To protest the war in Ukraine, a group of international hacktivists launched a website, WasteRussianTime.today, designed to combine prank calling and robocalling into an automated weapon of telephonic annoyance targeted at the Russian state.
Visit the site, click a button, and it will cycle through a leaked list of Russian government, military, and intelligence phone numbers to connect two random Russian officials-and allow the site’s visitor to silently listen in as those officials waste their time trying to figure #out why they’re speaking to each other and who initiated the call.
The hacktivists say their idea was partly inspired by journalists at Bellingcat and Russian news site The Insider who have called Russian officials and even intelligence agents, pretending to be their colleagues or superiors, to trick them into revealing sensitive information. That technique was most famously used by Alexei Navalny, working with Bellingcat, when he dialed up an FSB agent and duped him into confessing to trying to assassinate him with the Novichok nerve agent in a nearly hour-long phone call.
“We’re hoping for confusion, that they get annoyed, and that these might even be interesting calls to listen to for people who speak Russian,” says one of the site’s creators who goes by the name Shera. The group of artists, activists, and coders behind the site is, according to Shera, called the Obfuscated Dreams of Scheherazade. “This war started inside Moscow and St. Petersburg, within the power circle of Putin, and that’s who we want to annoy and disturb.”
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