Part of the Wireless and mobile glossary:

AirChat is an anonymous wireless communications and connectivity tool that works without any wireless infrastructure.

The technology was developed by the hackivist group Anonymous. The group’s purpose was to reduce dependency on corporate infrastructure and so enable communication for people in disaster situations and conflict zones and also to remove impediments that hamper protestors, journalists and activists. AirChat makes communication and connectivity possible in situations where the Internet is locally disabled, censored or out of service or in areas were cellular and Internet are not available, such as at sea or in mountainous areas.

AirChat requires a radio transceiver and some complex software. The required software is made available through GitHub under Lulzlabs. AirChat can operate on HAM radio frequencies or through any device capable of transmitting audio. A line-of-sight laser-based prototype was also successfully used.

AirChat is slow, and the interface is text-heavy and stark in comparison to the heavily multimedia Web we are used to. However, the communications technology supports TOR anonymous routing. AirChat has been demonstrated to 3D print  from 80 miles away, send medical documents 100 miles and play chess at a distance of 180 miles.

Anonymous believes in free, uncensored communication which is not totally possible with a corporate infrastructure, a message the group emphasizes on its GitHub page. Strictly speaking, as it uses encryption over radio, AirChat is pirate radio and, as such, illegal. Anonymous is aware of that fact, which it also addresses on the GitHub page.

Anonymous has released a video of AirChat being used to chat and search Twitter while in a very remote location:

This was last updated in May 2014
Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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