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German Hackers Propose Uncensorable Global Grid — With Satellites

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the das-klingt-aber-gut dept.

Communications 262

braindrainbahrain writes "The members of the Stuttgart Hackerspace have taken it upon themselves to launch their own space program. The immediate goal of the Hacker Space Program is to create an uncensorable internet in space beyond the control of terrestrial entities using a network of ground stations and communications satellites. In the longer term (think the year 2035), they'd like to put a hacker astronaut on the moon!"

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Only... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574326)

To have it shot down by lobbyists

Re:Only... (1)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574622)

Oh no, no lobbyists here. Just paid company advisers/historians who may make occasional mentioning of their day job while entertaining friends after hours off the clock.

Re:Only... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574658)

I don't think lobbyists would be the ones shooting down these satellites.

I Wonder... (5, Funny)

mrozone (2272302) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574328)

Can a Hot Pocket be cooked in space?

Re:I Wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38575276)

I can't answer that, but I do know a hot pocket for 20 cents is a steal any day of the week.

Prediction: Bad people will use it (5, Insightful)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574334)

Someone will shut it down, that's why we can't have nice things.

Re:Prediction: Bad people will use it (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574400)

Someone will shut it down, that's why we can't have nice things.

Good people can use it to catch the bad people. Don't shut it down.

Re:Prediction: Bad people will use it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574644)

What "bad people?" I posit that there is nothing inherently bad with any speech (aside from forcing others to listen to you).

Re:Prediction: Bad people will use it (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574696)

> I posit that there is nothing inherently bad with any speech

Excellent. Let me know your credit card numbers. I'm sure you won't mind if broadcast them to the entire internet - it's just speech. Also, there's no such thing as "imaginary property". You suffer no loss from my telling them to everyone - you are still in possession of the numbers after I do, so this is not theft.

Re:Prediction: Bad people will use it (2)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574824)

Let me know your credit card numbers.

I'm fairly confident that if it was impossible to keep credit card numbers a secret, people would come up with a new system. Perhaps we would all be better off and more secure if people could freely list credit card numbers.

Re:Prediction: Bad people will use it (2)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574856)

Ideally a credit card number would be a public key, and part 1 of a two-factor authentication scheme, where all it did was allow someone to request a payment from a nominated account. Trading entities would publish their keys so requests could be filtered and verified, but required manual confirmation.

No "silent" charges.

Re:Prediction: Bad people will use it (2)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574952)

> I posit that there is nothing inherently bad with any speech

Excellent. Let me know your credit card numbers. I'm sure you won't mind if broadcast them to the entire internet - it's just speech. Also, there's no such thing as "imaginary property". You suffer no loss from my telling them to everyone - you are still in possession of the numbers after I do, so this is not theft.

If a hacker has my credit card number, he doesn't need a privately run satellite network to share it.

And once he has that number, it doesn't really matter how many people he gives it to - once my credit card company discovers the suspicious activity and shuts down the card, it doesn't matter to me if one person or a million people have my card number.

Re:Prediction: Bad people will use it (4, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575080)

> I posit that there is nothing inherently bad with any speech

Excellent. Let me know your credit card numbers. I'm sure you won't mind if broadcast them to the entire internet - it's just speech. Also, there's no such thing as "imaginary property". You suffer no loss from my telling them to everyone - you are still in possession of the numbers after I do, so this is not theft.

The trick is that free speech means you can say whatever you want and never be punished for it, and you can never have your right to say shit removed, but you can be held responsible and punished for the effects of your speech.

Re:Prediction: Bad people will use it (0)

bhagwad (1426855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575222)

So if a looney reads what I write and goes on a rampage, I should be held responsible since that was the effect of my writing?

Re:Prediction: Bad people will use it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38575402)

no, that's not what he said at all. stop purposefully trying to muddy the discussion with idiotic rhetoric.

now, if you purposefully wrote something knowing that it would incite people to act violently, then you should be help responsible.

Re:Prediction: Bad people will use it (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575094)

Nice troll, you certainly got fed :)

Re:Prediction: Bad people will use it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574674)

Bad people use phone and cars, and we still use these.

Re:Prediction: Bad people will use it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574690)

A lawless internet; I wonder if it will last any longer than when lawless hacktivism boke the scene just a short time ago with Assange-gate.

