Look up. Read that Edmund Burke quote. Again. I’ve been saying for nearly SEVEN YEARS, and documenting here on my site how jihadis have been radicalizing and recruiting foreign fighters and more importantly ‘lone wolf attackers’ online. Back then they were using their own privately hosted servers in Europe (Belgium, Russia, Sweden) and the Middle East (Doha, Qatar). I was watching this happen 7 years ago and decided to take my own ‘offensive cyber countermeasures’ with a view to disrupting and destabilizing their infrastructure, servers, and even their trust relationships with service providers in an attempt to push them off their own platforms and funnel them into a smaller space – US owned and operated platforms and social media. I’ve talked about this approach many times.
…. And smaller spaces, should have been easier to watch.
- The First Amendment was written and designed to prevent the government (ie unapplicable to private citizens – including Twitter) from infringing on the freedoms of speech and expression of individual citizens and/or groups of citizens. As a private citizen (ie not the government) it’s wholly impossible for me or Twitter to violate anothers’ 1st Amendment rights.
- The ISIS accounts whose ‘rights’ Twitter, whether intentionally or not, are ‘protecting’ are owned by individuals outside the US, who are not US citizens, therefore they are NOT protected by the Constitution of the United States.
Now don’t misunderstand me, an onlooker could be forgiven for observing Twitters’ stance on equality and ‘Freedom of Expression/Speech’ rights between and for all the users of its’ platform as admirable, whether they are members of a foreign terror organization or your little old Grandmother who can’t stand lemons and anchovies. It’s also worth noting that every now and then they do go on a rampage – suspending active ISIS accounts, which could be argued as counter-productive by those in certain circles that rely on those accounts for intelligence collection, if you know what I mean? I’m sure Twitter would land on the same side of the fence as Edward Snowden with regards to this. But again they are forgetting that these targets who Twitter allows to use the platform are foreign nationals, and part of a terrorist organization, so again, it’s NOT unconstitutional to monitor them.
But that’s not all….
Recently we have seen a bruh-hah-hah erupt over Twitters’ FUCKING DUMBASS decision to ban US intelligence agencies from using the DataMinr software (a private entity) which analyzes PUBLIC tweets to predict and detect terror attacks because Twitter is ‘concerned about the optics’ of such a relationship. In addition to this, many of you are aware I myself have spent the last 8 months plus in my spare time and at my own expense, developing my own solution called ‘InternetAWACS‘ (iAWACS) which listens for and maps Twitter jihadi chatter, Active Shooter Situations, and much more. Well guess what – at exactly the same time Twitter decided to cut the Dataminr service, a completely separate entity to my own solution, iAWACS also went dead. I had developed SIX nodes listening for various traffic online, here’s a screenshot of it in action, geo-locating an ISIS account holder that frequently traveled between Indianapolis and Lafayette:
iAWACS analyzed PUBLIC TWEETS and determined lots of things like geolocation, current sentiment, users criminal willingness, propensity for violence, trustworthyness, and a bunch of other stuff. None of this information was obtained from anything private. It was simply analyzing PUBLIC DOMAIN information that the target had pumped out themselves. No privacy breaches, no civil rights infringements.
In order to create iAWACS I needed access to the Twitter Streaming API. And at the time of writing ALL SIX of my iAWACS nodes are not intercepting any tweets or images, because Twitter appears to have (repeatedly) revoked my API authentication tokens, without warning or explanation. This happened within ONE DAY of them announcing they didn’t want to allow US intelligence agencies access to similar technologies like Dataminr as outlined above.
Here’s my SIX iAWACS nodes as they stand right now:
- – FIREHOSE – Unfiltered and sucks up everything – THIS ONE IS INTENSE! Beware the images tab!
- – DRONEBAIT – Listens out just for Jihadi Chatter.
- – ACTIVESHOOTER – Listening for Active Shooter situations.
- – TRENDINGUSA – Tracks the current US trending Topic.
- – MAJOR INCIDENT – This node activates when there is a major incident in progress and has local EMT audio.
- – DEMO NODE – Demo node listening for tweets mentioning NYPD, LIVE NYPD AUDIO & NYC Airspace Monitoring.
They are all sitting dormant and idling because Twitter is picking and choosing who it wants to grant access to what is essentially PUBLIC DOMAIN data. It’s worth noting that in the immediate days BEFORE the Brussels attacks iAWACS detected an uptick spike in traffic on the DRONEBAIT NODE indicating something was about to happen, it was so abnormal I even tweeted about it at the time.
So to recap on the situation as it is right now:
- Twitter has effectively decided that foreign citizens who are members of terror organizations are protected under the US Consititution.
- Twitter leaves thousands of ISIS accounts up yet suspends the really high-profile HVT accounts making it damn near impossible to keep track and monitor them.
- Twitter denies firehose and streaming API access to private entities who create automatic intelligence analysis applications that may or may not be utilized by governemment agencies for the purpose of predicting, detecting and monitoring terrorist attacks on US soil.
Scroll back up and read the opening quote to this post again.
During WWII, what has become known as ‘The Greatest Generation’ not only went to fight, but those still at home all became part of the effort too. In some cases, industry and manufacturing temporarily stopped regular output to turn their machinery towards making parts for aircraft and armor. Civilians risked their lives to inform on enemy movements in France and other parts of Europe. We need to take a leaf outta my Grandmother who hates lemons and anchovies book, because make no mistake, we are right in the middle of a war, whether we like it or not, whether we admit it or not. Its not just by Air, Land and Sea, but now also by Cyber. We can all play a part.
So now to Twitter, I’m not saying you’re violating U.S. Code § 2339B – (Providing material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations) because I’m not a lawyer, but you possibly need to ask yourself, are you part of the solution, or are you part of the problem, because I sure as fuck know what it feels like from where I’m perched.
I guess we’ll never know what may or may not have transpired last night in the Pulse Nightclub, Orlando, had Twitter not taken steps to block and ban access to certain intelligence collection and analysis tools.
My point is, US Social Media is making it very difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. And it almost seems like that’s the way they want it. By design. In closing and I’m sure it has nothing to do with anything, but did you know that one Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud of Saudi Arabia, who in 2011 invested $300 million in Twitter, now owns 34.9 million shares. That’s more than Jack Dorsey. Here’s the actual Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing.
Probably just a coincidence.
UPDATE: 20:37pm June 18 2016
Since I published this blog article many of you on Twitter have expressed outrage to Twitter for ‘switching off’ my iAWACS project. Thankyou. I’m hapy to announce as of right now, all the iAWACS nodes listed above have suddenly come back online and are able to monitor traffic and images as before. It’s almost like my streaming API keys suddenly got un-blacklisted. Let’s hope things stay that way. Again, thanks to everyone who was vocal about this. #PeopleAreAwesome