By Laura Kemmerer
With the rapid development of new technologies and forms of communication, authorities are constantly scrambling to keep up in terms of what is and isn’t legal. And one of the biggest areas of contention is the Internet.
With the proposition of bills like the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, which would expand the rights of law enforcement in dealing with copyright infringement of intellectual property, the availability of information to everyone can easily come under attack. For those who are against SOPA, the policing of the Internet and its contents as a whole would have been inevitable. Definitions of “copyright infringement” can easily be extended to silence various websites.
The introduction of bills like SOPA has caught on all over the world, with many countries proposing their own versions of the bill in a bid to crack down on similar concerns. Yet these actions taken by authorities have not gone without an answer.
Chaos Computer Club Plans to Send Satellites into Orbit
According to MSNBC, a Germany-based “hacktivist” group known as the Chaos Computer Club, or CCC, has plans to put their own satellites into orbit. This would provide a truly uncensored internet, for any and all to access. According to spokesperson Nick Farr, “Hackers are about open information; we believe communication is a human right.”
The core of the CCC’s plan, known as the Hackerspace Global Grid, is to launch three satellites into orbit, but, according to Discovery News, the cost of launching one of these may range anywhere from $250,000 to $1 million. And while financing is still something of a concern, Farr said, “Let’s take the Internet out of the control of terrestrial entities.”
Hurdles for the CCC to Overcome
But there are still a number of significant hurdles to overcome. The first is an issue of legality. While space itself is not owned or controlled by any countries, there is nothing preventing authorities from taking these satellites down. As it stands, the hacktivist group’s primary concern is getting the project off of the ground. There are as yet a number of technological wrinkles that need to be ironed out, but if a project like this were to become a success, the ramifications for the future of the Internet would be immeasurable.
But such wild dreams still need to be grounded in reality if they are to work. Alan Woodward, professor of computer science at the University of Surrey, told the BBC, “Low-Earth-orbit satellites, such as have been launched by amateurs so far, do not stay in a single place but rather orbit, typically every 90 minutes. It’s difficult to see how such satellites could be used as a viable communications grid other than in bursts.”
Regardless, the CCC is taking matters into their own hands as they attempt to combat Internet censorship.
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