PirateBox

PirateBox is a self-contained mobile communication and file sharing system. Simply turn it on to transform any space into a free and open communications and file sharing network.

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Share (and chat!) Freely Inspired by pirate radio and the free culture movements, PirateBox utilizes Free, Libre and Open Source software (FLOSS) to create mobile wireless communications and file sharing networks where users can anonymously chat and share images, video, audio, documents, and other digital content.

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Private and Secure PirateBox is designed to be private and secure. No logins are required and no user data is logged. Users remain anonymous – the system is purposely not connected to the Internet in order to subvert tracking and preserve user privacy.

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Easy to Use Using the PirateBox is easy. Simply turn it on and transform any space into a free communication and file sharing network. Users within range of the device can join the PirateBox open wireless network from any wifi-enabled device and begin chatting and sharing files immediately. See the short video demonstration below for more details.

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DIY PirateBox was created by David Darts and is registered under the GNU GPLv3. This license grants the right to freely copy, distribute, and transform creative works according to the principles of copyleft.

FAQ

How does it work?
Simply turn PirateBox on to transform any space into a temporary communication and wireless file sharing network. When users join the PirateBox wireless network and open a web browser, they are automatically redirected to the PirateBox welcome page. Users can then immediately begin chatting and/or uploading or downloading files.

PirateBox runs on multiple devices, including wireless routers, single-board computers, laptops, and mobile phones.

Can I make my own PirateBox?
Absolutely! The PirateBox is registered under the GNU GPLv3. You can run it on an existing device or can be built as a stand-alone device for as little as US$35. For detailed instructions, visit the PirateBox DIY page.

Where can I read more about the PirateBox?
Visit the PirateBox Press page for a listing of and links to more than 175 stories about the PirateBox.

Where can I find more photos of the PirateBox?
Check out the PirateBox Gallery.

Where can I find more videos of the PirateBox?
Check out these PirateBox Videos.

Why did you build the PirateBox?
The PirateBox solves a technical/social problem by providing people in the same physical space with an easy way to anonymously communicate and exchange files. This obviously has larger cultural and political implications thus the PirateBox also serves as an artistic provocation. See this ars technica article and this New Scientist article for more info.

Why did you call it the PirateBox?
The PirateBox is inspired by the free culture and pirate radio movements. The name is a playful remixing of the title of the world’s most resilient bittorrent site, The Pirate Bay.

Does the PirateBox promote stealing?
No. The PirateBox is designed to facilitate communication and sharing between friends and local community members.

What are you currently sharing on your PirateBox?
I’ve seeded my box with a variety of songs, books, and videos. At the moment, my PirateBox includes a collection of stories by Cory Doctorow, Abbie Hoffman’s Steal this Book, DJ Danger Mouse’s The Grey Album, Girl Talk’s Feed the Animals, a collection of songs by Jonathan Coulton and some animations by Nina Paley.

Who helped you build the PirateBox?
My friend Aaron Williamson from the Software Freedom Law Center provided some much needed technical advice. Matthias Strubel is the lead developer and has been very active in continuing to expand and improve the PirateBox project. Special props also to Christiane Ruetten who originally ported PirateBox to OpenWrt.

Do you know of any other projects similar to PirateBox?
Yes, check out Aram Bartholl’s fantastic Dead Drops. Also visit Jason Griffey’s PirateBox fork LibraryBox and the CoWBox (CoWorking Box).

Where can I discuss the PirateBox?
Post a comment below and/or visit the PirateBox Forum.

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