All rational people understand the #Pegasus disclosures have nothing to do with India’s monsoon session, or a conspiracy against India. It has everything to do with BJP spying on people for political gains!

Why do BJP leaders still keep repeating conspiracy theories?
It’s not for the rational audience. It is for the supporters they’ve primed to believe their theories of victimhood for years now.

India is under threat from mysterious global powers and opposition is conspiring with them. Hindus are under threat…
People didn’t come to believe this instantaneously. An entire campaign was waged to convince them of this, and now that they’re primed, BJP uses it to justify the illegal acts it indulged in for grabbing and retaining power.

Many authoritarians follow the same script.
There’s a method to how it’s done that we’ve captured in The Art of Conjuring Alternate Realities, but truly, this book isn’t to document what’s wrong… it’s a guide on fixing things.

The alternate realities created with lies and control over information can be countered. But…
It will take concerted and unified effort from people who see it, and some party or individual will have to take the lead on bribing all of these people on the same platform.

BJP’s alternate reality succeeds because they put the EXACT same information across everywhere.
All TV, Social Media, and all leaders repeating the exact same script no matter if they know it’s a total lie or not. They get called out with evidence, they still keep saying it.

Countering this right now is varied voices with different arguments and evidences… so
People remember BJPs claims vividly, and the counters vaguely (if that, because some of it is so technical and jargon filled, it gets ignored).

That’s why it’s important to word explainers in ways that the lowest common denominator grasps the concept. Especially on tech! And,
It’s important that people get on the same talking points, otherwise BJPs message will be retained and the logical one with all the evidence drowned out.

It also needs creative information distribution plans, given BJPs grip on a lot of the sources of information!
This is why @iam_anandv and I wrote the book. Within India and globally, we are all now part of an information war.

The concepts are old but the mechanisms and the interconnectedness of the world make it more potent than ever. And more dangerous!

bit.ly/AlternateReali…
Domestic politics is one sliver of it, the other is national security. The tools that are built for domestic control will get repurposed by external entities and foreign forces.

It’s happened many times across history, and the best first line of defence is understanding it.
This is a great list of the repeated content.

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More from @ShivamShankarS

20 Jul
Ran a reset on all devices today after the #PegasusSnoopgate reveals, and can’t even imagine what I was missing!

Everything is so much faster and glitch free! Especially the phone!! This has been a great decision, regardless of spyware. Also… kind of emotionally cleansing!
Weird to say this, but we all hold on to a lot. Pictures, texts, screenshots that we are so worried about preserving. We never look at them, but can’t let it go either…

Well, letting it go is oddly refreshing!

PS: I ran Amnesty and Citizen Lab icos on them before the wipes.
Didn’t have Pegasus on the devices. Cleaned it all up permanently anyways because when it comes to cyber, the weakest link often isn’t the tech, it’s the human emotions.

Attachment to data, curiosity to click unknown links, plugging in random USB drives - letting this go is key!
Read 4 tweets
18 Jul
While you follow the #Pegasus #spygate stories, remember that it costs $7-8 Million per license, and one license can be used on 50 phones.

It throws off ALL data - calls, messages, keystrokes, remote activation of camera + microphone… complete access. What this means is…
That a significantly large team is required to sift through it all.

It isn’t mass surveillance automatically looking for keywords in conversations, it’s targeted and total surveillance of a small group of individuals… Someone is manually going through it all.
This raises an important question that won’t be answered today… who are these people doing the snooping?

We know it’s the govt, but who in it? It’s likely it’s under MHA, but someone must follow up exactly who… the potential for misuse and blackmail is tremendous.
Read 12 tweets
18 Jul
Sure there are many activists, journalists, judges and bureaucrats whose phones were illegally tapped by this Govt, but what’ll surprise many is how many BJP and RSS people who are considered close to Modi were tapped!

Why? Because the regime depends on sycophancy.
They depend on controlling the information environment to dominate your thoughts. Media is only the first and most obvious lair.

To make it sustain, all institutions and people must be brought under control. This includes their own leaders - they have to make sure…
That the Bhakti is real, and to keep blackmail material ready in case it starts diminishing.

It’s for this information control that they’re fighting Facebook and Twitter, through which a lot of information flows. And why all statistical bodies of India have been destroyed.
Read 9 tweets
16 Jul
This sentiment exists in the minds of so many because they’ve fully accepted an alternate reality that BJP has created - that highlighting failures means you’re anti-India, and if you’re Muslim you’re obviously anti-India… How did they do this?
The branding of students, activists and critics wasn’t an isolated act. It was actions done for a larger purpose - to conjure the reality that so many people inside India are against the country.

Many think it’s to scare critics, and it is in part, but even bigger reason:
It gives their supporters an enemy to hate. And gives them ammunition to deflect any legitimate criticism.

Instead of rage being directed against them for failing during 2nd wave, and actively making it worse, they redirected anger against those who covered it!
Read 4 tweets
28 May
I am pro vaccines and I also want government to release important data surrounding it. That’s not hesitancy, it’s common sense.

What data do I want?

- Covaxin Phase 3 trial, peer reviewed.

- How many got COVID after 1st, 2nd dose. With what variant. (We need genome sequencing)
- How many had to get hospitalised, died after vaccines (1st and 2nd dose breakup. Covaxin / Covishield breakup, state and region wise.

- Status of variant identification in India. Because with these many cases, virus has a much higher chance of mutating. Must be tracked.
Without such data, impossible to make informed calls on policy. Our great Govt operates entirely on one man’s feelings and gut instead of data. It’s proven this is a horrible way to do things.

Why I want the data instead of just accepting the efficacy data out there? Or UK data?
Read 6 tweets
28 May
Demand traceability that’ll break encryption - claim we respect privacy.

Try to censor everyone on SM except your abusive trolls - claim we love free speech.

Ensure farmers get less and consumers pay more - claim we’re doubling their income.

Keep increasing fuel prices...
Claim “global rates” even when they’re the lowest they’ve been in decades!

First claim Modi’s made Indian image amazing internationally, yay Modi. Then switch to world is against us, defaming us, conspiracy, when they report the truth of your failure.

The vaccine order claims,
All clear lies and falsehoods.

They’ve demolished all institutions that had credibility, removed all competent people and placed in sycophants that’ll lie and say nonsense all day for them, including a Health Min who’ll support a charlatan Coronil salesman over doctors.
Read 4 tweets

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