Russian web users are preparing for Sunday’s presidential election. Interpol cracks down on Anonymous. And a giant portrait made entirely from drawing pins
Online mobilization against election fraud in Russia
Russians will go to the polls on Sunday to elect their new president. And despite a surge of opposition against him, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is the favourite. Three months ago his party won the parliamentary elections amid allegations of electoral fraud. So the powers that be are now trying to play the transparency card. Around 180 000 web cams have been installed in over 90 000 polling stations across the country so that the people of Russia can monitor the electoral process via this website. The opposition has said this does guarantee free and fair elections and has created its own safeguards.
Anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny set up the Rosvybory project which seeks to train citizen observers, through online coaching in particular, and guide them through all the administrative steps so they can officially register as such with the authorities. According to the site, over 17 000 people have already volunteered.
And it’s likely they will be using all the new technology on hand to share their observations. Yabloko, a liberal opposition party recently launched a smartphone application which alerts a team of lawyers when a case of fraud is reported.
And a group of students has set up this site which features an interactive map on which citizens can report any irregularities. Ballot stuffing, multiple voting or vote buying… so it seems thousands of Russians will be on the lookout during these closely monitored elections.
Interpol cracks down on Anonymous
The International Criminal Police Organization, Interpol, says 25 suspected members of the loose knit Anonymous hacker movement have been in arrested in a sweep across four countries in South America and Europe. The announcement has been met with widespread reaction online.
Interpol issued a statement on its website on Tuesday, saying the worldwide sweep was part of operation “Unmask” launched mid-February after a series of cyber-attacks against Colombia’s defense ministry and presidential websites. The international organization was able to identify around twenty people believed to be involved in these attacks, which led to their arrests as well as the seizure of IT equipment and mobile phones found in searches of their premises. A large scale operation with a view to sending out a clear message to hackers the world over: Cyber-crime will not go unpunished and wherever they are hiding, cyber criminals will be found.
There have been lively reactions to the arrests from the online community and from Anonymous in particular. On Tuesday, members of the hacking collective launched an attack on Interpol’s website making it inaccessible for several hours. The hackers behind the attack say it was a justified retaliation and Anonymous is not a criminal organization.
And it does not look like this will be the end of it. Numerous hackers have launched appeals on social media platforms, saying Interpol must pay for its action and urging fellow hackers to “strike back”. Others are saying the police organization will never be able to stop Anonymous because the collective defends a certain vision of the web and you cannot ‘arrest an idea’.
Navigating underwater in Google Earth
Explore the ocean seafloor from your computer. Visit the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia for example via Google Earth or Google Maps. The mapping services will soon have access to thousands of images taken for the Catlin Seaview Survey project, run in partnership with Australia’s University of Queensland. One of the goals of the initiative is to learn about the impact of climate change on marine life.
Now trending on social networks
Brad Keselowski is probably the first professional racing car driver ever to have tweeted during an actual race. The 28 year old NASCAR driver took advantage of a two hour break in the race down to an accident on the track to update his Twitter followers via his mobile phone. But is he setting a bad example for other drivers? One web user reminded him that it’s dangerous to ‘tweet and drive’, to which Keselowski replied ‘No worries. We stopped’.
Video of the day
The artist Brusspup came up with the original idea of creating a portrait of Dutch singer DxDutch using nothing but drawing pins… you can see it for yourself in this video which is currently doing the rounds on sharing sites. It took 100 hours to complete and required around 15 000 pins. And as you can see the result is pretty impressive…