Being prepared begins with being informed. Until now, there has been no way to reliably receive information in the event of a disaster that compromises terrestrial networks. This could happen from a natural disaster or military conflict that destroys the physical infrastructure, a cyber attack, or censorship of information analagous to what happened in Egypt during the Arab Spring or when Turkey blocked Twitter. Fortunately, we have created Outernet, a satellite-based broadcast system delivering critical information to the entire world for free.
Here are some features of Outernet that make it an absolutely critical addition to your disaster kit:
Completely independent of terrestrial disaster interference
Outernet is satellite-based, so Earth-based disaster would not affect our ability to broadcast. Similarly, we have several transponders based all over the world, so any one transponder going down would not affect the viability of the system. Outernet also pulls content from hundreds of continuously updated sources, so the information we distribute is not centralized.
Lantern is solar-powered, compact, and can charge your device
In standby mode, Lantern (Outernet’s first receiver) continuously receives information from small satellites in orbit that pass overhead at regular intervals. This is a low-power state, giving Lantern extended battery life. To use the information on Lantern, turn its Wi-Fi hotspot on and connect. Lantern’s solar panels can be used to charge Lantern and Lantern can plug into your device to charge it as well. For the next three days, our first receiver called “Lantern” is available for pre-order on IndieGoGo. We raised our goal of $200,000 in just five days and now, at the end of our campaign, we are trying to reach $500,000 to let us increase our broadcast bandwidth from 2 MB/day to 10 MB/day. We also publish plans to let anyone build their own receiver.
All information is completely anonymous
Because of the way information is delivered over Outernet – a one-way data broadcast – it is impossible for user behavior to be tracked. It is not a question of us protecting your privacy and then getting a subpoena forcing us to turn over your information – we can’t. Think of how a radio station could not track what songs you listen to on your radio.
Here is how it works:
To go back to the radio analogy, Outernet is a lot like FM radio except we broadcast information instead of music. We use radio waves, just at a different frequency from FM radio. Instead of using radio towers, we use satellites. Just like a FM radio, a Lantern or homemade receiver turns the radio waves into information. An FM radio turns them into songs, Lantern turns them into files. An FM radio then uses speakers to create sound, which is heard by your ears. Lantern uses a Wi-Fi hotspot that your phone, tablet, computer, or other Wi-Fi-capable device listens too.
By purchasing a Lantern, you are not only adding a cutting edge piece of communication technology to your disaster kit, you are supporting Outernet. Right now, 4.3 billion people on Earth do not have Internet access. That is another way of saying that over half of humanity cannot access the largest library ever built. Imagine what we could accomplish if everyone on Earth could get an education, read the news, and reach their intellectual potential. What great things would we accomplish?
Help us build Humanity’s Public Library and let’s find the answer.