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  • FireChat

    FireChat是由美國Open Garden公司於2014年3月推出的一款在沒有網絡和手機訊號時仍然能使用的即時通訊應用程式。它可以在Android、iOS、PC和Mac系統上運行。

    在香港,大部分智能手機用家都以WhatsApp作為主要的即時通訊應用程式,但相比起同類型程式如Telegram和FireChat,WhatsApp的用家私隱保障不及前者,又不能像後者般,在沒有訊號的情況仍然能運作,亦無法安裝在多於一部裝置上。

    FireChat採用網狀網路(mesh network)技術,每個程式用家都是這個網絡上的「節點(node)」,即使遇上電話網絡擠塞、互聯網被截斷等狀況,只要附近有其他用家,這些用家就可形成一個網狀網路,能夠互通消息。越多用家,代表越多網絡節點,所形成的網絡就更大、更穩定。正因為這個特點,FireChat成為雨傘運動中被重用的通訊程式之一。2014年3月的台灣太陽花學運,FireChat也曾被廣泛使用。

    不過,值得注意的是,FireChat並沒有加密訊息,用家有機會洩露身份和行蹤,或被第三者截取訊息。另外,FireChat現在只能進行全公開的群組對話,故它在雨傘運動中主要作為公共信息的分享平台,如現場的實時狀況、佔領的行動指南等,而非私人溝通的工具。

    FireChat is a communications app that can function without an internet connection. It was first released by Open Garden -- an American company -- in March 2014, and there are versions compatible with Android, iOS, PC, and Mac.

    Most smartphone users in Hong Kong rely on Whatsapp as their main instant messaging tool. However, Whatsapp lacks the privacy protection features provided by apps such as Telegram and FireChat. In addition, Whatsapp cannot function without internet connectivity, nor can it be installed on multiple devices.

    Using wireless mesh networking technology on a Bluetooth backbone, FireChat treats users as interconnected nodes in a larger communicative network; a higher number of nodes would make the network more stable and widespread. Since users nearby can be directly connected with each other using the app, they can communicate even when data or WiFi signals are unavailable or interrupted. Due to this unique characteristic, FireChat became widely used by Umbrella Movement activists amidst fears that authorities would shut down the cellular data network. Similarly, students of Taiwan's Sunflower Movement also communicated using the app.

    However, it is worth noting that FireChat does not encrypt any messages, and so messages may be intercepted; users still run the risk of leaking their identity and whereabouts to third parties. The open group communication of FireChat made it a useful tool for disseminating public messages, and it was used to share general information to a large group locally during the protests. It is less suited to private exchanges.

    Image:Company logo (from Company website)

    FireChat

    FireChat是由美國Open Garden公司於2014年3月推出的一款在沒有網絡和手機訊號時仍然能使用的即時通訊應用程式。它可以在Android、iOS、PC和Mac系統上運行。

    在香港,大部分智能手機用家都以WhatsApp作為主要的即時通訊應用程式,但相比起同類型程式如Telegram和FireChat,WhatsApp的用家私隱保障不及前者,又不能像後者般,在沒有訊號的情況仍然能運作,亦無法安裝在多於一部裝置上。

    FireChat採用網狀網路(mesh network)技術,每個程式用家都是這個網絡上的「節點(node)」,即使遇上電話網絡擠塞、互聯網被截斷等狀況,只要附近有其他用家,這些用家就可形成一個網狀網路,能夠互通消息。越多用家,代表越多網絡節點,所形成的網絡就更大、更穩定。正因為這個特點,FireChat成為雨傘運動中被重用的通訊程式之一。2014年3月的台灣太陽花學運,FireChat也曾被廣泛使用。

    不過,值得注意的是,FireChat並沒有加密訊息,用家有機會洩露身份和行蹤,或被第三者截取訊息。另外,FireChat現在只能進行全公開的群組對話,故它在雨傘運動中主要作為公共信息的分享平台,如現場的實時狀況、佔領的行動指南等,而非私人溝通的工具。

    FireChat is a communications app that can function without an internet connection. It was first released by Open Garden -- an American company -- in March 2014, and there are versions compatible with Android, iOS, PC, and Mac.

    Most smartphone users in Hong Kong rely on Whatsapp as their main instant messaging tool. However, Whatsapp lacks the privacy protection features provided by apps such as Telegram and FireChat. In addition, Whatsapp cannot function without internet connectivity, nor can it be installed on multiple devices.

    Using wireless mesh networking technology on a Bluetooth backbone, FireChat treats users as interconnected nodes in a larger communicative network; a higher number of nodes would make the network more stable and widespread. Since users nearby can be directly connected with each other using the app, they can communicate even when data or WiFi signals are unavailable or interrupted. Due to this unique characteristic, FireChat became widely used by Umbrella Movement activists amidst fears that authorities would shut down the cellular data network. Similarly, students of Taiwan's Sunflower Movement also communicated using the app.

    However, it is worth noting that FireChat does not encrypt any messages, and so messages may be intercepted; users still run the risk of leaking their identity and whereabouts to third parties. The open group communication of FireChat made it a useful tool for disseminating public messages, and it was used to share general information to a large group locally during the protests. It is less suited to private exchanges.

    Image:Company logo (from Company website)

    延伸閱讀 Further reading
    Edward(2014年9月30日)。unwire.uk. <特設新功能針對佔中「流料」! 專訪 FireChat 負責人Micha>

    Archie Bland (29 September 2014). “FireChat – the messaging app that’s powering the Hong Kong protests” The Guardian.

    Noam Cohen (5 October 2014). “Hong Kong protests propel FireChat phone-to-phone App ”, The New York Times.
    相關詞 Related terms