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Alternatives to the internet
01-01-2011, 08:56 PM,
RE: Alternatives to the internet
re: WiFi

Quote:Freifunk (German for Free Radio) is an initiative to support the development of tools for free mesh networks. Besides that the initiative supports communities developing know-how to set up their own networks.

The freifunk community is is part of a network of projects developing tools for mesh networks including the Freifunk Firmware and OpenWrt projects, routing protocols such as OLSR and B.A.T.M.A.N., tools like Maps for networks (e.g. freimap), scanning tools like the horst tool and many more. Recently people also started to develop Open Hardware like the Mesh Potato for villagetelco.

With the freifunk firmware it is relatively easy to bring up new wireless mesh networks using ad-hoc WLAN communication layer 2 and layer 3 routing with OLSR, BATMAN and other protocols. Originated in Germany, Freifunk has been deployed successfully in many countries. The OLPC project in Afghanistan uses freifunk for its mesh deployments to distribute digital books, news and educational media. In Ghana freifunk is used to bridge the digital divide in villages. In Vietnam freifunk is used to offer Internet connections at Free and Open Source events like FOSSASIA. In Europe and the Americas city and village networks lower costs for communities and small and medium sized companies, that share common Internet connections, ADSL, Telephone or Satellite uplinks in remote regions.
01-01-2011, 10:01 PM, (This post was last modified: 01-01-2011, 10:03 PM by Deathaniel.)
RE: Alternatives to the internet
if the power were to go out for most, then those with power might retain some of the tech and knowledge base, but even dvd/ cd's only last 10-20 years... having a few cb's/ ham radio's in a Faraday cage is defiantly a useful idea, though knowing how to use them is also advisable Icon_biggrin

but the pic of the pigeon is the one most accurate if not a messenger on horse... since without power; 90 % of the future populace will be illiterate let alone tech illiterate...Huh As for the ideas of bbs-ing it and stuff, sure if it's just a gov censorship thing, but more likely the silence of the internet will be a world wide thing of 99 % of the systems, servers computers etc being fried and so non functional. Any info one wishes to keep should plan to also keep a system to access it and enough Ink to copy it. Also Advise not saving reliant to history of the modern era junk, like who killed Kennedy, or is funded by the NWO. This ultra important (sarcastic) info is useless in the time after power loss it will be information on how to rebuild, earth sciences, like herbalism,mining, H2o purification and medical that will be most valuable.

Remember Knowledge is the only thing THEY can't take from you, and Knowledge is Know how, and Know how is Power!!!

Live long and Prosper!!!! Have a plan beyond words, and worry not of why the storm is coming as to how you're going to survive in it!!!!

Deathanyl @gmail!!!!!!
01-02-2011, 02:40 AM, (This post was last modified: 01-02-2011, 10:54 AM by Umbrellaman.)
Photo  RE: Alternatives to the internet
The problem is two-fold.

1.Longevity of data
2. Privacy.

1. The finest example of longevity is the DNA helix, almost fully self-repairing well-engineered biological software.

As far as easily accessible data, the longest lived is hieroglyphics, but remember we cannot understand them all - It's not every day a Rosetta Stone turns up, along with the determined will of a scholar to decode it.

in my lifetime, we have gone from paper books, wax cylinders, shellac records/steel needle, wire recorders, punched cards, punched paper tape, reel-to-reel recorders, cassette tapes, videotapes (Ampex), Winchester Drives for the early computers, Compact discs (CD), 5¼'Floppy discs, the later floppy discs, electromechanical Hard Drives, Digital Versatile Disc (DVD), Optical Dives, Solid State Drives, Thumb/Pen Drives and still more yet to arrive in your local supplier's store.

The main problem with the advancing technology, is that the requirement for accessing the stored information becomes more complex.

We can all still read books, but all since then require increasingly costly and complex hardware to access that stored information - who still has a reel-to-reel tape recorder).

The accelerating speed of storage development does require massive investment in specialized factories to make the hardware, without which the media is inaccessible.

