Recently, two teens from Chisinau committed suicide together as if under the influence of a virtual game called Siniy Kit or Blue Whale. The covering of this tragedy by the media shook public opinion. Speaker of Parliament Andrian Candu hurried to state that the problem of suicide among teenagers can be solved by adopting the controversial draft law Big Brother. The authors of a new Sic! article decided to determine how much truth such an assertion contains, IPN reports.
At the outset, the article authors explain what Blue Whale is, saying this is a piece of extravagance invented by a Russia “sound director” with the initial aim of “popularizing his music band”. Vulnerable teenagers using social networking sites became the target group. For bigger attractiveness, game elements were added for the members of the created community. It is not about software or applications, but rather about a perversion of the game “Truth or dare”.
According to the article, the game became known under the name of Siniy Kit, which makes reference to the strange habit of cetacean marine creatures to throw themselves on the shore. Gradually, the community expanded outside Russia’s borders. “Players” were identified in Central Asia and East European Countries, including Moldova and Romania.
In several days of the double tragedy committed in Chisinau, the deputy chairman of the Democratic Party Andrian Candu reminded of a solution that was put off under the pressure of public opinion, but which is vital for protecting the children – the Big Brother bill that, according to him, is designed to prevent such kinds of abuses. Andrian Candu proposes this draft law as a solution without providing arguments and without invoking statistics that would prove a causal connection between the number or rate of suicide cases among young people and any other game on social networking sites. In contrast to the way in which the authorities of Belarus and Bulgaria acted, the Moldovan official didn’t try to calm things in society down over the real or perceived threat posed by the Blue Whale, but used the occasion to promote the controversial bill, said Sic!.
The article authors asked for the opinion of IT expert Vitalie Esanu, one of the founders of privesc.eu, to understand how the Big Brother law can solve the problem of Blue Whale. According to the expert, what those who make laws, including the MPs, do not understand is that the people already advanced much more in terms of security than they think. The sites like the social networking services use cryptic connections (https), which means that nobody can trace the traffic to catch someone or to filter the information to identify #hashtags (Sic! words or phrases used to search for messages with the same subject on social networking sites). 70% of the traffic runs through mobile phones, which have much higher protection measures than the desktop. Even from the desktop, the ill-intentioned ones can encrypt the disc and it becomes impossible to use it to find out what they did without their consent. Also, the information is easily alterable. With a good lawyer, you can invoke a multitude of circumstances like the fact that someone broke your account and you did nothing and other excuses.
Vitalie Esanu said the Government is now trying to create a centralized mechanism for blocking resources on the pretext of preventing abuses among children, suicide, terrorism, etc. In reality, this mechanism can be used in the future to block a site like unimedia.info and others.
Instead of conclusion, the article authors say the politicians try to exploit, while the media resources they control to fuel, panic in society so as to push a restrictive law that would offer the Government access to the Internet faucet. So, it is an instrument to shut up the mouths of those whom they do not control, but this can do nothing against real wrongdoers.
“Surely, the Big Brother bill promises different guarantees against abuses. But it turned out that these guarantees do not work, for example, when tapping telephone conversations, which is a practice that is abused by the state. For their part, the parents should understand that the blocking of sites, disconnection of the computer or examination of the smartphone will not eliminate the causes of suicide among teens. You should better hug your children more often,” says the article.
The full article in Romanian can be read on sic.md. Sic! is a project implemented by IPN News Agency with support from Soros Foundation Moldova.