If you aren’t working alone there is only one way to plan Direct Action with any degree of confidence that you aren’t being listened to by the state.
Any planning arrangements or discussions should be held in the middle of a huge field, somewhere you aren’t known and haven’t been followed to,with all mobile phones switched off and miles away.Or at least with their batteries removed if you absolutely must have one with you.
Seriously. It sounds a little paranoid but governments and their agents can legally listen to your mobile and landline calls, track your physical whereabouts using your mobile phone, intercept your snail mail, read your emails and use your mobile phone mic as a bugging device when they want to know who you’re talking to and what’s being said.
Phone intercepts cannot be used as evidence in court in the UK at the moment,but many are trying hard to change the law in order that they can.
If you’re apprehended by police on the way to carry out an action – often ‘on suspicion of conspiracy’ as a possible result of phone surveillance, the fact that the police aren’t likely to be able to produce a case against you in court with their evidence doesn’t help when you’ve put a lot of time, effort and money into an action which never gets off the ground.
Spending lengthy periods of time incarcerated in police cells after being arrested on conspiracy charges…..is not funny! It’s even less funny to be de-arrested or told in a very casual manner by the smug state operated robot in police uniform who opens your cell door several days later – you can go now. No charges. No apology. No compensation. No redress.
If communicating with fellow activists is difficult to arrange on a face to face basis, encrypted email is the second best option.Or at least some encryption programs. Hushmail is a good bet. Hush will release your passwords and encryption keys if requested to do so by Government or the courts, but the process takes time and if you open a fresh new account for each action you attempt, with a bit of luck the Government and its agents will always be several steps behind you. Just remember not to give the account name to friends or colleagues via phone or text. It’s always worth notifying others of new email accounts on a postcard via snail mail in a tamperproof envelope.
Obviously, no matter how careful you are with phones it’s vital to keep your pc as secure as possible. Use firewalls, anti-virus and other malware programs. Running two simultaneously is usually a bad plan, one can effect the performance of the other so run them alternately or consecutively. Keep them up to date.
Buying a couple of spare sim cards and keeping them unregistered can be useful.It can also be useful to swap sim cards with colleages, by post if person to person is difficult. Such a tactic isn’t likely to accomplish much avoidance of determined surveillance techniques, but it will confuse the robots if a sim they are ‘watching’ spends its life travelling to many far flung places,sometimes all in one week!
Invest in a sim card reader and save a back up of your sim card….many around for as little as a £5. Leave the back-up somewhere safe other than your home. If the police raid your home they can and probably will confiscate all of your phone and computer equipment. They have a nasty habit of swiping your phone and ‘accidentally’ wiping your sim before they return it – if they return it. Technically they aren’t permitted to switch your phone on if it’s switched off…..but if it’s your word against theirs, is there any doubt who would be believed in the face of accusations by their victims?