Censor-Proof Satellite Internet Grid Being Developed

24th January 2012

By Madison Ruppert

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

They call it the “Hackerspace Global Grid” and organizers say it would be made up of a network of low-orbiting satellites, all relatively small in size, which would be used to allow internet access that could not be controlled or blocked by any government censors.

The Hackerspace Global Grid, or HGG for short, would also integrate an array of base stations which would be located around the world.

The HGG is aimed at providing a way for activists and journalists to obtain access to the internet, even when a repressive government has cut off access or censored the internet in one way or another.

While most people would think this is aimed at combating the authoritarian regimes in the Middle East being challenged by the so-called Arab Spring, this indeed could be quite useful in what some might consider the “free” nations like the United States and other Western nations.

With legislation similar to SOPA/PIPA being pushed around the world in the form of the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA), the danger of governments controlling the internet is growing.

The anti-censorship network would rely on low orbiting “cube” satellites which would be interconnected in a manner similar to the traditional internet.

This distributed network architecture allows for one satellite to be disabled without the entire network going down because the functions of the downed satellite would simply be re-routed to other units in the network.

While the developers of the project are excited for obvious reasons, critics and doubters believe that it will never happen.

However, some amateur HAM radio operators and others have already discovered methods to launch their cube satellites into orbit.

According to Nick Farr, a hacker and accountant working on the project, they will be using these methods along with new methods to get their satellites into low orbit.

Farr says this is a growing trend, telling TechNewsWorld, “What we’re seeing right now is a big explosion in people launching cube sats.”

While there is a lot of promise for the HGG, it is still in its infancy at this point.

The organizers of the project still have to iron out how they will track the satellites in near-earth orbit from the ground because high orbiting satellites have a fixed position, making them much easier to track from the ground.

The problem with these low orbiting satellites is that they have variable positions and are fast moving, meaning that the window for locating one and then connecting is quite small indeed.

Currently they are focusing on establishing a network of base stations around the globe which will be used “to track various things, for example airplanes, satellites, weather information,” Armin Bauer, a lead hacker for the project said.

The organizers say that once enough stations are integrated into the network grid, it will be possible for the low-orbiting satellites to operate in a way similar to cellular networks.

As the satellite moves, the link would be passed from base station to base station, much like a cellular connection is passed from tower to tower.

I think this program has a lot of promise and I will be keeping tabs on it and hopefully we will see it go operational, in which case I would love to be a part of it as I’m sure many others worried about the viability of the future of the internet would be.

About the Author

Madison Ruppert is the Editor and Owner-Operator of the alternative news and analysis database End The Lie and has no affiliation with any NGO, political party, economic school, or other organization/cause. He is available for podcast and radio interviews. If you have questions, comments, or corrections feel free to contact him at [email protected]

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