2. Privacy was, and still is, a major concern.

Once others have your personal information, it is entirely out of your control.

How many here have a "Facebook" or similar "Social Blog" Account?

Facebook was set up by two people who worked for the CIA, and most other social networks have similar origins.
Echelon, the later Carnivore, and further data mining engines have been extremely effective in intercepting, retaining, sifting data.

Globally, all electronic data is collected, collated, searched, and retained - there is nothing anyone can do about that.

Beacon fires, heliography, semaphore, and the like are all rather public.

It has been publicly stated that "Much of the information on the present Internet shall not migrate to Internet 2".

I'm certain that the "information sharing" we presently enjoy, albeit with leaving a myriad of identifiable traces all over the place, will be stopped, if possible.

Mr. Google's publicly statement at the outset was: "Data shall never be deleted, but retained in perpetuity".

So - the only answer is cryptography, but others will set up search engines to locate and decode those data streams.

It's a battle of ingenuity, and I await further developments with interest.

Happy New Year to you, gentle reader.

Kind Regards from far away Smile

[Image: teleportani.gif] From a small island, far away.........
01-13-2011, 06:00 PM,
RE: Alternatives to the internet
I think I have said this before, there is no "internet". It is not a noun. "The internet" is a series of "inter"-connecting "net"-works. Unless there is a massive power outage, networks will still be up. "they" cant ban the internet anymore than they could ban the news. What they can do is BUY it.

It would be financial suicide for anyone to get rid of the all that. If it did disapear, it would only be superceded.

Wifi will rule eventually. There may be different networks set up on the idea of conduit devices serving the overall network alongside serving the user. Each device as its own mast. Bit-torrent on a network level. With less dense areas there may be issues. It can only evolve right now.
02-11-2011, 05:23 AM,
RE: Alternatives to the internet
They can take the world wide web offline though, as shown in many nations at times of "trouble". The Internet of course, as rsol typed, would still be there, and could possibly still be used somehow.

I think this is an ever important point though. Mailing lists could also be a good idea. You could get a single reliable person in each major town/city (or a group of people) who have a sub-mailing list, but are themselves on the 'Hubs list', the later being where dvd-roms, dvd's, literature, cd's etc could be sent, and then copied by the sub-list suppliers to send out further.

Whenever someone has something, they either send it to the 'Hub', or, if ever compromised, to a Sub list holder.

Seriously though people, we should all ensure this thread doesn't die and try bouncing as many ideas as possible about. If it really goes all 1984 electricity could also be "rationed" to control the masses in yet another way. The online world is something many of us take for granted, but more and more we need to be vigilant, willing, and mostly PREPARED (like yesterday already) for the very real possibility that such technology could be made useless to anyone communicating dissent.
"He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked." -- 1 John 2:6
"Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly... This is the interrelated structure of reality." -- Martin Luther King Jr.
"He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him." -- Proverbs 18:13
"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." -- Leo Tolstoy
"To love is to be vulnerable" -- C.S Lewis

The Kingdom of God is within you! -- Luke 17:20-21
02-11-2011, 06:00 PM, (This post was last modified: 02-11-2011, 06:01 PM by rsol.)
RE: Alternatives to the internet
you can cut off ties and halt throughput. you can close local isps. you can do loads of things but even the great firewall of china has cracks a mile wide though.

dunamis is more correct at the end by saying this "technology could be made useless to anyone communicating dessent" thats the real danger. not of it going off, but of it being sanitized and tamed.
03-10-2011, 11:21 PM,
RE: Alternatives to the internet
(02-11-2011, 05:23 AM)Dunamis Wrote: They can take the world wide web offline though, as shown in many nations at times of "trouble". The Internet of course, as rsol typed, would still be there, and could possibly still be used somehow.

I think this is an ever important point though. Mailing lists could also be a good idea. You could get a single reliable person in each major town/city (or a group of people) who have a sub-mailing list, but are themselves on the 'Hubs list', the later being where dvd-roms, dvd's, literature, cd's etc could be sent, and then copied by the sub-list suppliers to send out further.

