A curious download hit Apple’s app store this week: a messaging app called FireChat.
It’s a new kind of app because it uses an iOS feature unavailable until version 7: the Multipeer Connectivity Framework. The app was developed by the crowdsourced connectivity provider Open Garden and this is their first iOS app.
The Multipeer Connectivity Framework enables users to flexibly use WiFi and Bluetooth peer-to-peer connections to chat and share photos even without an Internet connection. Big deal, right?
But here’s the really big deal — it can enable two users to chat not only without an Internet connection, but also when they are far beyond WiFi and Bluetooth range from each other — connected with a chain of peer-to-peer users between one user and a far-away Internet connection…
This is big news in light of recent events where governments found it fit to shut down services (and in some cases internet connectivity itself) to limit or altogether eliminate information exchange between common citizens. E.G. BART shutdown in SF, the recent Turkey twitter blockage, Egypt kill-switch, etc.
It seems to me that mesh networking , especially with the addition of self healing nodes, will be one of the main tools empowering people against tyrannical and oppressive forces, political or otherwise, who seek to take action and stem the free flow of communication for their own nefarious purposes.