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New Internet Service Provider Will Defy Government Surveillance (Must Read)

Nicholas Merrill is planning to revolutionize online privacy with a concept as simple as it is ingenious: a telecommunications provider designed from its inception to shield its customers from surveillance.

Merrill, 39, who previously ran a New York-based Internet provider, told CNET that he’s raising funds to launch a national “non-profit telecommunications provider dedicated to privacy, using ubiquitous encryption” that will sell mobile phone service and, for as little as $20 a month, Internet connectivity.

The ISP would not merely employ every technological means at its disposal, including encryption and limited logging, to protect its customers. It would also — and in practice this is likely more important — challenge government surveillance demands of dubious legality or constitutionality.

By contrast, Merrill says his ISP, to be run by a non-profit called the Calyx Institute with for-profit subsidiaries, will put customers first. “Calyx will use all legal and technical means available to protect the privacy and integrity of user data,” he says.

More (It’s worth the read)

A New Sort of “Arms Race”

The U.S. government (specifically the National Security Agency) is presently constructing the mammoth Utah Data Center in a patch of desert between the Wasatch Range and the Oquirrh Mountains. The ambitious mission of the Utah Data Center is to monitor, store, and analyze all relevant signal including (but not limited to) transoceanic cables, private emails, mobile phone calls and Google searches, as well as personal data trails — travel itineraries, purchases, ad infinitum et nauseum. One senior intelligence official who has worked on the project notes, “…everybody’s a target; everybody with communication is a target.”

And so Nicholas Merrill strides into this matrix of surveillance with his built-black-from-the-earth-up darknet, and the race is on!

The company I work for had the opportunity to bid on some work at this new Utah facility. It makes me proud to live in a place that will bury your nuclear waste, baptize you into their church after you are dead (without your permission), and spy on your online activities. Read this, it’s pretty frightening.