A future dictator's guide to disrupting protests


#1

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#2

This is a neat idea for an article, and a good exercise in thinking about the future of power. But the actual ideas suggested are silly.

Using a sound system to drown out a speaker isn’t exactly cutting edge, and delayed or chopped up live audio would be no less disruptive to the event than blasting polka music. As for noise cancellation, it just doesn’t work that way, unfortunately (or fortunately, I guess!). You need a known point where the sound waves will overlap in a predictable way, and you calibrate your “anti-sound” to that exact point. Everywhere else, your “anti-sound” is just the original sound replayed.

Directed ultrasound is cool tech, but protest disruptions aren’t exactly press conferences. You’re talking about someone yelling a simple, pre-scripted slogan in the midst of a lot of noise - a little voice in their ear wouldn’t even be noticeable, let alone distracting.

And “false flag chanting”, really? Protesters who infiltrate a corporate meeting didn’t just wander in there following a crowd, they’re not the suggestible sheep you think they are.

As for the projection stuff, I guess never say never, right? Nothing wrong with a little speculation about what crazy tech we might invent in the future, even if it’s a long shot. But “projecting shadows”? I dunno, man.

Here are some forms that I see the future of anti-dissent technology advancing and perfecting:

  • “Mind control” tech, which leverages sophisticated and fine-grained control over media, social networks, and the flow of discourse over the internet to influence the public mind on a large scale.
  • Bio-power weapons like tazers, tear gas, LRADs, etc, which use our physical reflexes (usually the pain response) to force involuntary compliance without injuring us.

Those things already exist - at least in rough form - so maybe yours are better. But I guess my point is that the future of power probably doesn’t involve a higher-tech implementation of traditional modes of control (like censoring a speaker), but rather weird end-runs around the whole problem-space. Making it so that such disruptions just don’t matter, because the meaningful social control is exerted elsewhere.


#3

Does this technology do anything to get rid of the white people? Does this technology do anything to get rid of their psychotic white supremacy issues?

I mean …

“Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

… that was what I was told to do in emergencies where I had to watch from a distance. Look for the helpers.

None of the helpers are white. The white people are agitators. The white people have guns. The white people have killed two black people. They white people have tanks. The white people are throwing bricks.

The white people have their black people, too. They have already played all of their “we’ve got black friends” cards.

I don’t see cops anymore.

I see the white people are just there making everything really really bad.


#4

I can’t imagine the delayed feedback loop of one’s own voice would really phase most cell phone owners for longer than about a second. That shit happens on phone calls to this day, I long ago learned to ignore it.


#5

Came to say most of the same things. But what about the Orbital Mind Control Lasers?


#6

Behold, my advanced Confuso-Ray countermeasure:


#7

Polka music? Love it. I choose to believe that THAT’s how a future dictatorship will suppress dissent. Just loud, loud polka music.


#8

Racism is clearly alive and well, and as blind as it ever was.


#9

Well the facial projection mapping looks like it’s already been done http://www.businessinsider.com/projection-mapping-like-digital-makeup-2014-8 i’d imagine with a powerful enough projector and some NSA type computing power you could project anyone you want into a crowd (edit either onto the face of an unsuspecting person or more probably a plant whose face you’ve mapped to make the projection simpler) subtly enough to fool the phone cameras of anyone around especially at night (edit - perhaps a couple of projectors from different perspectives), would be easy to assert that someone was at the ‘scene of the crime’ in realtime, but then i start thinking about reflective makeup to mess with their games…it’s an endless power battle


#10

You know there are corners of the US where that’s just an invitation to drink buckets of beer, right?


#11

Sweeping generalizations are never helpful.


#12

The media have been all over Ferguson like Hawks. The good news is that extreme police reactions or oppression get lots of media coverage. Things are more likely to be more thoroughly documented. Still, I call photoshop.


#14

Then the protesters should retaliate with “Yakety Sax”.


Huffing Boing Boing
#15

The technology already exists to disrupt a protest: http://www.liquidass.com/

Edit: The video on that page is awful and forceful in a really bad way, don’t watch it.


#17

Helpful? I need to be always helpful?

To quote Ian MacKaye, “What the fuck have you done?”


#18

Ear plugs may make it harder to chant in unison.


#19

Actually, here’s what really clever dictators will do.

When a police shooting happens, you suspend the cop (with pay) while a long and full investigation is carried out.

You send in a trained, ranking officer to talk with the parents and the aggrieved community. If they want to have a protest, you let them, and you also talk with the local business owners and make sure that both the protesters and the business owners know where the lines are.

Ideally, you work with the protest leaders to have their action, on the thesis that their protest will be heard, and in fact, should be heard.

Then you let the protest happen, staying back only to protect the businesses and safety of people outside the protest (and vice versa). If the protesters become violent despite all this work, you then have the support of both the protest leaders and the business community to come down on them, which you do, following the law.

The investigation into the shooting takes a long time, but is legal and fair. When the results come out, they are barely news. If the results incur further protest, follow the same rules as above.

This is the most devious tactic of all, because it makes people feel like they are being heard, and it vents their anger and energy in a way that doesn’t harm the status quo.

After all, being a dictator is hard. Why be stupid and stir up opposition unnecessarily? The best opponent is the one who has no grievance and no reason to fight you.


#20

Microwave crowd dispersal counter: Grounded aluminum foil suit. Trite but true.

Sound attack counter: earplugs or sound cancelling headphones.

Counter microphone strategy: Two loud megaphones a fixed distance apart, each blaring at max power a unhearable frequency that overlaps and has hearable harmonics only by the offending mic area. May be able to get audible counter speech to ride the additive interference pattern.

Taser counter: rubber suit. Warning: If they can’t get any joy with their tasers, they might use their guns.

Water cannon counter: face shields and raingear of course.


#21

Actually, the aluminium foil suit is way better than the rubber one. You want to short-circuit the taser wires.

You may also like to add some padding (e.g. multiple layers of cardboard) at more sensitive body parts to mitigate rubber bullets and bean bags. Additional trick is a velcro (or ALICE-clip or whatever quick mount) attached bottle with decon solution for CS and OC, and a modded scarf with particulate filter and eye protection to quickly wrap around head when things go gassy. Maybe a modded hoodie that goes all the way to the front and has filters and foil-covered viewports.


#22

Water cannons shoot freezing cold brine hard enough to knock you down the street.