Rumours that the President will authorise an internet shutdown are intensifying and if there is a total shutdown – even VPNs won’t help. I did come across a Tweet suggesting that people download Bridgefy – an offline messenger that uses Bluetooth to send messages.
I downloaded the application and tested it out with my brother. The application has 3 ways of working;
Person to person
For this to work, both users turn on their Bluetooth and chat privately with friends that are within 100 meters of each other. I found this to be the least useful feature because the proximity doesn’t fit in the context in which I hope to use the app. If I’m already within a 100m radius of someone I don’t need to text them 9/10 times.
In Bridgefy’s defence they advertise the app’s use cases as follows;
Ideal for music festivals, sports stadiums, rural communities, natural disasters, traveling abroad, and much more
Anyway there are other methods of communication using Bridgefy that could help in the case of an internet shutdown and let’s talk about those…
This allows you to chat with people more than 100m from you by connecting through other Bridgefy users found in the middle. What does this mean? Let’s say there are 3 people named A, B and C.
If A wants to chat with C but they are not within reach of one another, they can then chat through B – granted both have to be connected to B. That’s not to say that your messages will be read by B – NO. B will just be used as a bridge to pass A’s message to C since B is connected to both. I hope that’s clear.
The only way the Mesh mode becomes a reliable way to connect with one another is when a significant number of people within a community have Bridgefy.
This allows users to send messages to every Bridgefy user around you at the same time, even if you don’t have them on your contacts list.
Whilst I came across the app being recommended as a way to help mitigate the effects of an internet shutdown – the only way that is even likely is if the app is downloaded by hundreds of thousands of people.