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Rocky Persaud
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Mesh networks, for the win!
 
Throngs of pro-democracy protesters continue to organize in Hong Kong's central business district, despite government actions to limit access to both cell phone and Wifi,  They are doing this using self-organizing “mesh networks”… the kind of technology I’ve been berating everyone from Google to the US Government to Qualcomm to get behind, for twenty years.  To be clear, systems like FireChat rely upon bluetooth, which has short range. There’s  a critical mass issue and it is not proof against being tracked by authorities or even, in theory, jammed.  Still, according to the FireChat makers: "Once you build a mesh network ... now you have a network that is resilient, self-healing, cannot be controlled by any central organization, cannot be shut down and is always working.”

That's optimisticall utopian.  It is an important step, but any one such approach is vulnerable, which is why Qualcomm’s cellular peer-to-peer capability, built into their next LTE systems, will also be vital — assuming we can coerce the cell-cos like Verizon and ATT to turn it on.  These alternatives are not only vital to freedom in transition states, but also to Resilience in developed and democratic nations. When we have mesh and peer-to-peer backups, the inherent robustness will help civilization stay connected, even if (when) some disaster strikes.  

http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2014/09/29/352476454/how-hong-kong-protesters-are-connecting-without-cell-or-wi-fi-networks
Pro-democracy protesters are downloading a fast-growing app called FireChat to stay in touch. It has been used around the world during political unrest.
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