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[liberationtech] OPENMESH Seeks Alternatives to Egypt-Style Net Blackouts

Yosem Companys companys at
Sun Feb 27 11:19:21 PST 2011

 Humans Are The

   - 27digg
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Shervin Pishevar<>
3 hours ago

 *Editor’s note: Guest authorShervin
Pishevar<> is
the founder of the OpenMesh Project <>, SGN
and an active angel investor.*

On January 7, 2010 I was ushered into a small private dinner with Secretary
Hillary Clinton at the State Department along with the inventor of Twitter,
Jack Dorsey, Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google and a few others. We were there to
talk about technology and 21st Century Diplomacy. As we mingled I noticed
next to me the small table that Thomas Jefferson wrote the first drafts of
the Declaration of Independence. I was inspired by the history around us as
we discussed the unfolding history before us. I was sitting in front of
Secretary Clinton and when she asked me a question I said, “Secretary
Clinton, the last bastion of dictatorship is the router.” That night seeded
some of the ideas that were core to Secretary Clinton’s importantInternet
Freedoms Speech<>
January 21, 2010.

Fast forward almost exactly one year later to January 25, 2011—a day that
shall live in history in the company of dates like July 4, 1776. Egypt’s
decision to block the entire
mobile telecommunications network was one of the first salvos in a war of
electronic munitions. In this new frontier humans are the routers and armed
with new technologies they can never be blocked or silenced again.

I was staying up for days sharing and tweeting information as they happened.
I had two close personal friends of mine in Egypt who were passing me
information when they could. The day Egypt blocked the internet and mobile
networks my mind went back to what I had said to Secretary Clinton. The only
line of defense against government filtering and blocking their citizens
from freely communicating and coordinating via communication networks was to
create a new line of communications technologies that governments would find
hard to block: Ad hoc wireless mesh networks. I called the idea
OpenMesh<> and
tweeted it.

Within hours through crowdsourced volunteer efforts the OpenMesh
Project<> was
alive complete with domain name, website and forum. One volunteer, Gary Jay
Brooks, a tech entrepreneur from Michigan, stepped up to lead the effort as
a volunteer Executive Director. Another company from Canada volunteered to
donate their specs for a tiny mobile router, that could be hidden in a
pocket, and would cost only $90 per unit for us to make. Another well known
communications pioneer stepped up to donate some important patents in this

OpenMesh’s basic idea is that we could use some new techniques to create a
secondary wireless Internet in countries like Libya, Syria, Iran, North
Korea and other repressive regimes to allow citizens to communicate freely.
By create mobile routers that connect together we could create a wireless
network that mobile phones and personal computers can connect to. The first
priority would be to have the people connect together and the second
priority is for them to connect to the world. One the second front, we could
use intermittent satellite internet connections so people in those nations
could upload and download information with the rest of the world. Openmesh
aims to be a clearinghouse for the best ideas out there to connect and get
products out into the hands of people.

Open Mesh networking is a type of networking wherein each connected node in
the network may act as an independent router or “smart” device, regardless
of whether it has an Internet connection or not. Mesh networks are
incredibly robust, with continuous connections that can reconfigure around
broken or blocked paths by “hopping” from node to node until the destination
is reached, such as another device on the network or connecting to an
Internet back haul. When there is local Internet available, they can amplify
the number of people who can connect to it. When there isn’t, mesh networks
can allow people to communicate with each other in the event that other
forms of electronic communication are broken down. Devices consist of most
wifi enabled computers and run on existing Microsoft Windows, Apple OS X,
and Linux systems along with iPhone and Android mobile devices. An open
source mesh network further offers a scalable solution that retains low
costs while avoiding path dependencies and vendor lock-in. Combined with
open hardware, these networks facilitate long-term maintenance flexibility
and improvements.

We will be establishing, building, maintaining, and distributing a common
Open Source Mesh software/firmware that will allow citizens of the world to
commonly communicate without telephone or cable companies. The raw product will free to download and free of charge. The technology
will be released and maintained as Open Source GPL V2 project. This means
that anyone can use or change the software. Our job as a community will be
to maintain this project. We will help to build standards. We will help
communities build mesh networks. We will lobby equipment manufactures to
join the Open Mesh Project initiative. The idea all revolves around wireless
technology that will allow us to connect and communicate with each other
without telephone lines, cable, or fiber. We will build private networks
that can span countries. We will empower the citizens of tomorrow. At the
end of the day a grandmother might find this disk on the street, walk into
the house, install a CD on her laptop and join the mesh cloud with 2 clicks.
After joining the mesh she starts to see others in her network, clicks to
call others in the mesh, joins group calls, or searches for friends online
to dial. We as the community will facilitate the
building, offering, and support for this project. We will all build 1 common
mesh. We invite people to participate and to offer new innovations. Working
together we can secure tomorrows communications needs.

Free communications is an essential human right. The 21st Century will be
defined by the idea that no Government, no power shall ever block or filter
the right of all men and women to communicate together again. It is my dream
that within my lifetime that dictatorship shall be banished from this planet
and unfiltered and true democracy shall flourish everywhere. It is time that
our Faustian bargains with brutal dictators for short-term concerns end and
a new covenant directly made with citizens everywhere seeking freedom will
take its place. OpenMesh is a first step to help create a world where such a
covenant can take hold in a world where brave people armed with new
electronic tools can never be blocked or silenced ever again.

*Photo credit: Joel
 get widget <>minimize
 Openmesh Project <>
 [image: Openmesh Project
Shervin Pishevar <>
 [image: Shervin Pishevar
image]<> Companies: Webs<>
, Social Gaming Network<>
, HotPrints <>,<>
,ToyBots <>, WebOS (formerly
MyWebOS) <>, Social
Gaming Network <>, <>, Openmesh
Project <>, and more

Shervin Pishevar is a technology entrepreneur, published researcher, and
technology incubation expert and who has raised nearly $40M in venture
funding for his startups. He is the founder and executive chairman of SGN,
one of the leading social and…Learn
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