Digital Safety for Protesters
Protesters need to be acutely aware of the potential for their online activities and electronic communications to be monitored or intercepted. Continuous education and being vigilant about one's digital footprint can play a crucial role in ensuring both personal safety and the effectiveness of collective actions.
Please note: The cyber safety advice provided on this website is intended to be informative and helpful, but it is not a substitute for professional advice or guidance. We make every effort to provide accurate and up-to-date information, but we cannot guarantee the completeness or accuracy of the content. The advice given on this website is provided to the best of our abilities, and we are not liable for any damages or losses that may result from its use. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified expert in the field for personalized advice and guidance on cyber safety.
5 Tips for Protesters
Use Signal with Disappearing Messages
Signal (signal.org) is rated the top messaging, calling, and video chatting app for privacy. It's best to communicate in-person, but if you need to send or receive messages about the protest, use Signal instead of other messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Additionally, turn on disappearing messages. To turn this on, go to Settings > Privacy and under Disappearing Messages select a short amount of time. Then any messages sent and received in new conversations started by you will disappear.
Prevent Location Tracking
When not needed, disable your phone's location services. This prevents tracking your movements. If you need maps, download offline versions. If you're concerned about real-time tracking, turn on airplane mode or leave your device at home. This disconnects your device from networks. Remember, a powered-off device can still be tracked in some cases.
Cover or Blur Your Face and Identifying Marks
In photos or videos, avoid showing unique tattoos, scars, or other identifying marks. Digital recognition technology can identify individuals. Wear hats or masks to obscure your face, especially if there are surveillance cameras. Before sharing photos or videos, blur faces and any identifiable landmarks. Apps like Signal have built-in tools for this. Protect the identity of fellow protesters.
Be Prepared for Your Device to be Compromised
Before attending a protest, back up all essential data. If your device is confiscated or damaged, you won't lose vital information. Use cloud services or external hard drives for backups. Additionally, disable biometric authentication like fingerprint and FaceID, in case someone obtains your device and forces you to open it. Once the protest is over, delete any sensitive data or communication related to it. This includes messages, photos, or contact information, in the event your device is later compromised.
Educate Your Group
Share security tips and tools with your fellow protesters. The group's security is only as strong as its weakest link. Consider having training sessions or discussions about digital safety.