Possibly the first mass civil resistance using cyber warfare: in Hong Kong, protestors are using lasers to scramble the Chinese government’s AI facial recognition cameras.⠀
The actions are a direct challenge to the state’s cyber infrastructure and their ability to collect data on protestors. Unusually, while almost all cyber warfare takes place between air-conditioned offices on opposite sides of the world, this citizen cyber warfare is in the streets.⠀
Though originally a technical tool against the use of AI and police data collection, the laser is now also being used as a symbol of resistance. As seen in this picture, protestors gather, holding their lasers and pointing them to the sky.⠀
As a tactic of protest, it seems to be effective for two reasons:⠀
- Using lasers to counter data collection is a lo-fi DIY approach that does not require protestors to have advanced technical skills.⠀
- You get a free laser show.
Posting a version of this article on the @radicaldataproject Instagram page led to our account being shadowbanned. As a result it did not list for any of the attached hashtags and was effectively invisible to anyone who was not already following @radicaldataproject.
I will write an article about that at some other point. For now, it highlights the importance of artists and writers having a piece of digital space which they have complete autonomous editorial control over.