How Hong Kong Protesters Evade Authorities 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.

69 thoughts on “How Hong Kong Protesters Evade Authorities With Tech | WSJ

  1. The entire movement will lose credibility if they resort to any violence whatsoever. It is a PSYCHOLOGICAL war of attrition and those (likely the young men) within the movement must recognize this before it gets out of hand.

  2. those laser beam have been illegal to use in many countries due to medical affect (Inc eye damages), not only HK. this so call peaceful protestor should do more reading.

  3. WSJ you misspelled rioters for protesters.


    A rioter is someone who takes part in a brawl or a violent disturbance. If you want a peaceful protest rally, don't invite rioters.

  4. I am up for having a fully democratic government for hk, and also protest against china control. But some protesters are just extremists and acting in an irrational and violent way, breaking down their own country that they love. We need to have a firm stance on non violence movement

  5. Police is dumb or what, its easy to get those public property destroying rabbits😂

    1. Large part of police should be in civilian uniform so when these rabbits come out they should act like normal people, encircle them silently and then bamm!😂

    2. Police should use information warfare. Undercover police officer should spread fake news that china forced telegram to submit all source codes so telegram is no longer a safe platform and in order to strengthen this argument police should arrest some undercover officers while they were using telegram and then spred this news everywhere.
    After that they should say that we have some new "XYZ" platform and everyone should use that while police should give an official statement stating that using that "XYZ" platform is unlawful.
    Then catch all the rabbits😂😂

    3. Police should drop fishnet from chopper😂😂😂

    Get those boys and girls and throw them in Afghani village controlled by Taliban and mujahedin😂😂
    after 2 months those rabbits will say China is greatest country in universe.
    😂😂😂😂 that will strengthen diplomatic relations with Taliban and they will become very honest ally😂😂😂😂

  6. Let's hope Americans can learn from the youth of HK, we have taken our rights for granted.
    This is what happens when people hate a system of government. This is what happens if your future is communist.

  7. This has gone out of control. Hong Kong is China sooner or later and that doesn’t change. These protestors are violent and should be punished, the police are doing their job and I hope China will send in their troops and stop these violent bastards. What you reporters don’t show are these protestors are being paid to do this .

  8. CIA master plan worked…. They don't want to give information and data to very dangerous China's Organized Crime Controls.
    They don't want camera to discriminate white foreigners working Hong Kong. CIA used those youth to beak the pole and give device or sold to CIA. Why they sell China survillence devices to CIA? Youth need money for food, living…. So CIA can sniff Huawei's daughter phone and other chinese organized crime networks.

  9. The police would not be able solve crimes to give justice to the victims of crime. Helping criminals and shooting their own feet. This subversion helps nobody.

  10. Deploy the elite force to take out the radicals. Lock them up in a no-man's land and throw away the keys.

    Soft approach won't work on them.

  11. As an Indonesian Chinese, who is very proud of my Chinese Heritage, Chinese Culture, and its 5000 years of history, I cant fathom how most mainland Chinese can be brainwashed by the CCP. Even many educated Chinese that studied abroad are also brainwashed!

    Who killed most Chinese? Is it the Imperial Japanese Army? British Army?
    NO! NO! NO! It is the Chinese Communist Party!
    With its Great Leap Forward, the CCP KILLED more than 30 MILLIONS Chinese!

    Who made China for years and years a very poor and under developed country?
    Again, it is the Chinese Communist Party with its stupid economic policies !

    We, the Chinese are very industrious, hard working, and smart people.
    The Chinese immigrant succeed wherever they go. You can clearly see this if you study about South East Asia! We are the most educated, hard working and wealthiest ethnic group! We came here from China with nothing. No money, no education, we cant even speak the local language. But with our ingenuity and hard work, we succeed!
    Just google the richest people in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Philippines. Even though the Chinese only contribute very low percentage of the population, most of the richest people in those countries are Chinese!

    Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan show what we, the Chinese can and will achieve when we have a government better than the CCP!

    Do you think China current economic growth is because of the CCP? NO!
    It is because of the hard work of the Chinese people!

    CCP is the one that made China poor and under developed for decades!
    If it were not for the CCP, right now China could have been much wealthier and much more developed! Rivaling or even more than Japan and South Korea!
    With a better government, the Chinese can be respected all around the world as it should have been!

    Rise my fellow Chinese brothers and sisters! Open your eyes, see that CCP is the enemy! The one that has killed us, took our freedom and stopped us from achieving our full potential!

  12. Haaaaaaaaaa TẬP cẩu BÌNH ngu bị đàn em THUỐC rằng ta có KINH THƯ vô địch thiên hạ nên TẬP vô tư NỔ vang trời rằng năm 2025 sẽ vượt mặt nước Mỹ..nay biết ra tất cả CÔNG NGHỆ CAO đều vây mượn của Mỹ Anh Pháp Nhật Hàn Úc Ấn Độ Đức Đài Loan thì quá muộn màng rùi em ơi huuu..

  13. These are not protesters but rioters who are setting street on fire, destructing public and private facilities and properties and beating up people with different opinion. Just because US has funded these 'pro-democracy events' doesn't mean media has to go along with the lies and propaganda.

  14. The guy who said those laser lights are not harmful 😂, should try it on his own eyes and see what it does. I remember when we were buying those blue ones we use to light cigarettes with it

  15. The New World Order will not succeed. Yet we need to ask Jesus to forgive us and save us from our sins.
    He died for us. There will be terrible tribulation throughout the earth, and then He will come to rescue His own.
    Many will be martyred before that time. Be strong by remaining in Christ, no matter what the cost. MARANATHA

  16. There are over 2 million paid individuals in mainland China employed to spread chinese propaganda.

    Be aware they are in the comment sections.

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