Tor-based anonymizing router gets pulled from Kickstarter for rules violations

Kickstarter alleges that the Anonabox project's creator misled contributors, thus breaking the crowdfunding service's rules.

Anonabox, a piece of home networking equipment designed to allow you to connect to the Internet anonymously, had raised nearly $600,000 in pledges on Kickstarter--blowing its $7500 goal out of the water. But on Friday, Kickstarter suspended the project, according to Ars Technica.

Wired reports that Kickstarter put a stop to the project because it felt that August Germar, the creator of the Anonabox, misled contributors when he stated that he built all the hardware himself--a violation of Kickstarter's rules.

According to Wired, Kickstarter users pointed out that Chinese manufacturers produced similar hardware, and Germar later confirmed to the publication that he had used off-the-shelf components to build the Anonabox, but had made some adjustments to the hardware.

The story behind the story: Privacy advocates generally love Tor, and it's a boon to those who are concerned about government tracking operations. Governments generally don't seem to be as keen on it, as criminals sometimes use it to carry out illicit activities. In July, the Russian government actually offered a cash reward to anyone who uncovered Tor users.

Low-cost anonymity

The device would've cost $51, as our Jared Newman pointed out. You would plug it into your router, and it would send all your Internet traffic through the Tor network, which anonymizes you and effectively erases your online "footprints" that you would otherwise leave behind. Other network accessories achieve similar results, but some of them require a fair amount of technical know-how in order to assemble and use.

If Anonabox's Kickstarter success is any indication, though, there's plenty of widespread interest in online anonymity, and it's probably safe to assume that we'll see plenty of similar devices in the future.

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