Pirate Parties International recently had a meeting wherein a particularly bonkers proposal was discussed. The problem: Where can servers that store data frequently seen as unsavory be kept? The solution: Hanging from a giant balloon in the sky?
Pirate Parties International, which, notably, does not have direct ties to PiratPartiet (the Swedish political party with two MPs and links to The Pirate Bay and WikiLeaks), still has to constantly deal with the seizing of various servers. Trying to keep these servers safe from the authorities is no easy task, one that is constantly being fought. The group tried back in 2007 to store its servers on Sealand, a former British naval base off the coast of Suffolk that (mostly) seceded and claimed independence as a micronation. (Side note: The history of Sealand is fascinating and often hilarious—its Wikipedia page is highly recommended.) But the deal fell through, so PPI often has brainstorming sessions to come up with new ideas.
Some of those might be more feasible than others.
Last week, the group's mailing list included discussion of a possible airborne server, hooked up to either a blimp (solar-powered, of course, like the Nephelios) or a weather balloon. That craft would both keep it safe and, in the words of one Swedish engineer, "hopefully irritate the crap out of authorities in as many countries as possible." Of course, this idea isn't totally practical, since the group has limited resources and an airborne server presents a whole host of problems (not least of which is how to keep it in the air for an extended period of time).
Apple MacBook Air Laptop
The M1 chip delivers 3.5x faster performance than the previous generation all while using way less power. Get up to 18 hours of battery life.
Other suggestions included a low-level satellite, which is more expensive but actually a better idea—it's permanent, it's already been done, and it operates in less dubious legal waters. Not to say that it wouldn't be great to see a giant floating balloon attached to a server in the sky, but it might only happen when pigs fly alongside it.
Popular Science is your wormhole to the future. Reporting on what's new and what's next in science and technology, we deliver the future now.