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Hackerspace Global Grid - Hobby Hackers Plan a Space Based Internet:

 1 daltar, Wed, 4th Jan '12 5:03:24 PM from the fantasy of green. Relationship Status: All is for my lord
The Maid
So basically, with all the current issues coming up about censoring the Internet and such a group of hackers have decided to circumvent all that by creating their own free network based on privately owned satellites.

Here's the article from which I first learned of the news, the report by the BBC And here is the homepage of the project.

A group of hobby hackers is planning to launch its own constellation of internet satellites to dodge terrestrial censorship.

While the ground-based campaign against the likes of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) continues, one group of hackers has announced its intention to try and remove nationally-controlled internets from the equation altogether by hosting its own service via private satellites and a series of groundstations. The effort is known as Project HGG (Hackerspace Global Grid), and forms part of an attempted escape from the feared censorship of the internet.

The people behind Project HGG, who describe themselves as "a bunch of hobbyist hackers, tinkerers and part time scientists, " came up with the idea when "hacktivist" Nick Farr called for an uncensorable "Hacker Space Program" in August at the Chaos Communication Conference 11 in Berlin. The core team behind Project HGG are based around Stuttgart, Germany.

The project is working with Constellation, an existing German (but English-speaking) platform for aerospace research, to bolster its processing power.

Described by one of its core members as "a kind of reverse GPS, " Project HGG will aim to link its satellites to small, individual groundstations which people would be able to purchase for around $130. These static groundstations would form a global network of sorts at the same time as pinpointing the location of the project's satellites, ideally making data transfer quicker and more reliable. The group hopes to have the first of its groundstations available for purchase at the next Chaos Communication Conference later this year.

Could this really work, though? The answers to that question seem to range from "no" to "probably not, no." According to Professor Alan Woodward of the University of Surrey's computing department, launching an amateur satellite is technically possible. Unless it was geostationary (a satellite which stays above a fixed point on Earth), however, the satellite would just whizz past the groundstations without giving them much time to exchange information. Then again, a geostationary satellite has to be so far away from the planet that there would be a noticeable delay in data transfer times.

There's also the question of which national body, if any, would have jurisdiction over the project's proposed satellites. "There is also an interesting legal dimension in that outer space is not governed by the countries over which it floats, " said Professor Woodward. "So, theoretically it could be a place for illegal communication to thrive. However, the corollary is that any country could take the law into their own hands and disable the satellites."

So, what are you thoughts on this project? Do you think it could work out? Should such a uncontrolled network be left alone by the world powers?
If I'm sure of something it's that I'm not sure of anything.
 2 Blue Ninja 0, Wed, 4th Jan '12 5:37:20 PM from The Middle of Nowhere Relationship Status: Non-Canon
Plotting my Escape
Wasn't China testing weapons to shoot down satellites not that long ago?
The mark of a place joining the civilised section of the Internet is when it starts banning people being assholes in their space-Silas W
 3 Joesolo, Wed, 4th Jan '12 6:03:50 PM Relationship Status: watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ
Indiana Solo
Good luck with that. Really, Cause if they can do it then my building a personal moon rover isn't so far fetched. Seriously, Space launches are really expensive, and to do this you be creating a entirely differnt internet. That'd be a pain in the ass to say the least.
I am going to shove the sunshine so far up where the sun don't shine that you will vomit nothing but warm summer days -Belkar
 4 Aceof Spades, Wed, 4th Jan '12 6:47:54 PM from The Wild Blue Yonder Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
This sounds prohibitively expensive for a bunch of hackers to implement. Although maybe we'll see some small innovations in internet and space technologies come out of it. *shrug* Still, very easy for someone to shoot that crap down if they do get something up in space, which itself begs the question of who could they convince to launch this for them.
 5 Joesolo, Wed, 4th Jan '12 6:52:18 PM Relationship Status: watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ
Indiana Solo
Maybe they'll beg some rich guy to throw a mini-rocket out the window of one of the Virgin Galactic ships. [lol]

