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The Pirate Bay has announced that it plans to launch “Low Orbit Server Stations” that will act as a front line defense against future take-down attacks and censorship attempts on the world’s largest torrent site.
Details are sketchy, but it sounds like these low orbit servers will act as proxies that redirect users to geographically-hidden servers that host the actual torrent indexes and trackers. At the moment, TPB uses a similar setup: public front-end servers (mostly in Sweden), and secret back-end servers that are (apparently) hidden away in a mountain bunker. Orbiting servers would replace some or all of these front-end servers, with the ostensible purpose of making it very hard for the authorities to shut them down.
A Low Orbit Server Station (or LOSS), as best as we can tell, would be a small customized robotic blimp of some sort that would float “some kilometers” up in the air, keeping station with GPS. On board would be a microcomputer (TPB mentions the Raspberry Pi, a cheap ARM Linux box, as one possibility) and a radio transmitter. A ground station could talk to the blimp at 100 Mbps from up to 50 km away, acting as a remote, distributed proxy system. The idea here is that in order for anyone to raid the aerial proxies, they’d have to launch an aerial attack of some sort on the robot blimp network. As TPB puts it:
“This way our machines will have to be shut down with aeroplanes in order to shut down the system. A real act of war.”
With the development of GPS controlled drones, far-reaching cheap radio equipment and tiny new computers like the Raspberry Pi, we’re going to experiment with sending out some small drones that will float some kilometers up in the air. This way our machines will have to be shut down with aeroplanes in order to shut down the system. A real act of war.
We’re just starting so we haven’t figured everything out yet. But we can’t limit ourselves to hosting things just on land anymore. These Low Orbit Server Stations (LOSS) are just the first attempt. With modern radio transmitters we can get over 100Mbps per node up to 50km away. For the proxy system we’re building, that’s more than enough.