WASHINGTON, June 13, 2011 – The U.S. State Department has acknowledged funding the establishment of independent "shadow" internet and cell-phone networks in countries with oppressive regimes, according to a Sunday New York Times article.
The effort is part of a broader "liberation technology movement" critical in the recent popular uprisings such as those in China, Iran, Egypt, Libya and Syria - the more recent events are commonly referred to as the "Arab Spring." The liberation technology refers to the use of information technology to expand political, social, and economic freedom.
In countries like Iran, Libya and Syria these shadow networks and technologies would allow activists to communicate with each other and the rest of the world despite government censorship to prohibit such activity.
According to New York Times sources, one such project, an "Internet in a suitcase," is being developed by New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative, a nonpartisan nonprofit, with the help of a $2 million State Department grant.
The suitcase uses off-the-shelf equipment readily available in various parts of the world, open source software technologies and Wi-Fi to allow users to communicate on the Internet without a central hub.
“Because we chose Wi-Fi as a platform, the software can run on a variety of devices,” said Josh King, a technologist with New America Foundation in an interview with Al Jazeera. “It won’t take an engineer with a computer science degree to be able to deploy it somewhere.”
The news comes days after U.N. Special Rapporteur Frank La Reux released a report that declared government restriction of internet access to be a violation of human rights.
The representatives from the State Department were not available for comment at the time of the publication.
- Panelists Debate Federal Role in Digital Privacy, But Agree Upon Need to Minimize Algorithmic Bias
- FCC ‘Coloring Outside the Lines’ on Broadband Mapping, Say Critics at Next Century Cities Event
- Broadband Advocates at Next Century Cities Emphasize Importance of Building Community Networks
- Advocates for Digital Inclusion Address Different Facets of Bridging the Digital Divide
- New America Highlights the Broadband Prices Available on Ammon, Idaho’s Open Access Network
Signup for Broadband Breakfast
Open Access4 weeks ago
UTOPIA Fiber: A Model Open-Access Network
China2 months ago
Prakash Sangam: China’s Huawei Clones Are Greater Threat to National Security than Huawei
Broadband Mapping & Data3 months ago
Broadband Data From Providers Needs to be Checked With Data From Users, Say Panelists at Mapping Event
Open Access3 months ago
UTOPIA Fiber Announces Partnerships with Morgan, Utah, Idaho Falls, and Other Cities
FCC1 month ago
Telephony Industry Rises to the Challenge of Robocalls, With Legislation, Regulation and Enforcement Close Behind
Education3 months ago
State Educational Technology Officials Say Better Broadband Necessary for Pedagogy and Equity
FCC Workshops2 weeks ago
Indian Tribes Will Have Six-Month Window of Opportunity to Apply for Former EBS Spectrum at 2.5 GigaHertz
FCC2 months ago
As Next Year’s C-Band Auction Looms, FCC Officials Reflect on Innovation in Spectrum Auctions