That might work though. Maybe they'd sell extra space on each flight for cheap, cause some cargo might be smaller then the max cargo.
I am going to shove the sunshine so far up where the sun don't shine that you will vomit nothing but warm summer days -Belkar
So they're in space... Somebody still owns those satellites, that someone is still a citizen of some country and thus subject to it's laws (and that country itself subject to pressure from other nations). So effectively this solves nothing, but it does point out the problem that is inherent to the whole SOPA/PIPA deal: We need to 'liberate' the root-servers from the governmental control of a single nation. The internet is an international entity and no single country's legislation should affect the whole of it.

As an aside, satellite internet isn't exactly new or anything, it already exists.

Second aside: commercial launches aren't exactly unheard of either.

Third aside: If anyone is going to shoot down satellites it'll be the US, they've already demonstrated the capability.

Mentor
I like the idea but don't seeing it being possible unless they get some major backers involved.

Hell, even aside from the issue of getting it off the ground, you'd have to put a lot of those things up there. Enough to advance the progression of Kessler syndrome.
Prince of Dorne
Somebody still owns those satellites, that someone is still a citizen of some country and thus subject to it's laws
That's not how jurisdictions work.

More problematic is that current legal assumption is that sovereign air space extends indefinitely - i.e., also into orbit. Currently, nobody actually enforces that, but they could decide so.
Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken.

Unrelated ME1 Fanfic
 10 Flyboy, Wed, 4th Jan '12 9:39:15 PM from the United States
Decemberist
Meh. They do illegal shit, we shoot the satellites down. Target practice for experimental F-15 weapons. No biggie.
"Shit, our candidate is a psychopath. Better replace him with Newt Gingrich."
Mentor
It'd probably be cheaper to just ignore the law and proxy like it's going out of style.

 12 Flyboy, Wed, 4th Jan '12 10:08:31 PM from the United States
Decemberist
Ultimately, I'm more worried about cyberterrorism than copyright, here. I generally am unsympathetic to anyone who openly claims to be hackers...
"Shit, our candidate is a psychopath. Better replace him with Newt Gingrich."
 13 Barkey, Wed, 4th Jan '12 10:41:13 PM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
^

And do those fighters have "MPAA" written on the wings?

I know the loophole, just make the holding company technically based out of Sealand, or any other country that has absolutely no censorship laws or any risk of them happening.
The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
 14 Flyboy, Thu, 5th Jan '12 3:59:42 AM from the United States
Decemberist
And do those fighters have "MPAA" written on the wings?

They will soon enough...
"Shit, our candidate is a psychopath. Better replace him with Newt Gingrich."
 15 Greenmantle, Thu, 5th Jan '12 6:16:38 AM from Albion Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Sounds interesting.

Just wondering when Savage will say something about this — he'll love it...
Pro-Freedom Fanatic
I do love it: Communications networks outside everybody's jurisdiction.

Yes, the dude who launches the satellite can be held liable. However, the satellite could blindly relay data without any way to prevent it from doing so: If there is no way to control or shutdown the satellite, there's naught the governments of the world can do save shooting it down... And they probably won't in practice.

If the data sent and retrieved uses strong encryption, censorship and surveillance are fucked... At least for a few years, and we'll design another tool to thwart them afterwards.

edited 5th Jan '12 6:38:08 AM by SavageHeathen

You exist because we allow it and you will end because we demand it.
Is that cake frosting?
I generally am unsympathetic to anyone who openly claims to be hackers
I think that you are misunderstanding what they mean by that term.

Although the term "hacker" is often used to describe people who break into protected system or use their technological abilities for other less-than-reputable purposes, that's actually not the original meaning.

