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[liberationtech] Mesh Networks?

Douglas Finley dafinley at gmail.com
Fri Jun 17 09:33:12 PDT 2011


Can we practice in the States first? Or asynchronously. Whatever.
Pick a community. Build a mesh network. And see what happens.

On Fri, Jun 17, 2011 at 10:06 AM, Yosem Companys <companys at stanford.edu>wrote:

> What do you all think?  Will mesh networks work?
>
> Shervin Pishevar is a really smart guy, so if anyone can help organize this
> effectively, it is he.
>
> But mesh nets have been around for a while and never taken off, so just
> wondering what the technical hurdles are.
>
> Thoughts?
>
> Thanks,
>
> Yosem
>
>
>
>
>    [image: CNN.com] <http://www.cnn.com/>
>
>
>
>
>
>   Starting a revolution with technology
>
> *(CNN)* -- Political revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia not only inspired
> other regional uprisings -- they sparked a flurry of ideas about how to help
> revolutionaries better communicate when their governments pull the plug on
> the World Wide Web.
>
> Shervin Pishevar, founder of Social Gaming Network (SGN),<http://www.sgn.com/> has
> a plan to give freedom-seeking individuals the ability to link up and form
> their own life raft to "make what no government can ever block."
>
> "I want to use technology to bring freedom to the Mideast," says Pishevar,
> one of 10 members of Ted Turner's U.N. Foundation's Global Entrepreneurs
> Council<http://www.unfoundation.org/about-unf/global-entrepreneurs-council/>
> .
>
> And Pishevar's latest startup, OpenMesh <http://www.openmeshproject.org/>,
> would do just that.
>
> OpenMesh involves the use of ad hoc wireless mesh network technology that
> mimics the survival instincts of fire ants: A single fire ant will drown in
> a pool of water. But if they link together, the ants can form a living raft
> and survive.
>
> Routers and mesh network-enabled laptops can link together to form a
> network enabling individuals to send messages along these linked "nodes" to
> create a local system that allows individuals within a group to communicate.
>
> If one individual within the mesh network is able to connect to the outside
> world, that person can share the connection with others on the network.
>
> Mesh network technology is not new, nor is it the only work-around to
> disabled wireless and Internet communications.
>
> But Pishevar and fellow tech entrepreneur Gary Jay Brooks are providing a
> space where online activists in the world's hot spots can come together to
> share their ideas.
>
> Starting in January, a regime-changing wave of protests started in Egypt,
> inspired by demonstrators in neighboring Tunisia who ousted their president
> in a popular uprising.
>
> The Egyptian government shut down the Internet for five days during the
> protests, so Egyptians used satellite connections, dial-up modems and land
> lines to call Internet service providers in other countries to get online.
>
> Mesh technology would have enabled those connected to share their
> connections along the network.
>
> By enabling groups of individuals with the physical hardware to work around
> any state-imposed firewall, Pishevar plans to give freedom-seeking people
> the tools to "eradicate dictatorships throughout the planet."
>
> Many hard-line governments will attempt to drown out dissent by controlling
> the Internet with kill switches and firewalls. But with a phone -- or a $90
> router the size of one -- an individual can link to thousands of others,
> creating a private network harnessing**the firepower of the Internet.
>
> And that can create a free community unbound by topographical and state
> barriers.
>
> *Five ways they got around the censors*
>
> The crackdown on the Internet in North Africa and the Middle East is hardly
> a new tactic to quell political dissent.
>
> A recent Freedom House study found that about a third -- 12 out of 37 -- of
> the countries reviewed had "consistently or temporarily imposed total bans
> on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or equivalent services."
>
> Read the Freedom House study (PDF)<http://www.freedomhouse.org/uploads/fotn/2011/FOTN2011.pdf>
>
> U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said restrictions on Internet
> activity that prohibit free expression are among the most worrisome trends
> concerning human rights.
>
> Yet as governments become more savvy in their attempts to repress freedom
