Parallel Universe Me
Ever since I came to the US, I’ve been asking myself the same question. What’s my alter-ego/parallel-universe-me doing over there in Turkey? Is he happy? Is he broke? Married?Still alive? Admittedly I wasn’t planning on staying there – and I’ve been raised on an airplane. Probably saw more than 50% of the world, and although I can’t think of anywhere else I could have been(?) – and certainly knowing that I wouldn’t be in Turkey – I’ve decided to take being in Turkey for a good parallel.
First things first – I wouldn’t try a career in music. The political state of the country is quite awful, and people already have enough to worry about – so nobody would really care to listen to my music. I’d give my engineering/design skills a chance.
Knowing myself – I would end up making things that people wouldn’t want, and I’d be a broke engineer or designer. I wouldn’t work for a company either. I’d be sad just because I couldn’t leave the country to go somewhere else. (a nordic country?)
I’d try to google to find out about what’s going on all over the world with my VPN servers in Sweden. – That’s right. I’d have to use my VPN – because half the internet is censored / blocked / banned in Turkey. Day by day it gets worse.
Somewhere around 2014 – first week of February government would ip block soundcloud, just because someone posted a tapped phone call of the president, and by doing so would kill the last remaining hope I had for becoming an online musician.
It wouldn’t change the way I see or experience the website – but it would change how other people could access my music. The effects of the censorship wouldn’t be direct – but more likely indirect. (sucks to be the parallel me) –
White Box ?
After spending some seriously dangerous amount of time thinking how crappy my parallel universe life would be (considering how much of a digital-freak I am, and how much I love SEO -heads up: google was blocked for a while too- ) I’ve decided to make something, that shows how fragile freedom is to Americans, who I think have no idea whatsoever about what’s on the horizon.
The fact that I used to pay 100$ a month for the world’s crappiest internet connection, and +25$ a month for a VPN, so I can have ‘free internet’ sounded crazy to most of my friends. It is clear to me, as I’ve seen all stages of it happening – if we don’t do something, freedom of internet is going to sail away from this continent for good, and people will start paying for their privacy, like I had to do.
To show this to everyone, I made a box, that uses a wired internet connection, adds a layer of Tor security, and broadcasts it on wifi, for 50c/hr.
I wanted the box to look as clear and as simple as possible. I wanted it to look innocent, naive but still techy. It runs on a raspberry pi, running (onion pi), has a coin acceptor a small LED, and a fan for the tough summer days.
Ironic it is – yes. Privacy should be free. However I think to brainwash people to pay attention, making them pay is a great way to start. It raises awareness to the fact that privacy soon will be privatized, if nobody acts.
Below are some progress photos, and a video to show the box. In case if anyone’s wondering why there’s a big empty space on the left side – Initially my idea was to put an extra usb charger battery in there, and the battery I had was keeping the box alive for 12 hours. Later I had a power surge when the battery died spontaneously, and I’ve lost all the software on the main boot drive. Of course I had backups, and after a day of re-work, I’ve managed to recover the system, and decidedly cancelled the battery. Didn’t really want to change the shape afterwards, and ended up with this functional white brick 🙂