Free Net: Solar Powered Autonomous “WiFi” Server Drones

March 19th, 2012 | Posted by paul in Uncategorized

With all of the talk about censoring the internet with things like SOPA, PIPA and now ACTA, comes the possibility of creating an entirely new free internet immune to censorship – high-altitude geostationary solar-powered dirigible wireless server drones. Already DIY drones are taking off everywhere – see this video for a good idea of how citizens can counter the increasing surveillance of the state by spying back on them. Ideally these drones would all be connected to each other in a self-healing mesh-network, should any of them fail, get lost or be “shot down” by unfriendly forces.

Now comes this news about Pirate Bay’s intent to create “Low Orbit Server Drones”:

The Pirate Bay, the file-sharing site, has, at this point, generally accepted the fact that their front-end servers are perpetually at risk of being confiscated by some government or other that they’ve ticked off with their “crazy” ideas of freedom of information. Whether or not you agree with The Pirate Bay, you can probably understand the seriousness of what they’re up against, so it’s not really that surprising that they’ve been looking for a place a bit more out of reach to stash their hardware. Their latest idea? Low Orbit Server Drones.

A Low Orbit Server Station (or LOSS), as best as we can tell, would be a small customized robotic blimp of some sort that would float “some kilometers” up in the air, keeping station with GPS. On board would be a microcomputer (TPB mentions the Raspberry Pi, a cheap ARM Linux box, as one possibility) and a radio transmitter. A ground station could talk to the blimp at 100 Mbps from up to 50 km away, acting as a remote, distributed proxy system. The idea here is that in order for anyone to raid the aerial proxies, they’d have to launch an aerial attack of some sort on the robot blimp network. As TPB puts it:

“This way our machines will have to be shut down with aeroplanes in order to shut down the system. A real act of war.”

We’re not sure about the legal aspects here, or if there are even any precedents for something like this. But, it’s certainly an interesting (and potentially incendiary) approach that The Pirate Bay is looking to take. And not just looking: this is apparently going to happen for real, and the first drone in the network will take station somewhere in international waters. Probably a good plan.

 

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