US spends fortune to help secret web

The US Government is spending millions to help activists communicate and bring down their governments.

The project, called Commotion Wireless, has been putting the fear of god into the spooks of various authoritarian regimes.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the project is aimed at undermining internet censorship in countries such as Iran and Syria.

Apparently its biggest problem is that email inquiries arrive there that purport to be from pro-democracy activists in those places but actually come from spies.

The project is run by Sascha Meinrath and despite the fact it is getting shedloads of US money, it is based on some of the better ideas of internet community access. It is designed to allow a smartphone to connect with other smartphones, forming a “mesh network.”

All good stuff and totally at odds with what is going on in the US  – with the FBI trying to shut down such activity among its own citizens.

In fact there are some pretty good reasons why western governments would not like to see such technology deployed in their countries. The UK for example wants to monitor every email just in case it happens to mention terrorist activities. However, if this sort of technology becomes available it means that the only people who are in the database are the ordinary people.  

There is no doubt that Meinrath’s hidden internet will be a major headache for anyone who wants to stop anything on the net.

Issuing the technology in Iran, Syria and China will allow oppostion groups the freedom to talk to one another. However it will also weaken regimes backed by the US such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

Egypt and Libya had internet coups and these resulted in regimes that the US did not like either.

Meinrath does not seem to have a problem with that, but it looks like his ideas really will cause a commotion or two.