Status Casting

This is not mesh… 

Status Casting (or just statcast or maybe even just “scast!”) is the name I am giving to the act of using the built-in radio broadcasting capabilities of your mobile device, laptop, wifi router or other radio-enabled device to broadcast a short human-readable message up to 10m to 100m away. I’ve been exploring this concept for the past few weeks on this site.

Rather than naming your Bluetooth device “Nathan’s iPad Mini 2” or “Joe’s Nexus 6”, you would rename it “!Please send coffee to 10 Main Street” or “#elections vote for Mr. Big” or “@dictator you are a real jerk!” or perhaps just “What a beautiful day :)”. Instead of naming your wireless network “Netgear Guest Network” rename it “Hot Cocoa at Joe’s #snowpocalypse” and bring your neighbors some cheer! While each message may only be seen by people within 10 to 100m away, those people can then modify their message to repeat and reshare what you have written, or vice-versa. In this way, the effective distance your message might travel is quite far. This is not unlike how a Twitter status update “travels” – it might get lost and seen by no one, or it might catch someones eye, who retweets it to their 100,000 followers. You never know!

As the example messages above show, this could be used in a variety of situations, in the aftermath of an earthquake or hurricane, to critical “get out the vote” days in a political campaigns. It is useful in geographies where speech is restricted, or just to express how you are feeling to the humans in your immediate area, well in fact, up to 100 meters away in some cases, which is quite a lot of people potentially.

While the system has no built-in notion of “full name” and no real name requirement, some might consider it anonymous, in a sense. However, any miscreant looking to abuse this system does have to be physically present in the area, and all messages are ultimately tied to a hardware device MAC address on a Bluetooth or Wifi radio. This is both a benefit and a risk of course, and more threat modeling and countermeasure planning needs to be done, to both considering the impact on bad actors and users.

The concept of status casting can be uses without any extra apps or software. However, through an app, you can build a more pleasing, usable experience on top of this concept, and that is what Gilga is: https://github.com/n8fr8/gilgamesh

3 thoughts on “Status Casting

  1. “all messages are ultimately tied to a hardware device MAC address on a Bluetooth or Wifi radio.”

    Which isn’t exactly foolproof, as any talented troll with root on their device can spoof that easily.

  2. True that! I think there is this is still useful as a loose type of authentication, maybe like a jabber ID, but then on top of that you must still provide a key verification process.

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