Hackers want to eliminate Web censorship with satellite grid

By on January 2, 2012, 6:30 PM

Unwilling to comply with the entertainment industry's utopian vision of the Internet, a team of hackers plans to launch its own communication satellites into space. Detailed at the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin, the Hackerspace Global Grid (HGG) wants to send at least one satellite into low orbit to communication with various ground stations, creating an independent network.

"The first goal is an uncensorable Internet in space. Let's take the Internet out of the control of terrestrial entities," said activist Nick Farr. The team expects have three prototype ground stations deployed in the first half of 2012, with future devices to be produced and sold on a non-profit model. It's estimated that each ground station will cost about €100 (equal to approximately $130 or £84).

"It's kind of a reverse GPS," explained Armin Bauer, an HGG participant. "GPS uses satellites to calculate where we are, and this tells us where the satellites are. We would use GPS coordinates but also improve on them by using fixed sites in precisely-known locations." Although the ground stations sound relatively cheap and simple to build, getting a satellite into space isn't so straightforward.

For starters, HGG's satellites would have to hitch a ride into space on a pricey rocket -- balloon-based solutions are affordable but imprecise. However, even with a whole array of satellites strategically placed in orbit, they wouldn't always be visible to tracking devices. In other words, links between ground stations and the satellites would be spotty, according to Professor Alan Woodward.

Woodward says current examples of low orbit amateur satellites orbit every 90 minutes. "That's not to say they can't be used for communications but obviously only for the relatively brief periods that they are in your view. It's difficult to see how such satellites could be used as a viable communications grid other than in bursts, even if there were a significant number in your constellation."

HGG's venture is an offshoot of a larger aerospace endeavor with an ambitious 23-year goal of putting an amateur astronaut on the moon. Given the magnitude of that undertaking, it's natural that smaller projects are unfolding along the way. In addition to ground stations, HGG is developing new space-resilient electronics along with vessels to escort said electronics out of the atmosphere.

Along with the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act in the US, many other nations are clamping down on the Web. In the last week alone we've seen reports about SOPA-like legislation passing in Spain, while the Republic of Belarus has made it illegal for its citizens to access foreign sites -- especially for commercial purposes. Violations are a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $125 fine.




User Comments: 30

Got something to say? Post a comment
AnonymousSurfer AnonymousSurfer said:

I think this is a good idea although it will be very difficult to connect to this new internet in the unites states. If they are able to keep the MS down, I think this will either be very popular or a complete failure. Either way, creating your own internet would look great on a resume :P

Guest said:

pipe dream, tastes good tho

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Sounds all good but I wouldn't trust it. What if they have some sort of viruses or something to spy on your bank account, transactions, passwords etc...? Or is that unlikely to happen?

Guest said:

This may sound like a pipe dream at first, but I do imagine that WiFi / 4G mesh networks that operate independently from the internet will start to take hold very soon. A simple android app could facilitate a communication revolution...think of it as bitorrent without the internet.

ikesmasher said:

artix said:

Sounds all good but I wouldn't trust it. What if they have some sort of viruses or something to spy on your bank account, transactions, passwords etc...? Or is that unlikely to happen?

Nah. The point of this is they are trying to help us people. Even if this is all a plot for our bank account, they would be under to much pressure afterwards to not get caught.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

News from the White House, "After a few seizures we can double the number of satellites we control.".

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

At some point, satellite communications will be regulated just as they are here on our tiny little rock. You need not look any further than the history of communications over land, sea and eventually air. Space is next... it's just a matter of time.

QuaZulu QuaZulu said:

Ha! I don't believe it. Someone will always be in control, "overseeing" the operation. Kinda like communism - sounds good in theory (all equal, all share) but in practice there come the "first among equals" who turn out to be the greatest monsters on the planet.

Guest said:

ha ha this is sooooo funny.

this would have been the perfect April Fool's article.

ahem...just stop watching the drivel they (the "entertainment" industry) generate it is much less effort.

:-P

Guest said:

I guess after the hackers got busy stealing and Interferring with the commercially controlled sats they could expect the LASER BEAM to reach out and touch someone, I mean after all HACKERS arent benign hosts that have helped mankind in any way other then to create a security industry worth Billions.