Re:Prediction: Bad people will use it (1)

trifish (826353) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574782)

Bad people use mobile phones, computers, cars, and streets too. Why not ban all of those too then?

Re:Prediction: Bad people will use it (1)

whargoul (932206) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575310)

He never said to ban it. He simply said someone will shut it down after someone else uses it for nefarious purposes.

Re:Prediction: Bad people will use it (4, Insightful)

jdavidb (449077) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575414)

The reason we can't have nice things is not because bad people use them, but because bad people shut them down, using the other bad people as a pretense.

Free speech! (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574342)

Cool. Now they can finally draw a swastika without the government freaking out and going apeshit on them. Because we all know, drawing a symbol on a piece of paper is what caused the Third Reich.

Nevermind the swastika was actually a holy symbol... apparently they want the Nazi's tarnishing of it to stand unchallenged.

Re:Free speech! (1)

MichaelKristopeit423 (2018892) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574486)

bring back the toothbrush mustache

Re:Free speech! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38575368)

Would you mind buggering off to fetch it?
Take your time.

Oh, and feeb. [youtu.be]

Re:Free speech! (4, Informative)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574992)

*Almost* a holy symbol. For some strange reason, the Nazi version was drawn back-to-front. Pre-nazi, the other way around dominated, though the flipped form was not unknown.

EMP will take care of that (4, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574364)

If the big governments want rid of it, they will find a way.

Guns (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574426)

I tend to agree, even as I applaud them for trying. The fact is that government = guns, and the man with the gun always wins.

To clarify, government is defined as the organization holding the unique "right" to employ deadly force (or threat thereof) as a business model. You simply cannot compete with that unless you have similar firepower (which government makes damn sure won't ever happen).

Re:Guns (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574928)

Your broken record was wrong even before the Arab spring revolutions took place. Governments can lose power by simply losing support of the people. Don't forget that "the people with guns" also have family and friends within the population. You can of course try to "solve" that problem by bringing in foreign mercenaries like Gaddafi did, but at that point you're probably already going down the drain and it's doubtful that any current European government would go that far.

Note: I'm not saying it's easy ("easy solutions" simply don't exist in such situations, at least not long term ones; real life in a democracy is not a shoot-em-up where you solve anything by just blowing up the other guys). I'm just saying that "having the guns" is by no means required to get the upper hand in case of a larger population vs government struggle. In fact, I'd argue that in most cases in contemporary Europe the population not having the guns would probably be an advantage. Add to that Germany's post-WWII tradition of having a very good constitution and a very strict Constitutional Court (strict versus the government, that is), and your gun obsession becomes even less relevant.

Re:Guns (5, Insightful)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575020)

I always am amazed at you "government is the root of all evil" folks.

Let's say you do away with governments. Do you think that power will disappear? That government is power?

How is it that you can see the evil of governments (and yes, they do exist), but not see the fact that there has to be some entity of the people to counterbalance private power? That at least with public power, there is some sort of ability to limit private power.

Power abhors a vacuum. What you take away from governments, you hand to private entities - corporations, religious entities, whatever - something will fill the void. If you want any sort of control over what happens, you have to make the instrument of public power the tool of the public, and not the tool of the private entities. Therein lies the trick. Simply doing away with government is absolutely handing the deed to the hen house over to those that government is supposed to protect the rest of us from.

Re:Guns (1)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575186)

Maybe in your country. In the US. according to 2005 figures, there were approximately 100,000,000 gun owners. While the current number of US. troop is 1. 5 million. So in essence, a revolt in America by gun owners is almost an assured win, if you can get them all on the same page.

Re:EMP will take care of that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574806)

They don't need an EMP to do that, and wouldn't want to. Just wait until it is in space and then a mysterious failure occurs on each satellite, which would be believable, because s**t happens. Now how those mysterious failures occur, well, that's another story, but it isn't an EMP.

Re:EMP will take care of that (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574890)

Yep, the new National Defence Authorization Act should be good for this (in a manner of speaking).

Re:EMP will take care of that (1)

wiedzmin (1269816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574900)

They'll just wait until one of these things accidentally collides with a GPS or Glonass satellite and gets nuked off the orbit in retaliation for this obviously extrimist act of aggression...

Re:EMP will take care of that (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575046)

When the telecoms and copyright house corporations decide they want to get rid of it, they'll be gone with a quickness.

There, fixed that for ya.

link to their talk at 28c3 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574372)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuwkzNjaPwc

Uncensorable? (4, Insightful)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574378)

And what is there to prevent a government transmitting from the ground to disrupt the satellite transmission?

Re:Uncensorable? (5, Interesting)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574624)

If you are worried about governments, the problem is not disrupting the satellites at all, the weak link is the ground station which by definition resides in somebody's territory.

I don't think there are enough friendly countries of convenience to give you line of sight and global access to the satellites 24/7. Symantec published a book on the different IT Security laws all over the globe, its dated now, but a map of something like that would be interesting for this discussion.

So then you end up only running ground stations out of frendly countires somewhere in the netherlands perhaps, maybe to command and control satellites that route CnC information and traffic to the other satellites in the constellation which may be over an unfriendly country at the time.

I can't really see it working unless every user is a ground station/autonomous node.

There are some neat things you can do once you have this up, even for broadcast. Say you used it to broadcast grain or soybean prices to farmers in rural farming villages. Reformat traffic information from publicly funded sources (traffic cameras) and send them to a generic GPS or smartphone app so I don't need to pay TomTom or Garmin for the privilege of knowing if I will be sitting in traffic or not.

LEO satellites and burst traffic (1)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574698)

I re-read my post if the satellites are in Low Earth Orbit and transiting every 90 minutes or so, can you burst up all of your internet traffic, and receive your answers on the next pass?

Certainly you won't be streaming audio or video like this, but for email and web-surfing one page at a time it would work.

Re:LEO satellites and burst traffic (1)

discord5 (798235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574814)

but for email and web-surfing one page at a time it would work.

*click* DAMN! Missed my window. Oh well, I'll try again in 9 hours.

Re:LEO satellites and burst traffic (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574892)

Two satellites drops that 45 minutes, three to 30 minutes, 4 to 22.5 minutes...

But more realistically, if you actually had the funding for such a scheme you'd use a pair of geo-stationary satellites as a universally accessible uplink, and have them farm out downlink to low-orbit birds.

Re:LEO satellites and burst traffic (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575182)

I think you're going to need a pretty powerful antenna to be using an uplink that's in geo orbit...

Re:LEO satellites and burst traffic (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575128)

why not, what about buffering and caching?

How do you think you do it on a cell phone?

I'm assuming they'd have the equivalent of tower to tower coverage where the next satellite would pick up where the previous one left off, otherwise this is a really inferior idea compared to proxies or usenet.

Re:Uncensorable? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574760)

If you are worried about governments, the problem is not disrupting the satellites at all, the weak link is the ground station which by definition resides in somebody's territory.

The weak part is the satellites. You have to launch them or their replacements from somebody's territory which is going to a whole lot less countries than what you can stick ground stations in. I imagine in addition, the ground station will be cheap and fairly easy to hide, assuming anyone needs to do that.

Sea Launch (1)

Comboman (895500) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574924)

You have to launch them or their replacements from somebody's territory which is going to a whole lot less countries than what you can stick ground stations in.

Actually international waters [wikipedia.org] are the best place to launch a satellite from and are not in anyone's sovereign territory.

Re:Sea Launch (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575054)

They might not be anybody's sovereign territory, but you're still bound by the laws of the country of your citizenship or failing that the flag on the vessel. What's worse is that in international waters pretty much any navy can put a stop to the launch without having the same sort of international incident if you were launching from land.

On top of that sea based launches are incredibly tricky even for well funded outfits, Boeing had several of their attempts fail.

Re:Sea Launch (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575220)

pretty much any navy can put a stop to the launch without having the same sort of international incident if you were launching from land

I'm pretty sure that shooting at or boarding a vessel to stop a communications satellite launch in international waters would cause an international incident.

Re:Sea Launch (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575230)

I'm pretty sure that shooting at or boarding a vessel to stop a communications satellite launch in international waters would cause an international incident.

With who?

Re:Uncensorable? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575154)

If you are worried about governments, the problem is not disrupting the satellites at all, the weak link is the ground station which by definition resides in somebody's territory.

