The problem with online privacy is that it’s a giant pain. Sure, we’d all like to protect our identities, stop hackers from intercepting our sensitive Internet activity, and keep the prying eyes of the NSA shielded from our ‘incognito mode’ sessions. But that usually involves hours of research, a bevy of settings, complicated encryption setups, and more. Who has time for all that?
You do, if the claims of a new company called “Don’t Snoop Me, Bro” pan out. In a recently launched crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, Don’t Snoop Me, Bro hopes to finance mass production of a device it calls the DSMB Tunnel. The boxy gadget rests between your Internet line and your router to encrypt and anonymize your online activity, and it can be turned on and off with the turn of a key.
DSMB Tunnel comes pre-loaded with one year of virtual private network (VPN) service, which encrypts your Internet activity and masks your computer’s IP address, making it appear to anyone who might be watching that you are located somewhere else – another country, for example. Don’t Snoop Me, Bro, which is based in Massachusetts, says it is currently testing the ability for DSMB Tunnel users to reroute their Internet connection through 16 different countries: UK, Germany, Canada, The Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, several regions in the US, Russia, Ukraine, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico.
VPN service is nothing new. What’s novel about the DSMB Tunnel is its ability to be flicked on and off by turning a physical key on the device. Because your Internet activity has to jump through a few more servers when using a VPN, your connection can slow down a bit. Don’t Snoop Me, Bro claims that, while using DSMB Tunnel, users “can watch streaming videos and surf the Web just fine.” But households with slower Internet speeds, multiple users on the same connection, or people who need to maximize their connection speed (online gamers, for instance) can easily turn the DSMB Tunnel off. And when it’s off, it’s as if the device isn’t even there, the company says.
Don’t Snoop Me, Bro has also added in some key features to help protect users’ sensitive communications and activity. If the device fails to connect to the VPN, all Internet traffic is blocked “so that you will never unintentionally send out sensitive traffic without protection,” the company explains. Further, both the device and the encryption software it uses are open-source, meaning anyone with the technical know-how can investigate the technology to make sure it doesn’t contain security flaws or backdoors that could allow hackers, the NSA, or other snoops in.
Hardware solutions to online privacy appear to be a rising trend. Anti-virus founder and all-around wild man John McAfee recently hinted at the development a similar-sounding product called D-Central, which he says creates private, anonymous local networks, and encrypts users’ broader Internet activities. Unlike DSMB Tunnel, however, D-Central is nothing but talk, for the moment at least.
The first 500 people interested in backing the DSMB Tunnel can donate $130 to the company’s campaign to pre-order the device, which is expected to launch in December if the funding goals are met.
Check out a video about the DSMB Tunnel below: