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Dowse: transparent and responsible local networks
 Posted on 27/05/2014 - 14:20
Idea Outline
Networks in the age of the Internet of Things will be full of people's devices with access to their private, common and public information. Dowse makes people conscious about what happens in the network space around them.

The Challenge
Networked devices with access to all kinds of private informations can talk to each other without humans even asking and without making such interactions manifest. Such a situation raises issues that are not just technical, but socio-political, about the responsibility for connections that happen without human consent, within local networks and towards the outside, to and from the Internet. The risks of unconscious abuse or exploitation of information asymmetry is growing tremendously. As things initiate the networked context of users, we are making a major leap towards a world that provides us with contexts that we may not want at all. Getting some insights on such situations is crucial for societies at large.

The Solution

Dowse is a free and open source transparent proxy facilitating the awareness of in-going and out-going connections from and to a local area network. By replacing the outdated proprietary ISP ‘gateway’ with an open and user-visible device, Dowse introduces a malleable communications hub to the language of the small network. The entrance or departure of a device from the local Internet of Things ecosystem is accompanied by audiovisual interactive aspects and such interactions extend to the new presence or absence of a communications channel, for example between an electrical meter, a corporate cloud, a kids tablet or a journalist mobile phone.

First deliverables:
– Usable prototype base for LEAN UX development
– Partner network consolidation (both public and private)


Target group and social impact
Anyone running a local area network (LAN) at home or at an office can benefit from Dowse. In a highly connected home environment, Dowse will provide an easy to use interface for the inhabitants will be conscious about the data flows going in and out of their private LAN, being prompted to deal with new devices when they appear: from a new electricity meter to a mobile phone or computer. Dowse also enhances the privacy of people surfing the Internet in cases where confidentiality and integrity of research conducted from an office premise or at home is important. At last, Dowse can enable responsible parents to deal with the freedom of their kids to browse the Internet still avoiding aggressions by malware, phishing and and other kind of intrusions into their experience.




Competences of the applicant
Waag Society (NL) is an interdisciplinary non-profit media lab researching and developing new technology. Dyne.org is a non-profit committed to research and development of free and open source software: since its birth in 2000 several radio makers, humanitarian organisations, artists, medics, activists and educators employed and redistributed its software worldwide and free of charge.


Video Link
None posted
Social Category
  • Civic Empowerment and Community Engagement

  • Tecnology Category
  • Data
  • Open Source
  • Social Software
  • Web/Internet

  • Please log in to Rate this Idea

    This project is the anti-Facebook-Fonera: it protects you instead of snitching to a private, non-EU-based company that has a track record of abuse of privacy. Dowse promises to bring both hardware and software freedom to the SoHo market. Ethical technology, at last!

    Efforts to increase awareness about data ownership, usership and privacy are extremely important, and need to be supported at many levels.

    This project can be really useful in a lot of environments, education, low-mid business, nonprofit organization, giving flexibility and security with just a standard set of skills.

    This project is GREAT! :)