The weak part is the satellites. You have to launch them or their replacements from somebody's territory which is going to a whole lot less countries than what you can stick ground stations in. I imagine in addition, the ground station will be cheap and fairly easy to hide, assuming anyone needs to do that.

There's a technical solution to this political problem: figure out how to launch such payloads from water, and do so outside the bounds of any national power.

Re:Uncensorable? (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575316)

Well, countries have also sovereignty over geostationary satellites. It's not like they don't have to ask permission to put them up there.

Unless, they would float on top of the oceans perhaps, but if countries managed to claim pieces of the south pole (Antarctica) by "projecting" their area, what stops them to do this 40km above the sea level?

Re:Uncensorable? (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575074)

Perhaps more to the point, what's to prevent the RIAA participants and telecoms from shutting them down?

Re:Uncensorable? (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575142)

Let's not forget that most if not all major governments have demonstrated fairly inexpensive (for a government) ASAT capability, such as the F-15 air-launched ASAT missiles.

Obviously these can only get to LEO, but it's going to take this group a LONG time to be able to even get to LEO - no amateur effort has ever gotten an object into orbit before. Amateur satellites have always piggybacked on commercial launches (early AMSAT sats), had MAJOR fundraising behind them (tens of thousands of dollars for launch costs alone for newer AMSAT launches), or used a "pooled launch" of research microsats with a lifetime before orbital decay of only 1-2 years (such as the CUBESAT project).

Radio is inherently jammable (2)

phayes (202222) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574398)

to any government that cares to do so...

Re:Radio is inherently jammable (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574546)

It's still easier: they'll shut down the ground stations.
They should try mesh network but getting from the Americas to anywhere else looks challenging. Even in the same country lag can be terrible as packets get routed from home router to home router but a round trip from a bunch of satellites to get on the other site of the world is not quick.

Re:Radio is inherently jammable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574630)

You say that but Voice of America and Radio Free Europe broadcast shortwave through Russian jamming for years during the cold war.

where do i donate $$$ (4, Funny)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574450)

since it will cost like eleventy billion $$$ or euros where can i donate? i'll gladly donate $50,000 for this just to be able to download free movies and music

Re:where do i donate $$$ (5, Funny)

cdibbs (1979044) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574516)

They probably only accept Bitcoins.

Re:where do i donate $$$ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574522)

If you pay $50,000 towards something... they are not really "free".

Re:where do i donate $$$ (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574654)

Not as in beer.

Re:where do i donate $$$ (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574652)

since it will cost like eleventy billion $$$ or euros where can i donate? i'll gladly donate $50,000 for this just to be able to download free movies and music

I doubt it would have the bandwidth to handle movies and music and maybe not even pictures.

Think a 1980's era BBS and that's probably able all that an underfunded group of hackers could provide in a satellite they've built themselves (and paid launch costs for - their best bet would be to find a friendly commercial space launch company and get them to launch it on a test flight with the understanding that it may not actually make it).

But even something with such limited capabilities would actually be extremely useful and valuable with less potential for abuse than something that allows media files to be traded, which would quickly become an untraceable child-porn hub.

Re:where do i donate $$$ (1)

kaychoro (1340087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574934)

You already HAVE donated to it... when was the last time you checked your credit card balances?

Landside? (3, Insightful)

smi.james.th (1706780) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574458)

I read about this on the Make Magazine blog a few days ago. (Link for anyone who's interested.) [makezine.com]

Something that strikes me as weird though. From TFA:

In the open-source spirit of Hackerspace, Mr Bauer and some friends came up with the idea of a distributed network of low-cost ground stations that can be bought or built by individuals. Used together in a global network, these stations would be able to pinpoint satellites at any given time, while also making it easier and more reliable for fast-moving satellites to send data back to earth.

So... these ground stations would I presume be connected together by, uh, the internet? I don't get it.

Not that I'm against this at all, I think it's a fabulous idea. I'd buy one. Or build one. Or whatever.

Re:Landside? (1, Troll)

MichaelKristopeit425 (2018896) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574518)

they would be connected by, uh, the satellites.

you're an idiot. or whatever.

Re:Landside? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38575134)

I'd mod you +insightful if I didn't think it was utterly futile. Too bad moderators automatically mod Kristopeit troll. Sure, Mike called the GP an idiot, but coming from Kristopeit, that's like practically a marriage proposal.