Wikipedia has a relatively in-depth discussion of the various ways in with the term "hacker" is used, as well as of the history of the term; but in brief, in the context of the article "hacker" means basically "computer hobbyist who likes to modify his/her own equipment", not "internet criminal".

edited 5th Jan '12 6:43:56 AM by Carciofus

But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

 18 Flyboy, Thu, 5th Jan '12 8:07:10 AM from the United States
Decemberist
This won't go anywhere quick.

Also, as to hacker, that's not what it means anymore, really.

edited 5th Jan '12 8:08:35 AM by Flyboy

"Shit, our candidate is a psychopath. Better replace him with Newt Gingrich."
 19 Drunk Girlfriend, Thu, 5th Jan '12 8:08:58 AM from Castle Geekhaven
@Flyboy: Maybe not to the media, but among people that actually refer to themselves as "hackers", it mostly means "getting stuff to do things it wasn't designed for".

Case in point.
"I don't know how I do it. I'm like the Mr. Bean of sex." -Drunkscriblerian
 20 Flyboy, Thu, 5th Jan '12 8:20:22 AM from the United States
Decemberist
~shrug~

Insofar as I'm concerned, this is a bad thing to allow from start to finish until further notice.

I doubt they'd even be allowed to launch the thing, and for good reason.
"Shit, our candidate is a psychopath. Better replace him with Newt Gingrich."
Is that cake frosting?
Yeah, that plan strikes me as quite unfeasible. They are welcome to try, though, it'll be interesting in any case.

But in order to achieve their stated purposes, I get the impression that it would be far more useful to devote funding and effort towards the development of better, safer and more anonymous transmission protocols.

The current communication infrastructure is, to put it gently, less than optimal under a lot of points of view — that happens when protocols developed to transmit simple static documents between a few dozens of university mainframes are employed for something as pervasive as modern-day Internet.

Of course, getting an adequate number of users to switch to the new protocols would be a pain (just look at the lethargic rate at which the transition from ipv4 to ipv6 is going...); but it would still be miles easier than what they are trying to do.
But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

 22 Barkey, Thu, 5th Jan '12 11:58:19 AM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
This won't go anywhere quick.

Also, as to hacker, that's not what it means anymore, really.

I still go by Carcs definition. Then again I was there for the infancy of the internet.

I want the internet to stay the last wild west. I want someplace that isn't under strict control. We've got the internet, and space. With land based internet quickly coming under the grips of governments being puppets on a string behind corporations and organizations, combining space and the internet seems like the logical next step until I can grab a ride on a ship and become a colonist.
The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
That's not how jurisdictions work.
Article 6 of the Outer Space Treaty states: "The activities of non-governmental entities in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty." Signed and ratified by Germany. Ergo, if a bunch of Germans want to start space-internet, they can do so, but it becomes the 'problem' of the state of Germany.

Then there's Article 8: "A State Party to the Treaty on whose registry an object launched into outer space is carried shall retain jurisdiction and control over such object, and over any personnel thereof, while in outer space or on a celestial body. Ownership of objects launched into outer space, including objects landed or constructed on a celestial body, and of their component parts, is not affected by their presence in outer space or on a celestial body or by their return to the Earth."

edited 5th Jan '12 3:58:02 PM by GreatLich

 24 Flyboy, Thu, 5th Jan '12 4:27:43 PM from the United States
Decemberist
Well there goes that idea...

@Barkey,

Frankly, fuck that shit. I doubt you have any concept of how horrendous an idea that is.

Then again, I imagine you don't really care, so I won't bother repeating again (and again, and again, and again) why the internet is not something to simply let free onto the world...
"Shit, our candidate is a psychopath. Better replace him with Newt Gingrich."
 25 Barkey, Thu, 5th Jan '12 6:07:19 PM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
I completely disagree, simply because I trust commercial/government organizations to control, exploit, and manipulate the internet in unfair ways.

I want freedom damnit, not permission to have freedom, someplace that consists of real freedom, and the internet is the closest thing we have unless I decide to move to Mogadishu.

So to get around the Outer Space Treaty, the sponsoring organization needs to be a citizen of a nation that did not sign said treaty.
The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
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