In any democracy, any citizen can take to the streets to protest things he or she does not agree with. Honestly, we see countless demonstrations in different countries almost every day. Let us recall just a few of them: George Floyd’s protests against police brutality and racism, 2020; protests against a possible law that could terminate a pregnancy, 2022, etc. The reasons may be quite different. So no matter what demonstrations you attend, watch online or find out, you need to make sure your phone is secure because no one knows how this information can be used.
We mean that if you are a participant in the protest, you are probably communicating with others. So if someone gets access to data on your phone, they can learn what you organize, who participates, when you will act, etc. As for the police, that will also be enough to arrest you. This does not mean that you have to do something illegal. But we respect everyone’s rights and everyone’s personal data and information must be protected. However, no one will do it for you.
Further reading: How to protect your account with Google Authenticator or Authy
In general, we will review the article published by On the edge a few years ago, in which the media described various methods of how to protect your data. So, even if you don’t participate in any demonstration, you still need to protect your device and the information stored on it.
The best suggestion is to leave your phone at home
Your phone knows everything about you. Wherever you go, what pages you visit, what you search for, what you talk about and information about many other activities is stored on your phone. The best advice we can give is to leave your phone at home when attending a demonstration. We know you will complain about what to do if you have to call someone. For all these cases, you can just buy a phone with a burner instead. So you can only turn it on when you are at the demonstration site.
Use more secure applications
All popular apps like Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, Twitter and others collect a lot of data about you. Therefore, we recommend that you download and use more secure, encrypted communication applications. If you don’t know which apps are more secure than others, Electronic Frontier Foundation there is a list of recommended tools to protect your phone.
For example, you can use Signalwhich is a secure, open, encrypted end – to – end messaging application. Its biggest advantage is that the application does not store metadata for messages. You can go further and make some adjustments to your privacy settings. Let’s say you can set a PIN or use call relays. What we like more is the message disappearance feature. As the name suggests, any message you send / receive will disappear after a certain time.
We also recommend using a more secure browser than Chrome. The best option is Tor. It is able to protect your identity and information by rebounding your activity through a set of relays. Of course, Brave is also a secure browser.
When looking for something, it is better to use DuckDuckGowhich will not store your search history or associate it with your IP address.
Encrypt the information on your phone
To do this, you need to go to Settings> Security> Advanced settings> Encryption and credentials> Phone encryption. This is the path to the corresponding page on an Android device. But as you might expect, it may vary slightly depending on the manufacturer.
For iPhone users, if you have set a password, there is the text “Data protection enabled” at the bottom of the Face ID / Touch ID & Passcode page.
Just switch to airplane mode
In this mode, your phone will disable cellular data and Wi-Fi by default. In other words, operators will not know where you are.
However, you should be aware that airplane mode does not exclude location services. So you have to deactivate them manually.
Use a VPN
When you go to a demo, it is always recommended that you set up a VPN on your phone. It will hide your activity by encrypting your connection. However, keep in mind that more reliable VPNs charge a subscription fee.
What to do if your phone is confiscated
If you are arrested and / or your phone is confiscated, do not unlock it if possible. However, law enforcement may legally force you to unlock your phone if it is protected by fingerprint or facial recognition. To avoid such situations, use passwords or PIN codes. As your rights under the Fifth Amendment are covered, if it is locked with a PIN or password, you can refuse to unlock the phone.
In Settings, make adjustments so that your phone does not display the content of messages in notifications when your phone is locked.