Re:Landside? (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575292)

I think that parent's argument was that "while also making it easier and more reliable for fast-moving satellites to send data back to earth" implies that the ground stations would have a ground link to one another. I could just be missing something, but that's the only way I see how ground stations could increase reliability and speed of the network.

Re:Landside? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574910)

The stations would not need to be connected to each other, they just communicate with the passing satellites. The clients connected to the stations could be done with wireless, maybe even make use of the upcoming white-space frequencies. Also satellites are too expensive I think a better idea is to use high altitude balloons. It is possible they could be easily taken down but they would be so cheap it wouldn't be much cost in equipment or effort to loft replacements. They could be pretty autonomous and use solar/wind for power. Also I believe this would allow for faster data transmission rates than a conventional satellites in LEO

Re:Landside? (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574920)

They'd be connected by either satellites or point-to-point wi-fi.

While it's within the means of any standing army to shut down wi-fi traffic, no one proposing that they have a modernized economy is going to be able to do so without destroying huge amounts of mundane usage as well.

Had this idea a decade or so ago... (3, Interesting)

crankyspice (63953) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574478)

Was going to write a science fiction tale around it, but life intervened (and I'm not the wordsmith to make "OMG, data from the skies!" interesting... Neal Stephenson can make building a data haven interesting. Me, notsomuch...).

The idea came about when I read about Sealand. Okay, sure, great, pseudo-island-nation with its own wacky laws -- but, (a) their pipes have to terminate somewhere, and (b) one pissed off Iranian speedboat[1] with a small hand-launched missile could wreak enough havoc to take Sealand offline, if push came to shove.

My idea coupled the then-burgeoning phenomenon of microsats http://slashdot.org/articles/00/06/11/2013214_F.shtml [slashdot.org] with the fuzziness of international / maritime law; rogue geeks on sailboats uploading censored data to the satellite network, that could then be received by any kid with an 18" dish and readily available receiver plans. (Transceiver seemed a bit far fetched.)

Maybe I'll write it one day. How long 'til NaNoWriMo?

[1] Leaving aside for the moment the logistics of how such a speedboat would traverse the open ocean from the Strait of Hormuz to the coast of England ... [insert African swallow reference(s) here]

Re:Had this idea a decade or so ago... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574632)

Was going to write a science fiction tale around it, but then I took an arrow to the knee...

Fixed.

Re:Had this idea a decade or so ago... (2)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575122)

How long 'til NaNoWriMo?

Well it's not until November so another 10 months? Personally I think it would be awesome if they left that graph thing running, just resetting every month. It's a great motivator. I've been thinking about coding something similar, just haven't gotten around to it.

Re:Had this idea a decade or so ago... (2)

migla (1099771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575284)

How long 'til NaNoWriMo?

Well it's not until November so another 10 months? Personally I think it would be awesome if they left that graph thing running, just resetting every month. It's a great motivator. I've been thinking about coding something similar, just haven't gotten around to it.

Seems like you could use the NaNaNoWriMoCoWriMO - National NaNOWriMO Code Writing Month.

Re:Had this idea a decade or so ago... (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575380)

Hmm that's not a bad idea. I imagine it would be a good deal harder to track progress in the same way. I suppose we could go with "write x lines a day" but what about lines deleted/changed/ect? Maybe it could be a timed thing, like "this month you must spend x hours on this project, x/[28,29,30,31] per day".

The problem is that it's easy to quantify when a book is done (you have done x words today) but much harder to quantify the goals for a coding project.

Uncensorable? (5, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574490)

I think China has already demonstrated the ability [wikipedia.org] to censor satellite-based communications.

Re:Uncensorable? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574872)

I was thinking that this would provide excellent live target practice for the next round of US-based "Star Wars" anti-sat laser technology. I mean, the satellites are clearly owned by terrorists and child pornographers, so it's not like anyone's going to mind them disappearing. The Chinese by that point may be as strongly opposed to terrorism and child pornography as the United States, so they would likely cooperate happily in this fish-barrel shoot.

Re:Uncensorable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38575106)

The Chinese are already opposed to "terrorism" (for which read "the existence of the Uighurs")

Re:Uncensorable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38575138)

Which is why they should use asteroids as satellites. Try shooting down one of those puppies.

