Open up new spaces of consciousness

I’ll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there’s evidence of any thinking going on inside it. ~ Terry Pratchett

We, the anonymous individuals on the internet, need to regain possession and control over our own personal data and protect free communication between us. Anonymous seems rhizomatic, says Biella Coleman. Under stress, a well known natural strategy by rhizomes is to facilitate the rapid horizontal expansion of existing patches of its species.

Control over our own personal data

Tools like Ghostery and Tor are transparent, but users are still dependent on anonymous toolmakers to some extent.

For Ghostery, users are dependent on others detecting and adding potential predators. It is the individual user that, within this box, decides whether a found species is predatorial towards them:

Tor is run by a network of volunteer nodes. It is possible for the owner of a Tor exit node to sniff traffic as it passes back to the internet and glean passwords. Tor is useful for preventing fingerprinting and circumventing firewalls, not more.

Getting and keeping control over our own personal data is an endless battle.

Protect free communication between us

A variety of ways and tools to access blocked web sites and and bypass internet censorship exist.

The internet will be there, as it has been for decades now. And it may not be at all times, everywhere, as recent events in Libya have shown.

Protecting free communication between us all in real life requires more decentralisation, use of peer-to-peer (p2p) models for improved security, and ever more control for users.

Why Freedom Box?

Because social networking and digital communications technologies are now critical to people fighting to make freedom in their societies or simply trying to preserve their privacy where the Web and other parts of the Net are intensively surveilled by profit-seekers and government agencies. Because smartphones, mobile tablets, and other common forms of consumer electronics are being built as “platforms” to control their users and monitor their activity.

Freedom Box exists to counter these unfree “platform” technologies that threaten political freedom. Freedom Box exists to provide people with privacy-respecting technology alternatives in normal times, and to offer ways to collaborate safely and securely with others in building social networks of protest, demonstration, and mobilization for political change in the not-so-normal times.

The Freedom Box Foundation has early prototype software and expects to have a fully working device available for under $100 in twelve months. Check them out on Kickstarter. The process of getting from idea to an organization and from organization to living, breathing, functioning reality can be long and difficult. It has taken the foundation almost a full year to move from idea to organization and events around the world are making it clear we can’t wait another year before getting freedom boxes off of the technical design board and into people’s lives.

Outside the Box

Inspiration is not born in a vacuum; excellent ideas are seeded by other excellent ideas and fertilized by still more excellent ideas. Keep ’em coming! I’ll be busy brainstorming too!


Posted on March 4, 2011, in Local and commons, Users and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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