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A free software system built to keep your communications free and private whether chatting with friends or protesting in the street. Read more

New York, NY Hardware
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pledged of $60,000 goal
seconds to go


This project was successfully funded on March 19, 2011.

A free software system built to keep your communications free and private whether chatting with friends or protesting in the street.

New York, NY Hardware
Share this project
Ian Sullivan
Project by

Ian Sullivan

First created  |  2 backed

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About this project

Beyond 60

We've reached our initial fundraising goal, but we're still going strong. More money helps us found the project stronger, reach goals faster and explore more technologies of freedom. We're proud of the Freedom Box Foundation's public roots, and we want to be able to demonstrate support and interest from as many people as possible. So thank you to everyone who has pledged so far and please, keep pledging and keep giving.

$60K was a floor, not a ceiling. It is the minimum we need to start making this a real project, but it is not enough to fully fund the project. The more money we raise from the public, the more money we can raise from industry and grants. Even $1 donations help us prove the viability of our efforts.

We are right now trying to get some public attention focused on how quickly we hit $60K. So keep telling your friends about the project and the this site. We'd like to surge over the top and finish strong.

Congratulations to us all for the collective effort we've made so far. And thanks again, for all your ideas, your time, your energy and your donations!

Welcome web readers!

If you're coming from the any of the recent stories about Eben Moglen and the creation of the FreedomBox Foundation (NY Times, WSJ, BoingBoing, Slashdot, reddit, ZDNet, The New York Observer, New Europe, techPresident, etc) please check out the FreedomBox Foundation's website and read here for more information about the project.

What is Freedom Box?

Freedom Box is the name we give to a free software system built to keep your communications free and private whether chatting with friends or protesting in the street.

Freedom Box software is particularly tailored to run in "plug servers," which are compact computers that are no larger than the power adapters for electronic appliances.

Located in people's homes or offices such inexpensive servers can provide privacy in normal life, and safe communications for people seeking to preserve their freedom in oppressive regimes.

Why Freedom Box?

Because social networking and digital communications technologies are now critical to people fighting to make freedom in their societies or simply trying to preserve their privacy where the Web and other parts of the Net are intensively surveilled by profit-seekers and government agencies. Yet, instead of technology supporting these new modes of communications, smartphones, mobile tablets, and other common forms of consumer electronics are being built as "platforms" to control their users and monitor their activity.

Freedom Box exists to provide people with privacy-respecting technology alternatives that enable normal communication in normal times, and that offer ways to collaborate safely and securely with others in building social networks of protest, demonstration, and mobilization for political change in the not-so-normal times.

Imagine if your next wireless router, or settop box, or other small computing device came with extra features. It knew how to securely contact your friends and business associates, it stored your personal data, securely backing it up and generally maintaining your presence in the various networks you have come to rely on for communicating with people in society.

Such a box would not only make your participation in network communication easier in your daily life, increasing your privacy and the security of computers in your life, it would have many unique advantages during times of crisis.

Such a box could help in disasters by creating a mesh network with your neighbors to replace the centralized internet connections that go out with the lights or are cut by hostile governments. Such a box would make it harder for governments and invasive corporate interests to reach your data and casually profile you for their own uses. Such a box would also let you lend aid to friends in need by sharing your unfettered internet access with those trapped behind government firewalls that prevent them from learning about the world or speaking plainly to it.

Such boxes exist in the form of plug computers and mesh routers, tiny, inexpensive machines that can take the place of other electronics in your life, that draw so little power (often as little as 5W) that they can be run off of batteries or solar panels. We even have free software, software meant to empower and support individuals, to do all of the things mentioned above.

What we need is the glue to hold all of that together, the architecture of which pieces stack together in which way to turn a collection of possibilities into an appliance so easy to use that you forget you even have one, at least until that moment when you really need it. The FreedomBox Foundation was built to put this all together. It was started by community leaders with long track records and lives as a community project. But the past few months have shown us all that there are millions of people around the world who need such a device now and we need to pick up the pace and get them made so that next time, our friends have some help. That is why we are asking for your help.

