RSS

The Bulletin

How to take the Internet off the grid

Posting in Government

With increased awareness that governments are spying and businesses are tracking the online lives of people around the world, online privacy is becoming big business.

But web security options aren't just limited to safer search engines and web browsers. You can take a cue from a community in Athens, Greece that used rooftop Wi-Fi antennas to build their own Internet -- a mesh network -- called the Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network. But they aren't alone, as Clive Thompson reports at Mother Jones:

Scores of communities worldwide have been building these roll-your-own networks—often because a mesh can also be used as a cheap way to access the regular internet. But along the way people are discovering an intriguing upside: Their new digital spaces are autonomous and relatively safe from outside meddling. In an era when governments and corporations are increasingly tracking our online movements, the user-controlled networks are emerging as an almost subversive concept. "When you run your own network," Bonicioli explains, "nobody can shut it down."

Security isn't the only advantage. It's also fast -- 150 Mbs a second -- and cheap. And as Technology Review points out, "creating and operating such networks is now becoming possible without specialist knowledge." This may be a terrifying prospect for Internet companies and advertisers, but an awesome idea for everyone else.

Read more: Mother Jones

Photo: Flickr/dimipiraat

— By on August 26, 2013, 4:57 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure