A number of OccupyWallStreet protestors in and around New York City’s Zuccotti Park are using a mobile app to anonymously communicate with each other.
“Vibe” – coded by Hazem Sayed – allows demonstrators to post messages to other mobile devices without revealing their identities. Protestors can also set a time limit for each vibe, while choosing how far their messages will travel.
Sayed told the New York Daily News that he actually found out about the protest movement via his own app.
“I was in California and I saw a post on Vibe about Occupy Wall Street – I’d never heard of it, and this was like two days before it started, so I Googled it, and it seemed kind of interesting,” he explained.
“I came and checked it out and it’s an interesting group of people and they’re figuring stuff out in a novel way, so it was worth hanging around. Plus, I found once I showed it to people here, they seemed to think this was a useful thing for communicating with each other and expressing whatever’s on their mind.”
According to Sayed, activists are using Vibe to discuss what is happening and blow off steam about police brutality and mass arrests.
“People in the park at some level might want to communicate anonymously, so this provides a method to do that. The Internet, when it started, had this promise of anonymity.
“That’s largely lost because almost everything is now connected to Facebook or Twitter – even magazines and newspapers and websites use that as a mechanism to sign-in in order to leave comments.”
However, the White Hat dev emphasized that the app is by no means limited to protests. For example, in conferences, “people use Vibe as a way to ask questions – they can feel free to ask stupid questions,” due to its anonymous nature.
For now, Vibe seems to be an integral part of the OccupyWallStreet movement, with the entries of individual protesters routinely projected in real time onto upturned mattresses, walls and other surfaces with an iPad.