Identifying Insurrectionists Is Going To Be Easy -- Thanks To Social Media And All The Other Online Trails People Leave

from the not-going-dark dept

As Techdirt readers know, there's a lot of hatred for social media in some circles, and lots of lies being told about why Section 230 is to blame. Against that background, it's useful to remember that, as their name implies, they are just media -- things in the middle of people communicating to others. As such, they are neither good nor bad, but tools that can be used for both. In addition, social media posts themselves can be used in good and bad ways. Examples of the former include the Bellingcat investigations that frequently analyze social media to tease out information about major events that is otherwise hard to obtain. Sometimes, the information is so easy to find, you don't even need any special skills. An article on Ars Technica points out that identifying the leading insurrectionists who participated in the recent events at the US Capitol is going to be pretty straightforward, thanks to social media:

the DC Metropolitan Police and the FBI will probably need to look no further than a cursory Google search to identify many of the leaders of Wednesday's insurrection, as many of them took to social media both before and after the event to brag about it in detail.

Things are made much easier because many of those taking part in the rioting did not wear masks, despite requirements to do so in some locations. As a result, the authorities have thousands of really clear pictures of the insurrectionists' faces. In addition, Witness, an organization that "helps people use video and technology to protect and defend human rights", was encouraging people to save livestreams of the riots, and to share them with "investigating organizations like Bellingcat". The Ars Technica article notes:

Neither would an agency need actual photos or footage to track down any mob participant who was carrying a mobile phone. Law enforcement agencies have also developed a habit in recent years of using so-called geofence warrants to compel companies such as Google to provide lists of all mobile devices that appeared within a certain geographic area during a given time frame.

This underlines a fact that law enforcement doesn't like to talk about: far from things "going dark", there is more useful data that can be used to identify and convict people than ever before. In this case, it could perhaps also have been used to prevent the violence, since far-right supporters openly discussed their plans online beforehand. But it wasn't -- we don't know why. This plethora of readily-available information is another reason why backdooring encryption is not just foolish, but completely unnecessary. Today, there are so many other sources of key information -- not least the much-maligned social media.

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Filed Under: evidence, insurrection, law enforcement, section 230, social media


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    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 8 Jan 2021 @ 3:10pm

      Re:

      Proof that there really is a Simpsons quote for everything!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Jan 2021 @ 4:32pm

      Re:

      The rainbow six eagle watch expansion pack became real.

      Good god clancy what are you doing up there?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 11 Jan 2021 @ 9:00am

      Re:

      Well, at least the "America's Dumbest Criminals" series now has enough material to last them well into the 25th century.

      What comes back to haunt me, again and again, is the level of utter moron the Trump cult has descended to. It's as if they've brainwashed themselves into devolving right out of sapience.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jan 2021 @ 1:44pm

    many of them took to social media both before and after the event to brag about it in detail

    Someone who records themselves committing a crime will, almost without fail, end up an internet meme as a stupid criminal. As well as imprisoned, of course. Gotta love an idiot with a cell phone.

    Darwin awards for everyone (involved)!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 8 Jan 2021 @ 1:55pm

    'We didn't mean stop doing it now!'

    Insurrectionists: Social media needs to stop deleting our stuff!

    Social media: Oh we're not, in fact we're handing it to the police and federal authorities as we speak.

    Insurrectionists: ... Delete, delete damn you!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 8 Jan 2021 @ 7:57pm

      What happens on the internet stays on the internet...

      ...forever.

      Did we not already know this?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 8 Jan 2021 @ 11:26pm

        Re: What happens on the internet stays on the internet...

        Some of us did.

        I'm waiting to see what the fallout if from this for Parler. My understanding is that there's a lot of further insurrection talk on there... and that people are supplying proof of their real identities in order to post there.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2021 @ 8:51am

          Re: Re: What happens on the internet stays on the internet...

          " there's a lot of further insurrection talk on there... and that people are supplying proof of their real identities in order to post there."

          Huh - a few fries short of a happy meal, the prize is an all expenses paid trip to the big house, the slammer, the federal pound me in the ass prison.

