Motherboard has the story on Anonymous’ walkie talkies that use radio waves to access the internet.
The hacktivist group Anonymous is working on a new communication tool to circumvent censorship and set information free, and it’s going low-tech this time. The project is called Airchat, and it will use radio waves instead of wifi, broadband, or phone lines to communicate data and messages between computers. It’s basically pirate radio for ones and zeros.
The idea for Airchat was hatched because of the “lessons learned in the Egyptian, Libyan and Syrian revolutions, but also from the experience of Occupy Wall Street and Plaza del Sol,” explains the project description on Github, posted under “Lulz Labs,” which was spotted by International Business Times. With social upheaval in Ukraine and Venezuela and other places around the world, a safe anonymous way for dissidents to organize movements and share information is as relevant as ever.
The radio communication works much like a walkie-talkie or CB radio, with the transmitter acting as a sender and receiver—only you’re sending computer commands instead of audio.
This kind of readio data transfer has been done before. The concept has existed since ALOHAnet was introduced in 1971, a University of Hawaii project that sent data over radio. In 2010, a startup called OneBeep created software that transfered data over radio waves by converting it into an audio signal and then back to the original information packets for the computer to translate.
The team also experimented with laser light-based transmissions, a more complicated method of transmitting data through the pulse of a laser beam, but decided to put a pin in that for now.
Beyond political dissidence, the group writes that Airchat could be used for disaster relief, by support groups or medical teams, or by sailors to communicate weather conditions out at sea. Basically, it could be used any time you need information and traditional communication methods are down.
The end goal is to make this all available for free—“free as in ‘free beer’ and free as in ‘Jeremy Hammond must be freed,” the group writes—without the control of megacorporations or heavy-handed governments.
“Even after all these years of technology advance, we still need to meet in common public places to continue expressing ourselves in a free way,” they write.
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