This Internet provider pledges to put your privacy first – always

“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,” Declan McCullagh reports for CNET.

“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,” McCullagh reports. “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.”

McCullagh reports, “His recipe for Calyx was inspired by… six years of interminable legal wrangling with the Feds: Take wireless service like that offered by Clear, which began selling 4G WiMAX broadband in 2009. Inject end-to-end encryption for Web browsing. Add e-mail that’s stored in encrypted form, so even Calyx can’t read it after it arrives. Wrap all of this up into an easy-to-use package and sell it for competitive prices, ideally around $20 a month without data caps, though perhaps prepaid for a full year.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “David G.” for the heads up.]

29 Comments

    1. The FBI needs an industrial strength leash strapped to it. They have been on a rogue charge and have shat all over our rights as Americans. The level of paranoia and expectation of privilege in our nation’s law enforcement is galling, disturbing and in need of correction.

      Regardless of your political viewpoint most Americans value their civil liberties and consider them NOT open to casual violation or negotiation. The last 20 years and especially the last decade have seen a continuous assault upon our privacy rights, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and habeus corpus.

      I understand thee need for security and law enforcement having been the holder of a high level clearance myself during the Cold War while in the Army. But more importantly one cannot save freedom by the destruction of it and politicians of both parties have been all too quick to throw away our rights at the altar of the false god of national security.

      Franklin is famously quoted saying those willing to trade liberty for security are worthy of neither and I wholeheartedly agree.

      1. Exactly! To be honest, I hardly see eye-to-eye with your posts, but this entire post is spot on. I’d say it has to do with our age as we’ve both lived through and witnessed the changes you mention.

  1. If you followed the link you would see that the startup has a crowd-sourcing page up and running. Kickstarter opted out so it is at IndieGogo.com.

    It might be time to put your money where your mouth is.

  2. I can understand that agencies like the FBI have legitimate needs for tracking (e.g. terrorists and child porn rings), and I’m okay with this as long as there are judicial restraints (probable cause and warrants). It’s the Nigerian princes, eastern European scammers and hypocritical Googles of the world from whom I want anonymity.

  3. “non-profit telecommunications provider”

    There’s the kiss of death right there. If he wants to make it work nationwide, he’ll have to create a swarm of profit induced greed.

  4. It is a satisfying idea, but I believe there’s been much more erosion than anyone even begins to realize. … and make no mistake, there’s nothing partisan about this issue at all. Sometimes it seems like the partisan extremizm that gets more intense by the year is meant to obfuscate the very points of this thread.

    It’s worth a shot though.

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