          Don't stop your opponent when they are making a mistake.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bloof (profile), 8 Jan 2021 @ 2:12pm

    The people who did this were dumb enough to announce they were going to do this ahead of time across reddit and it's spinoffs and social media, people warned the various agencies they were planning this, but the warnings were completely ignored. These people left a trail on the internet so wide you can see it from space as they were proud of what they did, they won't be such proud boys when the authorities are left with no choice but to start arresting them for what they've done.

    And you know each and every one of them they bother to apprehend will be arrested without incident, will smile in their mug shots before being released on bail, they won't just send a mob of 'deputies' to execute them in the street without any warning, nevermind a real attempt at an arrest then have the president crow about it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 Jan 2021 @ 4:00pm

      Re: dumb enough

      ... Yup, this mob of yokels was really dumb in many respects. So dumb that maybe we over estimat their actual threat to the rest of us.

      However, the dumb mob inadvertently did Congress a big favor by showing how easy it was to penerate the "massive" layered security apparatus protecting the core of American government.

      Imagine what two dozen foreign terrorists (well trained, well armed, well equipped) could have done against the paper thin Capitol Hill defenses.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bobvious, 8 Jan 2021 @ 2:18pm

    #38 is EASY to identify

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    seedeevee (profile), 8 Jan 2021 @ 2:24pm

    Imagine that, Glyn Moody with the traditional British fluffing of government misinformation (Bellingcat) . . .

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 8 Jan 2021 @ 7:38pm

      Re:

      [Projects facts not in evidence]

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2021 @ 12:48am

        Re: Re:

        seedeevee always complains that Bellingcat is controlled by the deep state intelligence officers, because seedeevee has to post anything to attack anyone who dares ever highlight Russian attacks. It is curious how tied seedeevee is to attacking anyone who highlights problems from Russia. Curious indeed.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Bobvious, 9 Jan 2021 @ 5:07am

          Re: Re: Re:seedeevee

          CDV - Cognitive Dissonance Vocalised

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Jan 2021 @ 1:24pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Bellingcat lied (for example, "draft" opcw mail story). Then pathetically half admitted it. Ex cia officials say that they "love" Bellincat on news articles. Cia is known for lying and misled the congress. These are facts. There are many honest organizations out there doing fair investigative work. Bellingcat is not one of them.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Jan 2021 @ 1:48pm

        Re: Re:

        Fact - bellingcat published (knowingly) a draft mail from opcw claiming it was actual - unmasking inspector 2 and distorting the context. This was called out as lie and disinformation. Bellingcat had to admit that the mail was not real. Deleted tweets, manipulations, distortions, even bellingcat fall with the Asian false jihadist writing that he was fighting for isis. All facts that can be easily checked.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jan 2021 @ 2:33pm

    No doubt some people will hold them up as martyrs...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jan 2021 @ 2:42pm

    Don't ID them too soon....

    Or the Godless Orange marshmallow will pardon them and then what fun would THAT be?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 8 Jan 2021 @ 3:16pm

      Re: Don't ID them too soon....

      While possible I don't see it happening to be honest, as I understand it a recent statement of his threw them under the bus and his focus is now entirely on protecting himself so I doubt he'll risk his neck to provide them any cover beyond verbal support and their best bet is to bank on the legal system half-assing any arrests or prosecutions due to who they are.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 8 Jan 2021 @ 6:44pm

        Re: Re: Don't ID them too soon....

        Perhaps. I am done trying to estimate or surmise the stupidity and depths to which many of these criminal self serving types will go.....I must warn you, my cynicism is quite often spot on.....

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 8 Jan 2021 @ 8:01pm

          Re: Re: Re: Don't ID them too soon....

          Oh I wouldn't put anything past Trump when it comes to stupidity or corruption, however for Trump the question is always 'What's in it for me?' Mass pardons for himself and close family/'allies' makes (corrupt) sense as that directly and indirectly benefits him, but pardoning a bunch of nobody insurrectionists when the heat is on and doing so is only going to ramp that heat up would make no sense as the gains would be vastly outweighed by the costs.