Laser Links (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574556)

Combine this with laser links between apartments occupied by nerds and we'd have a truly workable decentralized system.

What about money? (2, Insightful)

kikito (971480) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574678)

You know, putting satellites in orbit is kind of expensive. Who is going to pay for all that?

Re:What about money? (2, Funny)

MagikSlinger (259969) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574742)

Pfft! They'll just wire up some servos, an arduino and some hobby rocket motors, and it's all good. :-)

Re:What about money? (2)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574958)

Serious answer SpaceX, they have a really low cost per kilo to launch to LEO, and higher cost to launch to GEO. They will be doing a lot of satellite launches for Iridium to put up their satellite network.

So now the problem is really architecting your standardized satellite not using a standardized picosat or microsat designed for limited experiments, but something meant to be up there for years handling comms.

Then bundle them in a multiple satellite payload of some sort and have them spread to their final orbits from there using precious fuel, or get 50 kilos of payload reserved on a lot of other people's launches.

Why stop there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574718)

I propose making an Empathy Gun.... That'll be much better, right?

If we're dreaming the impossible, why stop at satellites?

Bandwidth? (2)

brit74 (831798) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574738)

But, how much bandwidth would they need (especially considering all the bandwidth torrents consume) and how much bandwidth could one satellite provide? It sounds like they'd need a whole fleet of expensive satellites. Sounds to me like it's either a pipe-dream or a bluff.

Re:Bandwidth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38575090)

how much bandwidth could one satellite provide
Think about how many mpeg streams say directtv does. Then consider that is not exactly new tech...

Re:Bandwidth? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575192)

well, who wouldn't like a bunch of telecom satellites for themselfs to play with?

problem is, who's global grid would that be? theirs? mine? yours? 23432423 chinese villagers?

i wanna help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574832)

do you need extra help? where do i sign?

victorcheng1407@hotmail.com

Re:i wanna help (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38575228)

i really wanna help too, posting AC to protect my identity.

bill.gates@microsoft.com

Nice idea for a perfect world (1)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574854)

..but it's a childish idea that completely ignores the realities that it'd either get fucked up when too many people got involved with it, or it'd be used to commit crimes, or it'd be assumed to be used to commit crimes, so one government or the other would confiscate control of it.

We need to stop indulging in fantasies and accept the reality: We need to save the Internet we have, keep the asshole corporations and the asshole dictators of the world from destroying it. If everyone stopped using the Internet there would be no Internet; the power to shape what the Internet will become is in the hands of the people who use it, not the asshole corporations and dictators of the world. Stand up for it.

Jamming ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574858)

Iran did jam western satellite TV channels recently. So if they can do that, most nations can jam satellites. It is not exactly hard to jam the uplink.
But maybe they just want a downlink ? That would be much more expensive, as a jamming satellite would probably be required.

Re:Jamming ? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575064)

Jamming an uplink is doable, but also prone to cause diplomatic issues. Cutting a neighbouring country's TV off is sure to incite trouble. Iran jams downlinks, which isn't really that hard either. Comsats actually transmit at a surprisingly low power - they have to run off solar - and are a very long way from the receivers. That is why you need a fairly large parabolic collector to pick them up. Such a sensitive receiver is easily overwhelmed by a moderately powerful jamming signal - not even dishes are perfectly directional. Downlink jamming is much more localised.

Hackers on the Moon? (1)

mykepredko (40154) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574884)

When I saw that in the summary, the first thing that came to mind is that a number of people would like put hackers on the moon.

It might rank number two after putting hackers in a blender but it's definitely in the top five.

myke

Moonraker (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574912)

Now I'm imagining Bond in space trying to shoot a bunch of nerds in space who just want to talk about politics.

Voter education (1)

coogan (850562) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574946)

Wouldn't it be better to spend all that effort and money on systems to educate Joe Public out there about what these assholes in power are up to and get them voted out of power or failing that forcibly remove them from the system - remember the 99%?. This is working around the problem instead of attacking it head on.

Amateur Radio Satellites (4, Informative)

Ozoner (1406169) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574980)

Are you aware of the more than 70 Amateur-Radio Satellites which have been launched since 1961?

see http://www.spacetoday.org/Satellites/Hamsats/HamsatsBasics.html [spacetoday.org]

Re:Amateur Radio Satellites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38575252)

Yes, I'm also acutely aware of the 2 functional ones still .. functioning. It's not like they've fallen out of the sky (aside from arissat-1), but batteries go dead and firmwares go haywire.

