Activist or Protestor? How Do I Protect Myself?
Modern activism is often reliant on online organizing. So then, we will teach you how to understand the risks an activist or protestor faces. Also, you will learn how to protect yourself against threats. As a result, citizens should be able to hold those in power accountable. Furthermore, they should inspire others via the act of protest.
Activist or Protestor? How Do I Protect Myself?
It is vital to protect your devices and digital assets before, during, and after a protest. This is because data damage or forced deletion can disrupt the ability to publish your experiences. Moreover, people engaging in protest may be subject to arrest or search. Thus, they could be targets of repression and surveillance.
Note that there are risks associated with joining a protest. Following that, taking steps to avoid them could ensure that you and your data are safe. Remember that the steps are general advice. As a matter of fact, they do not constitute legal advice or counseling.
Enabling Full-Disk Encryption on Your Device Before the Protest
Files across your entire device get assured of encryption using full-disk encryption. This type of encryption data that it as rest. On the contrary, “in-transit encryption” protects data that gets transferred over the internet. Full-disk encryptions help everything, including the passwords stored in your browser. In addition, if your device gets lost or confiscated, the encryption will protect the data.
iOS and Android longed for full-disk encryption capabilities to get built into their devices. They should get protected by a strong password that is easy to remember. Otherwise, the encryption may be easier to break using a brute-force attack. Even so, some iPhones own specialized hardware to protect against this type of attack. Still, a complex and strong password is the best practice.
Unfortunately, encrypting your device may not encrypt external storage media. So then, the external storage media should get encrypted separately.
Today, Android and iOS allow users to unlock devices with their fingerprints or Face ID. At first, those settings may seem appealing. Yet, an officer could physically force you to unlock your device with your face or fingerprint. Therefore, we recommend you turn this functionality off.
In Android, disabling the feature may depend on your device manufacturer. In comparison, in iOS, you can disable the feature by first going into Settings. After that, select Touch ID and passcode. Then, depending on your iPhone, remove every fingerprint or tap Reset Face ID.
Signal is an app that provides strong encryption to protect both text messages and voice calls. Furthermore, Signal offers encrypted group chats. The type of protection is known as end-to-end encryption. Likewise, it secures your communications in transit. Also, the app has a new feature. It has messages disappear anywhere from ten seconds after they get read.
In the context of a protest, you can send relevant photos and videos to friends using Signal. So, if your phone gets confiscated, there is a way of retrieving the media.
Activist or Protestor Back Up Your Data
It would help if you took precautions to limit the potential costs of losing access to your device. This can happen if your devices get accessed by hackers or confiscated by authorities. Hence, you should often back up your data. After that, store the backup in a safe place to save yourself from a headache later.
As an activist or protestor, buy a prepaid disposable phone along with a SIM card. However, remember that the device could store coordinates. For this reason, please turn off your location services before you go to protest. Once you are done with your phone, you can discard it. You may want to do that away from a location linked to you.
Note that if your carry your regular device and a prepaid one, you can compromise your anonymity. The reason being, the location of these devices can get correlated.
Also, law enforcement agencies have sophisticated surveillance technology. For instance, it can get used to identifying people attending a protest.
As an added precaution, enable airplane mode on your device. This will ensure that your device will not be transmitting for the time of the protest. And it prevents your location from getting tracked. Unfortunately, this implies that you won’t be able to contact your friends.
Social networks got built on the idea of sharing personal information, and photographs. Nowadays, they have become platforms for organizing and speech. Any of the mentioned activities can rely on anonymity and privacy.
When creating an account, keep the following in mind:
Do you want to use your real name on your social media accounts?
When registering, do not give more information than required
Be keen when choosing your profile picture or image
Remember that your IP address may get logged out at registration
Select a strong password and, if possible, use two-factor authentication
Social networking sites are often for-profit businesses. Most times, they collect sensitive data beyond what you explicitly provide. For this purpose, consider blocking third-party cookies. On top of that, use tracker-blocking browser extensions. This is to ensure extraneous data isn’t getting passively transmitted to third parties.
Consider taking advantage of privacy and security “check-ups.” Ordinarily, platforms like Google and Facebook offer “Security check-up” features. The features guide you through common security and privacy settings. Also, pay attention to privacy settings that are subject to change.
Tor As a Secure Browser for an Activist or Protestor
Tor browser offers a forum to activists for organizing and mobilizing while staying anonymous. It lets activists encrypt their messages to one another. That makes it difficult to know the sender. Additionally, the browser masks your IP address.
One other thing, Tor is often associated with the dark web. The dark web has black markets that harbor criminal activities. Some of the illegal activities in the darknet include the sale of weapons and drugs. Still, the “darker” aspects are a small percentage of what takes place on Tor.
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