The arsenal of protest apps is growing

Tech is shaping the protests, from police scanner apps to Google Docs (source)

After more than a week of demonstrations, the protest movement is evolving. Demonstrators are reinforcing their tactics with some tech-savvy strategies.

Think Waze, but for protests

The crime-and-safety app Citizen has become the new go-to protest tool, recording over 600k first-time users over the last week and shooting from 744th to 4th in daily Apple store downloads.

Originally launched in 2016 under the name Vigilante, the app sought to make 911 more transparent by giving people a communal way to monitor crime.

Citizen is powered by user reports and a custom police radio reader. It updates users on demonstration and law-enforcement activity, along with other major developments. Users can submit videos and correct inaccurate information.

Citizen said 70% of its users say the app makes them feel safer, and that a large percentage of its users are people of colour.

It’s part of a growing app arsenal

Independent developers are getting in on the game too. One web app removes metadata from photos, and another pixelates images to mask users’ identities.

Google Docs has also become a staple for sharing petitions and resources.

Hey Siri, stop listening 

Phones are essential for communication, but protesters worry that signals make it easier to track their movements.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation recommends enabling air plane mode to prevent phones from transmitting signals to cell phone towers. And The Markup broke down all the ways protesters are modding their phones to avoid being tracked, from muting their notifications to forgoing Touch ID.


Article by Belle Long
Editorial Intern, The Hustle



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