The ‘Tor of cellphone networks’ is in the pipeline

  • A New York City programmer has been laying the groundwork for an open source, DIY cellphone network.
  • The network, called Sopranica, will allow smartphone owners to make calls, send texts and eventually browse the Internet with total anonymity.
  • In January, Denver Gingerich published the code or the first part of Sopranica called JMP. This is a way of using the secure XMPP instant messaging protocol, better known as Jabber, to transmit voice and text from an anonymous phone number.
  • The next phase will create the physical infrastructure for the cell network with a community radio network. This will involve people hosting small radio devices in their homes to provide access points.
  • Gingerich says it will already work for users within range of Wi-Fi, but the network infrastructure will grant users access to the service even when they’re not near Wi-Fi.
  • Gingerich admits that giving strangers access points through people’s home routers could open the door to network attacks, but says they are looking at ways of solving this.
  • He says the biggest challenge for Sopranica will be competing with the multi-megabit speeds of most carriers.

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