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<nettime> txt messaging meets political protest
info on Tue, 3 Aug 2004 09:18:02 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> txt messaging meets political protest


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 1, 2004

PROTESTORS AT DNC RELIED ON NEW TXT MESSAGING SERVICE; BIG PLANS FOR RNC
IN AUGUST

Protestors at last week's Democratic National Convention had a new tool in
their arsenal - a text messaging service designed just for them. "TXTMob,"
as the service is called, allows users to quickly and easily broadcast
text messages to groups of cellphones. The system works much like an
electronic b-board: users subscribe to various lists, and receive messages
directly on their phones.

During the DNC, protest organizers used TXTMob to provide activists with
up-to-the minute information about police movements and direct actions.
Medical and legal support groups also used TXTMob to dispatch personnel
and resources as the situation demanded. According to TXTMob developer
John Henry, over 200 protestors used the service during the DNC.

"Obviously, we would have loved to announce TXTMob before the convention
began, but were concerned that the police might try to block our
communications," said Henry. "Frankly, it's a little ridiculous that we
have to go to such lengths to help people exercise their first amendment
rights , but I guess these are the times we live in."

TXTMob was produced by the Institute for Applied Autonomy (IAA), an art
and engineering collective that develops technologies for political
dissent. The IAA worked closely with the Black Tea Society, an ad-hoc
coalition that organized much of the protest activity during the DNC, to
design the system. According to a Black Tea member who chose to remain
anonymous, "TXTMob was great! When the cops tried to arrest one of our
people, we were able to get hundreds of folks to the scene within
minutes."

IAA spokespersons refused to comment directly on future plans for the
service, saying only that they are now working with activists in
preparation for the upcoming Republican National Convention in New York
City. "We're making several improvements based on our experience in
Boston," said Henry. "New York is going to be off the hook!"

The current implementation of TXTMob is available for public use at
www.txtmob.com.

Contacts:
TXTMob: info {AT} txtmob.com
IAA: iaa {AT} appliedautonomy.com

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