Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 11th Jul 2013 21:35 UTC
Microsoft Documents released by Snowden show the extent to which Microsoft helped the NSA and other security agencies in the US. "Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept web chats on the new Outlook.com portal; The agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on Outlook.com, including Hotmail; The company worked with the FBI this year to allow the NSA easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide; [...] Skype, which was bought by Microsoft in October 2011, worked with intelligence agencies last year to allow Prism to collect video of conversations as well as audio; Material collected through Prism is routinely shared with the FBI and CIA, with one NSA document describing the program as a 'team sport'." Wow. Just wow.
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RE[3]: Intranet
by Morgan on Fri 12th Jul 2013 02:58 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Intranet"
Morgan
Member since:
2005-06-29

Nice idea in theory, but I think it would work better if you used smartphones. Say what? Let me explain:

Smartphones are already connected to the Internet via the carrier networks. It would be fairly simple to create a cross-platform app (possibly even a web app) -- let's call it Join A Mesh or JAM for short -- that would use the phone's a-GPS combined with an Internet-connected app to map out and find other JAM users. The first time you connect to another JAMmer and handshake successfully, you exchange keys that keep you connected via WiFi or Bluetooth depending on proximity. As you each add other JAMmers, you also decrease your dependency on the carrier network since you can piggyback on another JAMmer's connection to the Internet.

Eventually there will be a need for more powerful "mega nodes", which is where your Atom based nettop machine would come into play. It can act as a file server, web server, and bridge to the "real" Internet if necessary. More powerful machines could serve denser meshes. But the larger the mesh is, the less dependent on the current Internet backbone everyone will be. There would be mesh based news sites, entertainment sites, research, hobby, social networking sites, and so on, just like the old 'Net.

Basically, since nearly every cellphone in a given populated area can potentially connect to another cellphone nearby, you would end up with a living, moving, slightly less dependable but much more vibrant version of the current Internet. It would be an altogether different beast, but it would be an amazing feat.

Unfortunately it won't happen anytime soon if ever, but it's a great theory.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[4]: Intranet
by corbintechboy on Fri 12th Jul 2013 03:42 in reply to "RE[3]: Intranet"
corbintechboy Member since:
2006-05-02

Now I like that idea.

And with the power of current smart phones we could have a nice, complete internet. And if you split resources across devices (in some instances many devices) you could create a very complex system.

The only issue this leaves however is the current caps. This would not really be able to be an unlimited service. At the same time however, if a developer of some sort who is into cell technology could figure out a way for phones to "talk" to each other without need for cell towers, we could have a winner (this might be what your getting at as well).

I like the idea.

Edited 2013-07-12 03:43 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[5]: Intranet
by Alfman on Fri 12th Jul 2013 04:58 in reply to "RE[4]: Intranet"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

corbintechboy,

While I am fond of the idea of having a massive public mesh network, there are a number of impediments that would likely hold it back.

1. There are legal implications. Users who volunteer their IPs to build mesh network gateways are in danger of becoming victims of the court system (ie running open wifi).

2. On the internet IP routing is accomplished via powerful BGP routers that build routing tables by trusting the routes advertised by peers. This works as long as the peers are trustworthy (which they generally are, but things can go wrong, see http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/networking/black-hole-routes-the-g...). However in a mesh between *untrusted/adhoc* peers, this becomes a distinct vulnerability for the mesh network.

3. Performance is an issue: bandwidth, latency, low cpu, packet loss, etc. Without centralized packet management, one hog might consume the bandwidth of everyone else in the vicinity. Realtime applications like VOIP could prove difficult.

4. Existing technology in mobile devices might not be adequate, consider that generally WiFi APs/Clients only support a single channel at a time, significantly limiting scalability. Professional mesh networks can use multiple radios simultaneously for this reason.

5. Having a mesh doesn't necessarily bring more privacy or security if packets still go through a compromised ISP. Even if traffic doesn't go through an ISP, it becomes easier than ever to perform a MITM-attack in an adhoc mesh network. Even secure encryption schemes require keys to be exchanged beforehand or the use of a CA (which can be compromised).

Don't get me wrong, I'd very much like to see a public mesh network succeed and participate on it, but I'm also skeptical as to some of the security features some people might want it to have in the context of government spying.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[5]: Intranet
by zima on Thu 18th Jul 2013 23:59 in reply to "RE[4]: Intranet"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

if a developer of some sort who is into cell technology could figure out a way for phones to "talk" to each other without need for cell towers, we could have a winner

Radio modules aren't like that, you can't simply "hack" them via an app to work in a totally different configuration than intended when designing them. Plus, the GSM spectrum is very regulated, you'd get into trouble for attempting to (essentially) jam cell towers.

Mesh networks in general don't really scale up, it chokes up ...that's why ISPs are happy about giving you wifi routers, they choke up local spectrum.
Constantly running mesh network would also kill battery life.

The best you could hope for, when using mobiles, is something like http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenBTS ...but this still gets into the issue of GSM spectrum being very regulated.

Edited 2013-07-19 00:02 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Intranet
by Soulbender on Fri 12th Jul 2013 04:10 in reply to "RE[3]: Intranet"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Smartphones are already connected to the Internet via the carrier networks


And that makes you rely on the phone carriers so big business is still involved.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: Intranet
by corbintechboy on Fri 12th Jul 2013 04:19 in reply to "RE[4]: Intranet"
corbintechboy Member since:
2006-05-02

But imagine if a phone can be hacked to communicate directly with another phone. Make it via an app or whatnot.

Got like a 3-5 mile radius I connect to someone within that range and it can jump all the way across the USA (or any country) via using the devices as hops.

Great idea! Just need a hacker and a developer and we would have a new tech that would change the game.

Edited 2013-07-12 04:19 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[5]: Intranet
by Morgan on Fri 12th Jul 2013 23:00 in reply to "RE[4]: Intranet"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

The scenario I laid out implied that initially the phones would rely on the carriers to find and connect to each other, but as the mesh network spreads in a particular area, the phones will be connected via WiFi and Bluetooth. Eventually we would reach a point where carrier connections are the option and the mesh is the "real" network in play.

I guess I should have spelled that out more specifically, I thought it would be easy to infer.

Reply Parent Score: 2