Just when everyone was getting over anonabox’s crowdfunding campaign controversy on Kickstarter, the plug-in tor hardware router has unveiled new campaign on the global platform’s competitor, Indiegogo.
As previously reported, Kickstarter shut down anonabox’s campaign after backers began to called foul on the project through Internet community, Reddit, when its creator, August Germar, claimed that his team had built a “custom” board and case for their miniature router over four years of development. Those who questioned the project quickly found out that the team had only bought an off-the-shelf case from a Chinese supplier and merely increased the flash memory.
The criticism against the project became so severe that its total funding was actually going down rather than continuing to go up. Many backers pulled their pledge faster than others could make them. The comment section became filled with users accusing the campaign of being a scam while others asked Kickstarter to pull the plug.
Sort of addressing the drama on Kickstarter and Reddit, the anonabox team wrote, “We first made a Kickstarter project for this. Our primary goal was to attract attention from developers who wanted to polish the code and bring a device like this to people who needed it, and maybe even have some fun along the way. We had never done a crowdfunding project before, but thought the visibility of the site would help draw attention to the project from the developer community.
“Turns out, most of the people who saw it just wanted the device, but we got a lot of input from developers and the Open Source community as well. We never dreamed there would so much interest in this idea! We are happy we were wrong because now the attention and feedback we received was enough to make the device better than ever. The Open Source community rose to the occasion, and concerns were raised about the code for the operating system and configuration.
“Whereas the version posted was a plain vanilla proof of concept for developers like us to work on all the feedback allowed us to make the software better than ever too, and now we have an extremely secure updated version of the software and configs based on an updated version of the Open Source project called P.O.R.T.A.L, which is audited and maintained by one of the most respected members of the security community known as the grugq. We are also incorporating many ideas implemented by Jacob Applebaums work on the Debian branch of the Tor hardware router project to make sure it is as secure as possible.
“Our initial plan was to find people who wanted to work with us on a project to develop these devices, we asked for $7,500 and received 80 times that amount. With this money came an overwhelming influx of support and assistance, as well as scrutiny and criticism, all of which have been helpful in reshaping this new launch of a finalized, polished version of the product.”
Now that we know so many others share our interest in this device we are more excited than ever to get these into the hands of the people who want it. The interest in we saw was inconceivable before it was posted originally, but now that we know the scale of interest we are better prepared than ever to meet that demand.
The anonabox’s new version, “Gen 5,” is described as an all new totally custom circuit board that is available “nowhere else in the world.” It has redesigned outer case and smaller form factor along with a hardened version of OpenWrt, the Open Source Operating system. It comes with the latest version of Tor software and more secure configuration.
Sharing details about the design, Germar took to the campaign’s update section and wrote, “We have decided to go out of our way this time to make sure the anonabox design looks and feels unlike anything else available. We decided having the LAN and WAN ports on opposite sides of the device would be more intuitive. This image is a 3-D rendering of the auto-cad files. The only thing left before the soft tool is made is to label the LAN and WAN ports. The current PCB (printed circuit board) has the WAN on the same side as the USB power port.”
Since its debut on Indiegogo on Saturday (November 8th), the campaign has already surpassed its initial $13,370 and is currently at $17,857. It is set to close on December 8th.
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