Hong Kong protests become digital arms race against authorities


In 2019, interviews with Hong Kong protesters destroying smart lampposts revealed that many distrusted the government's claim that they would only take air quality measurements and help with traffic control, largely because of the comprehensive surveillance net the Chinese government was using to control and oppress the minority Uighur population in the Xinjiang region. As part of their response to this threat, the protesters wore masks, carried umbrellas, and travelled on foot, using online discussions and polls to disassemble and reform elsewhere when police arrived. On one occasion they used apps to coordinate a 30-mile human chain; the next day, as the next step in the technological arms race, the Hong Kong authorities shut down the metro.


Writer: Zeynep Tufekci

Publication: Wired