No phone signal or internet: How do students communicate in Hong Kong?

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This application has allowed the young protesters exchange messages without having network connection


In late September he began to take hold in Hong Kong a movement called “Occupy Central” made ​​up mostly of young people. It began as a camp that has taken hold, and at times violent, dyes . The young people who make up the movement, mostly students, call for real democracy in Hong Kong who is not at the mercy of the interests of China.

The Beijing government’s decision to veto some candidates for next s 2017 election was the trigger for this event that keeps hundreds of students in the streets. These young people are organized, planned occupations, camps and demonstrations . And since protests began have had to “cheat” some technological barriers to communicate.

According to the newspaper “South China Morning Post ‘, although there is some evidence, students of the” Occupy Central “have pointed out that the government of Hong Kong has taken the mobile phone signal venues. Given the supposed inability to make calls, send SMS or use mobile data applications to use messaging, movement leadersasked to download the application Firechat.

For many Firechat is an unknown application, although, Android, and has a few months. In the first 24 hours of notice, at least 100,000 people in the Chinese city were downloaded the “app”.

The appeal of this application is that it does not need data plans or service mobile phone network to function. It is a tool of local chat.That is, it is not used for contacting people located in different parts of Metro, it puts people together in one room or place . It is a limited application but has no middlemen by making it conducive to use for youth in Hong Kong ‘spread the word’.

Powered bydirect connection between phone , via Bluetooth or Wifi network the device itself. The limit is set to the type of signal used, ie the Bluetooth and Wifi. From FireChat indicated that communication could occur between two people located thirty feet away. The application allows anonymity. To register it is only necessary to enter the app and enter a user name. You can create groups with up to 10,000 members, they say.

According to local media, the first weekend of protest, there were about33,000 people in the Chinese city simultaneously using this application. figures using FireChat have grown as the protests have progressed. According to the latest figures from Open Garden , which owns the enterprise application in the first week of October the application was downloaded 460,000 times. This makes Hong Kong and seven million in the second largest market in the application.

Moreover, messages can go ‘online’ and reach a wider audience if any of the people in the group have access to internet chats explained from“South China Morning Post . ” From Open Garden have explained to the protesters that the application, although very attractive, should not be used to communicate messages with critical information as anyone (which may be an opposition protests) in the range previously discussed can enter the rooms chats and view that information.

“Firechat was not designed to secure or private communications” , said Christophe DALIGAULT , vice president of marketing Open Garden, the magazine “Wired” in June. Firechat is a free download on iOS and Android

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