June 5, 2020
“With Trump in office, I love that America gets to see the truth. If Hillary Clinton was in office, it would be the most fucking disingenuous shit because everybody would be thinking that everything’s cool because we got an incredibly qualified female president. Which would’ve been amazing on so many levels. But all the shit we see right now would’ve still existed; it would’ve just been quiet. And I prefer this shit to be out loud. I prefer an honest America.”
I want to express solidarity with all oppressed communities. For centuries, our Black brothers, sisters, and comrades have endured overt and aversive racism. Indifference and complicity from others have allowed it to go on without pause…
Right now, it may look like the battle against oppression is occurring solely in the streets, but this is not true. Lakota and Black Hawk helicopters have been hovering over protestors in an attempt to intimidate them. Drones and recon equipment have been deployed all over the city to spy on us.
Ever since Edward Snowden sacrificed his freedom to reveal to Americans the extent to which we are watched, I’ve tried to pay attention to and spread the word about what is going on and how to counter it. I want to use my technical knowledge to help protect everyone who chooses to take a stand.
“More than my political affiliation, I consider myself a hellraising humanitarian. Hell-raising in the sense that I don’t just go along to get along.”
VICE News has confirmed that there are “dirtboxes” deployed over DC. These are false cell towers that collect information on any phone that connects to them. You cannot prevent your phone from doing this unless you turn on airplane mode, but you can protect your messages by only using encrypted messaging services. Things like iMessage are considered safe, but not SMS messages (the green texts). Facebook Messenger is not a good option, either. Since iMessage is iOS exclusive, third party encrypted apps, such as Signal, are considered to be great options that anyone with Android or iOS can use for free.
We have been under curfew and de facto martial law in DC for the entire week. Some have expressed concern that cellular service could be shut down. This could lead to a dangerous situation for peaceful protestors. There was an app, called FireChat, that utilized an experimental ad-hoc wireless mesh network. This technology allows users to send messages without wifi or cellular networks by turning phones into the network itself. FireChat, unfortunately, has been abandoned. The only cross-platform alternative right now is, Bridgefy. This is not a secure way to communicate with people, though, and neither are walkie-talkies. It would be trivial for a bad actor to intercept messages on Bridgefy or even a walkie-talkie, but they can still be invaluable tools if something were to happen to the main cellular network. If you already have a smartphone and don’t want to or are unable to purchase a set of walkie-talkies, then Bridgefy could be a free backup plan.
What about the drones and reconnaissance equipment that I mentioned before? ARGUS-IS is a high-resolution camera array that can be mounted on aircraft and collect video footage of an entire city. This can be used to monitor specific locations and anyone who chooses to visit or simply walk nearby. They likely use advanced intelligence software to help identify individuals and trends, but with the help of some simple tools, you can protect yourself. Face masks can not only slow the spread of COVID-19, but they can also help to counter facial recognition technology. Many have also said that an umbrella can be a very useful tool for protestors. They shield from the rain, small debris, aerial-surveillance, and they can make for nice canvases to write a message on!
An authority on infosec that I respect is Shannon Morse. She made an amazing YouTube video on this very same topic. I highly recommend to everyone that you watch her video, here. She is donating all of the ad revenue she receives from that video to Campaign Zero.
“Black prophetic fire is the hypersensitivity to the suffering of others that generates a righteous indignation that results in the willingness to live and die for freedom.”
I also want to spread the word about this protest:
Blackout Day 2020 begins on July, 7th and calls for a boycott of any business that is not Black-owned. It is reminiscent of the famous Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955, which lasted for over a year. Though, it is intended mainly for Black Americans to make a statement about how their business and humanity matters, allies who wish to participate are welcome.