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1

With a new wave of trolls being unleashed to counter criticism of Aadhaar card with wholly original technical arguments like "but it is perfectly safe" "you just want to complain" and "I don't mind, so why should you", it gets irritating to reply to people over and over. So here is a very simple infographic with very easy to understand information. Use it as an educational tool or use it as a handy link/image to dump at irritating people with near zero capacity for independent analysis.

Aadhaar card and security risks
Aadhaar card and security risks

This is by no means comprehensive. Nor is it meant to be. It is simply intended to drive home the point that Aadhaar has glaring issues, some of them with very serious implications for national security that are simply being overlooked in order to create a big data asset for whoever is pulling the strings behind the scenes.

24

Last Christmas morning London was surprised to see Eid trending ahead of Christmas in twitter. Later it turned to be the work of an Islamic right wing group. Right wing groups can organize and mobilize far better than others, and the misinformed tend to be militant. In India, communalism and secularism have been extremely politicized to a stage where political parties openly defend riots for electoral engineering. Online, ‘Internet Hindus’ came into being before broadband internet became common. (Still the state with highest internet penetration records only 3% penetration).

While BJP has been trying to project itself as a modern right wing party, its vote base has been what it achieved during Ayodhya movement. Being able to provide an alternative to the Congress helped BJP to grow further. Being unable to reach that separation from the right wing extremists that brought it to power the last two times has left it in a precarious position. Party with a difference became a party with differences. Since the people rejected its divisive communalism after Gujarat riots, it has been hard for BJP to establish its media presence. National media distanced from the Hindutva ideology. Attacks by police on media personnel didn't help matters.

B Raman's observations on BJP strategies to regain its media presence are fascinating. They believed media didn’t give enough space for their ideology (or wanted better coverage anyway). The rise of social media was a new beginning, and the right wing decided to focus much of its energy on consolidating control of social media. Kanchan Gupta is believed to be the ‘chef de mission’ and the one to successfully organize a network for the saffron pariwar. But beyond the agenda, it evolved to a group for pushing Narendra Modi as PM for 2014. A sudden epidemin of anonymous handles appeared in twitter; showering abuse on each and every one whomever they found contradicting their ideology. Dissent was labeled ‘Korrupt Congressi’. Supporters of the party with the majority were dubbed anti-nationals by a party that lost two consecutive elections. Logic stopped mattering. It was a war of dominance.

They created a system of social censorship in twitter using abusive trolling and twitter trend defamation, labeled according to taste. Notable and influential people got attacked. Defaming information was spread about them. Articles against their interest were countered with a series of replies or blogs. Also personal attacks were launched on those writers and those who liked their work. The same people who perfected the art of troubling with defamatory suits perfected the art of abuses to mute opinion. Many accounts were blocked by those who got trolled, only for new handles to be spawned.

They blackmailed the media to fall in with their agenda with a high decibel negative campaign with their mobilized workers. The think-tanks used the mobilized trolls as vectors of the information to spread for the crowd sourcing journalists to win mainstream media presence. Manipulating the initial reaction, deliberate misinterpretation followed by organized mud slinging and derailing debates that were disadvantageous to them were important roles played by this virtual army. This was magnified by innocent people convinced by their campaigns to create a loose knit community of extremist thought that thrives on polarization and has very low analytical skills as a group, usually fed subtle “insights” by leaders. When expressed in 140 characters the truth was missing in trends. As a strategy, this was fairly effective. They used their network to aggravate the negativity of their opposition and alleviate the impacts of its own negativity.

Psywar tactics.

Casual observation over time seemed to point to this agenda:

Media should become resistant to negatives of Modi and his positives must get more coverage in MSM

Create disillusionment and fatigue among netizens with the current political system to a stage, where Modi’s authoritarian style of leadership is accepted by the educated youth. Better still, sold as the “lesser evil” - the only thing that can fix existing problems.

Channelize outrage among people and extract maximum political mileage from it. Impressive organization fuels this with data to support only the view they wish to showcase.

Keep the ideologically opposite liberals under check and systematically silence by creating fear or nuisance to the point of dysfunction.

Another strategy to combat dissent seems to be swarming the target person and overwhelming with many token challenges. They don't stand to scrutiny, but cannot all be answered because of the sheer number – this can then be presented as “having no reply to the truth” - a kind of human DdoS.

Attack political rivals, devalue them in public opinion by making them the brunt of ridicule trends. This became easier because the congress is yet to have a social media cell, though stray people irate with the nuisance or attacks on themselves now seem to be self-organizing. So sometimes you have troll wars 😀

The network has been used for vicious misinformation campaigns that create and sustain communal polarization. Many usually neutral commentators B Raman, Vidyut, Sonali Ranade, Shivam Vij, others openly criticized abusive trolling strategies in social media. Some use wit and facts to combat and turn their methods into an expose of them. Others block or ignore. Tired with trolls, Salil Tripathy sarcastically changed his twitter bio with the labels he received from them
“CryptoMuslim gutter intellectual/Italian Mafia Sepoy/green terrorist+westernized leftist thug+braincell deficit Hindu hater”

Namitha Bhandare wrote a brilliant column on abusive trolls. It spread rapidly on Twitter with enough people frustrated with the trolls. The right wing launched an attack on her which have not stopped yet (check this google result for a snapshot view of the method and madness).

============ guest post by Aby Hydros, edited by Vidyut ==============

It is very common to have selfish, ignorant people who would not like to know about the suffering of anyone keep talking about how "outraging on Twitter achieves nothing". Their oblivious state registers no information flows, public opinions formed, or help offered and received. They have decided that help is not this, and that is that.

