AsiaB&WShotObscured by Yuvraj Khanna

History tells us there’s nothing new about thousands of black people on the street demanding justice. Facial recognition technology and social media monitoring show us how far the repercussions of organizing and protesting against governments can go in the 21st century.

History tells us there’s nothing new about thousands of black people on the street demanding justice. Facial recognition technology and social media monitoring show us how far the repercussions of organizing and protesting against governments can go in the 21st century.

Unchecked in absence of any national law or policy and now being used on civilians to quell protests, these tools undermine privacy, entrench bias against nonwhite communities, and create a surveillance apparatus ripe for abuse already targeting black people, especially those organising protests.

Having faced both unprecedented police violence and intense surveillance, here are a few voices from the protesters of the BLM movement and how concealing their identity has been a big concern for them:

Josh
Always in the buffer zone between the marchers and the police, Josh deals with protecting protesters & de-escalating potentially dangerous situation with the police or even other civilians. He stays infront to protect those behind him. Because of his active taking on the police force, he’s at a high risk to be targeted and arrested and hence, remains careful to not show his identity any more than he has to.

Emmanuel
Emmanuel is a member of the Kids Peace Movement. The recent protests have seen a sizeable number of pre-teen children being a vocal part of the protest. While parents are encouraging their children’s voice, Emmanuel’s parents who’ve also seen the civil rights movement of the 60’s, are vary and protective of keeping their children’s identity’s off of social media.

David
David is a member of a cycling group working in tandem with protest organisers. From blocking roads, to leading marches and keeping marchers safe from traffic, cycling groups have become an integral part of the protest movements. They have also formed buffer zones keeping distance between marchers and the police for which many cyclists have been targeted and arrested.

Janette
Janette, who makes it her mission inform protesters on ballet suppression and their voting rights, has publicly declared the police to be responsible when she disappears or faces harm for her political views. She always carries with her Voter Registration forms to give away and hopes to change the system from the inside.

J
With old cases being revived to specifically target protestors, he had the tough decision to stay home and be quiet or march outside for his voice to be heard. For these reasons, he doesn’t want his face and identity out on social media.

Simi
An organiser of an ongoing daily vigil. Vigils have become crucial for more vulnerable members of the society ie children, elders and immune-comprised people to be a part of the movement in a peaceful manner that easily allows social-distancing and minimal police contact. Organisers more than protestors are in risk of facing retaliation tactics by the police which aim to intimidate people to stop even peaceful protests.

 

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