Whenever someone has something, they either send it to the 'Hub', or, if ever compromised, to a Sub list holder.

Seriously though people, we should all ensure this thread doesn't die and try bouncing as many ideas as possible about. If it really goes all 1984 electricity could also be "rationed" to control the masses in yet another way. The online world is something many of us take for granted, but more and more we need to be vigilant, willing, and mostly PREPARED (like yesterday already) for the very real possibility that such technology could be made useless to anyone communicating dissent.
God, I remember in the 1990s- Videotapes and CDS were actually driven from State to State, copied and distributed. There were networks of people in the Militia movement (and others) physically moving information and data to other people who did the same.
There was shortwave radio (its still there but....) and people actually knew one another.

Technology has really hindered our social networks (funny huh?) I know hundreds more people than I ever did before but they are all online. My actual "circle" of people I "know" is vastly smaller. For all the positive social implications technology could bring forth- Its done the opposite.
Text speak, the dumbing down of language, people ignoring the real world but living in the virtual one, entertainment on demand 24/7 etc. Plus a perfect system of tracking the flow of information.

Its really quite scary. We are losing our real social networks. Having a place like this is great to spread info but if this becomes censored/shut down etc. there really isnt many people I know right now distributing anything other than on the internet. And if this electronic data goes...

Very interesting thread. I wish I had some answers.
[Image: soldierpie.gif]
03-11-2011, 01:33 AM,
RE: Alternatives to the internet
I think we have members on this site who work for those trying to turn the dark on. I don't think it is a good idea to tell them what we plan to do to counter act what they plan to do to us. That doesn' t help us come up with collective plans to thwart them but I'm just saying.
An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.
Mohandas Gandhi

Each of us is put here in this time and this place to personally decide the future of humankind.
Did you think you were put here for something less?
Chief Arvol Looking Horse
03-11-2011, 08:21 PM,
RE: Alternatives to the internet
christ mate you dont understand open sourceSmile

In open source software, everyone can read your code and make changes for the better, find exploits and hack it to pieces, you learn and get rid of ways for the hacks and expoits to even arise. and here the most important point. they HAVE to know.

If they don't why bother even trying?

this whole operation from us is so that information is shared and mulched into something real and readable. it becomes a weapon for others to arm themselves.
A bible to mental self defence.

If we continue and perfect techniques that cannot be hacked by the powers that be, I want to know and I want them to know.

If only iraq actually HAD a nuke and told the world. no-one would ever have invaded.
04-10-2011, 06:47 AM,
RE: Alternatives to the internet
(11-16-2009, 11:56 PM)shortwave Wrote: Before there was a real internet as we know it now. There was such a thing as "Packet Radio" , basically ham radio operators were using their IBM clones and a "packet modem" in conjunction with their ham radios and antenna to communicate digitally. There also was....on air BBS' run by individual ham radio operators and by clubs. You would go to a BBS to send and receive email and check out the latest DX bulletins (to see what faraway stations were coming in from remote locations all over the globe). That was ham radio's version of the "internet". Drawbacks were it was painfully slow (by todays standards) and you needed a packet modem and ham radio and license. But it was popular in its day.

There also was landline BBS ( BBS means Bulletin Board Service) , where one would use their landline and a modem to dial into a local BBS. It worked, it was popular but painfully slow. Like ham radio, there was a type of email box through the BBS. Some BBS' had a lot of game and text files you could download . When the internet took off BBS kind of went away.

By today's standards this is ancient technology.

Today's technology...

Wifi is the answer. We could have directional antennas connected up to our routers (and to our computers) to get out several miles by Wifi. The internet (as we know it) would not be even involved. We could connect to computer to computer wireless router to wireless router and pass audio files around. We could set up neighborhood hubs and BBS' and reach out to other neighborhoods all on a private or public network.

If the internet got censored, possibly using this method we could have our own internet. So the question remains,

Where would we get source material (audio files) in the first place to get out to everyone (if this internet was strictly local) ?