While they are responsible for their own lack of insight and observation, this is a good time to point out the obvious.

  • Each person has their own account and are free to use them how they like. How I run my account is my business. You like, you subscribe, you don't like, you don't subscribe, you are unbearably offended by me saying whatever I want to say, you block. That is the extent of your rights regarding my account. Therefore, going on and on about disapproval is nothing but spiteful, juvenile trolling.
  • If you look beyond your tiny little interest space, which seems to be the only valid use of social networking in your view, there are a whole lot of other uses. From businesses offering support to activists in countries with severe censorship of media quickly getting news out.
  • About  human rights - the subject that seems to offend these obnoxious royals the most: There are a whole lot of other people beyond you. Political leaders, bureaucrats, journalists, bloggers, social workers, NGOs, activists, people interested in news about human rights, people needing help.... They connect. Many useful things emerge.
  • Journalists and politicians get direct access to views of people. If you outrage on something, it means that something is hurting your interests, and on social media, your hurt matters.
  • All sides of different issues find voice, which is invaluable in helping people understand situations better and make more informed choices that are likely to accommodate the interests of more people - precious in a diverse democracy like ours. Good example would be the Janlokpal campaign, or the objections raised to recent raids on pubs and bars. The ability to hold multiple sides of an issue creates precious space for reconciliation.

Here is how outrage on Twitter has directly influenced many happenings in the world:

  1. Last year's uprisings. From the Janlokpal movement to Occupy Wall Street to the Arab Spring. Sharing of views and influencing opinions and organizing was heavily facilitated by social media. Yes, the Kashmir protests too.
  2. Lost people found, lost animals found, blood donations organized and in one case, even a kidnapping prevented.
  3. Attention to human rights abuses forces politicians and bureaucrats to take notice and act. Latest example being the Guwahati molestation, but there really are countless examples here.
  4. Awareness of issues of grave wrongs that media normally does not cover. Often, this awareness leads to media coverage. Examples on this blog are Keenan and Reuben murders, Naina Singh's murder.
  5. Those without voice being heard: As the internet penetration improves, it is helping... particularly social networks are helping people who are marginalized get their voices heard. Google CGNet Swara for an example.

This list can go on and on, but the point is made.

Do not make the mistake of thinking words are only so much air. Words are ideas. Yours may be worthless according to you, but there is more to the world than you. You may find mine worthless, but then it is highly unlikely that I have pinned my hopes on your comprehension or empathy.

Therefore, to mind your own business and not try to censor people with taunts, sarcasm or trolling.

12

EVER BEEN ON A DISCUSSION FORUM WHERE A MEMBER KEEPS COMMENTING IN CAPITAL LETTERS TILL YOUR EYES CROSS?

This person has a name. A universal name. Its TROLL. Now imagine the forum moderator doing it. And no, you can't unsubscribe easily. This happens to be your country here.

What is happening with these constant laws is classic trolling of the public space. The troll usually has a point. Microscopic. Then, he takes that point, builds an entire war based on one of the circumstances that point happens in, and fucks up your life with constant interference. Sound familiar?

While this in itself is a nuisance, the troll is doing two things worse.

  1. He is diverting attention from his own violations of forum rules.
  2. He is successfully derailing any constructive dialogue that could improve matters.

Not elaborating here, because I have written plenty on our rulers, opposers and irrelevants, on our police state and its illegitimate citizens and many other articles on this blog itself.

I want to use this space to point out the very real harm this country is going through. We are being converted into unthinking citizen bots. If I tell you to jump and hit you hard enough, you will jump sooner or later. You don't know why you are jumping. You only know your feet hurt, but you are fucked if you don't. You are no longer interested in why I want you to jump and if there is any advantage to you, it is long lost in the disadvantages and indignity. Welcome to India.

My latest trigger is our new law for the legal age for drinking to be 25. Before I even consider supporting it, I want this re-passed in the parliament where only people who drank after their legal ages can vote for. Glass houses and all that.

When a vast majority of people are breaking the law, its a good indicator of a bad law. People today drink well before 18. What makes the government imagine that changing the number will change anything about the behaviour? We have so many laws. Most of them unenforced. We have massive human rights issues. We have pending investigations dragging. We need serious overhaul of capabilities. Instead, we are going to send out cops to babysit legally adult citizens? People who can rent a flat legally and do what they like can't drink? People who can marry can't drink at their bachelor's party? Interesting. And what for? They WILL drink anyway post age 25 if they want. What's the magic number in spending about a third of your life not allowed to do something that is otherwise legal?

I would still have bought this bullshit, if the government had shown any previous track record for sensible laws. Read police state and illegitimate citizens to get a general gist of the state of effectiveness of existing laws. This is an insult, AND a waste of time and energy and an utter squandering of the National Human Resources.

We have a government that only talks to us through dictates. Statistics show a problem, they slap a law, the problem gets worse, no one gives a flying fuck.

I think you get a general idea of what is it that I am ranting about. I want to end here with an incident from my teenage.

My father was this autocratic person who usually was clueless about what was happening in my life. At age 16, we had an argument and I insisted that I would do what I wanted to do. He said that once I was adult, I would have the wisdom to choose wisely, but right now, I should listen to him. I asked right back, "If you think I'm unworthy of trust after 16 years of guidance, what will change in the next two?"

So, I ask our government. If this law generating bot hasn't been able to improve the behaviour of its citizens through so many laws, what does it imagine this new law is going to achieve?