I think people do need to really consider the ramifications of these sort of intrusions into our privacy. The "if you've got nothing to hide" mantra really just doesn't hold up.
That's what lead engineer and founder Justin Clacherty from Brisbane outfit Redfish said when I asked him about the new Open Router Project he's launched today.
He's right. The era of "if you have nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear" is over. Edward Snowden showed us that we have plenty of both. Launched today is the first home-focussed network device that harmonises the home Internet connection's privacy with the curtains on the windows, the frosted glass in the bathroom and the locks on the doors. The site bills it as;
a secure, high speed networking device that maintains your online privacy simply, across all the devices in your home.
When Justin asked me what I thought of the idea a few months back I was both excited and I'll admit a little sad. The idea that online privacy had unarguably degraded to the point that innovators like Justin were having ideas like ORP1 was a bit of an indictment but it was great that answers to the problems posed by illegal government surveillance and prying eyes were being thought up. A home device that replaces the cheap, featureless and increasingly-unsafe set of blinking lights you have under your TV is a great idea.
The Indiegogo project funding the ORP1 gives more detail;
...a high performance networking router that allows you to run a firewall, IPSec VPN (virtual private network) and a TOR server for your home network. Its easy-to-use web interface will make encrypted and anonymised communications for your entire network easier to set up and manage. Now you don’t need to be a geek to be able to ensure that every device you use at home uses the internet with privacy, whether it’s your home PC, smartphone or tablet.
Quite a package. When asked if it was necessary for home Justin explained.
Most definitely I think that surveillance has gone too far. Don't get me wrong, I understand the need for surveillance and intelligence gathering. Police and other law enforcement have the need to conduct surveillance, but the requirement to prove a need to do this to a court should be required. When governments and organisations are conducting mass warrant-less surveillance on innocent people, or are pushing to gather and retain information on our communications "just in case" we do something wrong, it's just not good enough. We need to stop this from happening, and the best way to do that is both make it difficult for them technically, and make it difficult for them politically.
Hear hear. It's great to see practical, home level responses to some of the revelations in privacy lately. I'm going to make sure I get on board and I recommend you do too.
Image: Copyright ORP1 2013.