John Scott-Railton Profile picture
Chasing digital badness. Sr. Researcher @citizenlab @UofT @munkschool. Fmr.Ed. @SecPlanner. Tweets mine. Or find me on Mastodon:
Ella Sanders Profile picture Neal Rauhauser Profile picture hippie@heart Profile picture eDo Profile picture Adam Smithee Profile picture 39 subscribed
May 26 12 tweets 7 min read
Been seeing these replies everywhere?

It's happening because Musk can't stop bots.

Let me break it down what's going on with this spam. 1./ Image 2/ Reply spammers fight a cat & mouse games with platforms like #Twitter.

One way they get spotted is by the platforms examining links.

If spammers hammer a platform by sending the same link in a thousands replies to the same scam site, it's not hard to spot & scale blocking. Image
May 26 4 tweets 6 min read
Dissidents must continue to live in fear of #Pegasus #spyware thanks to @CreditSuisse.

Which helped them survive US Government blacklisting.

@ajsaeedy @dnvolz… The lenders have been worki... 2/ And don't forget, Happy Gilmore's producer actually co-controls #NSO Group's shell company.

May 26 6 tweets 4 min read
UPDATE: The killer whales just struck again.… Image #TeamOrca sounds pretty organized in how they target sailboats.… Image
May 26 9 tweets 4 min read
Countdown Florida trying to pass a law absolving Neuralink of responsibility for sudden death. Image Brain interfaces like #Neuralink = fascinating.

What scares me is that Musk does hype.


At the expense of safety, accountability, long-termism, and responsibility.

But the brain is an unforgiving bit of tissue where messups are irreversible.
May 25 7 tweets 4 min read
Yeah @expressvpn just made it up.

The VPN industry keeps pumping out security misinformation to drive business.

Regulatory scrutiny needed.👇 Journalists & dissidents are regularly targeted by dictators wielding #Predator spyware.

Some are at physical risk.

When @expressvpn spreads SEO-optimized falsehoods to drive sales, they actually make it harder for these people to find the right information.

May 24 11 tweets 7 min read
Killer whales are hunting & sinking ships near Spain.

And may be teaching others how.

Some researchers speculate it may be a new whale fad.

The Orca equivalent of a TikTok challenge.

@sipappas… ImageImageImageImage "two juvenile killer whales went after the rudder while an adult repeatedly rammed the boat... The attack lasted 90 minutes"

They know what they are doing.

Pics of aftermath. You can see an emergency pump running.

Source:… ImageImageImageImage
May 24 4 tweets 5 min read
What in the Half Baked is going on?

A Low-budget Hollywood producer w/ties to #China is now co-director of the entity that holds #NSO Group.

Robert Simonds has no history with #spyware, but a bunch of Adam Sandler producer credits. 1/

By @omerka… ImageImageImageImage 2/ Here's Robert Simonds on why🇨🇳#China's @TencentGlobal is a great owner of his @STXfilms.

Why is a Hollywood producer w/a history of biz messes & a #MeToo scandal mixed up with the 🇺🇸US sanctioned notorious #Pegasus spyware maker?

May 23 7 tweets 3 min read
Trump had Murdoch.

DeSantis has Musk.

Once more, a rich media owner will try to sway an American election. Image Hard not to read this as: Musk wants a compliant American president who will let him do *whatever he wants*…
May 23 4 tweets 5 min read
Good to see some movement from Germany.

However, the @bka doing business with #NSO Group is embarrassing.

German inertia is an avoidable lead weight on European regulatory efforts & ability to lead on the spyware crisis.

cc @GermanyDiplo & #BKA Präsident Holger Münch Europe has a mercenary spyware crisis.

And #Germany @GermanyDiplohas has the opportunity to lead & participate in multilateral efforts.

Choosing instead to help keep notorious #spyware companies afloat is... puzzling.

#Überwachungssoftware. .… Image
May 22 14 tweets 7 min read
This morning blue check accounts accounts claimed large explosions at the Pentagon.

... then the White House.

Russian state media amplified the faked Pentagon image from their gold check account.

The images look AI generated, as folks identified. 1/ ImageImageImage 2/ The images, when you zoom in, are literally *all wrong* and it didn't take sharp eyed observers to notice obvious inconsistencies.

May 22 10 tweets 6 min read
Transparency: deleted thread about an article on how CN propaganda likely decontextualized & amplified a video of the Dalai Lama.

