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Collective Information Security in Large-Scale Urban Protests: the Case of Hong Kong

18 August 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Abstract: The Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill protests in Hong Kong present a rich context for exploring information security practices among protesters due to their large-scale urban setting and highly digitalised nature. We conducted in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 11 participants of these protests. Research findings reveal how protesters favoured Telegram and relied on its security for internal communication and organisation of on-the-ground collective action; were organised in small private groups and large public groups to enable collective action; adopted tactics and technologies that enable pseudonymity; and developed a variety of strategies to detect compromises and to achieve forms of forward secrecy and post-compromise security when group members were (presumed) arrested. We further show how group administrators had assumed the roles of leaders in these ‘leaderless’ protests and were critical to collective protest efforts.

Attendance via Zoom

Livestream via YouTube


18 August 2021
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Seminar Tags:
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Rikke Bjerg Jensen (Royal Holloway)

Rikke is a Senior Lecturer in the Information Security Group at Royal Holloway, University of London. She is a social scientist (ethnographer) and her work explores information security needs, perspectives and practices among groups of people living and working at the margins of societies. It focuses on how technology, as it is shaped by social structures, relations and interactions, facilitates multiple (individual and collective) security experiences and understandings. Her work is grounded in research with and within distinct groups of people, including seafarers, refugees/migrants and protesters, and has been published at CHI, CSCW, USENIX Security and specialist social science venues. She/her, they/them.

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