Technology for Direct Action

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How can technology support direct action responsibly and timely?

Key Points brought up during the go around:

  • Looking into the usage of facebook events
  • Being terrified about attending a direct action due to surveillance
  • Looking into how we can help legal support using technology

Different Scenarios:

  • Lockdown a Building
  • There is two types of direct actions that are common in the US one which is meant to keep you anon, the other you go in knowing that you will be arrested.

Scenario: A lock down of a building to increase media attention


  • Recruitment?/Tech?
  • Listserv secure? Organizing
  • https in websites
  • Signal
  • google groups
  • SMS
  • FB event public
  • pgp encryption
  • Celly
  • Face-to-Face
  • Tor
  • Word of mouth


  • Define roles and risks
  • Avoid emails or email list
  • Each person should have 2 buddies to report to
  • List of support people not participating in the action
  • Building one by one
  • Make a list of media to contact
  • Turn off or leave phones when organizing
  • Do not make unencrypted lists
  • Do not log meetings
  • Everyone should be replaceable


  • Loud speakers
  • cyptocat
    • own cloud
    • process
  • GroupMe
  • Social media (Twitter/FB/Snapchat/Instagram)
  • Spoofed data footprint for noise
  • Full disk encryption
  • Signal for text and voice
  • Drone surveillance and police movement
  • Onbatt twitter
  • Google Voice


  • Police liason (SMS --> Tact. HQ)
  • Banners/Signs for obscuring cameras
  • HQ twitter monitor news
  • Image/video projection
  • Fireworks
  • Tactics to know and recognize who to trust
  • Text loop/Tactical communications
  • Listening to police radio (illegal in CA)
  • Copwatch


  • Legal support database security tools
  • CRM - database at law office
  • Signal
  • Face blurring app (or gimp)
  • HQ police scanner
  • SMS tactical comms
  • Storify compile social media in event
  • gmail


  • Cryptic graphics
  • Protecting the general public having designate contacts with last resort fall back
  • Text secure on extra phone/throwaways
  • Recover and care
  • Have a meeting for "post"/learning from our mistakes & successes

Facebook Events

  • Can be used as a diversion (not the real information)
  • It is a great way of getting the people out
  • Often more accessibility
  • Looking at tactics and tools that were used 30-40 years and finding ways of mixing the new with the old
  • Moving from night actions to public day actions
  • Looking at analog and digital options
  • Generating noise, creating fake data sets to distract
    • For example people signing up for several events but are aware of when the real event is
    • Generating a bot
  • Using threat modeling before an action
  • Communication group should be out of state or out of country
  • Communicating through symbols on your clothing
  • Work needs to be done with getting the public involved without being apart of the core organizing group
    • How do we protect the public, for example a massive crowd and knowing who to trust
  • A good tactic would be having color coordination of folks that might be doing potentially illegal things within a demonstration. Especially people who are interested in supporting but don't want the trouble
  • When organizing spaces there are always egos.. thinking about your role in organizing and knowing that you should be replaceable as a sustainable path.


  • Book:How we make change is changing. Open source campaigns for the 21st Century. By Marisa Franco, B. Loewe and Tania Unzueta
  • Book: Homeland. By Cory Doctorow

Visual notes