Ukraine Uses Cell Phones to Track Protesters

by Alec Torres

Ukrainian protesters standing near fighting in Kiev were met with a Big Brother–type message on Tuesday, receiving a text on their phone saying, “Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”

Tuesday was the first day a new law went into effect that bars protests the government deems violent. Ukraine’s parliament also passed measures limiting the freedom of public assembly and banning “slander” against government officials. People responded in a new bout of protests that turned violent over the weekend.

Kievstar, MTS, and Life — three cell-phone companies in Ukraine — denied sharing their users’ location data with the government.

The intimidating message seems to have had little effect on the protest, as riot police and protesters clashed only three hours later.