Is freedom on the internet an issue in your country? It won’t remain an issue for long. Commotion Wireless is on the way to help you out. Now what exactly is Commotion Wireless? It can be considered either as a smartphone app or a clandestine wireless network that looks innocuous but lets you communicate out of the view of government censors.
This open source project is funded by the US Government and developed by a Washington think tank. The basic idea is to help people freely express their views online, and now that the world is ruled by smartphones, the software gets more relevant.
As you know, social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter played a vital role in Arab Spring uprisings. But the authorities could use it to track and harass dissidents.
Sascha Meinrath, head of the project at the New America Foundation, explained that the new system is useful for people to communicate in situations when governments don’t want them to.
Commotion is designed as a secure and reliable platform to ensure that communication cannot be controlled or cut off by authoritarian regimes. It is one of several projects being funded by the US State Department to promote online freedom, an extension of other human rights initiatives.
It is a “mesh” network, which does not live on any single device. Each of those using the system becomes a “node,” making it harder to shut down than a centralized access point.
One test network was set up in a neighbourhood in Washington where the local hacker community joined in by rigging up a makeshift antenna.
HacDC member Ben Mendis, who helped set up the local network, pointed out that the same technology would be able to help in countries like Syria where the government is trying to crack down on the free flow of information.
“Internet in a suitcase” seems to be the common word for this program, but those involved say that this is not a suitcase full of specialized equipment, this is meant to run on whatever exists on the ground. It’s all software.