What is a dark social app? Simply put, it is an application that does not use the internet or standard SMS messaging to deliver messages. That sort of communication becomes important if you are in an area where wifi or cell service is iffy, at least that is why the dark social app was conceived. An example of that would be in a festival setting like Bonnaroo. However, like other products, they are used for other purposes. In recent times, the dark social app Firechat was used to help people communicate during Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution in 2014.
The way this type of app works is with a technology called OM. This works by bouncing messages off of other devices until it gets to it’s intended receiver. It does not require more than 5% for blanket coverage, but the catch is it can take up to 10 minutes to receive a message. Still, a safer way to communicate and organize without having eyes see things you do not wish them to see. Firechat does not have OM turned on by default, but it can be easily turned on in settings. Many more companies are coming out with these kinds of apps to protect a user’s privacy. The flip side of this coin is, it will also protect people that may not always have the best of intentions.
As these apps grow in popularity, so too do the worries of world governments. In this game of cat and mouse, there seems to be a thin line that is being walked. Between protecting the national security of a country, and protecting the rights of users to not have the government spying on them, the line can certainly be blurred.
That said, if someone really wants to do harm, they will find a way to do it. That is true no matter where you are or where you go. Because humans have the inherent ability to create tools, anything can be used as a weapon. You should not have to constantly worry about the government monitoring you under the guise of national security, or for any other reason.