If you are participating in a peaceful assembly as a journalists, rights defender, or activists, your
mobile phone is an invaluable asset. It allows you to communicate with allies, to document the
event, and bear witness to what is happening around you. At the same time, you should take certain
precautions in your mobile use and communications. The following Guide can help you to utilize
your mobile phone during peaceful assemblies effectively and, at the same time, better protect
Assess Mobile Risks
In most public assemblies, you face risks from:
- Loss and seizure of your mobile phone;
- Disruptions to service from hardware or network failures;
- Surveillance of your communications.
Each of these risks can be mitigated to some extent so long as you plan ahead, know your phone, and
the basics of how mobile communications works. Remember though that every situation is different
and that mobile phones are inherently insecure communication devices. We urge you to review this
Primer on Mobile Risks for more guidance in assessing your mobile risks.
Understand the Value of Information on your Mobile Phone
1. Videos and Photos
The photos and videos that you capture as a participant in a peaceful assembly are valuable
documentation. For example, suppose you encounter an incident on the street and are able to capture
footage of the event on your mobile. This evidence can be important to refute false information
about an assembly or can be used as proof that the incident occurred. The footage might also be
useful as proof of wrongdoing by someone (such as a police officer).
2. Your Private Information
Your mobile phone stores large amounts of private information. See the Primer on Mobile Risks for
more specifics about the data stored on your mobile. Your mobile may contain your contact list, text
messages, call logs, web browsing history, notes, and documents.
This kind of information could expose your work and your networks. It could easily be misused and
shouldn’t be made available to anyone without your knowledge. Always be aware of the content you
have on your mobile phone and use available security (such as a pin code, keypad autolock, phone
autolock, lock code… etc). We will be publishing specific Lockdown Guides for instructions about
using available security on your mobile device.