The source material could come from a variety of sources including FTA satellite. FTA satellite means Free To Air Satellite. A great example is 97W Ku band, with the size of a 3 foot dish. One can listen to audio networks like RBN, GCN, Micro Effect, American Voice, Geo and others 24/7 with no subscription fees. A dish and receiver costs around $200.

Now you can capture the audio via the "line in" jacks on your computers. And using software like "Replay Radio" you can capture these into MP3's (for later distribution on the neighborhood BBS/hub) and distributed out later to other neighborhoods with high gain directional antennas.

If you don't want to do a neighborhood hub/BBS, you can relay out to 10 miles to another relay and that could relay the files out. On E-bay and elsewhere they sell high gain Wifi antennas that will enable up to 10 miles (or more) Wifi reception.

Suppose they censor the satellite too and the 97W ku band idea won't fly? There is still shortwave and it could be a safe bet that some will still get the programs out. Record the audio to a computer and using "Replay Radio" (or some other program) and capture them as MP3's and archive them and send them along the wifi network.The audio would sound like crap...who cares?

One could possibly combine the capabilities of the old landline BBS with the relay method of wifi and still be able to send out email and important messages. OK, what about that "packet radio" . I have not tried it, but I assume it would be possible to use the "packet radio" method on other frequencies than ham radio. I do not advise anyone of doing anything illegal like that. But as some said, "if we are under martial law" what does it matter? But again I strongly advise against it. ...

If we have no power, the power is cut off. Radio communications would be the primary method of communications at this point using batteries/solar power or 12 volts from a vehicle.

These are ideas, and nothing more. I am not suggesting in any way that anyone do anything illegal.

I want someone explain why it will work, or why it won't work ...or why it MIGHT work. We do need to discuss this soon while we still can access the internet.

Your thoughts?

Netsukuku development website - These folks are actively working on developing a distributed network protocol over wifi.
09-29-2011, 01:35 AM,
Fear of Repression Spurs Scholars and Activists to Build Alternate Internets

September 18, 2011
Fear of Repression Spurs Scholars and Activists to Build Alternate Internets
Yana Paskova for The Chronicle
Eben Moglen, a law professor at Columbia U., is developing the Freedom Box, a personal server that makes data harder to intercept. "The Net we have is increasingly monitored, measured, and surveilled everywhere by everybody all the time," he says. "Our Net has been turned against us."
By Jeffrey R. Young
Computer networks proved their organizing power during the recent uprisings in the Middle East, in which Facebook pages amplified street protests that toppled dictators. But those same networks showed their weaknesses as well, such as when the Egyptian government walled off most of its citizens from the Internet in an attempt to silence protesters.
That has led scholars and activists increasingly to consider the Internet's wiring as a disputed political frontier.
For example, one weekend each month, a small group of computer programmers gathers at a residence here to build a homemade Internet—named Project Byzantium—that could go online if parts of the current global Internet becomes blocked by a repressive government.
Using an approach called a "mesh network," the system would set up an informal wireless network connecting users with other nearby computers, which in turn would pass along the signals. The mesh network could tie back into the Internet if one of the users found a way to plug into an unblocked route. The developers recently tested an early version of their software at George Washington University (though without the official involvement of campus officials).
The leader of the effort, who goes by the alias TheDoctor but who would not give his name, out of concern that his employer would object to the project, says he fears that some day repressive measures could be put into place in the United States.

