The eyes and ears of resistance: mobile ICT-afforded and crowdsourced reconnaissance in Hong Kong’s Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill Movement

Ha Chi Yeung,
The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Reconnaissance normally refers to the military operations to gather information about the enemy and the terrain. Updated and extensive information on police deployment and action as well as its surrounding urban environment is crucial to the protest’s stay-or-leave decision-making. A systematic and crowdsourced reconnaissance is rarely found in the social movements around the world, excepting Hong Kong’s recent protest movement. Based on the case of crowdsourced reconnaissance practices in Hong Kong’s Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill Movement, this article aims to examine the affordance of mobile information and communications technology (ICT) in protest participation and communication, enabling a largely leaderless and anonymous setting. This article will explore how the use of online technologies mobilizes immaterial resources, resonating with offline protest actions in almost real-time. And this article will further investigate how the anonymous nature of the movement tends to develop specific mechanisms to coordinate and verify their efforts online.