system interfaces for humans, by humans

Byzantium —

A day or two ago, a comment was posted linking to a project very similar to this one. It’s called ‘Project Byzantium‘, and it’s aiming to create a bootable OS that allows easy creation of a wireless mesh network.

While I intend to continue moving forward with my research, I will be taking a hard look at what Byzantium has put together. It may be more productive for me to contribute to the live OS, and then customize and automate it as necessary to work on the hardware I have in mind, rather than re-invent the wheel.

Just to be clear, unless something drastic happens, I will not be merging the DarkPi project with Project Byzantium. My focus is on the hardware and autonomy possibilities of a mesh network of this kind.

IPv6 and HTTPS —

With the World IPv6 launch yesterday, there has been a lot of attention and a lot of activity on the process of getting sites IPv6 ready and enabled. As of 10am PST, this site has an IPv6 address, and depending on if your DNS server has updated yet, you can view the site entirely over IPv6. Not showing up for you? Check to see if the AAAA record has propagated yet.

In other news, I’ve ordered an SSL Secure Certificate for this site from Comodo. Within the next few days, you should automatically get redirected to “” when you access this site.

I have read some information about the security or lack therof for IPv6. If anyone has some familiarity with this topic, I would welcome any and all comments.

CALEA Compliance —

A recent comment called my attention to a law called the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act. Thanks David, I hadn’t even considered the possibility of hardware backdoors compromising the intents of this project.

My thoughts on CALEA (Wikipedia article, EFF article)

First, the intent of the darknet is to make any sort of tracking or wiretapping impossible even if you are on the same node as the person you are trying to track.

Secondly, I don’t know if any (or all) of the hardware I’m looking at has CALEA backdoors built in. I need to do more research on this.

Ideally, this project would fall outside CALEA. I’m not a “telecommunications carrier” or a “manufacturer of telecommunications equipment”, I’m doing this as a hobby, and will be showing other people how to do the same, and maybe making a few for friends, neighbors, and family. But, I doubt this would hold up in court if the FBI or some other agency decided that I was “a threat” of some sort.

Potential solution: obfuscation and encryption. Wiretapping or monitoring will do absolutely no good if the data returned is meaningless. How to encrypt traffic over an open network?

Potential solution 2: Possibility of requiring the use of a client, like Tor? This could make ease of access a problem.

Potential solution 3: In theory, all web/http traffic could be rerouted/redirected to https, similar to how the Tor browser bundle does or the “https everywhere” plugin, but on the node/access point side rather than client side, using IPTables or something similar.

Related thought: I wonder if it would be possible to build a Tor relay into each node? This would possibly attract attention from the creators of Tor and give people an easy way to support both Tor and a darknet.

Router Firmware and other things —

I recently had a conversation about the project with one of Oregon State University’s teachers. He had a lot of good suggestions, starting with an idea for the router.

He suggested finding a router that supports DDWRT, a linux based router firmware designed to get extreme performance out of low end devices like the the Linksys WRT54G. The WRT54G is far too large and power hungry to work for the minimalisic ideal that this project is aiming for, so some testing will be required to find the best trade off between power and efficiency. Alternatively, something like the the Ubiquiti Wifistation is specifically designed to provide wifi over greater distances (they claim over 150mbps speeds at 100 meters) might be a better choice, if it can be persuaded to work in ad-hoc mode to both connect to the mesh and connect to other devices.

The professor also suggested that in addition to solar and induction power that I look into thermoelectric power. This technology allows you go generate a trickle of energy with the transfer of heat energy. Companies such as Perpetua are working on easy to deploy generators using this tech, and DIY thermoelectric generators are possible too.

Finally, he suggested that for future research, I consider the sensor networking courses offered by Portland State University. I don’t think I’m quite to a point on this where I can start taking the classes, but it looks promising, and I’m putting it up here for my future referance.

Mission Statement —

The mission of the DarkPi project is to create a modular self healing wireless darknet. This project is still in the theoretical stages, but you are welcome to discuss, suggest, and critique the project.

All information on this site is free and openly available to anyone, and may be used in a similar way by anyone who wants to. If you use the information here somewhere else, a link showing DarkPi as the source would be appreciated.