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Paul Merrell

LocalOrg: Decentralizing Telecom - 0 views

  • SOPA, ACTA, the criminalization of sharing, and a myriad of other measures taken to perpetuate antiquated business models propping up enduring monopolies - all have become increasingly taxing on the tech community and informed citizens alike. When the storm clouds gather and torrential rain begins to fall, the people have managed to stave off the flood waters through collective effort and well organized activism - stopping, or at least delaying SOPA and ACTA. However, is it really sustainable to mobilize each and every time multi-billion dollar corporations combine their resources and attempt to pass another series of draconian rules and regulations? Instead of manning the sandbags during each storm, wouldn't it suit us all better to transform the surrounding landscape in such a way as to harmlessly divert the floods, or better yet, harness them to our advantage? In many ways the transformation has already begun.
  • While open source software and hardware, as well as innovative business models built around collaboration and crowd-sourcing have done much to build a paradigm independent of current centralized proprietary business models, large centralized corporations and the governments that do their bidding, still guard all the doors and carry all the keys. The Internet, the phone networks, radio waves, and satellite systems still remain firmly in the hands of big business. As long as they do, they retain the ability to not only reassert themselves in areas where gains have been made, but can impose preemptive measures to prevent any future progress. With the advent of hackerspaces, increasingly we see projects that hold the potential of replacing, at least on a local level, much of the centralized infrastructure we take for granted until disasters or greed-driven rules and regulations upset the balance. It is with the further developing of our local infrastructure that we can leave behind the sandbags of perpetual activism and enjoy a permanently altered landscape that favors our peace and prosperity. Decentralizing Telecom
  • As impressive as a hydroelectric dam may be and as overwhelming as it may seem as a project to undertake, it will always start with but a single shovelful of dirt. The work required becomes in its own way part of the payoff - with experienced gained and with a magnificent accomplishment to aspire toward. In the same way, a communication network that runs parallel to existing networks, with global coverage, but locally controlled, may seem an impossible, overwhelming objective - and for one individual, or even a small group of individuals, it is. However, the paradigm has shifted. In the age of digital collaboration made possible by existing networks, the building of such a network can be done in parallel. In an act of digital-judo, we can use the system's infrastructure as a means of supplanting and replacing it with something superior in both function and in form. 
Paul Merrell

Building the Technology Stack for Internet Freedom - 1 views

  • Hillary Clinton called for the U.S. to promote Internet freedoms earlier this week and introduced a $25 million fund for technology companies that might help with the task. The New America Foundation has already applied for a grant under the program, which includes a $3.5 million proposal, of which $500,000 will be funded by the New America Foundation itself. The mission? To build the technology stack for a distributed, open-source telecommunications system. The project would combine well-known projects — such as the open source voice projects Asterisk and OpenBTS – with new projects for mesh networking known as The Serval Project — which Kevin covered earlier this month — and Commotion, open-source firmware to enable routers to create an open mesh network. Dan Meredith, a technologist at New America, broke it down for me, and said the hope is to deliver communications in areas where Internet access is scarce, but also among populations unable to use communications because of government interference.
Paul Merrell

3 Projects to Create a Government-less Internet - ReadWriteCloud - 5 views

  • The Internet blackout in Egypt, which we've been covering, touches on an issue we've raised occasionally here: the control of governments (and corporations) over the Internet (and by extension, the cloud). One possible solution, discussed by geeks for years, is the creation of wireless ad-hoc networks like the one in Little Brother to eliminate the need for centralized hardware and network connectivity. It's the sort of technology that's valuable not just for insuring both freedom of speech (not to mention freedom of commerce - Egypt's Internet blackout can't be good for business), but could be valuable in emergencies such as natural disasters as well. Here are a few projects working to create such networks.
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