Don’t get us wrong, Kickstarter is a great tool for launching a tech project. While not all of the devices pitched make it all the way to production, it is nonetheless a great place to take part in the funding of new and innovative projects. This being said, every now and again there are ‘projects’ which aren't all they are talked up to be.
Enter the Anonabox, a device which promised to make internet anonymity easily accessible through a simple piece of technology. The Anonabox claimed to be a specialised router device which would enable a user to remain untraceable which surfing online through the use of the Tor network. Furthermore, it proclaimed to be able to fully encrypt all communications online, and even within programs such as Skype. This would all be rolled up into a device about the size of a cassette tape.
If you think this is all a little too good to true, then you’d be right.
The project began to unravel last Thursday as more and more people began to see that the Kickstarter page had serious flaws. Keen Reddit users noticed that an image of the Anonabox router was almost identical to that of a Chinese router available on Alipay. Furthermore, images that were posted on Kickstarter which claimed to show earlier developmental stages of the router, were alleged to be simply reposted and deceptively resized images of other people’s boards.
The project began to unravel last Thursday on Reddit
More details were revealed in an AMA on Reddit, where the creator of the Anonobox dodged questions regarding the nature of the device. While he admitted that his device, and the Chinese router were very similar, he denied accusations that his device was simply the same router with different firmware. In addition, other security minded users, pointed out that his device would have many security backdoors, due to the hardware it was based off.
By this point the project, which had raised over $600,000 in pledged funding and had been covered extensively in the media, was suspended from Kickstarter. Clearly, there is a big market for this sort of device, but what the public wants, is one which is actually built around less vague claims.
Cool Ad Here