Accepted paper:

How the value of tech- and politically savvy youth protests are undermined: hack their social media applications and collect their location data without a judicial warrant - in the name of 'security'


Stanley Shanapinda (La Trobe University)

Paper short abstract:

Young people are increasingly political and tech-savvy and may be referred to as 'digital natives'. In doing what feels innate to them - using social media apps to organise a protest - digital natives attract national security scrutiny, and this undermines their purpose.

Paper long abstract:

The value of any protest is to bring about change on a particular subject - whether it is to stop an extradition law or to require action on climate change, by demanding that a coalmine project be stopped. These laws and projects may be justified on the basis that they are in the national interest - law and order, to grow the economy and to create jobs. Young people are at the forefront of demanding change. These are the same tech-savvy individuals to whom the use of location aware social media applications is innate. So, they use mobile communications to organise and protest something that is labelled as of national interest. They are in turn labelled as posing a threat to national security. This labelling has the effect of creating the impression of illegality and unpatriotic behaviour to the community. This labelling potentially attracts the attention of the national security apparatus, inquiring into the cell location data of their mobile devices, and without judicial warrants, or to hack their social media apps, to disrupt their activities. The young then become persons of interest by exercising their democratic rights and are under suspicion of behaviour that is similar to being treasonous. This in turn has a chilling effect - it undermines the desired change, and getting public buy-in. The community is discouraged from being sensitive to the cause. This paper discusses the impact modern day surveillance powers have on the right of modern youth to demand change by using protest technologies.

panel P23
The value of protest in contemporary society [panel + roundtable]