It sounds like something out of a James Bond film: a global organization of hackers have plans to surround the planet with a lattice of satellites supplying Web-hosting and Internet services to those with a keen interest in evading the clutches of terrestrial lawmen.
Lately, it seems there are a lot of people who want to surf without scrutiny—everyone from Wikileaks and Anonymous to revolutionaries and rebellious teens.
As the legal noose tightens around servers in the US—and by extension American companies such as Twitter and Facebook—a market opportunity opens up for those willing to provide a SOPA-free solution. Is the Hackerspace Global Grid the answer?
Originally called Hackers In Space, the project was born last year at Chaos Communication Camp, a worldwide hacker conference.
Nick Farr, one of the original activists involved in the project, said on TheSwash.com, “The first goal is an uncensorable internet in space. Let’s take the internet out of the control of terrestrial entities.” The Wikipedia page on the project backpedals significantly from that claim, but then, Wikipedia has never been the platform on which assertive hackers choose to make their thoughts known.
An Internet outside of the law has always been the holy grail of hackers, ever since it first occurred to a judge or politician that the Internet should be regulated.
A notable previous attempt involved storing servers on the self-described independent principality of Sealand, a former military sea fort just off the British coast. British courts found that British law applied, a bid from ThePirateBay to buy the island fell through, and the last great datahaven was downgraded to Just Another Navigation Hazard.
The Grid proposes to not only launch its own communication satellites into space and beam law-free internet back, but to build a grid on terra firma to track and communicate with the satellites. Given the falling prices for putting an object (or even a person) in space, who’s to say they can’t get the job done?
As if NASA weren’t geeky enough for them, they had to build their own, out of hackers.
Image by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center