Tech of #OccupyWallStreet

OWSdude 300x226 Tech of #OccupyWallStreetA social movement with a hashtag in its name is obviously heavily reliant on technology. Here are a few technologies and approaches that Occupy Wall Street used to expand rapidly.

  • Mesh networks: localized Internets, set up for rapid and secure internal communication.
  • The People’s Skype, a distributed voice and voting system that enables the peculiar General Assembly voting system to function by linking different voice accounts to a general PA system.
  • The Occupy Network, a Facebook app that allows a user to see every Occupy Wall Street and affiliate-related page, which users are involved, and live feeds from affiliated users.
  • Apps that send text messages out to preset lists of friends as the user is about to be arrested, which might explain the movement’s very rapid communication tactical loops.
  • Go” and “Vibe” iPhone apps, which allow allow anonymous users to stream and post media in real time and locate tagged posts on a GPS map.

Understanding OWS’ usage of tech, however, goes beyond specific technologies. Alexis Madrigal and Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic also wrote very interesting and perceptive posts about Occupy Wall Street’s broader tech philosophy. Friedersdorf had a short post about how the movement’s decentralization enabled rapid response–a suggestion he made about specific demands for the protestors ended up being reproduced word-for-word on a protester’s sign. Madrigal wrote about how the movement‘s specific philosophy and operating methods mirrored Twitter’s use of APIs to let app developers create software.

To some extent, the tactical and operational dynamics of OWS can also be explained by John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt’s literature. Their path-breaking 1994 study of the Zapatista movement in Mexico is recommended for any student of information technology and social movements. John Robb and Shlok Vaidya were also ahead in looking at tactical and operational dynamics of OWS and tech.

 Tech of #OccupyWallStreet

CTOvision Pro Special Technology Assessments

We produce special technology reviews continuously updated for CTOvision Pro members. Categories we cover include:

  • Analytical Tools - With a special focus on technologies that can make dramatic positive improvements for enterprise analysts.
  • Big Data - We cover the technologies that help organizations deal with massive quantities of data.
  • Cloud Computing - We curate information on the technologies enabling enterprise use of the cloud.
  • Communications - Advances in communications are revolutionizing how data gets moved.
  • GreenIT - A great and virtuous reason to modernize!
  • Infrastructure  - Modernizing Infrastructure can have dramatic benefits on functionality while reducing operating costs.
  • Mobile - This revolution is empowering the workforce in ways few of us ever dreamed of.
  • Security  -  There are real needs for enhancements to security systems.
  • Visualization  - Connecting computers with humans.
  • Hot Technologies - Firms we believe warrant special attention.


About AdamElkus

Adam Elkus is a PhD student in Computational Social Science at George Mason University. He writes on national security, technology, and strategy at and the new analysis focused Analyst One, War on the Rocks, and his own blog Rethinking Security. His work has been published in The Atlantic, Journal of Military Operations Foreign Policy, West Point Counterterrorism Center Sentinel, and other publications.


  1. [...] much like the worms we combat take the field in the world’s conflict zones.Related articlesTech of #OccupyWallStreet (’s 2012 Tech Predictions ( Eyes Mobile Apps To Fly Drones [...]