What is it?
CoBox aims to encourage small- and medium-scale infrastructure as a service. This means non-technical people can plug in a small computer in their home and begin providing back-up services for their friends, neighbours and themselves.
The cloud we have become used to looks nothing like the many scattered fluffy light weight balls of water vapor floating in the Earth’s troposphere. Corporate cloud architectures are much more akin to a giant storm cloud, ever expanding, sucking in more and more electrical energy from its surrounding environment, with a singular giant eye sitting at their center observing all that passes through.
CoBox wants to facilitate a transition away from giant data centers, huge storm clouds, towards a vision of cloud infrastructure that is light, distributed, and importantly, is offline-first. Our team is fed up of using proprietary software that surveilles our behaviour and transmutes the way we act online, the friends we make and the interactions we have - our data - into corporate financial gain. CoBox is the beginning of a sovereign commons-based data infrastructure and a co-operative distributed cloud architecture.
Our team has worked with privacy tools and encryption for many years. We’ve tried our best to avoid using corporate architecture, and we understand, its hard. Corporate tools can be high quality and accessible - they have the money to pay for beautiful and intuitive user interfaces and enough servers to maintain a high speed service. But by having no alternatives to corporate tools, corporations get to determine how we use them and shape our very behaviour. By continuously using their tools, we’re letting them shape and change how we think. And while they apparently provide these tools for ‘free’, they’re making a tidy profit monetising the way we act on their platforms.
We want to use software built and maintained by our peers, by people we trust, that centers both our personal sovereignty and a common recognition that assets and wealth should be shared, not concentrated. Our vision sees friends, freelancers, small businesses and co-operatives, providing mutual assistance for each other, guaranteeing remote backup of their data and ensuring that they need not rely on giant corporations or flimsy hard drives to secure their memories. That’s why we built CoBox.
CoBox is an innovative suite of open hardware and software providing accessible governance tools for organisations and networks.
CoBox is built on Dat. Dat is a modular peer-to-peer technology stack. You can find a good explanation of how it works in the guide ‘how Dat works’, and you can find out how we’ve made use of Dat in our wiki. At CoBox, we’ve used Dat to build fully encrypted private spaces that synchronise seamlessly across multiple devices. This means you, your friends and colleagues no longer have to rely on corporate servers to store your files, you can hold onto them for each-other.