The German hacker group Chaos Computer Club recently held a conference in Berlin -- the Chaos Communication Congress -- where they proposed launching their own satellites into space as way to ensure freedom of the Internet. As a longer term goal, they also seek to put the first hacker on the moon.
BBC reports Hackerspace Global Grid (HGG) was proposed partially in response to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) being discussed in the United States. The proposed SOPA would protect against copyright infringement and is supported by those in Hollywood and in the music industry, but others like Google, Facebook, Twitter and Wikipedia think the legislation could lead to Internet censorship. It has even been considered by these big names and many others, if SOPA passes, to go dark as a "nuclear option" to get their point across.
BBC has more on Hackerspace:
"The first goal is an uncensorable internet in space. Let's take the internet out of the control of terrestrial entities," [Nick] Farr said.
In the open-source spirit of Hackerspace, [Armin] Bauer and some friends came up with the idea of a distributed network of low-cost ground stations that can be bought or built by individuals.
Used together in a global network, these stations would be able to pinpoint satellites at any given time, while also making it easier and more reliable for fast-moving satellites to send data back to earth.
"It's kind of a reverse GPS," Mr. Bauer said.
"GPS uses satellites to calculate where we are, and this tells us where the satellites are. We would use GPS co-ordinates but also improve on them by using fixed sites in precisely-known locations."
Mr Bauer said the team would have three prototype ground stations in place in the first half of 2012, and hoped to give away some working models at the next Chaos Communication Congress in a year's time.
BBC reports experts as saying the Hackerspace initiative could work in theory but the feasibility of it being successful would be difficult with technical aspects and financing. Prof. Alan Woodward with the University of Surrey is reported as saying that the communication periods available for satellites launched by amateurs are usually brief, among other issues.
According to BBC, Farr said that the group wants to send a person into space because they consider it "offensive" that available technology hasn't been used to send someone farther than low orbit since 1972.
[H/T PC World]