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[liberationtech] Find, fix and finish: Syrian activists targeted for online activities

Rafal Rohozinski r.rohozinski at
Fri Sep 6 14:20:10 PDT 2013

A sad story from Syria, part of our activities there.  Depressing to see the Syrian regime forces adopting tactics developed by US joint special operations command against  nonviolent activists.


Find, fix and finish: Syrian activists targeted for online activities

6 September 2013. Assad regime forces arrested a Syrian non-violent activist in a regime-controlled area near Damascus. Recent reports suggest that he has been killed. Available information strongly suggests he was detained as a result of poor digital security practices. The case indicates that the Assad regime is still able and willing to monitor the online activities of Syrians. The regime is also prepared to detain and kill individuals for their online activities.

Please see the linked FlashNote for further information.

Reportedly a member of the opposition, this individual's prominence in social media made him a target: his poor online security practices made him a victim. In Syrian shorthand, his crime was using social media to communicate with foreigners about the conflict.

It is tempting to assume that the Assad regime is too busy conducting a shooting war to monitor digital communications. That is clearly not the case. The regime continues to use social media SIGINT to find, fix and finish activists who are reliant on popular social media platforms. In this case, a life was lost because of poor digital security practices. But the repercussions are wider. The information obtained from the individual's unprotected cell phone and computer are a roadmap for Syrian security forces to intimidate, capture, and kill many others.

More  about our Syria activities here:الصفحة_الرئيسية

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