Hi speed criminal enterprise where credit cards are used as chattle and peoples bank accounts are riddled and traded even faster, This is so funny, Now if the hacker community were to suddenly right itself and start doing things like raiding drug kingpins bank accounts and donating it to the United Negro College fund, or say the Mafia loses its control of all its offshore accounts and the National Debt suddenly dissapears.....Hackers with there own Satellites is like giving Bank Robbers the key to the city...

ghasmanjr ghasmanjr said:

Chattle is a racial slur. What's up with the racism on this article about hackers?

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

ghasmanjr said:

Chattle is a racial slur. What's up with the racism on this article about hackers?

Chattle is a word meaning movable property.

Guest said:

chat*tel/?CHatl/

Noun:

(in general use) A personal possession.

An item of property other than real estate.

No racial slur.

tekman42 said:

HMM....so much for the WWW in internet address...the world wide web doncha know...soon to become a myth?

Letting the law... in any form... dictate what you can and cannot see or access is like moving to china...nation wide censorship, shut down the internet at the whim of whomevers in charge so that we can committ atrocities against humanity...that's not what the internet was created for nor meant to come to pass.

That's why Hackers exist...everybody wants to hide behind their little doors and committ acts that would never be accepted by "we the people" and the crap of censorship because you shouldn't have secrets...if you are on the web....you should have nothing to hide...or maybe you shouldn't be doing things that you have to keep secret...those comments are like the saying "Don't do as I do...do as I tell you to do!...the haves vs the have nots...kinda kills the ssh laws for banking...security issues for corporations...national security issues...I guess they don't exist either?? Hackers are always made out to be the bad guys...but by whom...those who want to hide their ugly misdeeds...behind their little locked doors...Julian Assenti full well knew this...bailout!!!...Sorry...when you come out to play in the real world...you are just as accessible as everyone else and you don't like that do you.

A hacker has expended the effort to learn his trade and done a much better job of applying his efforts than you who are afraid of he/she...Anonymous...you go...the world has become a much smaller place thanks to your types of efforts and things like Bosnia...Darfur...human genocide can NEVER be hidden again...and those with the means to deal with that...now MUST...because of Hackers and the WWW!!!

The WORLD WIDE WEB as acknowledged by the WC3 is meant to end unlawful censorship in ALL its forms period. SOPA can go jump in the lake and pixx up a rope, too bad you can't control the profits of FREE ENTERPRISE and have your cake too...huh!

It seems that money "the root of all evil" and might makes right...are the synonyms that our nations leaders live by now...those who have...decide everything...and...those that do not...get to pay for it all.

Enough isn't in their vocabularys and "their fair share" is just plain bad language and filth that a "Have" would never utter or be seen admitting...they do not live by the same set of rules you and I do...just ask them!

Well the internet is one thing they can keep their grubby paws out of and steer clear of...the voice of the people on this rock have found a MEGAPHONE of an outlet and no way are we going to let you have control of it...go ahead and grab that third rail of power and see what you get...go ahead!

All this crud of censorship and censoring feels just like banning books...enough all you enlightened @*&%s...get down and join the rest of us...Aargh...enough already...we are tired of your crud and will no longer stand for it...be afraid! VERY AFRAID!

Sounds scary - you ain't seen scary yet...but it's coming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When people stand up for themselves..things change for the better...those who demand their fair share or rights but won't stand up for them...forfeit their right to anything.

Those who show up get to decide things...those who choose not to...get what they deserve!!!

The right to free speech and equality belongs to EVERYBODY...not the haves'.

To the moderator here...you can censor this but know that the founding fathers of our great nation fought and died for these "Inalienable rights...I have served...what about you...where do you get the right to decide...for me??

bexwhitt said:

I would think the word would be Dystopian not utopian

Guest said:

Great, a network of chattelites (a.k.a. satellites for hire).

ghasmanjr ghasmanjr said:

"Chattel slavery, so named because people are treated as the personal property, chattels, of an owner and are bought and sold as commodities, is the original form of slavery. When taking these chattels across national borders it is referred to as Human Trafficking especially when these slaves provide sexual services.[10]"

ghasmanjr ghasmanjr said:

"Chattel slavery, so named because people are treated as the personal property, chattels, of an owner and are bought and sold as commodities, is the original form of slavery. When taking these chattels across national borders it is referred to as Human Trafficking especially when these slaves provide sexual services.[10]"

Guest said:

My wordplay "chattelites" was sarcastic...

