Law enforcement agencies have several tools in tracking down the movements of people. They can intercept any communication quite easily. It is vital to emphasize measures that are vital in protecting your privacy during protests.
Ever since the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week, every person in the USA has witnessed a significant police deployment. The privacy of the protesters has been threatened since this incident.
According to the First Amendment, it is the right of every citizen to protest. However, if they are to bring their smartphones, it is necessary to take some of the basic steps to safeguard their privacy.
The surveillance tools used by the federal and state law enforcement agencies during the protests can negatively affect any individual. Secondly, hackers can even jeopardize the privacy of any person. These threats require active resistance by all the concerned people.
Surveillance actions by the Law Enforcement Agencies
The main concern in the United States at present is the surveillance actions taken by the Law Enforcement Agencies. The protestors need to protect themselves from these surveillance actions. It is important to assess the details in this regard.
- Two Areas of Digital Surveillance
During a protest, care is needed for two critical areas of digital surveillance. The first is that the police can obtain potential data about you during the arrest or detention. They can surely seize your device.
In the second case, it is the surveillance they carry out under law enforcement action. Under this action, the police can intercept your text messages.
- Tools for tracking protestors and using digital evidence
Moreover, they can even use tools related to trackings, like facial recognition and license plate scanners. It would help if you remained quite careful related to these actions.
You must have observed that the police have already carried a crackdown against the peaceful protestors and even the journalists who were covering these demonstrations.
It is necessary to assume under such a situation, law enforcement agencies can use any digital evidence against you if you were a part of the protests.
It is quite clear that the US government is making all efforts to bring a full form of surveillance to control these uprisings.
Protecting your Smartphones & Digital Gadgets
The protection of smartphones and digital gadgets is crucial for people. Thus, protestors require care, and important information in this context is discussed below.
- Having awareness associated with risks related to smartphones
The most vital decision that you need to undertake before going outside to participate in a protest is whether you can even have any other mobile with you other than a smartphone.
It is important to remember that a smartphone can broadcast every kind of identity information. Law enforcement agencies can detect this factor.
US police are even making use of IMSI catchers or stingray devices to connect with cell towers to discover any smartphone in an area.
This helps the police to quickly gain the identity numbers of all those who participated in the protest. In simple terms, the smartphone in your pocket can quickly help to identify you.
- Taking any other phone rather than a smartphone or keeping it protected
For this reason, protestors must not take the primary phone with themselves to maintain anonymity.
Secondly, if you would like to carry a smartphone for emergency purposes, keep it switched off if there is no other urgent need.
For more protection of your phone so that it is not tracked, you can place it in a Faraday bag, which is useful in blocking all sorts of radio communications. It would help if you did not open the bag unless it is quite necessary.
If you need to carry a mobile, then keep the secondary mobile which you often do not use. Usually, your primary smartphone would have all the essential digital records and even data.
Law enforcement can also access all this data if they confiscate your cell phone. Thus, you must not take an unnecessary risk by carrying a smartphone with you.
Unsafe Internet Connection and RFID hacking
An unsafe internet connection carries maximum risks for the people. Similarly, RFID hacking has its own negative consequences. Let’s look at these two issues below.
- Be aware of the unsecure internet connection at a public place
The unprotected Wi-Fi hotspots may also increase vulnerability for the people. They may use 3G or 4G data, but an unsecured internet connection can pose a lot of risks.
People must refrain from using such internet connections. The hackers and cyber-criminals would wait for such an opportunity to capitalize on the mistake committed by any person.
Only those Wi-Fi hotspots are safe and secure if access to them requires the usage of passwords. It must also conform with the WPA or WPA2 standards about security codes.
You can also not even ignore the threats of the data hackers who can even breach critical financial data.
- Stay alert about the RFID hackers
Moreover, RFID hackers are experts in getting hold of information present in RFID chips. As some of the chips are rewritable, it can get straightforward for the hackers to delete or replace RFID information with their own data.
As a result, information like the ATM codes and Credit Card data may even leak to the hackers. Thus, people should not carry any Debit and Credit Cards with them due to this factor as it can lead to negative consequences. They must remain protected from these hackers.
Securing Your Communication
The most vital objective for any person is to secure communication. By keeping this factor in mind, below you can find the necessary steps for maintaining secure communication.
- Make use of the end-to-end encryption for the communication
It is crucial to use end-to-end encryption. The reason is that both the text messages and traditional calls are susceptible to surveillance.
The calling app Signal and the encrypted messaging perhaps have not just the best but the longest track record.
The protection of the phone’s communications from surveillance should not be your only priority.
In case if any police will try to seize your phone and then unlock to gather any evidence, the first objective should make your smartphone’s contents encrypted.
Both the iOS and Android devices have their own settings in this regard.
- Ensure use of a strong passcode for your devices
Apart from your operating system, it is crucial in protecting devices with the help of a strong passcode rather than a face unlock or fingerprint.
The officer may even face a lot of difficulties in opening your phone as a result.
Under the current scenario, as the protests continue and the law enforcement agencies would even escalate their actions, it is imperative to remain prepared for digital surveillance.
This may turn out quite harsh and was never used in the past to counter civil disobedience or to conduct retaliation against the protesters.
Furthermore, hackers would try to obtain the maximum advantage of the current situation and perform illicit activities.
This is the main reason why protesters need to remain vigilant against all forms of digital threats. Both the spirit of questioning and defiance will not stop at all.
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