What is it?

Each Occupy.here router is a LAN island in an archipelago of affiliated websites.

Anyone within range of an Occupy.here wifi router, with a web-capable smartphone or laptop, can join the network “OCCUPY.HERE,” load the locally-hosted website http://occupy.here, and use the message board to connect with other users nearby. The open source forum software offers a simple, mobile-friendly interface where users can share messages and files.

The project has developed in parallel with the Occupy movement and seeks to offer a network of virtual spaces where both committed activists and casual supporters can communicate.

Due to its distributed and autonomous design, Occupy.here is inherently resistant to Internet surveillance. Building up a collective network infrastructure that is owned and controlled by its users can lay the groundwork for other uses and applications. We don't have to choose between abstaining from social media and entrusting our data to corporate interests. We just need to take a greater responsibility for our own online services.

The idea

The project started in October 2011, with the goal to create a written supplement to the spoken conversations in Liberty Square (aka Zuccotti park). I wasn’t able to spend as much time in the park as I wanted, so I thought about how I might connect with others who passed through intermittently via an “offline forum.” Restricting the forum to those within the local wifi range created a self-selecting audience, and also (perhaps) created one more incentive to visit the occupation.

Since Liberty Square has been cleared and the Occupy Wall Street movement is now more decentralized, the goals for the project have adjusted. Instead of (or, perhaps, in addition to) augmenting the experience of being in an OWS encampment, we are building an archipelago of virtual spaces to host conversations similar to those in Liberty Square. More than ever, both “activists” and ”non-activists” alike need to have spaces for open discussion.

The new focus is to create a distributed network of wifi locations, each serving those in its immediate vicinity. These separate networks will soon be able to connect to each other, although that functionality is still under development.

How you can help

The project seeks collaborators of all kinds. You can help write the code, build and host your own wifi node, or simply participate in the conversation.

Dan Phiffer is the founder and lead developer, with further contributions from GitHub user Phaeilo. You should join us!

Stay in touch

  • Subscribe to the discussion list
  • Subscribe to the announcements list
  • Subscribe to the news feed
  • Follow @occupy_here on Twitter


November 29, 2013

Almost as soon as I'd uploaded yesterday's release number six, I realized the newly added Library feature had a serious flaw in how it handled imported HTML files. This bugfix release addresses that and a security vulnerability I discovered in the Library code. Be sure to update if you installed release number six!

Download: Occupy.here release 7

November 28, 2013

Two new features and one major bug fix in this Thanksgiving day release number six. The Spanish translation I thought was working in release 5 had some problems, but this one should address them. Onto the new stuff:

  1. You can now change where users get redirected to when they request plain "http://occupy.here/" (previously they'd always get sent to the Forum page). Just go to the admin page and look for the "default path" setting.
  2. I've beefed up a feature that hasn't been enabled by default until now: a Library collection for HTML articles and PDFs. For now, to add new material you have to copy files into the top-level 'import' folder on the USB memory stick. The next release will make it possible to download content straight from the Internet via Ethernet.

Download: Occupy.here release 6

November 24, 2013

Release 5 was intended to introduce a major new feature, however it is not quite ready yet and we're a month out from the last release. There is still a lot in this one:

  • Fixes and improvements in the install.sh script
  • Spanish language translation (thanks @pe5pe!)
  • Many other details

If you speak another language, and want to help internationalize Occupy.here, please get in touch!

Download: Occupy.here release 5

October 21, 2013

I realized shortly after release 3 went out there were some problems with the new admin features. Release 4 fixes those bugs, and also updates the included INSTALL.md instructions.

Download: Occupy.here release 4

October 20, 2013

The third release is here! We’ve fixed some snags that a few people were reporting with the install script (no more need to download opt.img). There’s also a new administrative section:

  1. You can now easily backup the data from your router as a zip file
  2. Administrators can delete posts
  3. There is now an easy way to change the wifi network name and URL

Download: Occupy.here release 3

October 7, 2013

What an amazing weekend we had at PRISM Breakup! Thanks so much to the organizers, Heather Dewey-Hagborg, Allison Burtch, Aurelia Moser, and Ramsey Nasser. It was easily among the best art/tech events I've been to, and a pleasure to be involved.

I just uploaded a screencast from the workshop on Sunday, that you can watch on YouTube. Thanks to everyone who came out, and especially to those who took an Occupy.here router home!

October 5, 2013

After very helpful early feedback from Twitter user @pe5pe, we discovered that release 1 had a couple serious flaws:

  1. The way we were setting up the initial network configuration was kind of a bad idea
  2. We omitted a key file in the release, opt.img (which is too big to store in GitHub!)

Download: Occupy.here release 2

September 30, 2013

Dan just posted an essay about occupy.here on Rhizome: A tiny self-contained darknet. (That's the new tag line here, in case you hadn't noticed it.)

September 30, 2013

We're giving a workshop at PRISM Breakup: How to build a tiny self-contained darknet. Starts 12:30pm on Sunday October 6, 2013, at Eyebeam (540 W 21st St, NYC). Bring a laptop!

Dan will also be giving a talk at 4:30pm.

September 29, 2013

After nearly two years of development, the first official release is now ready for download.

Download: Occupy.here release 1

May 15, 2013

Occupy.here was commissioned by Triple Canopy to provide a virtual library for their school and lecture series at MoMA PS1's EXPO 1, titled Speculations (“The Future Is ___________”). You can watch the archived LiveStream of Dan’s talk.

May 2, 2013

Come to the occupy.here workshop on Friday May 3rd, part of the IDEAS CITY festival organized by the New Museum.

March 8, 2013

Occupy.here is at South by Southwest, presenting with Harlo Holmes of The Guardian Project and Isaac Wilder of the Free Network Foundation. Come see our panel on Saturday morning! (see also: one year ago in Austin)

July 26, 2012

There's an interview with founder Dan Phiffer in the art blog Hyperallergic. Thanks Ben!

July 15, 2012

We’re really honored to have received a Rhizome commission! Soon we'll have the funding to deploy a new round of public wifi nodes.