Monitoring, privacy and protests

Thanks to advances in monitoring systems, the authorities have the ability to identify people who have attended marches or protests over long distances, he said. Reuters.

This recognition technology has been developed mainly in countries such as Germany, the United States and Great Britain to facilitate the work of the police forces. Its team includes real-time facial recognition cameras, phone tracking tools known as receivers and IMSI drones.

Last weekend, during the protests in Minneapolis, the United States Border Patrol and Customs Agency flew a surveillance drone normally used for border patrols over the city. This device was intended to record live protests in order to facilitate police work. These devices were normally used in a military context, but have been reused for surveillance in civilian settings.

Monitoring technology allows widespread, invisible and real-time surveillance of protests without people being able to notice it, and obviously without their consent.

What is the effect? The loss of anonymity in demonstrations and protests as a result of the deployed surveillance technology has a very clear deterrent effect. And this is very serious. Planning and participating in protests requires free and confidential communication without interference. Activists and dissidents could be prosecuted and vulnerable groups attacked.

Which is the answer? The use of masks. Similarly, the protesters have also destroyed the video surveillance cameras they have found within reach. Some privacy groups have advised protesters not to bring smartphones to demonstration sites to avoid GPS tracking, as well as to avoid traveling in cars in order to bypass automatic badge readers. Additionally, it is advisable not to record other protesters because this only gives additional information to the police.

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Marilú Lazo
Lawyer from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP). Director of The Crypto Legal Blog, she has experience in corporate advice, consumer protection, as well as in matters of personal data protection and new technologies.

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