An extradition bill proposed by the Hong Kong government has led to widespread protests and clampdown of the internet in the Chinese special administrative region (SAR). Pro-democratic protestors have been using Bridgefy, an app that works without the internet, to communicate.
— James Page (@jamespagenhs) September 4, 2019
Who would have thought that an internet shutdown would spike the use of an app to help citizens stay in touch? Bridgefy uses a peer-to-peer mesh broadcasting network that doesn’t use the internet.
What is Bridgefy?
Bridgefy is a Bluetooth-based messaging app that helps people communicate with each other without any managed network. Hong Kong protestors are using the app to keep in touch with their friends and family.
— SiliconRepublic (@siliconrepublic) September 4, 2019
According to Apptopia, Bridgefy has seen swift growth with downloads spiking up by almost 4,000% over the past 60 days.
How Does Bridgefy Work?
Bridgefy is connecting people in Hong Kong via Bluetooth across the entire city. While chatting is quick with people who are within a hundred meters or 330 feet to be exact, the app also allows you to chat with people who are not within the range.
Bridgefy is used successfully in the Hong Kong protests.
If they cut comms here make sure you have the Bridgefy app on your phone with ur Bluetooth turned on. Messages will get through.
They will not silence us.
Rise up and Resist. https://t.co/72XtuZwTuJ
— ResistUK 🎪🎪🎪🎪🎪 (@ResistUK1) September 4, 2019
If you’re not within the range, how will your message reach the intended recipient? It’s simple. The messages will simply “hop” via other Bridgefy users’ phones until they reach the intended receiver.
Bridgefy is just the app protestors need to reach out to other people. An internet shutdown is nothing new in today’s modern world. China is home to the great firewall which restricts people in China from accessing numerous websites, and the government is known for its mass surveillance throughout the state.
The increasing global clampdown on the internet as a means to restrict the flow of information is against the basic rights of internet users. PureVPN is a strong advocate for internet freedom, internet privacy, and online security.