Curtain up for the next round

At the end of July the topic in this blog was the anatomy of a political hack of the EU Parliament, afterwards the organization of the hack was explained. A summary of the two articles was published in the FAZ on 19.08.2018.

This article examines the current development in this matter as well as new findings.

AFP reports on political spamming as a business model
The AFP news agency interviewed the managing director of the lobby organisation N-Square.
This company works for Google, but also organizes the Secretariat for Copyright for Creativity (C4C), which is financed by the US association CCIA, which is backed by Google, Facebook, Uber and Co. C4C was significantly involved in the saveyourinternet.eu campaign.

Contrary to what the name would suggest, no creative or creative associations are members of this organization. It seems to be a trademark of such movements to adorn oneself with a nice sounding name, which however is the opposite of real goal of the movement.
John Oliver, the host of cable show Last Week Tonight, could not have described it better than in his great piece on astroturf. Who suspects that the National Wetlands Coalition in the USA is financed by oil companies and brokers. It is similar with C4C.

The managing director, Mrs. DeCock, in any case, justified her C4C spam initiatives to members of the EU Parliament to AFP in this way:
„To be honest, this is the only way to reach the MEPs. „How would you do it, send post-its?“

Well, maybe not post-its, but how about sending MPs normal messages and not tormenting them with mail avalanches designed to overwhelm rather than to inform?
Mails which deliberately hide whether the senders were people or not and whether these people come from the EU.

Spamming continues
On Monday, 27.08.2018 C4C started again to send mass mails to the EU delegates.

Illustration: Spanish MEP Beatriz Becerra (ALDE Group) on Twitter.

MEPs can look forward to even more spam as EDRi blows into Action Week. And there is a link to saveyourinternet.eu again, which already caused the flood of mailboxes and the Twitter storms at the beginning of July. EDRi is a member of C4C.

Illustration: From the current EDRi newsletter.

Multiple spamming by the New/Mode tool:

Image from the saveyourinternet.eu tool, no verification, no captcha code, the form can be sent as often as desired.
Modified Text: Subject: This is a spam Mail. This is a test to demonstrate that just one click can spam a bunch of MEPs. My mail address wasn’t verified. I can send this message even if I am not a citizen of the EU. I can send it as often as I want. I can influence EU politics even if I am a non-EU citizen. This is a hack of democracy.

But there’s even more shade in this blatantly deceptive campaign. Even non-existent mail addresses work.
The saveyourinternet.eu site is accessed with a US IP = 77.111.246.15:

A fake email address is used:

Illustration: Screenshot form saveyourinternet.eu before sending the mail.

It worked.

Screenshot: Success message at saveyourinternet.eu.

 

Create.refresh continues to spread disinformation about paid videos on Twitter

Already in this article Create.refresh was mentioned briefly.
Create.Resfesh will be operated by Purpose.com, which lobbies for Google and others. The Create.refresh campaign is funded by CCIA, Kennisland, C4C and CDT.
Only Kennisland and C4C come from the EU, with C4C being funded primarily through CCIA and the Open Society Foundation, both of which have their headquarters not in the EU but in the USA.

The Meme ban is in any case just again strongly in the coming.

Illustration: paid Twitter advertisement of Create.refresh, retweeted by Julia Reda.
Illustration: The mobile version of Create.refresh paid advertising on Twitter.

 

OpenMedia & New/Mode: Spam also in Canada’s copyright debate
A special déjà vu could be had in the course of the latest campaign of OpenMedia and its subsidiary New/Mode in the copyright debate in Canada. New/Mode offers exactly those same tools as in EU anti-copyright campaign.

US musician, composer and blogger David Lowery has produced a video of the consultations in Canada. He succeeded without problems with US(!) IP address to send various mails with ready-made contents by means of a simple browser back button umpteen times, although it concerns a consultation in Canada!
It means that virtually everyone, if the tools of New/Mode are used, can exert political influence in any country of the world at the click of a mouse.

