A Decentralized Internet In The Freedom Box

A Decentralized Internet In The Freedom Box

A Columbia law professor is developing an alternate internet based around low-power plug servers that fit in the palm of a hand.

John Ryan
  • 18 february 2011

Columbia law professor and free-software advocate Eben Moglen is organizing development of an alternate, decentralized internet built on what he calls the “Freedom Box.”

“Cheap, small, low-power plug servers […] A small device the size of a cellphone charger, running on a low-power chip. You plug it into the wall and forget about it.”

However inspired by social media’s role in the Egyptian uprising, Moglen cautions that its success was partly due the Egyptian state’s tardiness in shutting of the Internet. For Moglen, the social networks are

“Too centralized; they are too vulnerable to state retaliation and control.”

A decentralized network of tens of thousands of small, low-cost, encrypted servers could provide communication service impervious to government or corporate shutdown, a goal Moglen think is feasible within the year if his Freedom Box Foundation raises the modest $500,000 needed to implement the software.

“We should make this far better for the people trying to make change than for the people trying to make oppression,” Mr. Moglen said. “Being connected works.”

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