If your big brother is anything like mine, you’d want to stop him at all costs too. Well, Senji can’t help you with your crappy, good-for-nothing brother. But it can help you with Big Brother. You know, the one with capital B’s.
Senji is an app that takes an interesting, innovative approach to security and privacy. Normally, when you upload information to the “cloud” (anyone else sick of the term yet?), you are trusting the encryption and practices, or lack thereof, of the provider of said cloud. You are trusting that they don’t snoop on your data (they do), or that they won’t turn over your information if the NSA so much as sneezes in their direction (they will). You’re also trusting that even if your information is encrypted, it’s not decrypted on certain servers once it arrives (it probably is). Now, there are some really good OTR (off the record) cloud storage providers out there where you can store your information with zero knowledge (SpiderOak comes to mind), but once again, you have to trust that they’re doing what they say they’re doing (personally, I do, but that’s mainly because the place isn’t run by my older brother).
Senji does things a bit differently. What Senji does is take advantage of an account holder using multiple clouds for the purposes of decentralization and therefore privacy. The application splits all your information up into chunks and distributes those chunks amongst the cloud services you tell it to use. That way you don’t have to rely on the integrity of the provider—all they have is an incoherent piece of the whole, an incomplete message that reads like a garbled mess. Pretty clever. Now, one might say that you have to trust that Senji is doing what they say they’re doing, too. To answer that very concern, the team has open sourced the code so that it can be reviewed and verified. As an added benefit, Senji has zero knowledge of the content of your information (which is also verifiable in the code), so no one knows what your information contains, except for you.
So, what if one of the cloud providers decides to stop its services? Senji has you covered. According to the crowdfunding description:
“Thanks to redundant data storage and depending on the number of connected clouds Senji can compensate the outage of at least one provider.”
I personally doubt that Drive or any other giant provider is going out of business soon, but if you’re storing your information at Mom and Pop’s Cloud Emporium, this could be a good thing.
The only concern I have is the case where you only have one cloud service that you trust and love and use that one service solely. As described, this wouldn’t help you all that much as your data wouldn’t be able to be spliced up and distributed. I imagine that the message could be chopped to bits and made to look like garbage on the server side, but I wouldn’t think this is any different from just encrypting data before sending.
Currently, the campaign is at $1,495 of the $35k they’re looking for. But this is a flexible goal, so they will produce the software no matter what they receive (which will be Free as in beer—premium services will be offered for purchase). As far as GNU/Linux is concerned, it is a stretch goal of theirs—they’ll implement a G/L client if they get $70,000. I’ve decided to do a write-up of this even though G/L isn’t included out-of-the-box because they are working on an Android client which I think at least mostly fits the bill. Also, since the code is open sourced I’m sure if some enterprising G/L individuals wanted to, they could bang something out for us penguin folks in due time (with Senji’s permission of course, I don’t think the code is Free, as in Libre).
If you’re interested in privacy and want to help a project out, head on over to https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/sengi-it-big-brother-needs-to-be-stopped-internet-security#/ and throw some cheese at them.
I looked at some other projects and wanted to give a shout out to one of them that caught my eye even though their respective campaign is over. It is In-Demand over at Indiegogo, so you can still get in on it if you were so inclined.
The project is the 101Hero: The World’s Most Affordable 3D Printer. This seems like a really cute project. It is, as the title suggests, a 3D printer designed to be cheap and easy. For a first printer designed for beginners like myself or kids, this seems like a perfect entry point to the craft. And it runs the good ol’ GNU/Linuxes, so that makes me happy. At 80 bucks you can’t really go wrong. The cheaper version uses an SD card for data files (so figure in the costs), but the higher end one supports a direct interface. Here’s the link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/101hero-the-world-s-most-affordable-3d-printer#/