Enlarge Image

He is not the only one with such apprehensions. Next month The¬Doctor will join hundreds of like-minded high-tech activists and entrepreneurs in New York at an unusual conference called the Contact Summit. One of the participants is Eben Moglen, a professor at Columbia Law School who has built an encryption device and worries about a recent attempt by Wisconsin politicians to search a professor's e-mail. The summit's goal is not just to talk about the projects, but also to connect with potential financial backers, recruit programmers, and brainstorm approaches to building parallel Internets and social networks.
The meeting is a sign of the growing momentum of what is called the "free-network movement," whose leaders are pushing to rewire online networks to make it harder for a government or corporation to exert what some worry is undue control or surveillance. Another key concern is that the Internet has not lived up to its social potential to connect people, and instead has become overrun by marketing and promotion efforts by large corporations.
At the heart of the movement is the idea that seemingly mundane technical specifications of Internet routers and social-networking software platforms have powerful political implications. In virtual realms, programmers essentially set the laws of physics, or at least the rules of interaction, for their cyberspaces. If it sometimes seems that media pundits treat Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg or Apple's Steve Jobs as gods, that's because in a sense they are—sitting on Mount Olympus with the power to hurl digital thunderbolts with a worldwide impact on people.
Instead of just complaining, many of those heading to New York next month believe they can build alternatives that reduce the power of those virtual deities and give more control to mere mortals.
I was surprised by the number of homegrown Internet projects described on the Contact Summit's Web site—though most of them are not yet operational, and some may never be. Among the approaches: an alternative to Facebook that promises better privacy control; a device that automatically scrambles e-mail and Web traffic so that only people authorized by the user can read them; and various mesh-network efforts that can essentially create an "Internet in a suitcase" to set up wherever unfettered Internet access is needed.
Whether you see these techies as visionaries or paranoids, they highlight the extent to which networks now shape nations.
"Anyone who cares about human rights anywhere should dedicate themselves to building these systems," is how Yochai Benkler, co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, put it when I asked him about the trend.
Bazaar 2.0
One organizer of the Contact Summit, Douglas Rushkoff, compares the disruptive power of the Internet to the impact of bazaars in the Middle Ages.
In his latest book, Program or Be Programmed (OR Books), he argues that the earliest bazaars helped transform feudal society by allowing vigorous information sharing—a low-tech peer-to-peer network. "Everyone was speaking with everybody else, and about all sorts of things and ideas," he writes. "All this information exchange allowed people to improve on themselves and their situations," allowing craftsmen to form guilds and share techniques. "As the former peasants rose to become a middle class of merchants and crafts¬people, they were no longer dependent on feudal lords for food and protection."
The Internet has created a bazaar 2.0, says Mr. Rushkoff, accelerating information exchange and giving people the power to organize in new ways.
At least so far. Mr. Rushkoff argues that companies and governments are gaining too much power, in ways that could limit communication in the future. Facebook, for instance, is a centralized system that forces users to run communications through its servers—and, he observes, its main goal is to make money by analyzing data about users and sharing that information with advertisers.
"The Internet that we know and love is not up to the task of being both a fully commercial network and a people's infrastructure," Mr. Rushkoff told me. "The Net is not a marketing opportunity—it's something much bigger than that."
One idea: Create two parallel Internets, one run and optimized for banks and entertainment giants (like Netflix, whose streaming movies take up more and more of total bandwidth), and the other for academic research, civic discourse, and independent artists. He points to Internet2, a high-speed research network run by universities, as a step in the right direction. But that network is available only on select campuses.
Perhaps other approaches will emerge that are designed to encourage the kind of peer-to-peer trading of information that Mr. Rushkoff prefers. To encourage that, the Contact Summit will organize a bazaar of its own, where participants can seek supporters for their projects. The organizers plan to award start-up grants to a few projects on the basis of a competition. "This is a conference of doers and people looking for counsel and collaborators," Mr. Rushkoff explains.
He acknowledges that the crowd he is gathering can be hard to herd, though: "There are people who are afraid to come to Contact because they think they're going to be hacked or tracked or injected with something. There are a lot of loonies out there."
Protecting Privacy
One developer who is eager to go the summit is Mr. Moglen, the law professor. He's leading the development of a device called the Freedom Box, and though it doesn't look like much—a gadget the size of a paperback book—he believes that it would be able to help Internet users preserve their privacy.
The concept: It's a personal server, which automatically scrambles digital data to make them harder for unauthorized people to intercept. The idea is to create a personal "cloud," or online storage space, for data before the information is sent to standard e-mail or Web services.
Mr. Moglen and a team of programmers are developing the software under the auspices of the FreedomBox Foundation, a nonprofit organization, and plan to release it under an open license that lets anyone use and modify it. The initial Freedom Box code is expected to hit the Web in the next week or two, although it is more of a framework for developers at this point and lacks most of the planned features.
For Mr. Moglen the work is part of a longtime mission. The Chronicle profiled him several years ago, soon after he founded the Software Freedom Law Center and published what he called The dotCommunist Manifesto.
In the manifesto, he argues that all software should be developed by groups under free licenses rather than by companies out to make profit. Critics have called his approach extreme and unworkable, but in some areas open-source software has gained ground in recent years.
"The Net we have is increasingly monitored, measured, and surveilled everywhere by everybody all the time, or at least by somebody who's doing it for somebody else and would answer a subpoena if they got one," he argued at a conference this year. "Our Net has been turned against us."
In an interview, Mr. Moglen emphasizes that professors in particular should send their communications through his device. The reason? "Two words: William Cronon."
Mr. Cronon, a history professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, was recently the subject of an unusual public-records request by a political group. The Republican Party of Wisconsin asked the university to turn over a batch of e-mail messages by the professor containing certain keywords, as The Chronicle reported, after he wrote a blog post examining how conservative groups had helped craft controversial legislation, including the 2011 measure to strip Wisconsin public employees of collective-bargaining rights.
Mr. Cronon believes that Republican officials were hunting for evidence that he had violated state law by using his state-university account for political speech, which he denies doing. He says other professors might be discouraged from speaking publicly on controversial issues, for fear their e-mail messages, too, might be sought by critics.
Some free-Internet projects have been under development for some time, and many professors and business leaders have long encrypted their e-mail messages. But there is a new emphasis on making such systems easier to use and bringing them to a wider audience, says Sascha Meinrath, director of the Open Technology Initiative at the New America Foundation.
"We're trying to move them out of the geekosphere and get them into mainstream use," he told me.
And there's evidence of that happening. This summer the foundation received a $2-million grant from the State Department to build its own mesh network, which could be set up by dissidents abroad to avoid censors. That's the system being called an "Internet in a suitcase."
Proponents of mesh projects like Byzantium say they can provide a different kind of Internet freedom—a connection that comes at no cost. Potentially, mesh networks could be set up and shared as free community networks.
For activists like TheDoctor, that kind of freedom can give low-income users a chance to access information that could help improve their lives.
"If a single Byzantium node gave a single person access to MIT's open courseware," he says, "the whole project would be a success."
College 2.0 covers how new technologies are changing colleges. Please send ideas to or @jryoung on Twitter.

