“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass
That’s a text message that thousands of Ukrainian protesters
spontaneously received on their cell phones today, as a new law
prohibiting public demonstrations went into effect. It was the
regime’s police force, sending protesters the perfectly dystopian
text message to accompany the newly minted, perfectly dystopian
legislation. In fact, it’s downright Orwellian (and I hate that
adjective, and only use it when absolutely necessary, I swear).
But that’s what this is: it’s technology employed to detect
noncompliance, to hone in on dissent. The NY Times reports that
the “Ukrainian government used telephone technology to pinpoint
the locations of cell phones in use near clashes between riot
police officers and protesters early on Tuesday.” Near. Using a
cell phone near a clash lands you on the regime’s hit list.