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Electronic Frontier Foundation Cellphones

EFF's Cell Phone Guide For US Protesters 82

Posted by Soulskill
from the do-not-use-your-cell-phone-as-a-projectile-weapon dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The Electronic Frontier Foundation has updated its guide for protecting yourself and your cell phone at a protest. In addition to being extremely powerful tools (real-time communication to many watchers via social media, and video recording functionality), cell phones can also give authorities a lot of information about you if they confiscate it. The EFF is trying to encourage cell phone use and prepare people to use them. (The guide is based on U.S. laws, but much of the advice makes sense for other places as well.) Here are a few small snippets: "Start using encrypted communications channels. Text messages, as a rule, can be read and stored by your phone company or by surveillance equipment in the area. ... If the police ask to see your phone, tell them you do not consent to the search of your device. Again, since the Supreme Court's decision in Riley, there is little question that officers need a warrant to access the contents of your phone incident to arrest, though they may be able to seize the phone and get a warrant later. ... If your phone or electronic device was seized, and is not promptly returned when you are released, you can file a motion with the court to have your property returned."
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EFF's Cell Phone Guide For US Protesters

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  • Better Idea (Score:5, Informative)

    by sexconker (1179573) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @01:36AM (#47687649)

    Use a shitty pre-paid phone when you're out rabble rousing.
    Wipe it before you leave the house.

    • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @02:22AM (#47687741) Homepage

      Wipe it before you leave the house.

      Words to live by.

    • That doesn't address the desire to send text messages during protests without being eavesdropped .

      Or the issue of documenting the event and not having your phone taken off you, thus losing all those pics/vids/etc.

    • Re:Better Idea (Score:4, Informative)

      by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @08:22AM (#47688429) Homepage Journal

      Even better, buy it on the way to the protest. Using cash of course.

      I didnt bother reading the EFF advice but if you take your own stuff to a demonstration, you are a fool. You never know what may happen, you go with a minimal amount of items with you. ID ( required to avoid many vagrant arrest laws ), a few bucks in cash for a burger if you are stuck waiting on a ride from jail ( or the hospital ).. Hide your car keys ON your car.. No jewelry or a watch. A few contact numbers in your pocket, in case you are unconscious when found.

      • Even better, buy it on the way to the protest. Using cash of course.

        I didnt bother reading the EFF advice but if you take your own stuff to a demonstration, you are a fool. You never know what may happen, you go with a minimal amount of items with you. ID ( required to avoid many vagrant arrest laws ), a few bucks in cash for a burger if you are stuck waiting on a ride from jail ( or the hospital ).. Hide your car keys ON your car.. No jewelry or a watch. A few contact numbers in your pocket, in case you are unconscious when found.

        Don't you have to give ID even if you buy a prepaid (cash) ?

    • by Z00L00K (682162)

      Any old "brick" phone would be good.

      If you want to coordinate when protesting - get FRS or PMR radios. Of course - the authorities can listen in, but the device don't store anything and learn to talk code and it will be unclear what you mean and who that said what.

      As long as you don't do illegal stuff the authorities can't do much.

      • As long as you don't do illegal stuff the authorities can't do much.

        VERY naieve attitude.. When you're dealing with one of today's militarised "police departments", what is actually "illegal" is pretty much up to the thug(s) you're dealing with.. Witness the many court decrees that the public can video law enforcement, assuming the pubic is not interferring with law enforcement.. Theres a HUGE loophole there, one you could drive a bus thru. If they don't like you video recording them, they can alledge that you're "interferring" and there seems to be nothing you can do about

    • by Zeio (325157)

      I like how we still think we can stop the police state with voting for politicians that support an expansion of police state power and doing "sneaky stuff" to try and get around the jackboots. IF its not already too late, the only way out of this horrible 1984 world we live in is to consider the government as the enemy of freedom and liberty rather than seeing it as something that can be fixed by playing by its rules.

  • Do this as well (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Do live streams so they cannot just erase your shit. I also have my phone encrypted with a one and done failed password shutdown and a extreme acceleration shutdown trigger as well, go ahead and grab it. I'm not really worried about the police my motivation is geared towards my phone being stolen.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The best advice anywhere in the world, is to NEVER go toa protest, unless you are a political science or law student and wish to make politics your life. For everyone else, it is best to stay faaaaar away.

    • Re:Best (Score:5, Insightful)

      by epyT-R (613989) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @02:14AM (#47687715)

      If this is good advice, the government is tyrannical.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The best advice anywhere in the world, is to NEVER go toa protest, unless you are a political science or law student and wish to make politics your life. For everyone else, it is best to stay faaaaar away.

      Nonsense. You can meet hot chicks at protests.

      Everywhere else there is a ticket you have to buy to get in.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      good idea, If we all hide in our house's it will get better right?

      If you feel strongly enough you need to get out there and make your voice heard, One person can do very little but a large group of people giving up their time to a cause can change to world.

    • by Z00L00K (682162)

      On the contrary - but do protest in the right way, don't start to burn things you don't own.

      Symbols are sometimes stronger than speech.

