Live Streamers Make Great Informants

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There are many ways to effectively document the movement while protecting the space, its movements and people’s privacy. Live Streaming is generally NOT one of them.

A common issue with Streamers is their display of entitlement, often citing the value of bringing the movement to the people. But Streamers have a hard time admitting that the police find their work more valuable then demonstrators.

In a world of voyeurism and exhibitionists, Streamers often get carried away, interpreting their role as being a narrator for the movement. They often film people without their consent, placing more value in presenting to their viewership, then protecting the group that is already taking risks by just getting out into the street to protest.

One of the biggest problems with streaming is that it gives real time information to the police as far as what people are present, the group’s intentions, as well as its location and routes. Embedded Streamers give police a tactical advantage when trying to conduct mass arrests.

An even more tragic contract Streamers impose on demonstrators is the raw, unedited, archived video that is often made public and available online for law enforcement to use later to help identify and target people.

Before we move to “Streamer Solutions” lets review some “Streamer tactics” that are favorable to law enforcement, and almost always at the expense of the people.

Very Poor Streamer Etiquette

Calling People out by Name on Streams.

People don’t go to protests for other people to call them out on streams that are put up permanently online for law enforcement to review.

Filming Peoples’ Identities on Streams

Law enforcement use streams to target and identify people for repression and arrest

Narrating your Interpretation of what Kind of Action is Taking Place

Streamers often divulge personal opinions rather than facts when narrating about actions. Are you prepared to be a witness for law enforcement in the future?

Filming Direct Actions

Everything you film, can and will be used against protesters if law enforcement has anything to do with it.

Narrating Logistics and Tactics

At the height of Occupy Oakland, Undercovers were being called into certain FTP protests because of the “no Live Streaming” / “no Twittering” tactic.

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FTP marches are ongoing Fuck the Police marches that take place in Oakland and across the Bay.

Narrating Group Routes

Police have a much easier time arresting people in the streets when they have Streamers narrating the group’s routes. You don’t need Undercovers and helicopters when you have a front-row seat.

If you want to be helpful to the movement, be honest about your intentions. Is your viewership more important than the people you are standing with? Do you want to be doing something that benefits the police over the people? Every action, every mass mobilization, has a story that can be told. But folks need to either start holding “non streaming” actions again, or streamers should stop operating as informants for the police.

If any of these issues are concerning to you, maybe consider NOT “Live Streaming” your next protest. Pick up a still camera, conduct some audio interviews, heck shoot some video. There’s no reason why you can’t go home after a protest and produce some content that is useful and not harmful. But in case it’s not in your blood to consider other people on that level, here are some good Live Stream tactics.

“Good” Livestream Tactics

  • Stand hundreds of feet away from the group so the low quality recording doesn’t pick up conversations or peoples’ identity.
  • Don’t film peoples’ identity without their consent.
  • Don’t narrate intentions, tactics, locations, or destinations.
  • Wear a bright shirt that says “Live Streamer” or “Informant.”

More “Real Good” Livestream Tactics

  • Live Stream an event, panel, or discussion where all parties consent.
  • Live Stream a demo or action where all parties involved consent.
  • Live Stream your interactions when being stopped, questioned, or harassed by law enforcement. (maybe put your channel on private!)

Be safe out there, and make it safer for the masses by considering them when you point a camera at them.

Copwatching 101 in current Anti Police Rebellions

Out there

Copwatchers are out in full in effect as Anti Police Uprisings continue to take place across the bay area. Here are a couple ideas of what to be looking for if you are out in the streets documenting police actions.

1. Before any police actions occur, get the identity of the officers present.
Names, badge numbers, any weapons, and which department they work for can all be very helpful down the line if any misconduct should occur.

2. Film police movements, formations and any police actions such as threats, attacks, or arrests. (this can help in getting someone’s case dismissed)

3. Film police dressed in civilian costumes.

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Did Oakland Police just join an Anti Cop Demonstration?

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Are Roy and Devon just two average guys marching with the people?

Or is Roy and Devon really Officer Jaeger and Officer Buford of the Oakland Police Department running an intel operation on demonstrators?

In the video Officer Jaeger, or “Roy”, says he believes the murder of Mike Brown was an “injustice”, but these officers show poor taste showing up to an Eric Garner protest in plain clothes.

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Copwatching Nationally on Date of Grand Jury Announcement

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FERGUSON and BEYOND

For those of us living in the Bay Area, it has been an inspiration to see people taking it to the streets of Ferguson against racist and brutal police.

For those of us in who participated in the Oscar Grant Rebellions, and lived through the street battles of Occupy, watching the community of St Louis brace for announcements of false justice is painful.

In 2010, we prepared for months around the date of the Johannes Mehserle Verdict in the murder of Oscar Grant, and then we watched our movement die in the following months from stress, short-sited objectives, and infighting.

In 2011 we watched the threat of impending police raids of our Occupy encampments wear down our spirits, and the perpetual attacks from the police deplete our numbers.

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