The Empower project’s goal is to create an appliance that joins a social network that can hopefully replace the centralized “networks” we currently have. The social networks of today have failed us on every level. The have:

  • Not secured our private data.
  • Not respected our rights to privacy or free assembly
  • Used us and our personalities as commodities to be sold on the market.
  • Allowed hostile governments to influence our election process.
  • Censored individuals with “inappropriate” speech.
  • Severed connections to friends and family during times of local emergency and then marketed their ability to connect said same families and friends (Vegas 10.01.2017).
  • Only taken on more and more powers to guide and manipulate speech and use the influence their psychological evaluations of us give them and customers access to.
  • Are completely unbeholden and unanswerable to anyone.

The problem is that all of these things are well within their rights to do so. We have no right to expect them to do otherwise. So we need to provide an alternative that is:

  • Owned by the individuals sharing content with no need to hand anyone any rights to share whatsoever.
  • Uncensored: Answerable by the community and the individual’s immediate monkeyshere and its shell of influence. Say things that people find disgusting and you’ll have as many people exposed to your nastiness as are willing to spend time on it. It doesn’t spread into your stream like a virus due to sharing both positive and negative.
  • Private: hacking someone’s head should be difficult and sharing information with friends should not expose you to analysis by companies and governments simply by virtue of being shared.
  • Extendable: People share different things in different ways.
  • Secure: It should be difficult to impersonate someone. It should not expose the user to further risk. It should close risks the user isn’t necessarily aware of.
  • Open Source and Free: It should never be possible to lock users out of the system by vendor lock (GPL3). Anyone, anywhere should be able to analyze the source code for vulnerabilities to ensure the best and brightest can give us the insight into the system necessary for layman judgement. The system must survive any attempt by anyone to monopolize it. Linux and GNU have both shown how powerful this model is in addition to providing more of the other bullet points we need.
  • Inexpensive: Nobody should be locked out by virtue of not being able to afford some monsterous device.
  • Expandable: Should an individual become popular enough to warrant more bandwidth and computing requirements than a home appliance can provide (lucky them!) they will need the power and scalability of the cloud; the system should use the same technologies where possible so it can expand into a larger area.
  • Automated: The process of keeping the system up-to-date against attack or updated on features, the process of updating the system needs to be automated, with some strong opt-out abilities for the gurus.

With all that in mind we are trying to come up with an appliance that anyone can have in their home that provides the same functionality as the social network and then some. We are no longer in the dial-up days. A home user can concievably, if not practically today, serve their own content from their own homes. This is entirely possible today using current technologies, but there is no integrated solution that provides for all of these needs in an easy to use interface that still ensures data security. The bending of datacenter style security and expandability into the home in an accessible manner is not a simple task and is sure to be a huge project involving many independent agents. We hope to play a big part in starting that.