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Artist collective plays pranks on Russians - to "annoy" Putin's power circle

2022-05-18T19:39:11.566Z

Artist collective plays pranks on Russians - to "annoy" Putin's power circle Created: 05/18/2022, 21:34 By: Bettina Menzel Russian President Vladimir Putin during a telephone conversation last year. If his phone rings today, a prank call could cause confusion (archive image). © Alexei Nikolsky / ITAR-TASS / Imago An artist collective launched an action on Wednesday that aims to "waste Russian



Artist collective plays pranks on Russians - to "annoy" Putin's power circle

Created: 05/18/2022, 21:34

By: Bettina Menzel

Russian President Vladimir Putin during a telephone conversation last year.

If his phone rings today, a prank call could cause confusion (archive image).

© Alexei Nikolsky / ITAR-TASS / Imago

An artist collective launched an action on Wednesday that aims to "waste Russian time".

The ingredients are 5,000 phone numbers for Russian officials, a website - and a lot of confusion.

Moscow - Prank calls against the war: The art collective "The Obfuscated Dreams of Scheherazade", or "TODS" for short, put a website online on Wednesday that makes people smile even in times of war.

On

wasterussiantime.today

, visitors will find a button.

If you click that, the site connects two Russian secret service agents, politicians or military officers with each other by telephone.

This is said to "waste Russian time" in the Ukraine conflict and confuse those called.

Action against the Ukraine war: 5,000 telephone numbers for secret service employees, members of the Duma and the military

As early as February 26 - two days after the Russian attack on Ukraine - the artists said they had the idea for the campaign.

A leak of 5000 phone numbers of Duma deputies, secret service employees and military personnel had fallen into the hands of TODS activists.

It was initially not known whether the number of Russian President Vladimir Putin was among them.

The artists' website, released Wednesday, automates prank calls.

Anyone who clicks on a button starts a conference call between two randomly selected numbers from the leak.

According to the art activists, this is completely anonymous.

The highlight: Whoever presses the button can listen to the two - presumably confused - interlocutors.

TODS states that the involuntary participants in the conference call are unaware that anyone is eavesdropping on their conversation.

Interaction with the Russian callers is not possible for security reasons.

Ukraine action with a serious background: "Whoever is on the phone cannot drop bombs"

The action with the leaked phone numbers is not legal.

But the artists consider their "interactive performance installation" to be legitimate, as the

Süddeutsche Zeitung

reports.

“We are militant pacifists.

We choose nonviolent methods to fight against this war.

That's why we decided on this civil, peaceful intervention," the artist group said in a statement.

The campaign is intended to provide “some beauty even in the darkest of times”.

"This war started in Moscow and St. Petersburg, in Putin's circle of power, and we want to annoy and disrupt him," the activists told

Wired

online magazine .

However, the waste of time by Russian officials has a serious background.

"Anyone who is on the phone cannot throw bombs and coordinate soldiers," says the website.

Cyber ​​war in Ukraine: where the 5,000 phone numbers come from - and how well the phone prank website really works

The Ukraine conflict is also a “cyber war”.

After the Russian incursion began, hackers - including the collective Anonymous - launched an unprecedented campaign of operations against Russian organizations, some of which resulted in the theft and leakage of hundreds of gigabytes of Russian emails and other private information,

Wired

reports.

In some cases, the Ukrainian government itself published the names and contact details of Russian intelligence officers.

also read

Internal Bundeswehr report: Putin's army gives way in the east - and apparently has a new target in its sights

Russian soldier confesses to war crimes: killing civilians in Ukraine

Before the TODS artists' page went online on Wednesday,

Wired

tested the functionality.

In around twelve test calls, a confused-looking person answered in half of the cases.

Only in one case were two people actually connected, with one already hanging up before the other started talking - probably due to a delay.

They're investigating a possible latency issue, an activist confirmed ahead of the website's launch.

The art collective "The Obfuscated Dreams of Scheherazade" claims to have worked intensively to arm the website against Russian hackers.

However, they are aware that they cannot withstand the attacks forever.

“We believe that the whole system will not live forever;

one day it will probably be blocked," one of the activists told

Wired

.

After all, Russia also has an army of hackers who keep launching attacks and, according to security experts, could even partially undermine the West's economic sanctions.

In any case, on Wednesday evening (as of 9:00 p.m.) the site was still online - and the counter already showed over 5,000 calls made.

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2022-05-18

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