In 2008 the state Tax Department spent $258,000 on 55 routers to funnel data from the courthouses to Charleston because the state Supreme Court wanted its own network. A dozen of them were installed.
But at the same time, Daly, who just came back from Rio de Janeiro’s Human Rights and Technology Conference, lamented the talk of vaporware he heard from many people there. Noting that it’s been a year and a half since the FreedomBox Foundation was launched, he issued a call to arms:
Last month Gianato responded to a congressional subcommittee’s questions about the purchase of 1,064 high-capacity Cisco routers for locations including small schools and libraries, following articles in The Charleston Gazette regarding those purchases.
The ultimate goal is to give every internet user, no matter how technophobic, a simple tool that can protect their data from prying hands, be it from ruthless hackers, nosy neighbors, profiling algorithms or repressive governments. The box can either replace a current router or simply sit between an existing router and a modem.
Despite the skepticism and talks of vaporware, Moglen believes the project has already been a success. “I think we’ve passed the point where no matter what happens, we will leave good technology behind,” he said.
Peter Eckersley, the Technology Projects Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, acknowledges that parts of the project are “pretty ambitious,” although he agrees with Soghoian. “There are whole other low-hanging fruit that you can put onto an always-connected server that you can give to people – a FreedomBox – that would be of tremendous use.”