My name is Brendan Ballou, and I’m from the Free Culture chapter at Columbia. Some of you may have already heard about EFF’s onion router (Tor, http://tor.eff.org/). Basically Tor is a program that prevents outside parties (your university, your ISP, the RIAA, etc) from tracking your movements on the web (all of it – including file sharing). It’s an incredibly useful tool – one in fact that Chinese dissidents use to keep information from the Chinese government.
Last semester we modified Tor to run only over the Columbia University intranet. Our modified program, the Columbia University Local Area Tor (CU-LATOR) ran much faster than the standard version, and now we want to expand to other universities that participate in Internet2 (to maintain network speed). If you would be interested in having your school participate in this larger, nation-wide uni-tor (we’re working on a name), please email me, because the more schools that participate, the faster the network will run and the safer all our information will be. You don’t need to be a coder to be involved, we just need boots on the ground to help publicize the program and get people to use it. You can check if your school participates in Internet2 here: http://members.internet2.edu/university/universities.cfm
However, if you are a coder we need your help too. Our version of Tor is shaky on windows boxes – so if you’re interested in improving the program for windows email Ron Gejman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a fun project, and an important one too. We hope we can get your help in keeping students’ data safe and private.