Growing Internet privacy concerns have just about the entire globe worried. Whether it’s irrationally reacting to a change in the TOS for Instagram or the latest SOPA/PIPA bills, it certainly affects us all. Out of desire for true Internet privacy, hacktivists everywhere are coming together to build open alternatives to the Internet or ways to use the existing Internet in stealth mode.
Projects like The Meshnet/Darknetplan are presently organized to create an anonymous layer on top of today’s public Internet. Through the use of the CJDNS protocol, it allows users to tunnel to known peers, compiling their own routing tables, treating all nodes as equal, while at the same time remaining anonymous throughout the network route until a packet meets its final destination.TLDR; Think Russian Nesting Doll (Matryoshka) where a user’s identity is concealed by the previous user routing your traffic.
OK, for the sake of argument, let’s say one of these methods really does achieve anonymity. Could these projects ever become widely adopted alternatives? To quote my friend Doug: “This is either lunatic fringe or bleeding edge stuff, depending on your point of view.” Which is it? Youth today are born into the public Internet; will big data collection and botched privacy policies reach a tipping point that topples over pushing users to sign-up for this alternative Internet?
What does this mean for performance? How would governments respond? What effect will this have on existing public Internet infrastructure plans? What would it take for you to make the jump to one of these services?
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Ps – if you are looking to get involved, check these out. Some are further along than others.
- Commotion – decentralized mesh network project in Detroit, MI
- Chicago Meshnet
- Dallas Meshnet (edit: now appears offline)
- Nashua Meshnet (edit: now appears offline)
- Phoenix Meshnet (edit: now appears offline)
- Portland Meshnet (edit: now appears offline)
- Seattle Meshnet (edit: now appears offline)
- Vancouver Meshnet (edit: now appears offline)
*Privacy graphic attribution: opensourceway