Digital security

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Digital security is a broad term which means doing what you can to secure your identity and data. These tools include both online methods (such as using encryption to secure data sent over the internet), as well as offline methods of protection, (such as creating and storing passwords in a secure, offline location.)

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A layman's guide to digital security related to protesting

  • "THREAD: trying to figure out how i can be helpful. Here's one thing: it's clear the government is bringing the full force of the surveillance state to monitor these uprisings. Here are some basic steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones if you're in the streets."
  • "First, this thread will not be comprehensive. So if you are particularly vulnerable, or if you're involved in something particularly sensitive, DO NOT assume that these practices will be 100% fail safe. Get expert help and be super careful. Start here"
  • "Ok, disclaimers aside, the first and most important thing to understand is that your phone and the information on it is the cops' best friend, and that's the most important thing to protect. Make sure you have a LONG password with letters & numbers, not a thumb print, not Face ID"
  • "Next, text messages are not secure. Cops are almost certainly using "Stingrays" or IMSI devices to intercept and monitor SMS communications en masse in the area of demonstrations. Use an end to end encrypted messenging app like Signal or WhatsApp. Signal best cuz it's open source"
  • "Make sure the data on your phone is encrypted. If you have an iPhone and you set a strong password, you're all set, your phone is encrypted by default. If you have an Android phone make sure to go into "Security" settings and ensure full disk encryption is turned on."
  • "Posting video or livestreaming at protests gets complicated. It's important to document what is going on. It can also put people at risk. Just remember that everything you post online can and will be used by the police to target people. Think carefully before you record or post."
  • "Face coverings. Obviously you should be wearing a mask anyway because of the pandemic. But if you are concerned about being identified by police cameras or drones, you should also wear sunglasses, or a mask that obscures as much of your faces as possible."
  • "Police are using Automated License Plate Readers (ALRPs) to track people's movements in the vicinity of these protests. Know that if you drove your car nearby its possible that the cops know that. Walk or bike if you are at risk of being targeted due to that."
  • "Make sure your data is backed up. This is less about security and more about avoiding a huge headache. If the cops confiscate your phone, it could be a while before you get it back. Make sure you have a backup plan for contacting people, 2 factor auth on essential accts etc"
  • "Police are very likely using cell phone location data to monitor the protests, and may use it in the future to investigate people who were in the vicinity of alleged crimes. Leave your phone at home if you don't need it, or put it in airplane mode when not using it."
  • "If you post photos, remember that they likely contain metadata (ie someone technical could easily figure out where and when it was taken.) The easiest way to strip the metadata is transfer it to your computer and take a screenshot, then post the screenshot instead of the photo."
  • "There are lots of other good steps you can and should take, but it's important not to get overwhelmed. Take a few of these basic precautions and they will make you safer. Doing some of them is better than doing none of them. Nothing is 100% secure, so just do your best."
  • "Remember that taking these steps isn't just about protecting yourself, it's about protecting others who may be more at risk than you because they are undocumented, have a criminal record, have an underlying health condition that would make an arrest life threatening, etc etc."
  • "I don't know what else to say other than stay safe, take care of each other, and thank you for refusing to accept a status quo that essentially amounts to a slow motion white supremacist genocide. Solidarity and respect to all those resisting this racist system. #BlackLivesMatter"
  • "Practical tips to protect yourself and your friends from police surveillance in the thread above for those at #BLACK_LIVES_MATTER #GeorgeFloydProtests in Flatbush, at #columbusprotest, #seattleprotest, Rochester, Salt Lake City, #laprotest, #pittsburghprotest #NashvilleProtest"

quoted from this tweet thread