3 votes

Creating an NSA-free Internet?

Mother Jones had a recent article on private "mesh" networks set up by citizens tired of waiting for the cable and phone oligopoly or the government to provide access to high-speed connections. So, instead of connecting to Cox's big internet data hose, I hop to my neighbor's WiFi router (provided that he/she's part of the network), on to another device, until my signal hits "the Internet." The mechanics of this are a little fuzzy to me, and I wonder how you access "the Internet" without hitting a PRISM-affiliated tube.

Going to the website of a company involved in setting up such networks in Detroit and post-Sandy Long Island, I was able to glean a few more technical details. I am no network guru, but I see several potential pluses and minuses:

+ This is capitalism at work, providing a needed service
+ Apparently, such mesh networks would increase network speeds
+ It sounds like this might be cheaper than Cox, etc.
+ These networks are not owned by corporations cooperating with PRISM
+ This could increase competition
+ It could provide an interesting economic case-study

- What's to stop the NSA from infiltrating these networks?
- Doesn't having your traffic go over your neighbor's router expose you to the same threats, but at a more local level?
- What safeguards are in place for traffic once it goes out to the wider internet to retrieve information? Is there TOR-style anonymization?

These are just the relatively uninformed musings of someone who has never been a network admin, but I hope this gets the ball rolling.