£595
pledged of £70,000pledged of £70,000 goal
12
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, November 20 2016 10:00 PM UTC +00:00
£595
pledged of £70,000pledged of £70,000 goal
12
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, November 20 2016 10:00 PM UTC +00:00

About

The UK Government is about to pass an incredibly intrusive new law; the Investigatory Powers Bill.

Among other new powers this bill will force ISPs to record meta-data about every website you visit, every Internet server your devices connect to (e.g. that your apps contacted Twitter, Facebook, Pokemon GO et al) and they will have to keep that information for up to 12 months.

The last chance to remove this element from the legislation failed in the House of Lords yesterday (17/10/16)

Brass Horn Comms was incorporated in 2015 as a non-profit ISP with the purpose of helping people protect their privacy in light of increased mass surveillance. We do this by offering Unix shells with TLS enforcing email, operating UK based Tor relays and will soon be running surveillance self defense workshops.

But there's a bigger plan; to show the Government that we have a right to privacy online by building a form of broadband network where a modem / router connects to a private WAN that only contains Tor Bridges thereby negating ICRs and the public 'first hop' for connecting to Tor.

We would not be able to monitor what our customers are doing online even if instructed to do so. (Using Tor or TAILs will prevent any ISP from seeing what you do online. You do not need OnionDSL to blind your ISPs ICRs!)

What Has Brass Horn Comms Done So Far?

Became a Local Internet Registry:

One of the issues Tor relay operators experience is that some hosting providers don't understand Tor so they may explicitly ban the deployment of exit nodes or even bridges and middle relays.

Becoming an autonomous part of the Internet means that transit providers (the ISPs for ISPs) with their "mere conduit" protections do not interfere with our traffic and this allows brass Horn Comms to host websites, Tor relays, bridges and Exits with zero friction.

Deployed Servers 

Once this little corner of the Internet was up and running, servers were needed to act as shell servers for members, run ISP services (email, DNS etc) and as the Tor Relays, Bridges and Exits.

These servers are
- services01.brasshorncomms.uk
- services02.brasshorncomms.uk
- services03.brasshorncomms.uk
- shells01.brasshorncomms.uk

There are also several other servers from 3rd party vendors that allow the running of Tor middle relays but their stability cannot be guaranteed.

Deployed Tor Relays and Exits

There are several Tor relays within the Brass Horn Comms 'Family' including 4 UK based Exit relays. Plans are in place to launch many more at 100Mbit/s+ in the coming months.

BrassHornComms Tor Relays
BrassHornComms Tor Relays

 

Arranged Wholesale Provision

Having discussed OnionDSL with a prominent, privacy advocating UK broadband wholesaler they have provisionally agreed to assist in managing the various 'last mile' elements involved in wholesale DSL provision.

Wholesale provision is everything from the copper phone line in your home, the BT Exchanges DSLAMs etc all the way through to the fibre connections to our equipment.

If necessary we can perform L2TP/IPSEC tunneling between your modem/router and our LNS to ensure that even the wholesaler can't monitor your traffic (although it would be 100% Tor traffic anyway).

So What's Next?

Offering Tor or VPN services over-the-top of a normal Internet connection is the most common way for people to connect, however misconfigurations and exploits can result in leaked meta data or clear net browsing that can compromise your privacy.

The OnionDSL design however is a closed network between your DSL modem and the Brass Horn Comms Tor bridges which may make the collection of Internet Connection Records (and by extension other forms of bulk surveillance) less effective.

This is achieved by only issuing private IP addresses to remote endpoints which if 'leaked' won't identify you or Brass Horn Communications as your ISP. (Furthermore your computers aren't technically connected to the Internet so can't communicate to the servers that the exploits need to connect to in order to leak your address.) Your router / PCs connect directly to the Tor bridge(s) in order to reach the Internet.

PPPoE Link showing operational Tor capability
PPPoE Link showing operational Tor capability

What we don't know is whether this is something people want to exist (either as a product itself or simply as a way to protest Government surveillance)

By kickstarting the capital costs of this project it will be possible to deploy this idea in the real world rather than a lab. If it works OnionDSL can enable privacy sensitive establishments such as refuge shelters, libraries and places of worship help their charges to protect their privacy and maintain their anonymity.

As an added bonus we all get to show the UK Government that we won't just sit idly by as they turn this country into the Panopticon State.

Key Expenses

IXP Presence

Fibres To Internet Exchange Points Allow us to exchange traffic with other ISPs
Fibres To Internet Exchange Points Allow us to exchange traffic with other ISPs

 

Internet Exchange Points are where ISPs and content providers inter-connect their networks to share traffic between each other as effectively as possible.

Connecting to an IXP will reduce transit costs, bring existing Tor relays / bridges as close as possible to other UK ISPs (for those using our public bridges) and our exits as close as possible to content providers.

Backhaul to Wholesale PoP

Fibres To the Wholesale PoP allows our equipment to communicate directly with your modem/router
Fibres To the Wholesale PoP allows our equipment to communicate directly with your modem/router

 

Wholesale DSL providers have Points of Presence where they consolidate the fibres from various BT / TalkTalk etc DSLAMs (the technology that turns DSL into ATM/Ethernet).

We need to connect our equipment in a data center in Reading directly to one of these PoPs in London so that our routers (and the Tor bridges) can communicate directly with your modem/router/PCs using full size packets.

