Unofficially called an “Internet in a suitcase”, the kit is just one of the many tools currently being employed by the Obama Administration to craft “shadow” networks in countries whose internet has been disrupted or, as was the case in Egypt or Libya, turned off entirely.
With a moderately inexpensive $US2 million price tag, the suitcase is but one of the many projects the US government is reportedly researching and deploying as part of an effort to clandestinely support repressed populations abroad.
One of the more incredible efforts is the alleged $US50 million custom mobile phone network that the U.S. is developing for use in Afghanistan.
[…]the State Department and Pentagon have spent at least $US50 million to create an independent mobile phone network in Afghanistan using towers on protected military bases inside the country. It is intended to offset the Taliban’s ability to shut down the official Afghan services, seemingly at will
The multi-faceted effort isn’t necessarily a high-tech one all around. Indeed, some of the funding is being directed at locals in countries like Libya and Afghanistan that have demonstrated a willingness to subvert government censorship or have already implemented successful government-toppling strategies.
Many of the projects are still not yet known. Many, like the suitcase, could leave the testing grounds on L Street in Washington, D.C. and enter “active service” very, very soon. [NYT]