Every once in a while, the rapid growth in technology and social media clash together to innovate the present. Recently, the proprietary mobile app FireChat has developed a social messaging option that does not necessarily require an Internet connection.

By using Bluetooth and WiFi signals, FireChat can connect phones together and get messages across using wireless mesh networking. Previously, the app was designed as a public, chat-room based social media platform allowing all conversations to be seen by anyone else with the application. However, FireChat has just introduced a private messaging mechanism that can be proved useful for anyone in large crowds (i.e. music festivals or protests) where Internet signals may be weak or non-existing.

According to Christophe Daligault, the CEO of OpenGarden, FireChat allows individuals forming the network’s connection points to be as far as 200 feet apart and still send and receive data without accessing the web. When asked how the P.M. option doesn’t allow anyone but the intended recipient from seeing a private message, Daligault explains that it works through utilizing the chain of all users within the area, but encrypts the data end-to-end. Although the message passes through different devices, it can only be seen by the person it is sent to.

Richard Tynon, a technologist at Privacy International, praised the FireChat app and its latest implementation of private messaging options. He said,

“FireChat’s announcement that it will seek to provide end-to-end encrypted messaging is a positive step for privacy. However, it remains to be seen whether the quality of these implementations actually lives up to the claims.For many at risk individuals, the security of their communications can be a matter of life and death. It is vital, therefore, that claims about security can be verified and tested independently.”

Image Source: Zach Corder
Source: BBC