April 12, 2012, 10:38 AM —
flickr/Tony Fischer Photography
Nicholas Merrill fought the FBI's request for access to confidential information, and won. He wants to go national.
Using the non-profit Calyx Institute, with for-profit subsidiaries, Merrill plans a privacy-first ISP and eventually mobile wireless carrier. Based on the wireless 4G provider Clear, Merrill adds end-to end encryption to all communications, including email. This allows him to block CALEA (Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act) requests for user information, because he won't have the ability to read the encrypted data.
While the FBI and other government snoops certainly don't appreciate Merrill's business plan, they have no way to actively fight against his new ISP. As more and more ISPs get involved in the "Going Dark" movement, surveillance will be more difficult. Of course, as they did in 2008 after the scandal broke about AT&T proving special rooms for the NSA to monitor traffic, Congress can make illegal surveillance practices retroactively legal.
Personally I think this is very exciting. Governments' game has been to make secret deals for surveillance; by announcing openly that they won't cooperate, this company will either succeed or may force the government to state openly the level of surveillance they demand.
billybob on news.ycombinator.com
Privacy as good business
I like the idea, and I especially like the idea of a 501c3 (which subsidizes the added costs over commercial baseline) coupled with a commercial company (which charges normal rates for service.
rdl on news.ycombinator.com
Well I'll join since I don't have anything to hide but I do believe in promoting the right to privacy. At least it will be demonstrating to the market that privacy is a selling point.
Fingal on cnet.com
Privacy doesn't matter
Those interested can contribute at IndieGogo.