The right to protest is a fundamental human right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the First Amendment.
The following are basic tips to protect your privacy before, during, and after a protest. Protecting your privacy will help keep yourself, your information, and other protesters safe, as well as get your message out.
- Fully encrypt the data on your phone. If your device is confiscated by police, or if it is lost or stolen, full-disk encryption can help protect the information on your phone.
- Disable face and fingerprint recognition. Disabling both face and fingerprint recognition make it more difficult for officers to physically force you to unlock your device with your face or fingerprint and see information about yourself, your family, and the people that you care about.
- Put your phone on airplane mode. Enabling airplane mode when you are not communicating reduces the amount of radio signals your device transmits while you are protesting and limits your location from being tracked.
- Wear a face mask + sunglasses. Face masks and sunglasses not only protect against COVID-19, they also make it more difficult for police to identify you using facial recognition technology.
- Leave your car at home. Police use automated license plate readers to track protestors. If you can, ride a bicycle or walk to the protest to prevent your license plate being tracked.
- Be mindful of posting photos and videos of other protesters. If you post photos or videos online where protesters’ faces, tattoos, or unique clothing are identifiable, police may track down, arrest, or harass those protesters. Blur faces and these identifiers before posting online. If live-streaming, avoid capturing people's faces.
- Scrub metadata from your photos. Metadata allow police to figure out the exact time and location a photo was taken, the model of the device the photo was taken on, and even your name. Transfer the photo to your computer and take a screenshot. Post the screenshot, not the original photo.
- Back up your data. If the police take away your phone, you may not get it back easily. Back up your data regularly and store that backup in a safe place.