In Need of Community Angels

There are many people out there, in many different communities, who feel the same way we do about profiling, internet kill switches, and the need to give people greater independence in their network communications, but turning all that interest and the offers of help into a real software suite is going to take coordination, organization, and bringing people together in focused groups to get this system built. That is why the FreedomBox Foundation was created, but it requires real work and a real demonstration of community size and support to keep everything moving. If we can meet our funding goal now, we can start doing that work full time, build road maps for the core components, and put together a series of conferences/hack days to pull the community together.

The Freedom Box is a community based endeavor from the ground up. That includes everything from architecture and engineering through to administration and funding. It's the reason why we're seeking the first round of investment from our own community. We want it to be clear that this project begins and remains in the hands of the people who give it life at every stage and in every part of the project.

Almost all the software we need to make this work is already out there in the free software world, but if we are going to pull it all together, first we need to get up to speed. Please join us and help keep the momentum going from 0 to 60!

When will we get the software?

The release timeline for this software depends a good deal on how much support we can gather this month, which is why we are reaching out now. If we can reach our goal, we hope to release a first version of the software six months later. This is our best working etimate but we will know a lot more in the next 30 days and will continue to update everyone here and on the Foundation's website. If you are pledging enough for any of the software rewards ($50 and up), know that we hope to have everything shipped out within in week of the 0.1 release, if not on the release day itself, and please keep your eye here and on the Foundation site for updates.


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

Ask a question


  • You selected
    Pledge $1 or more

    197 backers

    Help. Every dollar does and everyone who gives will be thanked in the release notes for the 0.1 version of the Freedom Box software on our website.

  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    277 backers

    Thanked in the release notes, plus:

    Limited edition Freedom Box "Angel" sticker so you can show the world that you knew freedom back when it was underground.

  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    182 backers

    Everything above, plus:

    A custom made FreedomBox Foundation MicroSD card reader so you can keep your freedom running in style and a MicroSD card loaded with Freedom Box software so you can get involved using your computer and internet connection as well as with your funds.

    (Free US shipping. Canada and Mexico please add $5, other international pledges, please add $10.)

  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    118 backers

    Everything above, plus:

    A limited edition Freedom Box "Angel" tee shirt. Take your freedom with you to the streets.

    (Free US shipping. Canada and Mexico please add $10, for other international pledges, please add $15.)

  • You selected
    Pledge $125 or more

    52 backers

    Everything above, plus:

    Master your software, not the other way around. We are going to make a limited run of CDs for the first Freedom Box software release. These "Master" CD, which will include on them the release notes thanking all contributers, will be signed by the FreedomBox Foundation team as a special thanks.

    (Free US shipping. Canada and Mexico please add $10, other international pledges, please add $15.)

  • You selected
    Pledge $200 or more

    30 backers

    Everything above, plus:

    Take your freedoms with you! $200 or more and you will need a bag to carry all our thanks and thank yous. So that is just what you'll get, a limited edition Freedom Box "Angel" bag.

    (Free US shipping, Canada and Mexico please add $15, other international pledges, please add $20.)

  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    7 backers

    Everything above, plus:

    We're fond of pointing out that the plug computer hardware needed to run a project like the Freedom Box already exists and for $1,000 we'll make a custom one with the FreedomBox design so you can get your own Freedom Box up and running.

    (Shipping included)

  • You selected
    Pledge $1,500 or more

    16 backers

    In honor of your generosity, the FreedomBox Foundation team will personally sign your custom plug computer and we will laser etch each one with a serial number to show that you helped at the very beginning. First pledged, first in line for early numbered plugs.

    (Shipping included)
    (Note: this reward replaces the unsigned plug computer offered at the previous pledge level but does include all other rewards above it on the list)

  • You selected
    Pledge $5,000 or more

    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    Signed hardware, everything from the $500 level and below, plus:

    For those truly inspired by the idea of a FreedomBox, this is your chance to sit down in New York and have dinner with the founder of the freedombox movement. Dinner will take place in New York City, though we may be able to organize a webcam presence, or other arrangement, if travel to NYC is a problem. The restaurant will ultimately be Eben's choice but suggestions are welcome.

Funding period

- (30 days)