Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Without new technologies, these journalistic investigations … n – Liberation

“Faster, higher, stronger.” If the Olympic motto applied to investigative journalism, IT would not be there for nothing. From October 8 to 11, nearly 900 journalists from around the world – of which less than a dozen French – met in Lillehammer, Norway, for the International Congress of investigative journalism.

In the hotel alleys was there twenty years ago, the National Olympic Committee, journalists of all ages and all nationalities present their work and exchange their methods. “There are a lot of geeks now, young bespectacled” has fun a US television correspondent in Paris. The program includes, many surveys that have not been possible without the help of social networks, tools High-tech or the Internet. Four examples.

How is the Norwegian phones spied?

A team of Norwegian journalists of the Aftenposten s is interested in Imsi-catchers, these electronic devices that pick up all telephone conversations a few hundred meters around. In October 2014, they published the result of several months of investigation, including using a Cryptophone, which gave details of the GPS terminals to which it connects. Going through several neighborhoods of Oslo, they were able to determine that Imsi-catcher were used around the neighborhood of embassies and centers of power. Their analyzes, however, not allowed them to know the operators of these monitoring devices.

After this investigation, the PST, the Norwegian intelligence service has denied the results of analyzes carried out by journalists. The service added that he did not consider that flush out the spy bags in the city is part of its mission. The journalists were then repeated the operation with better tools with the help of Delma, a British computer security company, and asked several experts to analyze the results. They are unanimous on the use of Imsi-catchers in Oslo.

What information are hidden in the metadata?

No worries to have, we are not interested in what you say, only the metadata. Recurring argument, use of metadata, all the information about a message, would be less to fear a dive in the content. To show the heard of surveillance that represents the control of metadata, two Danish journalists from Belingske have proposed a two parliamentary experience.

They recovered all the metadata parliamentarians, promising to never look at their contents. Phone records, data contained in the iPhone, emails, credit card, data transport, all is spent there. From this information, they were able to learn more about the lives of two parliamentarians. Habits, home, workplace, everything is mapped by journalists. Everything is summarized in an interactive format detailing all the information. Certainly, few revelations, but the study of Jens Joel mails metadata has revealed the existence of informal groups, called “action groups” among several social democratic policies. The frequency of emails and the network of recipients draws a group of welded policies, organized to respond quickly to political opponents.

How to know who shot down a plane without leaving his chair?

On July 17, 2014, the flight of the Malaysian Airlines between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur s crushes Ukraine. Speculations are rife. Since its UK residence, Elliot Higgins, site manager Bellingcat, it starts an investigation. Collecting tweets, videos posted on social networks, he intuited that the plane was shot down by a missile. In a clear demonstration, with the support of online content and people present on site, Site contributors manage to reconstruct the route of the convoy of Russian vehicles.

The thread unwinds easily. By analyzing particular profile for caterpillars, according to their analysis, to identify the machine on different photos and videos posted online, tracking the convoy is well mapped. The site has also sought to verify all the statements of Russian officials, with supporting evidence, some from Russian military accounts. Careful investigation, in which each element is checked through online tools (comparing the videos with Google Street View, using satellite imagery …). The findings of this survey are similar to those of the Dutch inspectors issued 13 October. Today the site Bellingcat works the same way on the Syrian conflict.

How to find details of a terrorist online?

In February, the Washington Post shows that Jihadi John s’ Emwazi called Mohammed. The man with the accent English party in Syria, as we have seen several videos on slaughter of prisoners of the Islamic State, was identified by relatives including. In his presentation before the amazed journalists, Henk van Ess explains how he was able, from his name known, quickly learn more about the family of the jihadist. Thanks to the online directory and electoral registers, he was able to locate his most recent address and what he considers the family of fighter. Then, using a tool géolocalisant content of social networks, they have found a short film shot by the sister of Mohammed Emwazi. Content low news value.

With Facebook, it then looks at what he considers to be the brother of the fighter. He finds the account’s brother, focusing the user name, which does not change even if the account name is changing. It is a potentially interesting account. His likes on the social network indicate a site of particular logo lifted a finger to the sky, a jihadist rallying signs. The journalist became interested in the domain name of the site. A search on the directory of domain names (Whois) directs it to the same Omar Emwazi, suggesting that the young man could be radicalized. The Telegraph gets trampled in the information.

These four examples do not prevent the old recipes run. Thus, the prize awarded at the conclusion of the conference was given to Yanukovychleaks particular project. Before his flight, the Ukrainian president tried to destroy the entire archive. A group of Ukrainian journalists recovered the archives in the lake, close to the presidential residence, or the output of the grinder and is armed with a hairdryer, stay in the sauna or scotch, and patience, to reconstruct the archives of the deposed president. They still put all of these documents on a dedicated website.

Alexandre Lechenet envoy in Lillehammer ( Norway)


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