Unite The Many, defeat the few.

Revolution is for the love of your people, culture, knowledge, wisdom, spirit, and peace. Not Greed!
Soul Rebel Native Son
10-14-2013, 05:35 AM,
RE: Alternatives to the internet
A different kind of steganography:
04-22-2014, 01:12 AM, (This post was last modified: 04-22-2014, 01:37 AM by shortwave.)
RE: Alternatives to the internet
Probably One of The Best Mainstream Stories About Alternatives to The Internet I have read. I bolded and italicized some of the more important paragraphs so you can breeze through this.

If you read past the obvious U.S. propaganda parts and focus on what the article is really saying. It claims that with just a small amount of resources and expense, it is possible to build an alternate internet for thousands.

If one plans this carefully, it might be possible to run the devices on solar or alternative power. The possibilities are endless.

Whether you are a geek or know little about computers, you need to read this!

State Dept-funded program installs alternative networks abroad
Published time: April 21, 2014 16:43

While some security experts have recently accused the United States government of undermining the infrastructure and integrity of the web, the State Department is helping fund a project that lets people connect and communicate over alternative networks.

Since last June, revelations about the US National Security Agency and how it goes about getting intelligence from foreign suspects have continued to surface, in turn rekindling all too routinely allegations about how the internet has been practically obliterated by the NSA.

Leaked intelligence documents disclosed to the media during that span by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden have indeed impacted the way the world sees the American government with regards to protecting a medium of communication that continues to grow.

But while these heightened concerns about online privacy are without a doubt warranted thanks to Mr. Snowden's revelations, one former government official now tells the New York Times that a project largely funded by the Department of State is actually making it easier for people in certain parts of the world to communicate and collaborate over a parallel internet of sorts.

