The NSA scandal has ruffled the feathers of even the biggest birds in the Internet eyrie. Google slaughters whatever services it sees fit, despite public outcry. These are grave days for the little people of the Internet. But one 23-year-old developer has planted his flag in the ground, hoping to give us all a little of our own online power back.
His name is Jacob Cook, and he first took note of the troubling shift within the Internet's powers that be when Google killed Reader, a popular RSS reader. Until then, Google had been a force for good in Cook's mind, but in his words:
"Their shutdown of Google Reader earlier this year means that none of the services [we] rely upon are sacrosanct if they are not profitable enough for them."
The NSA snooping scandal went a step further, forcing Cook to do something. Taking up the tools at his disposal, he developed a server which each end-user can take into their home. It's called arkOS and what it represents is a return to safety for the citizens of the Internet. Housed in the frame of a Raspberry Pi, arkOS would allow each of us to host our own email, file-sharing, chat and web sites from our own living rooms. It would also keep our data more secure than any of the big companies out there have been willing to as of late:
"The idea that the NSA and its global counterparts can have nearly free reign in the networks of these large companies makes users a target. Moving users out into self-hosted nodes makes sense from this perspective: It makes wholesale data collection many times more difficult. And when coupled with proper cryptography and secure setups by design, it makes NSA-style snooping practically impossible."
When fully realized, arkOS will be a simple device that users can plug into their Ethernet port. From there they'll be able to install plugins for each cloud service they desire. Cook's vision is one of an Internet with a safe, reliable home for everyone's personal data. A place where you won't be snooped on and which won't just delete your data at a whim. If you share his goal, think about jumping on board by helping fund arkOS here. Cook is looking to raise $45,000 in order to make arkOS a reality. As of the writing of this article, he's already raised over $19,000 with 22 days remaining in his campaign.