from LocalOrg.blogspot.com: Worried about draconian Internet laws? Creeping surveillance? The
inability to share with others without being criminalized? The Internet
is still a tool of tremendous power, but a deep rot has set in. We have
caught it early and we are fighting to stop this rot, but there are
other options we can begin exploring to hedge our bets, enhance our
current efforts of fighting against corporate monopolies, and
eventually, build an Internet of the people, by the people, for the people - big-telecom monopolies not welcomed.
In last week's "Fighting Back Against the "Intellectual Property" Racket,"
the "PirateBox" was introduced. The PirateBox transforms a laptop,
router, or single board computer into a mini-Internet hub where files
can be freely shared, and even features a chat program so users can
communicate. It is a lite version of the mesh networks described in
December 2012's "Decentralizing Telecom"
where independent mesh networks featured many software alternatives to
emulate popular online programs such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, and
others. The PirateBox is an introductory project anyone with a WiFi
adapter and a USB thumbdrive can do on their own with a little
motivation and an hour to experiment.
In a busy office, a PirateBox can serve as a simple local wireless file
server and chat client. In an apartment complex, it can become the
center of a social experiment, an opportunity to reach out to neighbors
and organize constructively, or just for fun - building badly needed
local communities back up.
Instructions for perhaps the easiest of PirateBox's implementations can be found on blogger, designer, and activist David Darts' website here.
The instructions are nearly fool proof, and a lot of the common
problems ran into are described and their solutions linked to throughout
The PirateBox does not connect to the Internet, nor does it operate from
your hard drive. It works entirely on the USB thumbdrive you install it
on, simply using your computer's WiFi to network all who are in range.
Ideally you'd want to make a dedicated, standalone PirateBox to serve
your space, office, and neighbors. A great place for beginners to embark
on this is at your local hackerspace. If you don't have a local
hackerspace, look into starting one up.
Protesting is important, but protesting alone will not stem the problem
at its source. The rot will continue to spread unless we develop
tangible tools to pragmatically excise it and repair the damage it has
already done. The problem of corporate monopolies
ensnaring and subjugating us through their telecom monopolies can and
is being solved by solutions like mesh networks, the PirateBox, and the
onward march of open source software and hardware, simply displacing
proprietary products and services. The best way to ensure success is to
have as many informed and constructive people as possible join in the