“Exactly at the time that the NSA was developing the technology that Snowden has disclosed, the State Department was funding some of the most powerful digital tools to protect freedom of expression around the world,” Ben Scott told the New York Times for an article published in Monday's paper. According to Scott — a former State Dept. official who helped the agency get involved in a program that is putting the web back into the hands of the people — the US government has actually been playing a pivotal role in letting new parts of the world become networked.

“It is in my mind one of the great, unreported ironies of the first Obama administration,” Scott told the Times.

One of those endeavors that's been spearheaded by the State Dept. is Commotion: an open-source toolkit that provides users with the technology to connect wireless devices like laptops and cellphones to a mesh network where they can communicate and share local services.

Unlike the internet as it's largely considered, mesh networks like the ones setup through Commotion don't necessarily allow users to connect and then browse Facebook accounts or check sports scores. Instead, it provides a way for network-ready devices to communicate with one another in the event of an emergency or internet blackout of sorts, and then use common services that are shared throughout the ad hoc networks.

“The technology behind Commotion is designed with the users in mind, specifically to enable them to connect with one another, access information they may not otherwise have access to and take existing community social networks into the 21st century,” Thomas Gideon, the director of the Open Technology Institute's tech team, wrote in a press release issued late last year when beta testing of Commotion 1.0 was completed.

“The release of Commotion 1.0 is exciting for us not only because of the technology itself, but because of the great things communities will be able to do with it as they are able to provide access to broadband where it may not otherwise exist, where it may be cost-prohibitive or where it may be blocked,” Gideon said. “This opens up tremendous opportunities. Whether a community loses traditional infrastructure because of a natural disaster or as the result of a repressive regime, Commotion provides a locally-owned alternative for diverse communities in the United States and around the world.”

In the Times this week, journalists Carlotta Gall and James Glanz explained that a series of Commotion test runs carried out abroad have already helped people create and connect mesh networks when wireless communications might not otherwise be viable. As those reporters wrote, the US State Dept. has handed over $2.8 million to the American technologists working on perfecting Commotion, and networks have already been established around the globe as a result.

A project in the city of Sayada, Tunisia, for example, went live last December with the help of the State Dept. There, according to Commotion's press release at the time, “local media has hailed the deployment of a beta version of Commotion for powering the first free community WiFi network in Tunisia, and serving as a model for the rest of the country for its potential to strengthen democratic institutions and boost social and economic opportunities.”

“The mesh network blankets areas of town including the main street, the weekly market, the town hall and the train station, and users have access to a local server containing Wikipedia in French and Arabic, town street maps, 2,500 free books in French and an app for secure chatting and file sharing,” Gall and Glanx wrote for the Times this week.

According to their report, it only took a small team of technologists and around 50 local residents equipped with routers and wireless devices to get a functional mesh network in place in Sayada for its 14,000 people. The entire process took around two weeks.

But as concerns over internet censorship continue to emerge throughout the world, other locales just like Sayada may start to set up similar networks. According to the December statement from Commotion's team, Somaliland, Dahanu, India, Brooklyn, New York and Detroit, Michigan have all experimented with the system as well.

In Manhattan earlier this month, a group of hackers met up and practiced an imaginary apocalyptic scenario in which the internet spontaneously goes offline.

“It’s comforting to know that someone is preparing for Internet Armageddon, given the events of recent years,”New Yorker journalist Joshua Kopstein recalled afterward. "In 2011, when Hosni Mubarak, then the President of Egypt, instituted a country-wide Internet and cell-phone blackout during that country’s revolution, the concept was relatively new. These days, stories of state-mandated Internet shutdowns have become almost commonplace, forcing us to rethink networks whose resilience we once took for granted.”

And according to the Times, Cuba could be the next locale looking for a solution to that problem. The United States Agency for International Development, or USAID, “awarded a three-year grant to the New America Foundation to make this platform available for adoption in Cuba,” Matt Herrick, a spokesman for the agency, told the paper.

