Thursday, February 17, 2011

Freedom Box

Want to keep another Egypt style internet blackout from happening? Want to build one hell of an ad hoc mesh network? Want to make it a lot more difficult for casual authority to find or block you from being heard?  Eben Moglen does. He's one of the founders of the EFF, and an enforcer for the GPL as well as drafting a good chunk of it.

How?

Well, he wants to make a box.

What will Freedom Boxes do?

A plug server or other digital appliance in your home running the Freedom Box software can provide many services to you and your friends, automatically and securely. The following is a short list of the services we think are important:
  • Safe social networking, in which, without losing touch with any of your friends, you replace Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and other centralized services with privacy-respecting federated services;
  • Secure backup: Your data automatically stored in encrypted format on the Freedom Boxes of your friends or associates, thus protecting your personal data against seizure or loss;
  • Network neutrality protection: If your ISP starts limiting or interfering with your access to services in the Net, your Freedom Box can communicate with your friends to detect and route traffic around the limitations. Network censorship is automatically routed around, for your friends in societies with oppressive national firewalls, or for you;
  • Safe anonymous publication: Friends or associates outside zones of network censorship can automatically forward information from people within them, enabling safe, anonymous publication;
  • Home network security, with real protection against intrusion and the security threats aimed at Microsoft Windows or other risky computers your network;
  • Encrypted email, with seamless encryption and decryption;
  • Private voice communications: Freedom Box users can make voice-over-Internet phone calls to one another or to any phone. Calls between Freedom Box users will be encrypted securely;
Freedom Boxes can do anything that computers running the Debian GNU/Linux free operating system can do, which means they have full access to thousands of applications packages. Freedom Boxes are Debian server systems specially configured to provide users with privacy-protection and safe communications services. Freedom Boxes will become more capable with time, because they can upgrade themselves safely and securely using well-tested and stable automatic upgrade mechanisms already deployed in hundreds of thousands of Debian and Debian-descended installations around the world.

One that costs (eventually) 30 bucks, plugs into a power outlet, and then pretty much gets forgotten. It acts as a secondary router/server. Connecting in turn to other such freedom boxes, and eventually getting on the internet, after hopping a couple times from one box to another.  Thus making it pretty hard to figure out where in a cloud of such devices any one particular box's users are located. Anyone can connect to any of these boxes at any time, no password, no logs... and then connect to the internet.

A return to anonymous connections. Here's the NYtimes story

He's on my list.