How Hong Kong Protesters Evade Surveillance With Tech | WSJ


(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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100 thoughts on “How Hong Kong Protesters Evade Surveillance With Tech | WSJ

  1. HK does not have anti-mask law like many states in US do. Fun facts about HK : 1. Economics freedom index:  HK(#1), US (#6 ). 2. Human

    freedom index :  HK(#3), US(#17). 3. Corruption Index (the lower the better): HK(#14), US (#22). Sources: Cato Institute, transparency.org.

  2. Hongkonger are threatened by the rioters, they are really playing trick or treat in a violence way to anyone against them.  Just like devil holds the cross.  Don't believe under their mask. 

    Only police are protecting the silent citizens,we support police.

  3. How shameful the web media that they use false news to mislead the youngsters' support.  They only 12 to 17 years old…

    The   school teachers spreading  anti-government, anti-police messages and rioter training to the students. 

    Many parents are very anxious and hard to reject…,even we complain to education dept.  We all are very angry with the press and rioters.

    Many HongKongers' Facebook,  YouTube account are blocked in Sep.  That are real HK people accounts like me (informed to be stopped in mide Sep), not only in China.  What is speech freedom says in American?  Hong Kong silent citizens are prohibited to take photos  of rioter's violence actions or argue with them, otherwise our Mobil will be stolen or broken, body will be hit.

    What is speech freedom ? Only for protesters and rioters?

  4. Oh yeah. Get him to point the laser right into his eyes. Is a known fact that laser can dmg eye even before protest. Such lairs. Shame on you for not exposing it too.

  5. As a Hongkonger, i don't
    think we hate communism this ideology, every ideology has its pros and cons it
    depends on how people utilize this system. What we hate is the people under
    this system. Russia is also ruled by a totalitarianism party and they basically
    dictate the country. What we hate is mainlanders, a filthy pesky swine that
    pollute the environment, they have their “Chinese Dream" which means they
    always think China will be the best one day. They basically hate every western
    countries and Japan. I bet you guys know how mainlanders disrespect your
    culture when they come to visit your country, they never consider about others
    feeling. The hilarious thing is that they think others should embrace their
    mistakes. Also, they said they are patriotic, but they are so superficial, they
    buy luxurious goods like LV, Chanel, and Balenciaga etc. The main thing is that
    they don’t even know know to pronounce the brand name, what a joke. Yes i admit
    it, i am biologically Chinese and it never changes, but i hope you guys as a
    part of our Earth, impose sanction on China. Tho American are racist to
    Chinese, but please don't lose the trade war, you are the strongest and the
    only country that is able to against China.

  6. If you truly love HK then how could you done all of this to hurt this place. Democracy is not mean that you can do whatever you want.

  7. when i was young i always fight against my dad. But i never ask my neighbour to help me fight together cause its my family issue and maybe my dad has some dispute with my neighbour who willing to see my dad lose things.
    When i have a son, some times he also fight with me. Which time i hope my dad should beat me hardly in that time.
    Young man, you don't kown how experenced your Dad is, but for sure ,you are one family. Others just others, when you are falling, you will find only taunt from them.

  8. Great journalism for showing how stupid some of these protestors are. They claim to love the city, yet they are causing harm to the city. How ironic.

  9. Deus Ex wasnt just a video game…Seriously though. This seems like the prequel to a cyberpunk dystopia. Its unreal. Its just crazy to see it after all these years your hear the conspiracies about this stuff. Watching your everywhere and at all times. Controlling everything, and arresting political opposition. Corporations having strong ties to globalist powers that be.

  10. Real protesters do not mask, cover up and destroy the city like terrorists do. It’s obvious now the rioters are not fighting for HK residents. The chief activists, (not even of ethnic Chinese – J.W., D.H.,- video ) are trained by foreign hands to take over the city. It’d caused sufferings not only to the residents, but losses to foreign investors. No sensible foreign country will help them take over China’s city. It’s a rogue city filled with lawless, freedom youths. Not a good city to visit or invest in anymore.
    The medias should stop referring them as pro democracy protesters. There’s no excuse for the violence, destruction, attack the administration, behaving above the law.

