Hackers blast off into space

'Hackers in space' sounds like a cheesy plot for a film, but a group of different computer hackers have outlined the concept in Berlin as an ideal way to bypass internet restrictions and censorship laws. The idea was first reported upon by the BBC, and was reported to us by Neowin user Snoopy2005uk.

The organizers responsible for the suggestion refer to their idea for space-based internet as the Hackerspace Global Grid. In the future they also hope to put an 'amateur astronaut' into space. The difficulty of this is, obviously, budgeting. Some hobbyists have already been able to send devices into space but tracking their progress and keeping them in space is proving too much of a challenge, so substantial funding would be needed to make the concept work.

'Hacktivist' Nick Farr first called for support to the idea in August 2011, with the following quote:

"The first goal is an uncensorable internet in space. Let's take the internet out of the control of terrestrial entities,."

The ideals behind the Hackerspace Global Grid are in direct competition with those of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the United States, which seeks to allow controversial censorship online. Already, the Chaos Computer Club in Germany are working on finding support, in the form of the German aerospace research project 'Constellation'. The idea, to quote hobbyist Armin Bauer, from Stuttgart, would involve something along the lines of a 'reverse GPS' to track satellites orbiting the earth.

One suggestion has been to sell stations, for roughly 84GBP each. While this may seem expensive, they claim that it is about the maximum people would be willing to spend on owning a space-tracking device. Professor Alan Woodward at the University of Surrey is not sure if their low orbiting satellites would be as effective as hoped, with the following quote:

"That's not to say they can't be used for communications but obviously only for the relatively brief periods that they are in your view. It's difficult to see how such satellites could be used as a viable communications grid other than in bursts, even if there were a significant number in your constellation."

Since space is not controlled by one government, it would be difficult to censor material, meaning restrictions could be bypassed and illegal activity could thrive online. At the same time it means countries with extremely strict laws, such as China and the United Arab Emirates, could access materials they may not otherwise be able to. Diplomatic crises could erupt should one of the satellites be disabled by a nation in an attempt to censor the internet once more, though this means that the concept would have to work.

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DARKFiB3R said,

You don't connect via an ISP, thats the whole point. Right?

So how do you get to the internets then? Make yourself another one? Backbones belong to telcos, DNS roots are maintained by Verisign.
Internet is an illusion.

Not sure why but hackers in space just makes me feel theres a james bond villan at work here

nah sounds cool, not sure how effective it would be but have to start somewhere

all this to get kiddie porn? people need to find a new interest,

i guess on a serious note this would be good for repressed government-run Internets.

rippleman said,
all this to get kiddie porn? people need to find a new interest,

i guess on a serious note this would be good for repressed government-run Internets.

How you got kiddie porn from that blows my mind. Hiding something in the closet eh?

babyHacker said,
Lets guess. They are all pirate bay kids.

This has nothing to do with fear over censorship of anything legal.

You would be surprised. This is in response to SOPA and what might happen if other countries enacted similar laws.

babyHacker said,
Lets guess. They are all pirate bay kids.

This has nothing to do with fear over censorship of anything legal.

Agreed. If you wanna use the "censorship" fear as an argument, that would mean you stand against practically any law ever enacted, since they all give the government more control.

Didn't you know, the movie & music studio's have exclusively licensed their wares in outer space. Any attempt by someone else to distribute them from outer space will be subject legal proceedings and 3 trillion dollar a day fines.

The only way I could see this working is if you connected directly to the satellite bypassing any ISP ie: no ISP no way to censor

How about going back to a packet radio setup, using phase shifting, compression etc. We can get a better data rate. Put this equipment into moving vehicles, now try to find them all. We will call them Land Satellites.

Someone has been watching "The Superfriends".

Wasn't that the concept of the G.E.E.K. computer system in that episode and the main switch to turn it off was in a satellite?

Besides the cost this is a great concept and would allow people the choice to use the space internet and by pass censorship and other laws. But lets say that you can buy a device that connects to the satellite so you do not need to use ISPs or anything on earth. I would guess that eventually people would cry that there is no protection, theft, etc, and laws will be put into place and then it would be no different. That will take time of course. Politicians can never settle on things. Eventually we will have United Planets or something and they would make laws for space. lol

Pirate radio stations used to broadcast from international waters for the same reason (maybe they still do). Just a natural progression.

On one hand I'm all for this. I'm a certified space nut (complete with my STS-135 hat that I wore into work!). These guys are smart and know how hard it would be. I'm for space exploration and pushing the envelope for humans to get into space. The whole hacker thing really doesn't do much for me. If these people can organize and start a movement to expand our ability to go into space, then I'm all for it. It's hard to get there and it's hard to stay there but if no one tries then no one can succeed.

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