Wholesale DSL / L2TP

Wholesale DSL handles everything from the copper phone line in your building, through the BT exchange and onto the wholesale PoP
Wholesale DSL handles everything from the copper phone line in your building, through the BT exchange and onto the wholesale PoP

 

A wholesale provider will charge for;

  • An ongoing cost for connecting the Brass Horn Comms network equipment to the 'broadband' side of the equation
  • Bandwidth used between the DSL modem and our routers
  • Initial equipment purchases
  • Physical ports on their routers
  • Admin / setup costs for LAC/LNS equipment & turning up ports etc
  • Ongoing costs for bandwidth used

Cost Breakdowns

Setting up a broadband ISP is quite expensive even when one secures lower than normal quotes by virtue of being a non-profit.

Favorable contract terms are usually found at 36 months (3 years). The funds raised here will give us 3 years of runtime to build the basic elements of the infrastructure, test it out at a small scale and hopefully build a customer base that will cover the on-going costs.

The setup costs cover new equipment and standard setup charges from transit providers.

Estimated Setup Costs
Estimated Setup Costs

Annual costs are the fixed costs of having fibres between data centers, connected ports at the IXP and connections to the transit / wholesale providers.

Estimated Annual Costs
Estimated Annual Costs

Please remember that Brass Horn Communications is a non-profit entity so every penny we receive will go towards operating this service.

Rewards:

Brass Horn Comms Membership

Membership provides you with access to our full disk encrypted OpenBSD shell servers, an email address and access to our various hidden services / SOCKS5 > Tor proxies.

We will also be commissioning some dedicated Tor bridges for backers that won't be listed in the public directory.

Tor Stickers

Tor Stickers
Tor Stickers

Engraved Brass Contact Card

Raw sheets of brass waiting to be laser cut and engraved
Raw sheets of brass waiting to be laser cut and engraved

How many times have you found a GPG key or SSH'd to a new server and wondered as to whether you can trust the fingerprint?

By engraving the fingerprints for our keys & servers onto a small credit sized piece of brass you'll always be able to ensure you are not being MITM'd when connecting to one of our servers or downloading our GPG public key.

As an added bonus we'll create a Tor bridge whose details (IP / fingerprint etc) will only ever be published on these brass cards.

Gold Plated Contact Card

The same as above but electroplated with gold.

Plastic Contact Card

Made from the same material as your credit / debit card these cards contain the same information as the Brass cards but are a lot lighter.

Risks and challenges

One of the biggest issues this kickstarter will likely face is effectively communicating that we are not promising a "GCHQ proof" panacea.

This project is a demonstration that ICRs can be defeated by ISPs that don't want to spy on their customers and more importantly raise awareness that consumers can render ICRs mostly useless by using Tor with their existing ISP.

To be clear; this kickstarter is to raise the capital for Brass Horn Comms to lay the groundwork for building a broadband network that enables users to connect to Tor without ever first leaving our ISP network.

We don't know whether it'll work at scale, we don't know whether it'd actually frustrate *mass* surveillance but what we do know is that if we don't at least try and protest / mitigate mass surveillance then nothing will change.

Finally; even if we do raise all the money we need and even if the project actually works in the way we hope it will the IXPs, colo facilities, fibre providers and DSL backhaul providers we need are under no obligation to accept our (your) money so there is the possibility they will refuse to allow us to join, or host equipment.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £1 or more About $1.32

    Website Credit

    An (optional) credit on the OnionDSL credits page at https://BrassHornCommunications.uk/projects/oniondsl/ (not live yet)

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge £8 or more About $11

    1 Year Membership

    Become a BrassHornComms member for 1 year with shell access to one of our full disk encrypted OpenBSD servers accessible via SSH over the Internet and as a hidden service

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    4 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £16 or more About $21

    2 Years of Membership + Tor Stickers

    Become a BrassHornComms member for 2 years with shell access to one of our full disk encrypted OpenBSD servers accessible via SSH over the Internet and as a hidden service.

    Plus receive a 60x50mm Tor sticker and some Tor leaflets to handout.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge £32 or more About $42

    Membership, Stickers & PVC Crypto Card

    Become a BrassHornComms member for 2 years with shell access to one of our full disk encrypted OpenBSD servers accessible via SSH over the Internet and as a hidden service

    The 60x50mm Tor sticker and Tor leaflets.

    Plus a plastic 'contact card' encoded and printed with the Brass Horn Comms GPG key, SSH Server Identity Keys, Tor relay fingerprints and the IP / fingerprint of a Tor bridge dedicated for backers.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £64 or more About $84

    Membership, Stickers & Brass Crypto Card

    Become a BrassHornComms member for 3 years with shell access to one of our full disk encrypted OpenBSD servers accessible via SSH over the Internet and as a hidden service.

    The 60x50mm Tor sticker and Tor leaflets.

    Plus a solid brass 'contact card' engraved with the Brass Horn Comms GPG key, SSH Server Identity Keys, Tor relay fingerprints and the IP / fingerprint of a Tor bridge dedicated for backers.

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    Ships to Only United Kingdom
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £128 or more About $168

    Membership, Stickers & Gold Crypto Card

    Become a BrassHornComms member for 3 years with shell access to one of our full disk encrypted OpenBSD servers accessible via SSH over the Internet and as a hidden service

    The 60x50mm Tor sticker and Tor leaflets.

    Plus we'll gold plate the brass 'contact card' engraved with the Brass Horn Comms GPG key, SSH Server Identity Keys, Tor relay fingerprints and the IP / fingerprint of a Tor bridge dedicated for backers.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £2,048 or more About $2,695

    Be the first OnionDSL customer!

    If everything goes to plan be the first to get an OnionDSL connection to your home or business (excludes bandwidth recurring costs e.g usage, line rental etc)

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Funding period

- (33 days)