It was only a matter of time, but the crowdfunding campaign for controversial router Anonabox has been suspended by Kickstarter for breaking the rules. The developers behind the project will collect not a single one of the $585,549 pledged by 8,928 backers.
The Anonabox touted itself as a router that “provides anonymous Internet access and encryption, and helps to bypass censorship in places where access to the Internet is limited.” But a Reddit thread brought to light some big questions about the router’s “custom-made” hardware. More specifically, it appeared that a $20 router found on AliExpress.com looked suspiciously similar to the $45 Anonbox.
“The truth is we can make Tor routers out of a lot of existing hardware, but I thought it would be helpful to have a standardized piece of hardware to do it on,” wrote Anonabox developer August Germar in his Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA). In another response, Germar expressed shock that there was “so much fixation on the details of the hardware.” (His responses were downvoted to hell, making it difficult to see any of his responses in the AMA.)
In an email sent to backers of the Anonabox campaign on Friday, Kickstarter announced that it suspended the project and is canceling all pledges. “A review of the project uncovered evidence that it broke Kickstarter’s rules,” the email said. “We may suspend projects when they demonstrate one or more of the following:
- Offering purchased items and claiming to have made them yourself
- Presenting someone else’s work as your own
- Misrepresenting or failing to disclose relevant facts about the project or its creator.”
That isn’t stopping the Anonabox: The developers declare that the device will go on sale soon directly via the project’s website.
Disappointed backers of the Anonabox who are looking for another project to get behind may want to consider Keecker, a robot equipped with an HD projector. If this little guy ends up being a farce, all hope is lost.