Critics are expected to be quick to condemn that effort, however, given recent news about another USAID program that installed a social network in Cuba per the directive of the US government. The so-called “Cuban Twitter” program revealed earlier this month by the Associated Press has since attracted a fair share of opposition, especially after it was reported that the endeavor wasn't launched solely to let Cubans communicate over a new medium, but rather to encourage revolt by spreading among users political stories critical of that country's government.

Herrick told the Times that the new mesh network program is not operational yet and that no USAID staffers have even ventured to Cuba to begin work on it. According to the Times, however, the agency has already pledged $4.3 million to getting a Commotion mesh network off the ground there, suggesting that the US government is indeed interested in ensuring that, even if privacy on the internet may continue to be eroded by the NSA's practice, the government is giving people somewhere a way — albeit not exactly an entirely secure one — to sign on and share info. In some situations, however, those mesh networks may be the only way that residents will be able to communicate with one another and access information.
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Tyler Kent 21.04.2014 22:53

Mesh networks are used inside countries where US intelligence agencies and NGO"s want to create revolution and undermine governments that refuse to heel to the United States. Swarming or flash mobs are the result of Mesh networks. It hasn't been reported because it was it had been up and running for years in countries where the US needed a loyal opposition.

Avis71 21.04.2014 17:58

BTW at the early days of the internet there were many local ISP who covered the last mile. They provided local dial in numbers where people could dial in with the computer and use a modem to access the internet back bone.
These multiple ISP all consolidated to a few big national ISP's.
Then it was easy for the government to make deals with the few ISP's

In Area's or Countries were commotion is going to be in demand the danger is that there will also be consolidation of the many local ISP's to a few national big ISP's. If that happens it's easy for the government to infiltrate again.

Avis71 21.04.2014 17:51

For people behind a firewall like in China this might be a solution but the real solution is a 'French' Revolution to demand internet freedom
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"They scare us all with threats of war. So we forget just how bad things are." 'Open Your Eyes' - Lords Of The New Church 1981

04-22-2014, 03:11 PM, (This post was last modified: 04-22-2014, 03:17 PM by CharliePrime.)
RE: Alternatives to the internet
In my opinion, Meshnets are the ticket.

This is one of the reasons I put up with the hassle of running Linux. Open-source software is protection from government. I want to learn it better.

In the olden days ham radios were expensive, rare, and easy to shut down. Today we have the advantage of 5 Billion cheap radio transceivers floating around the world (cell phones).

The newest of these devices can tranceive on both the 850 MHz cellular radio band and 2,400 MHz wifi radio band.

Anyone who cares about these things should keep an eye on

And watch the network.

The fact that USAID (aka the CIA) is so interested in this technology demonstrates how much they fear it.

Old DirectTV antenna converted to WiFi. I collect abandoned ones and store them in my garden shed "just in case".

04-23-2014, 06:50 AM,
RE: Alternatives to the internet
Two interesting recent posts! Both about subjects I don't know much about. I feel much less knowledgeable than most of the other posters here, but the general sense I'm getting is of ideas that break down into two paths. One is if the "power goes out", that is, either literally or a really heavy handed censorship of the internet so that it becomes impossible to communicate over it. The other path is to use the internet in a way that gets around attempts to censor or prevent communication. Commotion and Meshnet sound like representatives of the two paths.

Commotion: I at least understand the basic idea here, I think, and I downloaded the Commotion document pack to read more about how it works. One question occurred to me -- since the US gov't. is somewhat involved, is there a possibility that a backdoor is built into the software? Not that it would really matter so much, I suppose, since the point of it is to make a network that's not connected to the outside.

Meshnet: I have trouble understanding the concepts. I know, from reading expanding out from the Tor and Tails sites, that there seem to be various types of private/secret networks that supposedly preserve anonymity, but the explanations of how they work or how I could use them without needing to know too much about how they work go over my head a bit. I looked at the two sites linked from the post, but I didn't learn very much. Does anyone know of some general information about all this that doesn't require much previous knowledge?

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