...it protects our right to protest

You have the right to organize and participate in peaceful meetings.

Case Study

IMSI catchers – International Mobile Subscriber Identity catchers – are a particularly intrusive technology being used by police to monitor protesters and intercept their personal information and communications.

IMSI catchers have been used - officially or in secret - across the globe to monitor protests, including in the US and Germany; in the UK, police forces have refused to disclose any information on their use but documents obtained by the Bristol cable show that nine police forces have purchased this technology.

Protesting is an inherently public and visible activity - it is therefore not something that is considered to be private. However, being in the public space does not extinguish our right to privacy. In fact, it may well be where it is needed most. Public spaces - and cities in particular - are historically where public dissent and civil disobedience happen. They are essential to our democracies and need to be preserved as such.

When we protect our public spaces we need to bear in mind the significant difference between observation and the intrusive surveillance capabilities used by states to monitor protests and acquire information about individual protesters.

An IMSI catcher can intercept our calls, texts and internet traffic and even send messages on our behalf.

People may decide not to protest due to a fear that information about their participation might be used against them. In this way, surveillance can be seen as a way of stifling protest, by restricting engagement and participation.

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. 2. No one may be compelled to belong to an association. Article 20, Freedom of assembly