In Trump’s America, Black Lives Matter activists grow wary of their smartphones

As a longtime political activist, Malkia Cyril knows how smartphones helped fuel Black Lives Matter protests with outraged tweets and viral videos. But now Cyril is having second thoughts about her iPhone.

Is it a friend or a foe?

For all of the power of smartphones as organizing tools, the many streams of data they emit also are a boon to police wielding high-tech surveillance gear, allowing them to potentially track movements and communications that activists such as Cyril would rather keep private.

Such worries are driving a nationwide push by Cyril and other activists to train members of their movement in the tactics of digital defense — something they say is crucial with an aggressive new president who has displayed little sympathy for their causes.