Firechat launched the first mobile messaging app that works off the grid.
The Firechat mobile app for iOS and Android, developed by Open Garden, with its 6 million users globally, launched a brand new offline messenger feature.
Previously, messages via the app were exclusively public and chatroom-based. Its newly developed encryption is said to offer private communications at present time.
However, technical aspects about the encryption process have yet to be released.
It was rumored in April 2014, rumor which became reality and valid now, that the technique would make it possible to be online without having to pay for the access. Thus, communications would be enabled in remote areas, where Wi-Fi and cellular signals wouldn’t be available.
An intriguing feature is that this ‘off-the-grid’ means of communication cannot be hacked into by spies, prank-inclined individuals or shut down by governments trying to restrict free speech.
From this point of view, the end-to-end encrypting technology can only be beneficial, regarding privacy matters.
The app is able to link phones via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi signals, nevertheless, Internet connections can be used when available, of course.
Firechat’s Messenger is used by its customers whilst being at music festivals, concerts and protests, where mobile signals may be overloaded.
On the other hand, for some
“at risk individuals, the security of their communications can be a matter of life and death”,
said Richard Tynan, technologist at Privacy International.
“It is vital, therefore, that claims about security can be verified and tested independently”,
So, whereas WhatsApp, Snapchat, and other popular messaging applications need an Internet connection, Firechat managed to overrun this issue, this limitation.
Micha Benoliel, Chief Executive Officer at Open Garden reported that:
“We end up having a network that’s comparable to any mobile carrier’s. It’s a completely new form of routing. We see the beginning of this new mobile Internet that’s enabled by people. People have the capacity to build these completely dynamic networks that don’t require infrastructure.”
Firechat is easy to use, including while being in an airplane. All that has to be done is the airplane mode to be activated and the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi has to be turned on. Then you can send pictures and text messages at ease. What’s most important is that Firechat works anywhere and it’s totally free.
In a humoristic nuance, it would seem that the current motto of Firechat would now be: ‘No Wi-Fi? No cell service? No problem!’
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