Inspiration

The name comes from the common name of Mango in Arabic (Eastern Arabia). Who doesn't love mangoes? Seriously though. Freedom to assembly doesn't grab the attention of many young Americans today, but it's a fundamental right that needs to be protected and advanced. We sought to extend this right to the digital space. Members of this group come from countries where freedom to assembly is massively denied and privacy is a figment of the imagination. Over the years, the reliance on one's web of trust and indiscreet forms of organisation form the sedimentary base of resistance and the only hope for one to lead a normal life. When there are no free physical spaces to live in, one must seek out the freest cages and such, people continue to fight for free digital spaces.

How it works

Hamba relies on one's Web of Trust, as well as a finely calibrated balance between security and convenience. Originally a p2p server, for the purposes of this time-limited experiment we relied on Parse for a backend. One's information is encrypted and stored on their device alone, with a list of contacts verified and trusted. Our method of chat encryption and security is two-fold. In part, we use a 256-bit AES encryption as a secondary security system acting as support to the primary in person device handshakes (via barcodes or NFC) as the primary authentication medium. Secondary to this system is assembly. No, not that assembly but rather to gather. We have a dedicated events section, pulled from one's web of trust with real-time GPS co-ordinates and an integrated map. Lastly, we tried to improve on current OTR chat programs by providing less user information and more vital information to protect others, such as a value counting how many times a person has been physically verified (and how long ago) as well as allowing members to report negatively on people who are deemed 'compromised'. The idea was inspired by a general working-class opposition in a third world country organisation and study of their practices to remain safe in lieu of great threats to their safety.

Challenges I ran into

Backends. Backends. Backends. Backends. Backends. Our system is not functional, despite a complete UI design, due to the reluctance and unearned aggression of various backend systems towards us that refused to play nice with our systems. We changed our backend thrice. We also are very inexperienced (our first hackathon!) and had next to no experience in hackathons. As I write this, I had been awake for 45 hours. I will not proofread this and I hope you forgive me for my transgressions against the English language (it's my second language afterall!).

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

The UI. I expected to crash and burn within the first day and to be blown out of the water by other teams, but I made it to the end only to barely miss out on delivering a functional project.

What I learned

OH dear.

What's next for Hamba

It will be completed and it will make dictators, intelligence agencies and Barry Manilow quiver.

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