well, it’s easily assumable that website data access is value transfer as well. If anybody in Turkey is reading this, then email me and I’ll show you how to step around even Erdogan’s Google DNS ban using the Bitcoin derivative known as Namecoin – A peer-to-peer, censorship resistant, alternative DNS root and data storage technology. Using that “tulip” technology with “no intrinsic value”, Namecoin facilitates cryptographically secure decentralized name and data storage.
According toWikipediaNamecoin (sign?; code: NMC) is a cryptocurrency which also acts as an alternative, decentralizedDNS, which would avoid domain namecensorship by making a new top level domain outside of ICANN control, and in turn, make internet censorship much more difficult, as well as reduce outages.[3][4][1][2][5][6][7][8]
Now, we all know that Krugman and Roubini and all of the not so technologically inclined macro economists may not believe that Bitcoin, et. al. has any intrinsic value, but if somebody like me led a “Coin” revolt in Turkey, do you think Erdogan would believe the economists or me in regards to the intrinsic value of this technology.
If you think Namecoin can be disruptive to the status quo, you aint’t seen nothin’ yet. Wait until the launch of UltraCoin, when those little Haitain kids in shacks out trade the Goldman prop desk on that BTC/AU pair trade.
That’s right, I’m teaching 3rd world children how to trade using cryptocurrency derivatives and plain old fashioned derivatives. I’m comfortable pitting them against the names that the developed world worships, as long as its using this new tech. Let’s see how they fair…
I just love the smell of creative disruption in the air. These pics were taken after some training sessions in Port au Prince, Haiti this weekend.
20140322 124403


via Zero Hedge Reggie Middleton

Russian Politician Suggests Dividing Ukraine Along Lines Of Nazi-Soviet Pact, Proposes West Ukraine Referendum

It has been a while since well-known Russian nationalist and spotlight-grabbing politician, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, made headlines. The recent flame up of Cold War 2.0 is precisely the cover the flamboyant individual needed to reemerge once more, scandalous as ever. Because while the west scrambles to find a way to punish Russia for openly flaunting its relentless hollow threats by annexing Crimea, Zhirinovsky is back and has a “modest proposal” for Ukraine, and the countries neighboring the troubled former USSR territory: namely dividing the country along the lines of an infamous Nazi-Soviet pact, suggesting that regions in Western Ukraine hold referendums on breaking away from Kiev. In a letter sent to the governments of Poland, Romania and Hungary, Vladimir Zhirinovsky also suggested those countries hold referendums on incorporating the regions into their territory. The question is whether Zhirinovsky, who traditionally has been just a bit of a loose cannon yet whose nationalist Liberal Democratic party largely backs President Vladimir Putin in the Russian parliament,speaks only for himself, or whether Putin is using him the way the Fed uses Hilsenrath.

Before readers dismiss his ramblings as those of a deranged lunatic, it is worth reminding that he is deputy speaker at the Duma and his ideas and language resonate with a large part of the Russian population and the Kremlin’s increasingly pro-nationalist rhetoric.

Reuters has more details on his proposal:

His letter, seen by Reuters, suggested Poland, Hungary and Romania, who are now in the European Union, might wish to take back regions which he said were in the past their territories.


The regions were incorporated into Ukraine when it was part of the Soviet Union at the end of World War Two and featured in a secret annex of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop pact under which the Soviet and Nazi German foreign ministers carved up the area.


It’s never too late to correct historical errors,” Zhirinovsky wrote. It was not clear whether the letter was serious or a publicity stunt. But it follows a crisis in relations between Moscow and Kiev since the Moscow-backed Viktor Yanukovich was ousted as Ukraine’s president last month.


Zhirinovsky proposed Ukraine’s Chernivtsi, Zakarpattia, Volyn, Lviv, Ternopil, Ivano-Frankivsk and Rovensky regions, together with Poland, Romania and Hungary hold referendums on whether the regions should break away from Ukraine.


Romania might wish to have Chernivtsi, Hungary the Zakarpattia region, and Poland the rest, he said. 


The proposal would allow central Ukraine to be free of “unnecessary tensions” and the referendums would “bring prosperity and tranquillity to the Ukrainian native land,” the letter said.

We never said he didn’t have a sense of humor. One nation, however, was not amused: Poland…

Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman Marcin Wojciechowski dismissed the letter as a “complete oddity” and regretted some Russians “still think in terms of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.”

… And of course Ukraine.

Ukraine’s government spokeswoman declined to comment. Sergei Sobolev, head of Ukraine’s largest parliamentary faction, the Fatherland party, called Zhirinovsky a “provocateur”.


“But Zhirinovsky often is the voice of Putin,” he added.


Alexandr Efremov, head of the parliamentary faction Party of Regions, Ukraine’s former ruling party, said he did not support Zhirinovsky’s proposal.


“Just as we have some intemperate people, Russia has some of them as well,” Efremov said at a briefing. “I do not support this (Zhirinovsky’s) approach.”

Perhaps the most important message here is that with the Russian nationalism wave increasingly a dominant talking point and motivation in voting for any one political party, hopes that the Ukraine “precedent” will promptly be buried under the rug can be soundly eliminated for good.


via Zero Hedge Tyler Durden

Obama Demands Russia Leave G-8; June Summit Cancelled While Ukraine Deploys Army Along Borders

UK Prime Minister David Cameron stated that it is “absolutely clear” that the G-8 Summit scheduled for June in Sochi, Russia will not go ahead. But it is President Obama that appears to be pressing the hardest for major changes:


This comes at a time when Ukraine forces are being withdrawn from Crimea and deployed to North, South, and East borders of the region.  Meanwhile, Ukraine is taking its soldiers pulled from Crimea and deploying them along all other borders.


David Cameron says G-8 Summit Scrapped…

There will be no G8 summit in Russia this year, David Cameron said in a further ign of efforts to isolate Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.


The Prime Minister said it was “absolutely clear” the meeting could not go ahead.


Speaking in The Hague ahead of a meeting of G7 leaders, he said: “We should be clear there’s not going to be a G8  summit this year in Russia. That’s absolutely clear.”


Preparations for the planned June summit in Sochi had already been suspended as a result of Russia’s actions in neighbouring Ukraine.

And Obama is calling for Russia to be kicked out of the G-8.



via Zero Hedge Tyler Durden