FBI to Investigate Parler, New Russian Host will be Revoked

A House committee has tasked the FBI to review Parler. The representatives want to know whether the app played a role in January 6’s riotous “insurrection” at the U.S. Capitol. They also want the FBI to follow the money and look into claims that the Russian government is involved.

Parler has been offline since Amazon Web Services pulled the plug on January 10. It now has a new host lined up: DDoS-Guard. But that Russian service faces the internet death penalty—having its IP address space ripped away—for allegedly lying to the Internet registry concerned.

Oh what a tangled web we weave. In today’s SB Blogwatch, we struggle to unpick the story.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: scambaiting.

Don’t Mess with Texas National Guard

What’s the craic? David Shepardson reports—“U.S. panel asks FBI to review role of Parler”:

 The House Oversight and Reform Committee on Thursday asked the FBI to investigate the role Parler, a social media website and app popular with the American far right, played in the violence … at the Jan. 6 attack that left five dead. … Representative Carolyn Maloney, who chairs the panel, cited press reports that detailed violent threats on Parler against state elected officials [and] noted numerous Parler users have been arrested and charged with threatening violence against elected officials or for … participating in the attack.

Maloney asked the FBI to review Parler’s financing and its ties to Russia. … The FBI and Parler did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

But Parler did parlay with Fox News. Brooke Singman and Brian Flood fill us in—“Parler ‘welcomes’ FBI probe”:

 Parler said it “welcomes” calls from the House Oversight Committee for a “robust examination” of its policies and said it has been “cooperating and will continue to” with law enforcement efforts in the investigation into the Capitol riot. [COO] Jeffrey Wernick … said, “Like other social-media platforms, we have been cooperating and will continue to cooperate with law-enforcement efforts to identify and prosecute those individuals responsible for organizing and carrying out the shameless Jan. 6 attack.”

Wernick’s comments come after Maloney sent a letter to the FBI [in which she] questions … ”Parler’s financing and its ties to Russia.” … The intelligence community has warned, repeatedly, that Russia, as well as other adversaries, have used social media and other measures “to sow discord in the United States and interfere with our democracy.”

“The company was founded by John Matze shortly after he traveled to Russia with his wife, who is Russian and whose family reportedly has ties to the Russian government,” Maloney wrote, adding that “concerns about the company’s connections to Russia have grown” since the company “re-emerged on a Russian hosting service, DDos-Guard,” [which she said] “has ties to the Russian government and hosts the websites of other far-right extremist groups, as well as the terrorist group Hamas.”

How was it the fault of Parler’s conspiracy-theorist users? I like DarkWiiPlayer’s thoughtful analysis:

 In their heads, they were denied … peaceful means by which to affect their government … so they think they’re justified in resorting to violence as a last resort. Their premise might be completely ridiculous, but the logic that follows is sound.

Then again, that line of thinking means the blame shifts from those doing the assaulting to those fabricating the accusations that justify it, which happens to be mostly users of precisely those platforms that got deleted.

And it’s objectively true to say nobody could object to that of AlanObject: [You’re fired—Ed.]

 About 80 years ago, good decent hardworking Americans were convinced to take up arms to respond to the invasion of Martians. … Fortunately, the fantasy did not involve a need to storm public buildings and hunt fellow Americans.

You might suppose that as a society we have grown much more sophisticated than that. But you would be wrong: Our media diet, as with our food diet, has become huge and dominated with empty calories. And on 1/6 we saw the result.

So drops the next shoe. All aboard the Brian Krebs cycle—“DDoS-Guard To Forfeit Internet Space Occupied by Parler”:

 Parler has since found a home in DDoS-Guard, a Russian digital infrastructure company. But now it appears DDoS-Guard is about to be relieved of more than two-thirds of the Internet address space the company leases to clients — including the Internet addresses currently occupied by Parler.

Suspecting that DDoS-Guard incorporated in Belize on paper just to get huge swaths of IP addresses that are supposed to be given only to entities with a physical presence in the region, [Ron] Guilmette filed a complaint with … LACNIC, the regional Internet registry for the Latin American and Caribbean regions. … “It appeared to me that it was [probable] that they got these 8,000+ IPv4 addresses by simply creating an arguably fraudulent shell company in Belize and then going … to LACNIC, claiming that they had a real presence,” … he said. “So I reported my suspicions.”

Earlier this week, LACNIC published a notice on its website that it intends to revoke 8,192 IPv4 addresses. … DDoS-Guard CEO Evgeniy Marchenko maintains the company has done nothing wrong, and that DDoS-Guard does indeed have a presence in Belize.

Deplatforming! Cancel culture! aneutron doesn’t get it:

 There’s no “deplatforming” happening here. DDoS-Guard is using IPs from Belize … using a shell company there. That’s against the contactual obligations.

So the Latin America IP association … is simply reclaiming the fraudulently assigned IPs, some of [which] were used by Parler. … It’s not a “Parler” thing. It’s a DDos-Guard thing. Parler happened to use … IPs allocated for them by DDos-Guard

Although Ed Tice offers these monochrome metaphors:

 If I own a restaurant and somebody … starts screaming conspiracy theories in a way that disturbs other patrons, I will ask them to stop. If they don’t, I will ask them to leave. If they threaten violence, I will call the police. … And I won’t let them back in my restaurant. That’s not censorship.

If I own a gun shop and somebody comes in and tells me they want to buy a gun for the purpose of murdering the Vice President and members of congress, refusing to sell them a gun is not censorship. On the other hand, if somebody stands on their front yard yelling conspiracy theories and the water company decides to turn off their service as punishment, that seems wholly inappropriate.

Have we been here before? If so, what can we learn, grayfaced?

 It’s generally considered to have been an effective strategy in dealing with Isis and Al Qaeda. But that was a combined campaign to eliminate recruitment by de-platforming, and eliminate existing membership militarily.

It’s possible de-platforming these domestic groups will just further radicalize the existing members. But it should inhibit their growth.

Meanwhile, this Anonymous Coward puns it up:

 All that fuss about stealing Pelosi’s lectern? … He was just taking a stand!

And Finally:

419 scambaiting on steroids

Previously in And Finally

You have been reading SB Blogwatch by Richi Jennings. Richi curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites … so you don’t have to. Hate mail may be directed to @RiCHi or [email protected]. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE. 30.

Image sauce: U.S. Air National Guard Master Sgt. Matt Hecht (public domain)

Richi Jennings

Richi Jennings is a foolish independent industry analyst, editor, and content strategist. A former developer and marketer, he’s also written or edited for Computerworld, Microsoft, Cisco, Micro Focus, HashiCorp, Ferris Research, Osterman Research, Orthogonal Thinking, Native Trust, Elgan Media, Petri, Cyren, Agari, Webroot, HP, HPE, NetApp on Forbes and CIO.com. Bizarrely, his ridiculous work has even won awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors, ABM/Jesse H. Neal, and B2B Magazine.

richi has 546 posts and counting.See all posts by richi

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