Antivirus creator and eccentric world-roaming rich guy John McAfee has a plan to get around the NSA’s snooping with a gadget called the “D-Central,” which is essentially a $100 router for building small, disconnected private networks that act as pockets of sharing access that’s not connected to the broader worldwide web.
It’s an admirable enough plan, and it may sound familiar, since that’s pretty much exactly the idea TechCrunch Disrupt NYC 2012 Startup Alley participant Occupy.here was showing off this past spring. The Occupy.here project, created by founder Dan Phiffer, is intended to “create a distributed network of wifi locations,” each of which runs a version of its light forum software and serves people in the immediate network. Long-term, they’d like to deploy lots of router hardware running their software, which users can then jump between, creating a broad network that could cover an entire city, or even beyond.
Occupy.here is designed to work on router hardware that supports OpenWRT Linux and USB memory expansion for file sharing, and its founder explained to me in an interview back at Disrupt that they were looking around for a dedicated hardware provider. McAfee says his hardware design is in place, but requires an actual hardware manufacturing partner to come to fruition.
D-Central is still largely in the idea phase, but McAfee seems to believe that it will have encryption that can beat any attempts to hack in by the NSA, and we should learn more in a little under half a year according to a countdown clock on the D-Central official website. Meanwhile, Occupy.here’s Github repo just got an update this very morning, and it’s available to download and use on third-party hardware right now.
Both of these ideas are similar and will likely strike a chord with a group of users looking for privacy greater than that offered on the open web. One may be the fevered brain sneezes of a man well on his way to utter insanity, but the other is a viable project being actively worked on. Your choice which to support.