Monday June 17, 2019

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NYU Professor Designs File-Sharing Program for Students

New York University

Image via Wikipedia

David Darts, a professor at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, has invented a portable device that allows users to share files through an open network. The contraption, named PirateBox, essentially enables people in the vicinity to access a public WiFi connection, whereby they are also able to upload and share files anonymously, and chat with other users anonymously as well.

The original idea came when he wanted to find a way to help his students produce collaborative art projects through the use of open-source software and social media. However, he wanted the students to be able to share their large files quickly and easily.Taking the idea of public access to the next level, Darts decided to post the blueprint for making the device on his website, but with a Free Art License, disallowing anyone from patenting any similar device. Access to the network is completely anonymous, unlike normal internet connection, which keeps logs and IP addresses able to track users.

Shortly after its conception, the PirateBox received critical acclaim from the popular geek blog, Boing Boing, which subsequently caused massive public response. People from around the world began emailing Darts so according to The Square, he started an online blog allowing people to post questions, comments and ideas regarding the PirateBox. The conversations have since sparked others to pursue creating their own versions of the device. One individual built an alternative the could run on a laptop alone; and another built one that runs from an Android phone.

The Square