The in-depth tale of Bylock, the Turkish messenger app whose 1x1 tracking GIF was the basis for tens of thousands of treason accusations


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It’s bad when you have to note that 1984 was not intended to be an instruction manual.

It’s worse when you have to note that Paranoia was not intended to be an instruction manual; but computer assisted(with ‘assistance’ of deeply checkered quality and sanity) oppression and conspiracy hunting conducted with careful attention to a shoddy color coding scheme and a deep disregard for human life is very, very Alpha Complex.


On one level it’s like, dystopian regime gonna dystope, regardless of whether people are using telegraph keys or smartphone apps.

But it sounds like that’s compounded here by a genuinely novel problem: the oppressive state, having always demanded surveillance without limit, finds that it doesn’t have the first clue how to deal with that wish coming true.

They’re not just using this as spurious “evidence” to convict people they’ve already decided are guilty; they’re acting like the white noise they’ve collected is actual evidence. Unless the plan was to arrest thousands of people entirely at random, all they’ve accomplished is a spectacular firework display of self-ownership.

That could be a more useful argument than focusing on the fact that mass surveillance is evil. If you tell Theresa May she’s worse than the Stasi, she’ll just say “no, it’s different because East Germany were the baddies, you see”. But it’s harder to swat away the evidence that mass surveillance works worse than ethical surveillance.


Coming soon to a country near you!


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