(crowd cheering) – This crowd is trying to disable one of the new security cameras
that have been put up here as kind of an experimental operation to start increasing surveillance
in this part of Hong Kong. The ones on the outside
are basically there to form a human wall to
protect the identities of the people that are actually up at the post breaking open this camera, getting into the guts
and ripping them out. – [Lyons] protesters in Hong Kong fear they are being watched and
tracked when on the streets and just showing up may expose them to retaliation from the government. More than a thousand
people have been arrested since the pro-democracy protests against China’s growing control over Hong Kong started in June. – You might be doing
something that you think is perfectly fine right now
but then later you might be charged based on camera footage, based on geolocation data from
your mobile phone and so on. – [Lyons] Lockman Tsui researches
personal data protection and digital security in Hong Kong. He supports the pro-democracy movement. – [Tsui] We don’t know what kind of data the Hong Kong law enforcement is sharing with the Chinese law enforcement. – [Lyons] While covering
pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong we found that protesters have developed a number of tactics to protect their identities
and avoid detection both online and on the streets. (gunshots exploding) (protesters screaming) Before the streets
become chaotic the scene is usually pretty calm. Some are already decked
out in protective gear and busy on their phones to exchange files with somebody nearby. Those with iPhones use AirDrop. – Desmond Fung has joined protests almost every weekend since June. He says the central nervous
system of this leaderless, protest movement is the anonymous, encrypted messaging service, Telegram. Downloads of the app in
Hong Kong have soured since the protests began. What are we seeing here? – Aren’t the police in there
as well reading everything that you write? – Desmond said there are
ways to sniff out spies but he didn’t want to share specifics or show us the private chats on his phone, because sometimes these chats are about taking radical measures. (drum beat music) These are the most hardcore protesters. Police consider them violent and often target them for arrest. They’re getting ready
to go up to the front and actually confront the police. They’re the ones with the
most at stake in terms of obscuring their identity. (protesters screaming) Protesters aren’t just worried
about surveillance cameras but also the police’s own camera crews. Protesters worry any
footage could later be used as evidence against them. – [Lyons] Many protesters’
kits also include this. Laser pointers have become
a thing in these protests. They’re used to distract
police and blind cameras. Protesters can buy these kinds of laser pointers at any electronic store and they typically cost about $10. Police have called them offensive weapons which means they can arrest someone for causing injuries with lasers. – [Lyons] Police also cite medical experts who say the beams can
cause permanent eye damage. – Protesters’ methods
can also be very DIY. He’s handing out tinfoil
and what he’s doing is he’s wrapping people’s
Hong Kong IDs with tinfoil in hopes that a law enforcement
official won’t be able to scan the ID remotely. Protesters want to prevent
police from tracking them via the radio frequency
identification chips embedded in their Hong Kong identification cards, subway cards or credit cards. The government says
only authorized sensors that are within two
centimeters of the smart IDs are able to pick up the information. To avoid having their movements recorded on their regular subway cards they pay for one-way tickets home
from the protests with cash. – [Lyons] These tactics
to avoid surveillance go hand in hand with avoiding arrest. (smoke bombs exploding
and crowd screaming) But if it does happen protesters
also use a simple hack to try to protect the
data on their phones. – Here in Hong Kong you have the right to not reveal any knowledge
that might incriminate you. So a pin code is knowledge
but your fingerprint or your face is not necessarily knowledge that you reveal to the authorities. (protesters screaming) – As the movement evolves police are deploying new tactics
to tag protesters, like using water cannons
laced with blue dye. Hanging over all of this is the fear that their identities will
get swept up digitally and end up in a database, perhaps in Beijing that
tracks them and follows them for the rest of their lives. Protesters told us they’ll
keep playing the cat and mouse game of avoiding surveillance while defying the government. They say they won’t stop
until their demands are met, including an inquiry into police brutality and direct elections. The Hong Kong government
has taken some action like withdrawing a
controversial extradition bill that sparked the protests. It says it is looking for
ways to start a dialogue to address the discontent. In the end the odds are
stacked against them. It’s essentially a group
of young Hong Kongers with laser pointers and umbrellas against he will of Mainland China. How do you see this
playing out for the future? – I don’t know, actually. The chance of success is, it’s almost zero, but we still need to do
this because of the justice, because we love this place.

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Dennis Veasley

24 thoughts on “How Hong Kong Protesters Evade Surveillance With Tech | WSJ”

  1. Keep doing these please. Nothing wakes people up more effectively than those HK antifa/BLM thugs destroying their city

  2. This is extremely disturbing, and alarming!! we live against future generations !!! people who will born into this, won't even have the will to resist.

  3. you don't have to protect identities if you don't even have one. Just destroy your H.K passport and all of your ID. Then leave HK alone

  4. Keep fighting Hong Kong people we are with you and we are boycotting the chinese products until the mafia in Beijing fall

  5. Remove all the public cameras. The Facial Tracking, Auto – I.D. and A.I. software hostile to human life are a threat to all of the Human Race.

  6. Fake news…Hong Kong police protecting the real civilians and freedom from protestors, murderers, rioters and fake reporters

  7. Protesters and RIOTERS are TWO DIFFERENT F*************G THINGS.

    RIOTERS should be shot on sight.

    This is a PROTEST: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97V3f4bOw7s

  8. Not far in the future and every 5G pole will be equipped with the dead bodys of those who are responsible for that.

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