73

A few hurdles .. (5, Insightful)

n5vb (587569) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575084)

  1. $10k/pound. Maybe less depending on which launch carrier will give you a ride to orbit, and how many sats can be taken up per launch, and how easily you can get each one into the orbit you want. And extra sats, because launch payloads don't always make it [youtube.com] .
  2. Latency. Not as bad as with GEO sat links if you have a constellation of LEO sats, but packet round trip times are going to be seriously long, especially if you have multiple sat-to-sat line-of-sight hops on long connections. Unless you're connecting to a host in the footprint of the same sat you're connecting on, those trip times might cause TCP connections to drop if they're not aware of the longer latency. (This was a major problem with commercial "satellite Internet" ISP's a few years ago, as I recall.)
  3. Infrastructure. There will need to be at least one nameserver on the network, ideally a distributed name service that can propagate from a root name authority, and while it's probably not too outrageous to put the backbone routers on the sats and have them dynamically manage their routing tables based on which sats they can see (and possibly determining their locations via SGPS so they can route geographically) and maybe host the distributed DNS service as well, a fair bit of the core infrastructure and management will have to be on the ground somewhere. If it's in a country that doesn't absolutely love the idea of this system being operational, expect that ground control rackspace to be raided at some point. And if it's in an isolated location that isn't well defended by a willing host country, or the host country becomes unwilling at some point in the future, same hazard. (This actually makes some risks far greater because
  4. Attrition. LEO is LEO, and one of the facts of life at LEO altitudes is drag, at least at perigee. The sats will have to have some propulsion capability to maintain orbit, or more will have to be launched periodically to replace the ones that have de-orbited. Higher altitudes are far less susceptible to drag, but increase latency and possibly exposure to van Allen belt radiation. And there's always the danger of random collisions with space debris at almost any altitude, although low-LEO orbits are a lot more full of trash than higher altitudes.

That's just off the top of my head. A worthy endeavor, but one that would require significant investment and planning.

Re:A few hurdles .. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38575298)

Attrition. LEO is LEO, and one of the facts of life at LEO altitudes is drag, at least at perigee. The sats will have to have some propulsion capability to maintain orbit, or more will have to be launched periodically to replace the ones that have de-orbited. Higher altitudes are far less susceptible to drag, but increase latency and possibly exposure to van Allen belt radiation. And there's always the danger of random collisions with space debris at almost any altitude, although low-LEO orbits are a lot more full of trash than higher altitudes.

That's just off the top of my head. A worthy endeavor, but one that would require significant investment and planning.

You made me curious - could attrition be offset with buoyancy in theory? Or would a balloon at that orbit create more attrition than lift? Now that I'm thinking about it, it seems like maybe the goal should be mesh networks of high altitude balloons instead...

Practicality of mesh network ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38575110)

Wouldn't a mesh network built from volunteers be a more realizable goal?

Passive Optical Reflector - Fresnel Reflector (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38575180)

To start, or as an additional plan, place passive optical reflectors in orbit. They have numerous advantages.

Advantages

* Effectively Unlimited Bandwidth - The better the laser / the more frequency lasers, the greater the communication rate.
* No Electronics
* Weighs Less / Easier to Launch
* Harder to Interfere With

The equipment needed to connect is a tracking telescope retrofitted with a laser and PIN photodiode or photodiode array. A photodiode array can double as the tracking system.

One Major Problem (1)

harl (84412) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575372)

Many nations have already displayed the ability to destroy satellites.

There is no defense against said attacks.

Satellites? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38575420)

Does this really need satellites? I'm not a sat comm expert... but...

What's the bandwidth of a satellite? How much power does it take to get that? How do they supply that? What does it cost?

Is there any reason we couldn't get a similar effect by floating a kite up into the ionosphere and tethering it to our residence? It sure sounds cheaper to me...

I mean, I know there's all sorts of restrictions about big towers... but it seems to me like there ought to be public wireless spectrum that could as readily accomplish the same thing without leaving the atmosphere. Sure you'd have less distance... but when you can fly a kite at up to six miles up there...

It's still gotta be cheaper than a damned satellite launch...

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