Now, more than ever, citizens must be able to hold those in power accountable and inspire others through the act of protest.
Protecting your electronic devices and digital assets before, during, and after a protest is vital to keeping yourself and your information safe, as well as getting your message out. Theft, damage, confiscation, or forced deletion of media can disrupt your ability to publish your experiences. At the same time, those engaging in protest may be subject to search or arrest, or have their movements and associations mapped. They could become targets of surveillance and repression.
There are risks associated with attending a protest, and taking steps to mitigate them can go a long way in ensuring you—and the data you value—are kept safe. This guide outlines steps you can take before, during, and after a protest that will help maximize your effectiveness and keep yourself and your data more secure….
There follows a how-to list of things dissidents can do to avoid surveillance and data-theft if they choose to attend a demonstration with their smart phone.
In other words, if they choose to step off the edge of a cliff without falling.
Here’s a sample passage:
… Using GPS should be safe, since GPS is a receiver and does not transmit any information….
WTF? What does a cellphone do? It transmits information.
Also no mention of the proximity detection mechanisms built into the bluetooth capabilities of smartphones, a police-state’s wet dream. (political association/contact tracing)
There are some useful tips like turning off facial and fingerprint recognition logins, which might slow or even stop an amateur. But it all comes down to believing that you have any control whatsoever over a computer which is programmed by transnational corporations. It would be like logging into facebook and asking it to keep a secret for you.
Here’s my advice. Leave your pocket companion at home, or put it in a faraday cage. If you want to take videos, bring a cheap video camera (i.e. no wifi, bluetooth or even wired networking capabilities). And keep in mind that any digital video files it creates will probably have serial numbers and possibly even GPS data encoded in them. Further processing may be needed before you post them to the net. Getting an old used camera off ebay is probably your best bet.
In general, don’t trade safety for convenience.
If you want to get serious about counter-surveillance, here’s a start. It’s old but still largely applicable: