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[liberationtech] Mesh Networks?

Venessa Miemis venessamiemis at gmail.com
Fri Jun 17 09:38:30 PDT 2011


they're working on it in portland - http://www.personaltelco.net/

- v

On Fri, Jun 17, 2011 at 12:33 PM, Douglas Finley <dafinley at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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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>
>
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