      If the cops orders you to disperse - do that and regroup instead. It will be hard for the police to make sense of anything if you act as a murder of crows always returning to the food by new paths.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Re: "For everyone else"
      The problem is you may have to pass that area under cell tracking for some unrelated reason.
      Every user that turns their phone off (battery out or turned off) near the tracked protest area will be looked at ie you where educated about tracking and wanted to enter a protest zone without your phone on.
      Thats the problem with any cell device. A a vast area of use is reconstructed by gov and mil experts every phone is going to be considered.
      Powered on at the protest.
      Powered off bef
  • by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Sunday August 17, 2014 @02:14AM (#47687717) Journal

    Confiscation is legal. When a pack of thugs in costumes takes your phone to keep you from exposing their crimes, they're stealing your phone, not confiscating it.

    -jcr

    • Evidence that gets shelved for years. So technical it's a confiscation, but it's more like theft in that you won't see it again for quite some time.

  • by mysidia (191772) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @03:09AM (#47687805)

    For example, take steps to disable 'data communication ports on the device that you don't use.

    Disable the ability to pair over USB or bluetooth.

    Use nonstandard filesystems.

    Analysts attempting to execute an illegal search of your device are not going to be "technical gurus"; too few of those to go around.

    They'll be using standard software tools they bought from some vendor.

    Make sure no "standard" tools will work as expected on your device, and their costs go up tremendously.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 17, 2014 @04:20AM (#47687887)

      If you have access to surface mount equipment, just modifiy your USB jack to use a flopped cable and add a couple surface mount (grain of dust-sized) diodes to the +/- power lines (think half-wave rectifier bridge). Do it right, and this also "booby-traps" it to "short" any standard USB cable. Either pops the current limiter on the host USB controller or HMCF's their motherboard.

      I do know of a couple folks that have "do I recognize this host?" checking software running on their phones.

      Gotta love surface mount tech.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      A phone with wireless charging is really good for this. You can remove or break the USB port and still charge it up. Ideally you need to sabotage it in a way that is impossible to repair.

      • A phone with wireless charging is really good for this. You can remove or break the USB port and still charge it up. Ideally you need to sabotage it in a way that is impossible to repair.

        While nothing is impossible to repair I'd go with corroding or breaking the terminals and then epoxying the port closed. That would prevent them from using many of the systems now available for grabbing phone data. the challenge s how do you then get data off the phone and out to the world? You'd still have to leave a path into the phone that can be exploited.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          You use wireless to get the data out. Just make sure that you only turn it on for data transfer, and then turn it off again. Make sure it is turned off when the take it away from you.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You tech-heads are so cute. You think technical solutions can solve anything. They can't read your phone? Too bad... For you. They will pressure you to break it for them, and you will yield. You're not Neo or some fictional hero. You're an overgrown kid playing with the Big Boys. A couple of minutes of "vigorous" interrogation and you will be their bitch.

      • The amount of intimidation the police can get by with on a general basis is rather limited. This doesn't apply if they're specifically out to get you personally, but if you're just caught up in a sweep they'd be much happier to read your phone without your assistance, and they're very likely not bothering with phones they can't read by themselves.

  • by DaMattster (977781) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @06:58AM (#47688173)
    Only apply the simplest amount of technology to remain efficient. This is a case where too much technology is the enemy. Go back to CB, Amateur, and walkie talkie radio for communication. Use a camera that can record to an SD card and periodically switch out the card and find a safe place to "dead drop" it. This way, the police can glean very little, if anything at all.
  • carry 'n change (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mister Liberty (769145) on Sunday August 17, 2014 @07:43AM (#47688307)

    The only sensible thing to do, imo (aside from not carrying anything that can ID you), from /both/ the standpoint of
    personal privacy, /and/ from the standpoint of adding to a protest's effectiveness (something just a bit lost in the
    EFF article), is to bring just the cheapest dumb phone that you can find, and at the site immediately exchange it
    with another protestor unknown to you, for his/hers. Shortly test both, and you're on.

    • by matbury (3458347)

      Yes, burners are a tried and trusted way to achieve temporary anonymous communication at an event, like a protest. Just make sure you get rid of the phone before you go home!

      The fact is that these days the police are often given carte blanche to do whatever they like with people at or near protests. Your rights more than likely won't be upheld while they try to disrupt the protest.

      There are times when your own smartphone can be handy too as long as you manage your privacy well (you shouldn't have your whole

  • Block all cell signals so the looters can't send their movies anywhere. That's illegal, you say? And looting and pillaging isn't?

    • "Block all cell signals so the looters can't send their movies anywhere. That's illegal, you say? And looting and pillaging isn't?"

      Yes, because the reason people want video of what actually happens is to prove that they were breaking the law! They certainly don't want footage of the cops breaking the law! Oh no. That would be foolish! Foolish I say. Everyone know cops don't break the law! Nixon minimized the facts! It's not just true that it's not illegal if the President does it. Oh no. It's not il

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Bring a burn phone with a camera. Add software to it to give it a "duress" mode. When the duress mode is activated, it starts recording and videoing everything and uploading it to a public server in a foreign country so long as it has power. Then let the police confiscate it. It will be interesting to hear what they say when they think no one is listening.

    It wouldn't hurt to put a bunch of viruses on it as well. Preferably some that spread via Bluetooth as well as USB. It would make dealing with confi

    • by q4Fry (1322209)
      What do you think they will do to you after you've messed with their computer system? I am fairly certain that they can get you under CFAA, minimum, let alone find a way to put you under the anti-terror laws.

      You may be harder skinned than I am, but malware-bombing "the man" just to make a point while they are as likely as not to have you in custody at the time is way too far on the cost:outcome ratio than I would be comfortable trying. Maybe if you can convince strangers on the internet to try it, you com

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