Because, though context matters, missing from that discussion is that it's also always ok to question the behavior of people w/authority. 1/ 2/ And that "you misunderstood" is so commonly used to dismiss real allegations... that calling out China's deliberate decontextualization (and longstanding attempts to erase) Tibetan culture... without also front-ending this reality didn't strike a good balance.
May 20 4 tweets 1 min read
Most people have better charisma than DeSantis by accident.
What's your name?

I'm Tim.

Okay. Image
May 19 4 tweets 2 min read
Noam Chomsky out loud: eat the rich.

Chomsky under his breath: eat WITH the rich.… Chomsky and Kissinger have more things in common than you'd think.

Like being spectacularly, consistently, harmfully wrong.

Defending total autocratic shits.

And still managing to be treated as Wise Men (TM)
May 16 5 tweets 2 min read
Today is a good day to remember how Henry Ford used his immense wealth and status to spread antisemitism and conspiracy theories.… “In those days this book made such a deep impression on my friends and myself because we saw in Henry Ford the representative of success"

-Former Nazi youth leader describing during the Nuremberg trials, how Ford's writings & status played a key role in his radicalization. Image
May 15 4 tweets 4 min read
NEW: notorious spyware firm #NSO Group, maker of #Pegasus has spent millions on foreign agents & lobbying operations in the US.

Their most recent target? The American Bar Association @ABAesq.

By @incisayki @OpenSecretsDC… Since 2020, NSO Group has p... 2/ NSO's Russia & China claims didn't sway the Biden Admin / NSC.

Because they are silly.

Countries that don't buy Chinese fighters won't suddenly buy their secret spy tech. For the same obvious reasons.

Still, NSO apparently warmed these canards up & served them to @ABAesq. The American Bar Associatio...
May 14 9 tweets 3 min read
The hubristic falsehood that only industry can regulate itself because things are so complex is not new.

We already know how it plays out.

It got us the 2008 Financial Crisis.
The Deepwater Horizon disaster.

And countless other epic messes & harms. A big part of the messy soup of issues we have in America is because very complex industries successfully avoided regulation.

In all the consequential industries where regulators defer or are captured by industry... it's bad.

Like healthcare & big pharma.
May 10 8 tweets 6 min read
NEW: Assange ally who once processed payments for WikiLeaks now masterminds a global phone surveillance system.

Andreas Fink helps shady actors & governments track phones, intercept texts & compromise accounts.

It gets worse 1/

By @cr0ft0n & @omerbenj… ImageImageImageImage 2/ This is Mexican Journalist & editor Fredid Román Román.

He was assassinated last August.

Hours before the murder, his phone was pinged & poinpointed using a loophole in the global telecom system (commonly called #SS7).

So, who was tracking him? And who was helping them? ImageImage
May 10 4 tweets 2 min read
Real talk: popular encrypted apps are a major target for zero-click exploits.

An untested video calling stack pushed onto the devices of the most influential ppl in the world w/ built in discovery + Twitter's threadbare security team = disaster waiting to happen. Encrypted calling apps are great targets for a lot of reasons.

They are on many phones + typically have good user discovery features. And many other exploit-friendly surfaces around call handling, handshakes etc.

NSO's #Pegasus etc got onto phones via WhatsApp, iMessage, etc.
May 9 7 tweets 7 min read
NEW: European Parliament's @EP_PegaInquiry
has issued their final report.

Urges #EuropeanUnion towards stronger regulation. Calls out several abusers.

Good thread on highlights👇 Image "strategic campaign to destroy media freedom" in 🇭🇺 #Hungary.

"a system for the surveillance of the opposition...designed to keep...the government in power" in 🇵🇱#Poland

The @EP_PegaInquiry PR is not mincing words about #Pegasus #spyware abuses in the 🇪🇺#EU Image
Apr 27 7 tweets 3 min read
NEW: Twitter basically stopped fighting gov demands for censorship & surveillance under Musk.


Nightmare for freedom of expression.

And dangerous to dissidents, opposition parties, human rights defenders etc.

By @russellbrandom… Image Ugh. Looks like Governments have figured out that Musk isn't saying no to censorship & surveillance demands.

And sure enough, Twitter is getting masses more requests.

Cannot overstate how bad this is for democracy around the world. Image
Apr 23 4 tweets 1 min read
Musk chaotically "gifting" blue checks looks *exactly* like the arbitrary system he claimed was in place before.

The only difference?

It's no longer a process, it's Musk's personal power.

Which has always been the point. Nowhere does Musk explain how long the 'gifted' subscriptions will last.

His message to celebs & notables: "Pay attention to me. I gave this #bluecheck to you. And I can wipe it away."