Introducing Sukey – a new online tool to help protesters evade kettles


2:36 pm - January 28th 2011

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contribution by Tim Hardy

A couple of nights ago, I had the honour to meet the team who put Godzilla in the Thames during the student protests.

Making use of freely available internet tools, they maintained a live map of central London throughout the demonstrations showing the location of police kettles and blocked roads so protesters could stay safe and move freely on the streets of the capital.

Their next project takes this to a whole new level.

Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing approvingly quoted Dr Ben Goldacre’s admiration:

A few days ago I suggested that the UK’s protesting students could do with some kind of “anti-kettling app”, to outwit the efforts of the police to stop them protesting, and keep them detained out in the freezing cold subzero temperatures well after bedtime. It turns out I was over engineering things in my head.

Now protesters have the chance to see Dr Ben Goldacre’s over-engineered vision become reality. You can take part in a historic experiment in crowd sourcing with the launch of

Sukey a new website and mobile phone application that will use the wisdom of the crowds to help keep peaceful protesters safe.

Day by day, popular opposition is growing to a series of vicious, unnecessary, ideological cuts from a minority Conservative government that is propped up by duplicitous Liberal Democrats. More and more people from all walks of life are exercising their democratic and legal right to protest

It is both a website and an application for mobile phones. Even those with older handsets can take part through free SMS messages.

By encouraging people to share their experiences on the ground, it gives people taking part all the information they need to make informed decisions while letting the world know what is really happening rather than a selective vision determined by the news agendas of traditional media outlets.

It will combine information from traditional news sources with eye witness reports from the street, handing it straight back to the crowds so that they will know what is going on around them live as it happens.

Clearly this will upset upset men like Sir Hugh Orde.

But when the majority of people taking part in protests are peaceful we should welcome everything that helps keep the majority of people safe from the small minority of trouble makers that exists on both sides of the thin blue line.

See more here: http://sukey.org

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Reader comments


One in four torrents on P2P networks is a spoof or dummy, uploaded by companies wishing to muddy the experience of downloaders. That is one statistic picked up from a quick search, although the proportion of spoof torrents is likely to vary by time. Just accept it as a “for instance”.

Sukey will use crowd sourcing to get information. If 25% of source data is rubbish fed by people acting against demonstrators, 90% of output will be rubbish.

From http://sukey.org/summary:
“No user identifiable data to be stored. Ever.

Junk all identifiable data from Apache logs”

All source data will be anonymous. So how will Sukey prevent itself from rubbish sources? I suppose that Sukey could use a one-way key to encrypt source IP address/phone number etc and analyse data quality using that anonymous identity.

But that does not help if the subverter owns a class B IP address range (effectively 60,000 unique sources). A clever subverter might identify a mobile comms provider that uses NAT so that source data appears to come from their subscribers; rubbish data would appear to come from the same source as valid data.

Servers would have to be hosted outside any country that requires the ISP to record traffic. There is no point junking web server logs if the ISP retains source IP address information independently. Technically this is possible, but it means that Sukey would depend on bullet proof host providers and that the administrators would have to deal with some very scummy people.

An interesting project, all the same.

@1 Sounds like the Police will be able to really fuck up this “essential activists’ tool”. Luddite-lefties-fail-shocker!

How to avoid kettles, Don’t be part of protests where they throw Petrol bombs/ Snooker balls/ iron poles at police or drop Fire extuingisers from 5 stories up

@2 The Two Eds: “Sounds like the Police will be able to really fuck up this “essential activists’ tool”. Luddite-lefties-fail-shocker!”

I would not express my reservations with such force. Sukey could work, but it would be bloody hard work.

@1.@4 Charlieman

Good technical analysis of areas of concern, thank you. When I next speak with the team I’ll draw their attention to these and see how they respond. They’re all really smart guys and I’m confident that they are both aware of these dangers and have worked out how to handle them. It’s really nice to get an intelligent response (and I’d expect nothing less from you!)

@2. The Two Eds

lol – but you might want to look up “Luddite” in the dictionary :)

@3. john p_reid

Don’t be silly.

3
Your naive take on the world of policing and politics is gob-smacking.

5, the stop the war protest went peacefully, part from a few arests the fuel protests of 2000 went peacefully too.

@7. john p_reid

So did today’s demonstration in London, perhaps in part thanks to Sukey.

“popular opposition is growing to a series of vicious, unnecessary, ideological cuts from a minority Conservative government that is propped up by duplicitous Liberal Democrats.”

You’re not a supporter of the coalition then ?

@9. Chervil

Whatever gave you that idea? ;)


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

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  2. Lauren G

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  3. Broken OfBritain

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  7. Kip Manley

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  8. Chris Patmore

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  9. sunny hundal

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  10. Paul Wood

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  11. Ceehaitch

    RT @sunny_hundal: New online site / tool 'Sukey' helps protesters evade police kettles. @bc_tmh explains – http://bit.ly/hxk6wr

  12. Tim Hardy

    Introducing Sukey – a new online tool to help protesters evade kettles | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/Dz9zt2j via @libcon #sukey

  13. Ceehaitch

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  14. Andy Bean

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  15. benbryant

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  16. TreeOfMan

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  17. Rocky Hamster

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  18. Derek Thomas

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  19. Sofie

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  20. smileandsubvert

    Introducing Sukey – a new online tool to help protesters evade kettles http://pulsene.ws/UaoO

  21. Roger O Thornhill

    RT @smileandsubvert Sukey – a new online tool to help protesters http://pulsene.ws/UaoO < Is there an Egyptian version?

  22. smileandsubvert

    LOL! RT @unslugged RT @smileandsubvert Sukey – a new online tool to help protesters http://pulsene.ws/UaoO < Is there an Egyptian version?

  23. SSP Campsie

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  24. angela flynn

    RT @smileandsubvert: LOL! RT @unslugged RT @smileandsubvert Sukey – a new online tool to help protesters http://pulsene.ws/UaoO < Is …

  25. downinjamaica

    Introducing Sukey – a new online tool to help protesters evade kettles | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/hVuYScl via @libcon

  26. downinjamaica

    Introducing Sukey – a new online tool to help protesters evade kettles | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/hVuYScl via @libcon

  27. Ma

    @Dutchmasterr: Introducing Sukey – a new online tool to help protesters evade kettles (London students) http://t.co/FNj8ufF @Asher_Wolf

  28. Ma

    @Min_Reyes You too. This is interesting. http://t.co/FNj8ufF





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