Meet The Meshnet: A New Wave of Decentralized Internet Access

Across the US, from Maryland to Seattle, work is underway to construct user-owned wireless networks that will permit secure communication without surveillance or any centralized organization. They are known as meshnets and ultimately, if their designers get their way, they will span the country.

- From the New Scientist article, Let’s Start the Net Again

In the wake of the NSA spy revelations, many people have become disillusioned or despondent regarding the seemingly unstoppable pervasiveness of the surveillance state. I am not one of those people. As James Baldwin famously stated: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

There’s a reason the highest levels of the U.S. military-industrial complex went to such extremes to keep all of this information hidden from the American public and much of Congress. They don’t want us to know that we are merely lab rats in their perverted real life Truman Show. What we don’t know about spying makes the spying all the more effective. I do not for a moment believe that they want us to know all of the details of this program so that we “self-censor.” All the evidence demonstrates that they wanted to keep this stuff deeply buried.

So now at least we all know we have a serious problem, or at least enough of us know. Now it is our duty to dismantle the surveillance state and create something better in its place. Fortunately, many very smart, dedicated people have already been working on this problem, and the information provided by Edward Snowden will merely accelerate our implementation of solutions. One exciting example of this are Meshnets. From the New Scientist:

The internet is neither neutral nor private, in case you were in any doubt. The US National Security Agency can reportedly collect nearly everything a user does on the net, while internet service providers (ISPs) move traffic according to business agreements, rather than what is best for its customers. So some people have decided to take matters into their own hands, and are building their own net from scratch.

Across the US, from Maryland to Seattle, work is underway to construct user-owned wireless networks that will permit secure communication without surveillance or any centralized organization. They are known as meshnets and ultimately, if their designers get their way, they will span the country.

Each node in the mesh, consisting of a radio transceiver and a computer, relays messages from other parts of the network. If the data can’t be passed by one route, the meshnet finds an alternative way through to its destination.

While these projects are just getting off the ground, a mesh network in Catalonia, Spain, is going from strength to strength. Guifi was started in the early 2000s by Ramon Roca, an Oracle employee who wanted broadband at his rural home. The local network now has more than 21,000 wireless nodes, spanning much of Catalonia. As well as allowing users to communicate with each other, Guifi also hosts web servers, videoconferencing services and internet radio broadcasts, all of which would work if the internet went down for the rest of the country.

Continue reading

Forget the Euro…Will Spain Ultimately Break Up?

In March 2010, I wrote a piece called, Bureaucracy Gone Wild and the Return of Nation-States, in which I wrote:

What is truly ironic about the whole mess we find ourselves in is that it seems the greatest fear of those that want to just keep pushing forward on the prior economic model that totally died in 2008 but has been resuscitated briefly by the printing of monopoly paper is that the world will move away from globalization into more isolated and potentially aggressive nation-states.  The irony is that by doing what they have done they are not going to stop that progression but rather will make that outcome that much more extreme once it ultimately presents itself. 

As a planet, we are moving in the direction of massive decentralization.  While it seems the opposite is true, once the current system ends there will be no other option.  Political leaders and their institutions will have no credibility and people will have no choice but to start anew within much smaller communities.

What we saw in Spain’s wealthiest region yesterday is a great example of where things are headed.  While there are marches for independence in Catalonia every year on September 11, this year’s march was massive.  As the BBC reports:

The size of the turnout for the rally, which is held annually on 11 September to mark the Siege of Barcelona 300 years ago, forced organisers to change its route.

Alfred Bosch, an MP from the Republican left of Catalonia, told the BBC: “All the flags I can see are the pro-independence flags of Catalonia with the lonely star right in the middle of the triangle.

“And everybody is wearing these flags. I have never seen so many pro-independence flags in my all life.”

Protester Teresa Cabanes told Reuters: “This is a blow for the government. People like me came from everywhere. I don’t think they were expecting something as big.”

The huge volume of people overwhelmed the mobile phone network, which shut down for hours as a result, reports say.

Despite the efforts of the incompetent Western elite, the mega social trend of this current Fourth Turning will be decentralization.  The wise would start to prepare now.

Read the BBC article here.

In Liberty,
Mike