          No, in this case I suspect that pure self-interest will probably be enough to stay his hand, as he's got much bigger problems to deal with and try to wiggle out of, though admittedly I wouldn't be too surprised if you end up correct given how stupid and openly corrupt he is.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jan 2021 @ 3:13pm

    encouraging people to save livestreams of the riots

    ...because those streams are "going dark", so to speak. Social media sites are deleting these due to "images of extremist violence", "incitement to violence", etc. Those reasons are certainly true, but are also good cause to reconsider content moderation policies.

    Luckily, programs like youtube-dl remain legal and available. Perhaps I should add "barely", given its recent takedown.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 8 Jan 2021 @ 3:55pm

    I know of one account linked to the insurrection that the Feds won’t be able to look at right now.

    (🎉)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 8 Jan 2021 @ 5:06pm

      Re:

      A whole two weeks before he's slated to be given the boot from the WH, how very principled of them to finally apply the rules to Trump.

      Gorram cowards, better late then never but as a comment I remember from who knows how far back noted 'You don't deserve congratulations for crossing the finish line if you had to be dragged kicking and screaming over it.'

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jan 2021 @ 4:06pm

    I know the echo chamber of Techdirt demands everyone hold fast to the falsehood that there was absolutely no voter fraud at all and that this was the most-secure election ever in the history of the world, but reality has a way of crashing in when you least expect it.

    And what do you do with the seventy-three million people who saw what happened in this election and understand that there was rampant fraud in four key states? Do you lock them all up in reëducation camps until they conform to your version of reality? Maybe just execute them like other communist regimes do when they take power?

    If you think they'll just slink away never to be seen again, you're sadly mistaken.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rocky, 8 Jan 2021 @ 4:54pm

      Re:

      I know the echo chamber of Techdirt demands everyone hold fast to the falsehood that there was absolutely no voter fraud at all and that this was the most-secure election ever in the history of the world, but reality has a way of crashing in when you least expect it.

      Wow, seems Techdirt have full control of the courts in the US and can tell them to disregard any evidence of voter fraud.

      Techdirt will soon start on the construction of reeducation camps for 73 million people. The camps will have a strict curriculum in critical thinking, but I fear there will be a lot of people in the camps who will consider this torture in the extreme and that will result it them spouting gibberish (which some will regard as an improvement).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 8 Jan 2021 @ 4:56pm

      Re:

      How'd that phrase go, 'He lost, get over it'.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 8 Jan 2021 @ 11:23pm

        Re: Re:

        Trump and his cult are the only examples I've seen of sore winners, spending much of the last few years insisting that Trump didn't actually lose the popular vote, even though it was irrelevant to him gaining office. Can you really expect them not to be sore losers when they lose in that way again but without the EC to overturn the people's vote for them?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 8 Jan 2021 @ 5:07pm

      Please provide evidence that “rampant fraud in four key states” actually happened. (Make sure that it’s good enough for a court of law, too. The Trump legal team didn’t.)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 8 Jan 2021 @ 6:33pm

      Re:

      I know the echo chamber of Techdirt demands everyone hold fast to the falsehood that there was absolutely no voter fraud at all and that this was the most-secure election ever in the history of the world, but reality has a way of crashing in when you least expect it.

      No one is claiming there was no voter fraud. Just that it’s minimal and only pro-Trump voters appear to have done so. We’re claiming there is no widespread voter or election fraud or enough to change the results of the election. It was the most secure election in modern history simply because of how closely watched everything was.

      We claim these things based on past experience and what (mostly Republican) governors, (mostly Republican) Secretaries of State, all election officials, many election watchers, lawyers (for both sides), judges (including Trump employees), and election experts have said and the results of several recounts and verifications. We also haven’t seen any real evidence that would refute those claims, despite the fact that there was plenty of opportunity for proof to be presented.

      And what do you do with the seventy-three million people who saw what happened in this election and understand that there was rampant fraud in four key states?

      First, not everyone who voted for Trump thinks that there was fraud or irregularities. Second, that’s entirely up to them. I don’t care what they do as long as it’s lawful.

      Do you lock them all up in reëducation camps until they conform to your version of reality? Maybe just execute them like other communist regimes do when they take power?

      Nope. No one is saying that.

      If you think they'll just slink away never to be seen again, you're sadly mistaken.

      Disappointing but unsurprising. That said, they can’t change the reality of the situation, no matter how much they hope or believe that it’s false or wrong.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2021 @ 8:29am

      Re:

      That’s why jails exist bro.
      So when you come back you go into them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 7:40am

      Re:

      And what do you do with the seventy-three million people who saw what happened in this election and understand that there was rampant fraud in four key states?

      Tell them they lost, and get over it.
      Then call them snowflakes, and tell them to fuck their feelings.
      If that's not enough, just tell them the rest of us are just looking at 'alternate facts.'

      If there was any evidence at all, trumps team of "lawyers" would've presented the evidence in court, instead of running away. Alas, they are the ones who really sold those morons out.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bloof (profile), 8 Jan 2021 @ 4:32pm

    Voter fraud that only happened in the parts of the ballots and the states that went against Trump, not the house and senate races where an unassailable democratic majority would be incredibly useful, only the top ticket featuring a massively unpopular republican candidate. Voter fraud so cunning that it only happened in cities filled with minorities among whom Trump is about as beloved as porcupine skin toilet paper. Voter fraud so cunning it somehow managed to happen in places where republicans controlled the elections. Voter fraud so cunning the Trump team have been unable to present any evidence of it whatsoever and had their legal teams back down the moment any judged asked them for actual proof because they don't fancy parroting the same lies they vomit on TV in a place where there'll be consequences for lying. Voter fraud so cunning that republican donors are suing the groups they funded that claimed they're able to prove it happened, for not being, in fact, able to prove anything. Voter fraud so cunning even the most hyper partisan right wing 'news' outlets like Fox and Newsmax issued on multiple on air retractions the moment the election machine companies got the lawyers involved because their stories were based on 4chan posts and the say so of the son of the guy who runs notorious pedophile and Qanon hangout, 8kun.

    They have no evidence, there is no evidence, it did not happen and screaming and committing acts of terrorism will not make your far right fever dreams of fraud and persecution into a reality. They had ample opportunity to present evidence in front of friendly TV hosts like Tucker Carlson, as well as judge after judge after judge, some of which were appointed by Trump himself and they showed nothing and their cases were rejected every single time.

    It is clear to everyone with even a lick of common sense that the people parroting these lies are so full of sh*t even the Trump gutted EPA would consider them for a potential superfund site.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 9 Jan 2021 @ 2:50am

      Acts of terrorism don't make it true.

      If your zombie army is big enough (think millions) then yeah, you can write the history books to say whatever you want.

      Sadly, Trump is not that good a necromancer.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jan 2021 @ 4:46pm

    they could start with the riots starting back in may.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Madd the Sane (profile), 8 Jan 2021 @ 6:05pm

      Re:

      What makes you think they haven't?

      If there was anything meriting an arrest, it would have been brought up. Either they were smart enough to wear masks to prevent identification and were smart enough to not record their "rioting", or there was nothing that was actionable.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 8 Jan 2021 @ 8:13pm

    Collective effervescence

    Yesterday on A Late Show, Elizabeth from Knoxville was interviewed coming back from the raid. She was distraught having been sprayed right in the face with pepper spray.

    It was obvious she just could not grasp she did anything wrong that warranted retaliation. She was just going to the revolution (her words!) the same way someone might go to a Grateful Dead concert.

    Crowds are weird and dangerous and I don't trust them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 8 Jan 2021 @ 8:20pm

    The stupidest terrorists

    Shave your beard.
    Paint your face.
    Wear a mask.
    Dress in black.
    Wear goggles, gloves.
    Give your phone to your alibi.
    Rent a car.
    Steal a different car.
    Get it. Get it on. Get out.
    Ditch your gear post hoc.
    Take a different route home.
    Stay out of the hospital.
    Got to a different ER (if you must).
    Stay out of sight for a week.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Pixelation, 8 Jan 2021 @ 8:36pm

      Re: The stupidest terrorists

      Now they can prove how you got there. :)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Jan 2021 @ 12:20am

      You’d think at least the Proud Boys morons would practice basic fucking OPSEC.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 9 Jan 2021 @ 2:46am

        They are Proud Boys, not Smart Boys

        Something tells me those boys who are a wee bit brighter come quickly to realize the Proud Boys don't have many qualities actually worthy of pride.

