Lebanon Protests: How To Communicate Securely in Case of a Network Disruption

Lebanon witnessed protests in Beirut and a number of other cities because of the tough living situation, and with the prospect of an internet shutdown or disruption as the protests continue. We are sharing a few useful technical tips for communicating safely and securely during the demonstrations.

  1. It is best to use encrypted messaging apps and not depend on a single application. We recommend you use wire and signal (in addition to WhatsApp, of course). Wire is unique because it allows users to recommend with a name, instead of forcing users to register with a phone number as well.
  2. It is possible that the government slows or blocks the internet during the protests.

    – If some internet services are blocked, you can use a VPN, such as Psiphon on Android and iOS.

    – If the government disrupts the network or shuts down the internet, you can download messaging applications that do not require internet access, like Bridgefy on Android and iOS. These applications can be used without internet because they use Bluetooth technology to connect devices that are close to one another. More users improve the communication on these applications, but you can only message people nearby who have downloaded the applications and have their bluetooth connection turned on. Both Firechat and Briar work the same way. Please note that public messages on Bridgefy (“Broadcast”) and Firechat are not encrypted. Therefore, it is best to communicate individually and ensure you know who you are communicating with. There is more information about the risk here.

  3. Send disappearing messages on Signal and Wire.
  4. Because the use of smartphones will be essential at this weekend’s protests, carry a powerbank, especially if you are regularly using bluetooth applications.
  5. We demand Touch and Alfa increase the capacity for mobile internet services in downtown Beirut, as they did in 2015. In the event of an internet disruption, we hold both companies accountable for any throttling or disruption.

Call on the telecom companies to refrain from throttling or disrupting the internet on Twitter by tweeting and posting on Facebook and mentioning them.

This page is available in a different language العربية (Arabic) هذه الصفحة متوفرة بلغة مختلفة

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SMEX is a registered Lebanese NGO that works to advance self-regulating information societies in the Middle East and North Africa.