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We have already seen the first mass civil resistance using cyber warfare

Last tended on September 02, 2020

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.⠀

190807 HK laser pen protest Incendo 05 1

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:⠀

  1. Using lasers to counter data collection is a lo-fi DIY approach that does not require protestors to have advanced technical skills.⠀
  2. 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 our channel.

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.

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I hope you have a beautiful Wednesday. Do you have time to look at a leaf? Or maybe your thumb?
If today isn't going so well, try not to worry: sometimes Thursdays can feel very different.