        At the same time, there are some traditional warrior codes of honor that require every footman to ignore the battle plan and simply charge the biggest, baddest enemy they can find. (Which might explain why Rome effectively rampaged through Europe) and the Proud Boys may just be very traditional.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Pixelation, 9 Jan 2021 @ 8:34am

        Re:

        I guess that's why they aren't called the Smart Boys.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        sumgai (profile), 9 Jan 2021 @ 9:37am

        Re:

        If any of those idjits had ever been in the armed forces, it's a dead certainty that they were REMF's, no doubt about it in my unmilitary mind. OPSEC indeed.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 9 Jan 2021 @ 10:24am

        Re:

        If their members were smart they wouldn't be proud boys in the first place.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 10 Jan 2021 @ 6:38pm

      Re: The stupidest terrorists

      The issue is that they expected to be treated as heroes and to be welcomed by the LEOs inside.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jan 2021 @ 8:40pm

    I expect that some rioters will be accused, and perhaps convicted solely on facial recognition. That is, without such things as cell phone location evidence, having a buddy name-drop on them, etcetera.

    And remember how well "facial recognition" works, with cautionary tales about ClearView and police departments.

    So just a reminder to you law enforcement types, and folks cheering on the use of facial recognition to nab the capitol rioters: Do your homework. Be thorough. If you only kinda think you got your man, you don't. Accidents cause multi-million dollar settlements, ruin lives unjustly, or let the palpably guilty off because of double jeopardy restrictions. And you don't want any of that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2021 @ 9:05am

      Re:

      It is assumed that your reference to Facial Recognition is the Artificial Intelligence type software attempting to id people in a picture ... yes it is fallible - a lot - and that is why real human beings were looking at the pictures and identifying the perpetrators. I think that human identifying is way more accurate than the AI software, but yes, there is more incriminating evidence available and it too should be preserved in the effort to bring these criminals to justice.

      Funny news, some geniuses are claiming an AI outfit identified antifa people in the crowd, said outfit denies it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Paul, 9 Jan 2021 @ 8:42am

    6-hour Insurrectionists?

    Then what do you call 100-day long BLM insurrections? Freedom fighters for the loot? Stalin would be very proud of your article, comrade.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2021 @ 9:06am

      Re: 6-hour Insurrectionists?

      Protesting police violence is not the same thing as attempting to overthrow a government.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        sumgai (profile), 9 Jan 2021 @ 9:56am

        Re: Re: 6-hour Insurrectionists?

        Protesting police violence is not the same thing as attempting to overthrow a government.

        Indeed. In point of fact, the protesters got what they wanted, a high degree of public awareness and an eyes-wide-open look at police brutality, with resultant decisions by various jurisdictions to re-apportion some funding away from police departments.

        OTOH, the insurrectionists (or attempted ones, at any rate), got just the opposite - the Congress Entire reacted in near-unanimity to proclaim Biden as the winner. I'd like to think that Hawley and Cruz, for starters, are about to be the recipients of the same kind of scrutiny as the rioters, but in these waning days of #45, I'm probably just pipe-dreaming.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      bhull242 (profile), 9 Jan 2021 @ 5:42pm

      Re: 6-hour Insurrectionists?

      95% of BLM protests were completely nonviolent, and those that got violent did so after police attacked them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2021 @ 7:42am

      Re: 6-hour Insurrectionists?

      Then what do you call 100-day long BLM insurrections?

      I call them 'far more effective than the chimps who stormed the capitol and couldn't last for more than a day.'

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 12 Jan 2021 @ 8:15am

      Re: 6-hour Insurrectionists?

      "Then what do you call 100-day long BLM insurrections?"

      public protest is a long-enshrined tradition of the US. But context matters, because just as there's a massive difference between self-defense and first degree murder...well, maybe not in your mind...there is also a massive difference in people taking to the streets to protest indiscriminate murders committed by law enforcement, and a mob storming the capitol to put an end to the ELECTION process.

      So one of those is quite OK and the other one is right out. Because context matters.

      "Stalin would be very proud of your article, comrade."

