All messages sent on Serval Mesh are encrypted, meaning its much more secure.
Pretty soon you can get up to a few thousand people chatting away, all without anybody connected to the Internet.
Fire Chat is based on mesh networking, in which every device on a network works as a node for expanding that network.
The idea’s been around for decades, now popular as a way to communicate during disasters like hurricanes.
But Hong Kong shows it’s useful during civil disobedience too.
Hong Kong has seen both of these happen: Thousands of people on the street means mobile Internet is useless in packed areas, while Chinese authorities are blocking Instagram on the mainland, favored by Chinese dissidents because it was one of the few social networks not blocked in the country.
In the face of these hang-ups, Hong Kong’s demonstrators have turned to Fire Chat, a smartphone app that allows users to communicate even when they can’t get online or send texts.
However, Benoliel says the company is working on protester-minded updates like private messaging and encryption, as Open Garden advocates for “freedom of speech and access to information.” “If this application can help in this way, it’s very aligned with the mission of the company,” Benoliel says.
“[Fire Chat] hasn’t been built for that purpose, but if it can help people in that situation, we are very supportive of what’s happening here in Hong Kong.” A student protester is injured after being pulled off and hit by residents and pro-Beijing supporters while local police are escorting him out of the protest area in Kowloon's crowded Mong Kok district, Oct. Student protesters raise their hands to show their non-violent intentions as they resist during change of shift for local police but backed down after being reassured they could reoccupy the pavement outside the government compoundís gate, Oct. Joshua Wong, leader of the student movement, delivers a speech as protesters block the main street to the financial Central district, outside the government headquarters building in Hong Kong Oct. A protester walks in tear gas fired by riot policemen after thousands of protesters blocking the main street to the financial Central district outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong, Sept.
Though cell networks are still reportedly up and running in Hong Kong, we have a rundown of the few options Hong Kong protesters can turn to for communication without cell service, and some of the potential security problems therein.
At least 100,000 people in Hong Kong have reportedly downloaded Fire Chat in the last 24 hours.
Users can share them via a Bluetooth connection, according to Freitas, so Story Maker can provide a platform to share visual information when cell networks go down.