  11. Looks like Mainland is giving rioters enough rope to kill their city. The innocent residents should stop protesting under false demands. As China had said, they have the power and swift ways to quell the situation. Foreign countries should stop meddling in their domestic issues. Can’t blame China for taking back, clean up the rogue city. It should persecute the chief riot activists, rioters, and terminate their resident status. No country will welcome these troublesome Immigrants.

  12. Hongkong is the freest city/country in the world in 2018 and 2017. They already have more freedom than the people in any other countries.

  13. 20yrs ago my then friend left Hong Kong and got her citizenship in Australia. She often said “I don’t care about politics. I only care about me” She is now 50 and well off.

    People like her is the reason HK youth right now are being put through this horror! If her generation had cared for more than their own interests and fought tooth and nail for what was right, maybe this wouldn’t be happening right now

  14. I looooove seeing the people taking back the power. My prayers are with you all, China is going to be a very tough one but i know Xi is watching with a glare from a distance. Great job guys you guys are setting a good example to the watching world right now. Ci just meeds to know the rest of us citizens of the world are watching closely as well.

  15. naive. someday you will suffer your stupidity folks, and what a big hypocrite of wall street journal. Just as the trump said, distorted news

  16. "The chance of success is zero, but we still have to do this." The masked guy said. And we all have seen what they have done. Any group of people collectively have this kind of mentality, doing this kind of violence, cause this kind of harm to the society are organized terrorists by definition.

  17. I had my sympathy for those protesters, but after I dig deeper, I realize that many of them are just plain fools and riots, who can be bought so easily. Come on, what is wrong with the mainstream media? Do you really believe every riot in the world is pro-democracy? Do you really think people are stupid enough to buy that?

  18. Come to Baltimore if you want to be surveilled by eye in sky.

    https://www.rawstory.com/2019/09/this-journalist-is-both-terrified-of-and-intrigued-by-new-revelations-of-the-surveillance-states-startling-capabilities/

  19. Supporting Hong Kong's freedom democratic system. But for CCP China that Any people supporting democracy and freedom system are the enemy of CCP imperial China. CCP China already arrested Canadians , Australian citizens and more than 1000 Hong Kong's young demonstrators ( one of them is a 12 years old Child. If you support the democratic society, please refuse buy any made in China products. Buy your own local made products and increase your jobs opportunities.

  20. Being leaderless, these rioters are just anarchists. They can only destroy social order but not rebuild.

    In other words, they will only destroy people’s livelihood and bring suffering to them.

  21. I love the passion of the Hong Kong protesters. They are continuing the work of the people of China at Tiananmen Square. I just wish the handful of disruptive protesters would stop destroying the city.

    Never forget Tiananmen Square!

  22. 上街却不敢露脸的香港废青,跟89年的大学生们根本没法比。这帮废青没读过什么书,家庭出身又不好,还很穷啃老一族,上街有钱拿多开心,可以吹嘘自己独立了。摆脱,这波闹完了废青能干嘛,还不是继续打工一个月甚至一万港币都没有。带头的那帮所谓政治老人的子女和那几个带头的小年轻可都跑到国外隔岸观火了,留着一帮傻不拉几的废青在香港叫唤。
    香港年轻人啊,开开眼界吧,这个念头连念书都不行,还怎么跟全世界竞争。看看台外的年轻人,嘴上叫着台独,来大陆读书工作的越来越多,赚钱住大房子才是王道。没有人愿意一辈子一大家挤在300呎的鸽子笼里生活的。

  23. Hong Kong Protests: Starts

    Umbrella selling companies, gas mask companies, and NordVPN: STONKS

    Area 51 Raid: Starts

    Bodybag companies, morgues, and coffin makers: STONKS

    Who'll make more money?

  24. they are loser …. they destroy not only what hong hong has but also their life ….do you think this kind of people will bring hong kong to better future ? impossible hong kong will be like suriah …

  25. The surveillance is absolutely disgusting. All cameras should be removed, and the peoples privacy respected! They are not some ant farm for the rich…

  26. Your reporting is biased and irresponsible
    1 you should these violent protestors terrorists
    2 you report is giving impression of glorifying the terrorism
    3 you are condoning and supporting breaking of the law via criminal acts. The over 1000 people arrested commuted alleged crimes police arrest them for a reason.

  27. Brave, determined protestors, the world admires HKers. Fight until you succeed, and Hong Kong, then all of China has democracy.

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