About two years ago, news reports described the State Department-funded project of Sascha Meinrath as a way for overseas dissidents to overcome repressive regimes that try to censor them by shutting down the internet.
This week a variation on the software he helped design will launch here in the United States. It is called Commotion Wireless. You can download the program on your cellphone or laptop computer in order to create what is called a "mesh" network that allows you to share Internet access with other devices on the network.
"It challenges this business model that everyone has to buy their own Internet connection, and it really puts forth this notion of, 'Why don't we share resources?' We can share them across our neighbors, we can share them within our offices, we can share them across entire cities," says Meinrath, director of the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute.