Events for carers, police officers, activists, anti-racist… After months of difficult health crisis, the time has come to argue in the street, the concerns of the society. These events of the year 2020 are they different from those of previous years? One of the characteristics notable is the speed with which it is organized and globalized the fight against racism. At the technology level, a series of applications allow the protesters to co-ordinate, protect their privacy and scan their causes and struggles. The more technologies evolve, the more they are not only available to the forces of law and order, but also of civil society.
The messaging services facilitate the rapid mobilization and comprehensive
One of the characteristics of the protest movements of today is the speed and magnitude of the mobilization, permitted by the use of instant messaging services, secure or not.
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are always used, but especially it is now on WhatsApp, Signal, and Telegram, which allow you to encrypt the messages that protesters are turning to organize and document the protests. This is particularly the case in the United States, where Signal has been downloaded 37, 000 times during the first weekend of June.
Filming “live” and have access to the videos through the 4G allows demonstrators to coordinate, and those in the back can know what is going on at the front. According to an article in the New York Times, the virality of the records is very important today because “the simplicity of making and sharing videos has made it possible for records of violence and abuse. This is a video made on a smartphone of the death of George Floyd, who helped spark the outrage that led to protests.”
To protect the identity of protesters, and bypass the mechanisms of geolocation
The protesters, aware that the police are also using digital tools to monitor, are increasingly looking to disable the location services and to blur their faces in photos.
The images shared may contain valuable data (metadata, date, time, GPS coordinates, and connection of the author of the image) which can be used to track protesters, and to determine their identity. Applications are used to get rid of the metadata: Metadata Remover, Metasniffer or Xeefer, are a few examples free and easy to use on the go.
It is also possible to prevent that a phone does not store location metadata in a file photo.
Tools to blur the faces on photos and videos, and thus preserve the identity of the participants to the event. Image Scrubber, for example, not only allows you to blur the faces, but also removes the metadata. Signal wants to assert itself as the tool of protesters and integrity since the beginning of June, a feature of blurring.
Siri can automatically record an injustice
Siri, the speech recognition tool from Apple, is able, by uttering the sentence, ” Hey Siri, I make myself stop “, to launch a video recording. the iPhone automatically prevents a contact that is predefined by giving the location of the arrest. A copy of the video can be downloaded immediately in the cloud, which will save the document in the case of a deletion in the device.
Applications for monitoring the police
In the United States, the ingenuity of events goes very far. Apps like Police Scanner and 5-0 Police Scanner allows anyone to listen in on conversations live police, which is illegal in some States.
Citizen enforcement has been the star of the movement Black Lives Matter. It can analyze the communications of the 911 (emergency call number in the United States) to map the incidents. Users can share the videos of the incidents live and comment on or react with easily add emoji. Citizen is not an application of the “police oversight”, but has been criticized, among other things, accused of fear mongering, but its use has continued to grow
The authorities ‘ use of digital tools
If you think that the blurring of the faces is a game-changer for the preservation of the identity of the protesters, be aware that the technology is in the two camps. Tools of artificial intelligence, for example, allow you to redial a face blurred:
The use of drones is surveillance cameras, which, thanks to the technology of facial recognition can identify automatically what the police officers do not have the time to collect (such as automatic detection of the wearing of masks in Nice.
The technologies are revolutionizing, as well as demonstrations in a context where the protection of personal data is key. The CNIL has therefore called for vigilance on the use of cameras “smart” . The devices of video surveillance, as well as other devices for capturing images in the public space, are the subject of a legislative framework specific to the Code of the internal security. However, the use of cameras, “smart” is today provided for by any specific text, this technology, widespread in the context of the health crisis, should not, according to the CNIL, be made permanent. It recommends that “ these devices should then be subject to a regulatory framework, which will require upstream to question the proportionality of the use of such devices and the necessary guarantees”