Whether it’s racism or your government’s policy, protesting is the best way to register your grievance. However, many governments do not support it and often use laws to condemn protesters. However, before doing so, they track participants with a digital footprint, so you should keep your digital footprint as small as possible to avoid any issues. In this guide, you will learn how to secure your smartphone before going to an event. Let’s get started.
Use multiple unlock methods to secure your Android smartphone
Nowadays, Android smartphones come with biometric unlocking methods like fingerprint scanner and face scanner, as well as conventional methods like model, passwords and PIN code. Biometric unlocking methods are arguably the best when it comes to convenience, but they are not very reliable because they can be misused. For example, if you are apprehended by the police, they can easily scan your finger or face to get into your smartphone.
However, if you opt for conventional methods like passwords or PINs, they are more secure and reliable. In addition, it is very difficult to break or bypass conventional unlocking methods as they have improved a lot over the years.
Also, make sure you don’t unlock your Android smartphone during the protest unless it’s important. On top of that, make sure to take photos while keeping the device locked. This way, even if you drop your phone, your data will be backed up and no one will be able to access your data.
Encrypt your Android smartphone
No matter how secure your Android smartphone is, things can still go north, and it’s a good idea to have the data in encrypted form, which will make it difficult to access your data. It will also be very useful in case you are apprehended by the police as they will not be able to access your data and will use it against you.
Android smartphones come with an encrypted phone option, which encrypts the data on your smartphone. Here’s how you can enable encryption on your smartphone.
- Swipe down from the top of the screen and tap the gear icon to access the settings.
- In the settings, find the section Safety and location.
- Now go to the section Advanced and search for “Encryption and Credentials”.
- Here you can press Encrypt phone to activate it.
Now, depending on your Android smartphone, the steps may change as many companies use heavy Android skins. So, the easiest way to find this feature is to use the search bar in settings. Just type in “Encryption” and you will see the Encrypt phone option in the search results.
Minimize your digital footprint
Smartphones serve as a digital assistant, but they can also be used to track your location which can give you a lot of trouble especially if you are attending a protest. It is a well-established fact that police around the world are using the location history of smartphones to locate protest participants. They use the technique of “Stingray attacks”, which essentially turns your smartphone into a cell phone tower and collects all the information from the cell phones around it.
So, the best way to avoid all these issues is to minimize the digital footprint, and you can do that easily by turning on airplane mode. This mode essentially disables your cell phone data and disables WiFi, which minimizes your footprint, and also protects you from Stingray attacks.
Use secure applications for communication
When it comes to events, communication is key, but it is also very important that you choose a secure communication platform. Most people use WhatsApp, but it is a fact that these conversations can be followed. However, some applications can offer a secure communication channel.
For example, if you want a secure end-to-end encrypted application, you can use Signal, which is an open source application designed for communication. The app also includes advanced security features like Message Disappearance which allows you to set limits for each message, and once that limit is reached, the message is destroyed, leaving no trace of anything.
Likewise, if you want to use the internet at a protest, we recommend that you use a reliable VPN service that will encrypt your traffic, preventing any entity from tracking your activities. If you are interested, here are some reliable VPN apps for Android that you can consider.
Do not take your smartphone to an event
Smartphones are certainly great for everyday work, and they also carry our personal data and bring it to an event puts you at enormous risk. For example, if you lost your device during a demonstration, there is a good chance that your data will be misused if the device is not encrypted. Likewise, authorities can use it to track you down and charge you if your data is activated.
We therefore strongly recommend that you do not take your Android smartphone to a demonstration. However, if you do take it, be sure to follow the guidelines above to avoid any issues. Also, if the police apprehend you and ask you to unlock your device, don’t. If you are from the United States, remember that you can litigate the Fifth Amendment, and the police cannot unlock your device if it is PIN or password protected. However, the Fifth Amendment does not cover fingerprint or face unlock methods.
Protest is arguably one of the best ways to speak out against injustice, and if you raise your voice, you are definitely a hero. We hope you found this guide useful and that it will help you secure your smartphone. If you have any questions let us know in the comments. Also consult this guide to find out how to secure your Android smartphone from intruders.