      I think he'd be a lot happier with your heartfelt approval of demolishing the democratic process of transferring power, to be honest. But as we've gotten used to by now with you people, every accusation, a confession, eh?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    sumgai (profile), 9 Jan 2021 @ 10:22am

    ... there is more useful data that can be used to identify and convict people

    Whoa, not so fast there, me bucko. Nice sentiment, but that's about as dangerous as giving #45 the nuclear launch codes. Jumping straight from identification to conviction strongly bypasses the Constitutional requirement that a person be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Better would've been to say "... identify, prosecute, and likely convict people"

    Now that I've written that, and pondered it during Preview, I realize that this is exactly what's been going on for the last 4 years:

    a) Jump to a conclusion about an allegation against someone, evidence be damned;
    b) Recruit others who also run strictly on emotion, and don't want evidence to get in the way;
    c) Make life a living hell for that person, publicly and privately;
    d) Feel smug in your righteousness.

    It's called self-aggrandizement, or in my book, it's the ol' "Holier Than Thou" syndrome. Allow me to quote my father: It's too bad that ignorance isn't painful".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Jan 2021 @ 1:43pm

      Ignorance can be painful. But Trump and his supporters seem like the kind of people who never got facepunched for their ignorance.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 9 Jan 2021 @ 4:18pm

        facepunched for their ignorance

        Elizabeth from Knoxville did on Wednesday. I think it's the first time a (proverbial) dog snapped at her for taunting him.

        Confronting Vader is all fun and games until someone loses a hand.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 10 Jan 2021 @ 8:29pm

          Re: facepunched for their ignorance

          The lady rubbing onion in her face?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Uriel-238 (profile), 10 Jan 2021 @ 9:26pm

            Onion

            The onion thing is news to me. My first inclination is to assume it's a rumor intended to justify dismissing her story. And going to the revolution only to get a face full of pepper spray sounds completely plausible.

            Are there any sources with solid evidence of the onion?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Thad (profile), 11 Jan 2021 @ 6:46am

              Re: Onion

              I don't know that there's any way of confirming it, but when she's dabbing her face in the video there's something small and white in the handkerchief she's using.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                bhull242 (profile), 12 Jan 2021 @ 5:04pm

                Re: Re: Onion

                I dunno the details, but I will say that at least some people believe rubbing onion in your eyes can reduce the harmful effects of pepper spray, so even if she’s rubbing onion into her eyes, it might not be to provoke tears but to recover from the pepper spray.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Pixelation, 9 Jan 2021 @ 5:31pm

        Re:

        I think a lot of them may have been punched too many times. (Trump not included) It seems like they want somewhere to vent their anger rather than face reality and move on.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2021 @ 8:01pm

        Re:

        I wonder of the moderators will delete this blatant call to violence.

        Time will tell, I guess.

        Maybe ban Stephen for his hate speech?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 9 Jan 2021 @ 9:37pm

          it happens often enough.

          We've had at least a couple of incidents in which a high school student posted (obvious) rap lyrics on his status page, which displeased the high school admin or the local precinct or both, leading to expulsion and jail time.

          Are you thinking of something like that, maybe?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Jan 2021 @ 10:18pm

          I didn’t ask anyone to do any face punching. I remarked that some people have never faced consequences for their speech. That my example of those consequences was violence is not an endorsement of (or a call to) said violence.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Jan 2021 @ 2:28am

          Re: Re:

          Hello there Jhon Smith.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 10 Jan 2021 @ 8:33pm

      Re:

      ...you've been reading Techdirt long enough to know better than to actually think somebody here is advocating for a conviction without a trial. Come on.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 12 Jan 2021 @ 8:19am

        Re: Re:

        "...you've been reading Techdirt long enough to know better than to actually think somebody here is advocating for a conviction without a trial."

        Not quite true. There is that anti-pirate asshat called Bobmail/Jhon Smith/out_of_the_blue etc who's advocated punishments without trial or defense for many years.

        It may be only that one guy, but that's surely somebody, right?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2021 @ 7:08pm

    Its S.O.P. actually.

    All this breathless talk from cops and other enforcementeers about going dark and back-door necessity, is pure smoke and mirrors to keep the public thinking it still has a modicum of privacy - and thus, feeling secure, remain at least partly unprotected from the Surveillance State's hidden eyes and ears.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 10 Jan 2021 @ 7:22am

    You don't get it, do you? This was a test run.