However, it also means that a simple script – and therefore not even a human being – can send such mass emails.

It also coincides with the facts about the number of visitors to the Saveyourinternet.eu site, where the USA was the fourth largest group.
Since there is obviously no verification of the origin and whether it is a human or a machine, all doors are open for manipulation.

#Iamnotabot #butfromWashingtonDC
An interesting analysis by the Content Creators Coalition from the USA has investigated where the tweets with the hashtag #savetheinternet actually came from in the period June 1 to August 1.
The result is amazing. More tweets (88,000) came from the capital of the USA Washington alone than from the whole EU (71,000).

There are not many ways to explain this in a meaningful way.
Are there a particularly large number of EU citizens in Washington who want to save the Internet, or is it just the home of a botfarm? Who is actually exerting influence on whom right now?

Illustration: Tweet analysis #savetheinternet using Talkwalker. All tweets – pros and cons.

 

Numbers, silence, comments and unfulfilled prophecies
Are the organizers of the demonstrations on 25 and 26 August 2018 so embarrassed by the actual number of participants that there is virtually no coverage on their own pages?
After all, German online magazine Heise reported that there were a mere estimated 200 participants at the Berlin event, and this was the largest of the various rallies <sic>.

Even the central German organ of the „self-proclaimed first inhabitants of the digital sphere“ (© der Spiegel) Netzpolitik.org
acknowledged the miserable results of the demonstrations . But more indirectly through the readers’ comments.

Illustration: Screenshot of Netzpolitik.org, user’s comment (user ha ha ha ho ho ho).

“I cycled past the Brandenburg Gate, full of expectations that it would be difficult to get through all the protests. And indeed, looking for some strained ones, (were there 2, 4 or even 8 protesters, well camouflaged in the tourist masses?) I found the impressive protest mass. Let’s face it, with this knee shot, Reda herself provided impressive proof that the campaign is exactly the fake that the critics of the protest simulation put forward.”

Let’s give Julia Reda another chance to speak, she said before the demonstrations:
“They’re claiming the protest was all fake, generated by bots and orchestrated by big internet companies… People across Europe are ready to prove them wrong: They’re taking the protest to the streets. As we close in on the milestone of 1 million online signatures against upload filters and a link tax, they are making the opposition unmissable and undismissable.”

In Europe as a whole, there were only 800 participants in 27 cities, 0.08 percent of the signatories of the corresponding online petition. Reda was partially right–she just employed the wrong words. The opposition was, and is, wholly missable and ultimately dismissable.  A message was indeed conveyed, but not the one that Reda & friends were trying to send, and it is essential that members of the European Parliament pay attention. The turnout suggests one of two things–or some combination of both: either the anti-Directive propaganda was generated by technical means or effected by non-Europeans who were unable to be physically present; or that the actual Europeans who were prepared to send a message in support of the vague notion of “Internet Freedom,” were wholly unprepared to support the agenda of Reda and the Pirate Party.

 

Conclusion
The closer the date of the vote comes, the more details of the European Parliament’s hack become apparent. None of the shown so far with this hack could be refuted.
It is therefore more important to inform the EU parliamentarians and the public about the background so that they know who covered them up with mails, tweets and phone calls two months ago and how many people really reject the directive.
In any case, it is not a broad grassroots movement.

MEPs need to focus on European values and European culture. These are only supported by the fact that authors are paid appropriately everywhere. US platforms and network giants must not be an exception, even if they have the means and possibilities to simulate storms of protest as in the case of the EU Copyright Directive and thus try to exert massive influence on the opinion-forming of political decision-makers.

Volker Rieck is managing director of the content protection service provider FDS File Defense Service, which works for numerous rights owners. The company also prepares studies on piracy and supports law enforcement companies with the data it collects.
Volker Rieck blogs regularly on Webschauder and from time to time on the US blog The Trichordist on various aspects of unregulated content distribution. His articles also appear on Tarnkappe.info.