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Web, mobiles help French plan riots

by : France
Thursday November 10, 2005 - 02:19
2 comments

Young French rioters are using blogs to incite violence and mobile phones to organise attacks in guerrilla-like tactics they have copied from anti-globalisation protesters, security experts say.

So the government is policing cyberspace as well as rundown suburbs in the battle to end two weeks of rioting.

Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin has diverted resources to monitoring blogs to anticipate the movements of the protesters, who have set fire to thousands of cars since the unrest began on 27 October.

Two young people have been placed under official investigation, one step short of pressing charges under French law, early on Wednesday local time on suspicion of inciting violence over the internet after urging people to riot in blogs, says a judicial source.

But tracking rioters’ blogs is a big task for the security services, already stretched by the violence on the ground.

"This is a new dimension to take into consideration," says internet security expert Solange Ghernaouti-Helie.

"To do the tracking on the internet to identify the people involved is without doubt possible. But it requires considerable surveillance and analysis resources," she says.

Blogs are easy-to-publish websites where millions of people post commentary.

Those allegedly posted by the two youths under investigation were made in online diaries hosted by Skyblog, a website belonging to popular youth radio station Skyrock.

Skyblog’s site says it hosts over three million blogs, with thousands added each day. One of those urging people to riot, since deactivated by Skyrock, read: "Unite, burn the cops."

Some bloggers have urged people not to incite violence.

The host of bouna93.skyblog.com, a memorial blog for the two youths whose deaths sparked the riots, urged contributors to respect the dead boys, adding: "It would be preferable not to make racist, fascist comments or to give rendez-vous spots."

Mobile phones Young people are also using mobile phones to coordinate the violence, mainly blamed on frustration over racism and unemployment, and to evade the police once the riots are under way.

"Text messages and mobile phones ... help small groups of rioters," says criminologist Alain Bauer. "They can connect easily. It’s not only a way to avoid the police, it’s a way to organise the fires."

The rioters have learnt from anti-globalisation protesters, some of whom have used mobile phones to coordinate riots at meetings of the Group of Eight industrial nations and the World Trade Organization in recent years, Bauer says.

"I think they learnt from what they saw on television. I think anti-globalisation movements and rioters have the same way to organize, or to disorganise the police," he says. "It’s old guerrilla tactics with modern technology."

The political establishment is also harnessing technology to amass and organise support.

The ruling Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) has tapped into intense web traffic searching for information on the unrest to try to rally support for the tough line taken against rioters by Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, the party’s president.

Since the weekend, searches on Google for words such as "riots" or "burned cars" in French have thrown up a link to a UMP site where readers are invited to put their names to a petition supporting Sarkozy’s policy of "firmness".

A UMP official says more than 12,000 people had registered their support via the online petition since Sunday.

Paul Carrel
with Thierry Leveque
Reuters

 http://abc.net.au/science/news/tech...



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> Web, mobiles help French plan riots
Thursday November 10 - 03:20 - Posted by 73534d222e545596...

"copied from anti-globalisation protesters"... these young peoples grandparents fought the Algerian war for independence. They do not need the black bloc to teach them how to use modern technology. And if they are serious about guerilla tactics they will not be advertising their moves on the web or cell phomes. They may use it for misdirection though and the French piggies may use it as the web in which to catch the spiders.

Sadie Marat




> Web, mobiles help French plan riots
Thursday November 10 - 13:48 - Posted by fa8321c1c28f6c66...

Why are so many Bellaciao contributors afraid to describe these youthful French rioters’ ethnic background? Anyone who has kept up with the news coming out of these riots in the Paris ’suburbs’ (they are not suburbs in the American sense, not if you think the projects are ’suburbs’) knows that the vast majority of these rioters are Arabic, the children of immigrant families mostly from North Africa and the Middle East. Is Bellaciao afraid to admit that there might be a strong whiff of racism left in storied France?
No industrialized country in this strange & foolish world can claim to have a perfect or even an adequate record with all the different ethnic groups that make up their respective populations. But by not reporting all the facts, especially such important ones like the ethnic group that the majority of these rioters belong to, is not good or decent journalism. This kind of reporting only leads to confusion and misunderstanding, the opposite of what good journalism should try to achieve. How is this kind of reporting any different from the half-truths that the American mass media is prone to deliver on a daily basis?







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