> of expression on the Internet, their citizens have become cyber-sleuths,
> creating innovative technologies to circumvent censors and authorities
> tracking their Internet activities.
>
> Activists in Tunisia, Egypt and Bahrain told CNN about five technologies
> that have been most useful in getting around government-imposed blockades:
>
> *1. Tor*
>
> Tor <https://www.torproject.org/> is a circumvention tool that allows
> users to access censored information online, by bouncing communications
> among a network of users around the world, ultimately enabling its users to
> maintain anonymity online.
>
> Slim Amamou, a "hacktivist" based in Tunisia, describes Tor as a program
> that enables you to "circumvent the central service of censorship by using a
> computer from someone else in the world."
>
> It played a crucial role, he says, because social media pages sharing
> information about the protests were "systematically censored so you could
> not access them without censorship circumvention tools.
>
> "So [Tor] was vital to get information and share it."
>
> *2. Speak to Tweet*
>
> Speak to Tweet <http://twitter.com/#!/speak2tweet> is a joint project
> between Google and Twitter that was first used during the Egyptian
> revolution when the Mubarak regime shut down access to the Internet.
>
> The application allows individuals to call a phone number and leave a voice
> mail, which is automatically translated into a tweet with a hashtag from the
> country of origin.
>
> The program has also been used in Syria, Libya and Bahrain. You can listen
> to the messages on Twitter through @speak2tweet.
>
> *3. HTTPS Everywhere*
>
> HTTPS Everywhere <http://www.eff.org/https-everywhere> encrypts
> communications between its users and major websites, including Google,
> Twitter and Facebook. The Firefox extension was created by the Tor Project
> and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
>
> According to Movements.org, "Using HTTPS means that you are creating a more
> secure channel over an unsecure network, better protecting you from
> surveillance and eavesdropping. HTTPS encrypts the transmission, but NOT the
> content you are transmitting."
>
> *4. Psiphon*
>
> Psiphon <http://psiphon.ca/> allows clients to bypass content filters.
> Unlike Tor, users do not have to download the program, but they need to be
> invited into the network by another Psiphon user, making the network hard
> for oppressive governments to infiltrate.
>
> The Freedom House Review of Censorship Circumvention Tools<http://freedomhouse.org/uploads/special_report/97.pdf> recommends
> this program for uploading and distributing materials when a high level of
> security and fast app speed are required.
>
> Additionally, the report says, although Psiphon provides privacy, it does
> not give its users "full anonymity, since the proxy server will log all
> client activity."
>
> *5. CryptoSMS*
>
> CryptoSMS <http://cryptosms.org/> is a service that sends and receives
> encrypted text messages, which is particularly invaluable in places where
> mobile phones are more readily available than Internet access.
>
> It requires the SMS sender to create a password that is used to encrypt the
> message. The recipient must have the password to decrypt it.
>
> CryptoSMS will not hide your phone number; it will merely encrypt the
> message itself.
>
> *Creating an online oasis of freedom*
>
> Pishevar developed his OpenMesh project as part of his participation in Ted
> Turner's U.N. Foundation Global Entrepreneurs Council.
>
> Each council member is young, varied and unassuming.
>
> Elliott Bisnow's company, Summit Series, doesn't even have a website. They
> organize "Woodstock or Burning Man [type events] for business people," he
> explains, and they do it all on Twitter.
>
> These philanthropic entrepreneurs know how to use current, even relatively
> old technology -- by crowd sourcing ideas and messages -- to create
> ephemeral communities and movements that direct political change and
> revolutions.
>
> In floods of political turmoil, people like Pishevar are trying to create
> oases for freedom.
>
> "The number one thing that keeps me up at night is freedom," he says.
>
> CNN's Scott Bronstein and Leon Jobe contributed to this report.
>
>     Find this article at:
> http://www.cnn.com/2011/TECH/innovation/06/17/mesh.technology.revolution
>
> © 2008 Cable News Network
>
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