Over the last few years, more evidence has been appearing to confirm that our data is under surveillance. Whenever we connect to internet, we are exposed to monitoring from governmental organizations like the GCHQ or the NSA. Large corporations like Facebook and Google are also after our information and so are those who want to target us with advertisement, based in our shopping habits. In order to protect your privacy from this invasion, quitting internet is not the option, specially since there are different options to choose from. One of them would be to keep your data and apps hosted on your own server. However, setting up and managing your own server would require certain technical knowledge and resources, which means that it is not an easy solution.
Johannes Ernst, creator of the Indie Box, wants to change that. The Indie Box is a personal web server that aims to make things simple for anyone that wants to keep their data and their privacy safe. The Indie Box includes an open source software that allows you to access web services from your home network. You can connect to internet and browse or send emails without being concerned with eavesdropping or being targeted by companies trying to get your information. The Indie Box is designed as a device that is easy to use and that simplifies the process of setting up and managing your own server. It is possible to configure all update and maintenance tasks to be completed automatically.
Ernst’s plan was to make the Indie Box available to pre-order via crowdfunding website Indie GoGo. The project was offering completely assembled devices for $500 but it was cancelled at the end of June, without achieving its $50000 target. Even though Ernst claimed that $500 was a standard price for devices with this type of software, the high cost of the Indie Box may have put off contributors. However, he continues working in the project and hosting regular meetups to discuss the benefits of Indie Box and accepting donations through his website. The idea is that once the device is ready to be commercialized, the software will be available to download. If the Indie Box achieves the expected popularity, additional features and a lower price may also come along.
Even though running your own server from home may sound as a complicated and hard to imagine possibility, the fact is that people are becoming more aware of the risks for their information online. As there is a growing concern about online privacy, it is natural that we look for alternatives and if the Indie Box eventually succeeds at offering a simple alternative, many users would be willing to try it. Ernst hopes that one day, the device becomes the most convenient and affordable way to ensure that your information is protected while you are online.
UPDATE 2015: IndieBox has now become UBOS – a Linux Distro designed to facilitate the setup of a secure webserver.