I doubt any network can remain free and open unless it can fundamentally outrun the groups who would limit and manipulate it.

The Internet enjoyed a kind of native protection for a while, because nobody really understood it. That is no longer the case, as reflected by the expression "Privacy is dead."

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

ghasmanjr said:

"Chattel slavery, so named because people are treated as the personal property, chattels, of an owner and are bought and sold as commodities, is the original form of slavery. When taking these chattels across national borders it is referred to as Human Trafficking especially when these slaves provide sexual services.[10]"

You don't come here for the hunting do you?

Activate chattelites!

Guest said:

Great idea! Another option would be buy into privately owned satellites. These are satellites that have served their time with there original contractors and have been sold off to an independent communications company. These are entire systems, up and running now. Good Luck

treetops treetops said:

Pretty cool reminds me of that guy in Mexico who made his own island with empty water bottles and nets. Think how big a country we could make with all the discarded water bottles and fishing nets.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiral_Island

Guest said:

can we not make our own network via wifi/power or other mean just a cheap stb box/modem with dish amp or something connecting everyone together with no charge just free connectivity to each other....

Guest said:

@ghasmanjr

I would like to remind you slavery has existed through the history of mankind. Many races enslaved lower class members of their own race. So a "slang/alternative" word for a slave cannot be a racial slur, it can only be a label (and quite mean) as anyone can be a slave to anybody else.

Now since you wanted to play political correctness king, and I will make some assumptions on your behalf. I take it you live in the western part of the world and the race you are refering to are African as that is the most recent case of slavery most people are aware of in the western world. So I pose you the question, are you racist? As you seem to think only black people are slaves......

Plus the fact that Chattel is defined as "A civil relationship in which one person has absolute power over the life, fortune, and liberty of another". No mention of what race or colour the slave is there.

:p

Guest said:

I can see this working. Wikipedia works. It would take about the same type of effort methinks.

Guest said:

Simple question here; If the staaelites would provide only spotty "bursts" of service, as mentioned at the end of the article, how then do Wild Blue and or Hughes Net provide sattelite internet service? Seems to me that this type of service is already in place, other than the servers being land based. Are the Hacker sattelites going to host the servers in space as well?

TJGeezer said:

ghasmanjr said:

Chattle is a racial slur. What's up with the racism on this article about hackers?

Actually, "chattle" isn't even a word. If the poster meant "chattel," WordWeb defines it like this: "Personal as opposed to real property; any tangible movable property (furniture or domestic animals or a car etc)"

Any cubicle slave is treated by most corporate managers as chattel but there is nothing racial about it. Slaves are chattel; so are commercially raised cattle and chickens or the kitchen wares at a Chinese factory outlet like :Wal-Mart.

TJGeezer said:

ghasmanjr said:

Chattle is a racial slur. What's up with the racism on this article about hackers?

Actually, "chattle" isn't even a word. If the poster meant "chattel," WordWeb defines it like this: "Personal as opposed to real property; any tangible movable property (furniture or domestic animals or a car etc)"

Any cubicle slave is treated by most corporate managers as chattel but there is nothing racial about it. Slaves are chattel; so are commercially raised cattle and chickens or the kitchen wares at a Chinese factory outlet like :Wal-Mart.

Guest said:

Even if it somehow gets passed and they get that expensive thing out there, the government (backed by big business and the media) is gonna "accidentally" destroy it somehow, maybe a low-orbiting satellite or an errant missile.

Guest said:

It is an interesting concept. It is much cheaper to use low orbit satellites than geostationary satellites. Theoretically, it should work, as long as there are always satellites in view, and they can be precisely tracked. A full data transfer (a set of IP packets) does not need to use the same satellite; only a single IP packet does. (This is how the internet works on land, anyway).

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.