Awasu » Fire on deck!
Sunday 25th June 2006 7:41 AM [General]

I always love a good story about people pushing the envelope and doing really weird stuff but this one just takes the cake.

Hunkered down on a North Sea fortress, a crew of armed cypherpunks, amped-up networking geeks, and libertarian swashbucklers is seceding from the world to pursue a revolutionary idea: an offshore, fat-pipe data haven that answers to nobody.

The huge support cylinders will contain millions of dollars' worth of networking gear: computers, servers, transaction processors, data-storage devices - all cooled with banks of roaring air conditioners and powered by triple-redundant generators ... Simply entering one of the machine rooms will require putting on scuba gear, because the rooms will be filled with an unbreathable pure nitrogen atmosphere instead of the normal oxygen mix - a measure designed to keep out sneaks, inhibit rust, and reduce the risk of fire.

More here.

It's all about being a secure and anonymous data centre. When asked how they would respond to organizations such as the Church of Scientology demanding, perhaps over a megaphone from a gunboat, to know who was posting church documents online, their response was "We'd power off the machine, optionally destroy it, possibly turn over the smoking wreck to the attacker, and securely and anonymously refund payment to the owner of the server" :-). Plans also called for "50-caliber heavy machine guns, 5.56-mm automatic rifles, and 12-gauge shotguns" :cool:. It all sounds like a lot of fun although it has spawned a lot of debate about what it takes to declare a sovereign nation.

The Wired article is quite old (July 2000) but it popped up on my radar because, despite Wired writing at the start of page 2 that "[t]he server's location on Sealand means MacroMaxx won't have to worry about fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, thefts, bomb threats, industrial sabotage, or killer-bee attacks", the other day there was a fire.

Oh well...

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