    Identifying Insurrectionists Is Going To Be Easy -- Thanks To Social Media And All The Other Online Trails People Leave

    Identiying insurrectionists is not going to help one bit since the judicial system is too slow to deal with them and the penal system is too slow as well for a meaningful response.

    We have a large base of people willing to overthrow the government by force for the sake of Trump. They have seen that an ad-hoc attack will work wonders. A number of actors know that they are now working on borrowed time. They have social media support of like-minded people.

    They have, we know that, prepared extensive weapons and bombs that did not actually see use on Wednesday.

    On January 20th, Joe Biden will be inaugurated in Washington D.C. Trump will not be present at that opportunity, Pence will. Biden plans to arrive by train, a mode of transportation with known trajectory.

    This is the perfect opportunity for a terrorist attack with a large number of high-profile casualties. There is a sufficient number of Trump arsonists with a sufficient degree of criminality and recklessness and feeling of doing the right thing and being supported by a majority of patriots (never mind that this is not really a majority: it is large enough for them to believe that Trump won the election).

    You think you've seen the worst? I pray you are right. But I really think it would be a good idea to impeach Trump immediately just so that there is sufficient time after he leaves the White House to search for booby traps and implement security that has a chance to be up for the occasion.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 10 Jan 2021 @ 8:30pm

      Re: You don't get it, do you? This was a test run.

      Seems to me that's how you get a black woman as president, but I'm not sure the people we're talking about have thought that far ahead.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Rocky, 10 Jan 2021 @ 9:16pm

        Re: Re: You don't get it, do you? This was a test run.

        Some have. They have posited the idea that Biden's whole presidential campaign was to get a black woman as president, ie. after Biden have been president for a little while he steps down because of "health reasons".

        Consider that for a moment and the implications on how they think and what they don't like. They usually say things like "I'm not a racist, but...", or "I have nothing against women, but..."

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 10 Jan 2021 @ 9:39pm

          A black woman for black woman's sake?

          Obama demonstrated race doesn't define policy, given he continued a bunch of Bush policies, including the disposition matrix, lettin law enforcement and national security departments go full espionage (abd not counter-espionage) and letting the wiretap program become a full mass surveilance program.

          Harris believed the justice system works and needs fine-tuning when it's corrupt through and through. Getting her into power, even with a friendly congress is not going to push the radical mass reform agenda the US needs to survive.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Rocky, 11 Jan 2021 @ 1:54am

            Re: A black woman for black woman's sake?

            I wouldn't call the justice system corrupt through and through, but it isn't far off.

            Anyway, regardless who is the president, reforming the political and the judicial system is a tall order when those with the power in them will lose that power if reformed.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Thad (profile), 11 Jan 2021 @ 6:49am

            Re: A black woman for black woman's sake?

            Obama demonstrated race doesn't define policy, given he continued a bunch of Bush policies, including the disposition matrix, lettin law enforcement and national security departments go full espionage (abd not counter-espionage) and letting the wiretap program become a full mass surveilance program.

            You may find that the insurrectionists' beliefs about what Obama did as president are not 100% aligned with reality.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        sumgai (profile), 12 Jan 2021 @ 10:55am

        Re: Re: You don't get it, do you? This was a test run.

        Yes Thad, though I've probably not been here as long as you....

        My idea was not so much to accuse G.M. of jumping the gun, it was more to addressing a "potential misdirection" that new readers might perceive as "the TD norm". By fleshing it out, I had hoped to leave it without needing further explanation, but alas, I see now that I failed to cover all the bases before heading for home plate. Thanks for making me realize that not everyone thinks like me, nor takes my meaning when I uses shortcuts like this. Time to up my dose of caffeine in the morning!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          sumgai (profile), 12 Jan 2021 @ 10:58am

          Re: Re: Re: You don't get it, do you? This was a test run.

          Sorry, but somehow this reply got midirected to a different comment by Thad. Please read well up the page from here (at Thad's admonishment directed at me), and it will make sense.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 12 Jan 2021 @ 11:53am

          Re: Re: Re: You don't get it, do you? This was a test run.

          Man, I have been here a long time, haven't I.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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