Cell411 Could Change the Face of Activism
Cell411 is the newest app on the market targeting independent free thinking activists, and regular average ordinary people alike. It’s a decentralized application that puts the power of who intervenes in their “alerts” or issues that they are facing, who, in the day and age of increased police brutality and civil rights violations, may fear to call for government help.
Virgil and his team of like minded designers have created a fluid application for android and smart phone that is unlike any other emergency response application ever created.
Virgil can often be found recounting tales of living under the oppressive state of his home country, and after moving to America, found increasing similarities and rights violations in his new home country.
Virgil and his team believe in a strong, people-sourced way of government, and that the government should be a tool of it’s people, police included.
Is there stuff on fire? There is an alert for that.
Being bullied or in an altercation at school or while walking down the street? There is an alert for that as well.
Car broke down? Send an alert and your friends will be there faster than your local towing service.
All in all, the application boasts 10 alerts ranging from criminal activity to a “general alert” option that allows user input.
The application allows the user to create “cells” or groups of like minded user’s who can then communicate the alerts to each other and respond accordingly.
With features like live video streaming, an alert for the popular activity known as “cop-blocking” or monitoring police interaction for civil rights violations, and the ability to snap a photo right from the application, Cell411 is a leap ahead in terms of current available mobile technology for protesters and activists.
Users can input an emergency contact, and issue an alert such as “being arrested”, which is then broadcast to your cell with a quick and discreet touch of a button. Cell members can then come to your aid, or notify your emergency contact via the application.
If “patrol mode” is enabled, the alert is issued to all Cell411 users within a 50 mile radius.
Cell411 also offeres a “dispatch mode”, or mode where you can choose someone to dispatch alerts to your cell, decentralizing the management aspect of your protest or action and offering 3rd party support to coordinate real time events on the ground.
Upon downloading the application, you may realize it asks for a lot of permissions. Here is why:
“1. Identity: Cell411 needs to be able to make calls to the Google Maps API in order to load map data.
2. Contacts: Cell411 needs to be able to load your contacts and allow you to add them as friends.
3. Location: Cell411 needs to be able to determine your geographic location, either through network triangulation or by using GPS in order to tell your friends where you are located when you are requesting help.
4. Phone: Cell411 needs to be able to make phone calls to your friends or their emergency contact when they send out an alert.
5. Photos/Media/Files: Cell411 needs to be able to read and write to and from the file system in order to cache certain data such as user icons and images.
6. Camera: Cell411 needs to be able to use your camera in order to stream or record video.
7. Microphone: Cell411 needs to be able to stream or record video with sound.”
Cell411 was launched first as a paid application, but is now free to all of it’s users, with constant upgrades and user input guiding the applications ever growing list of improvements.
Cell411 boasts that big government won’t have any access to your data or alerts. Cell411 states that it only stores data that you send for a limited time on their servers, even de-identifying the data after a set time period. This is big news for those who worry that their protest actions might be infiltrated or shut down before they begin.
“No, Cell 411 does not communicate any GPS coordinates to our servers until you issue an alert. Only when you issue an alert, your current GPS coordinates are written to a database in order to be communicated to your friends. As long as you do not issue an alert or you have government agents on your friends list, your coordinates are not communicated to any of our servers. Furthermore we do not give access to any outside entities to our servers and we de-identify the data after a certain period of time, only storing the alert type and coordinates of the alert for reporting purposes. No names, numbers or any other identifying data will be saved long-term on our servers.”
Other types of individuals who could benefit from Cell411 are:
- Park Rangers
- Neighborhood Watch
- Street Medics
- Friends going for a night out on the town
- Disabled or Handicapped individuals