Insular Technologies

"Suggestion: build a global independent satellite telecommunications network / an alternative to the Intelsat system, and the new low orbit commercial systems that are slowly becoming reality. A multinational, interdisciplinary organisational effort would develop tactics and strategies and confront the global capitalist and state multinational organisms with organised resistance and provide an alternative, non-commercially based means of reliable telecom. Start collecting funds, start working on possible strategies, after you develop a firm plan, look for allies."
Marko Peljhan, Command Communications and Control in Eastern Europe - A View from Isolation, 1997 link) link)

"In the past four years we have been accustomed to receive information on the extent of global signit work that has actually been going on without the knowledge of civil populations, communications infrastructure users and developers and in many cases even governments. (...) With the dawn of knowledge about this signit systems, the civil community of the world should think twice before it uses the communications infrastructure for tactical, socio-evolutionary work.

(...) Since the internet is the main communication vehicle for the sector, together with phone and fax, one must be aware that internet is of course also very vulnerable to any kind of privacy and information abuse, as are the phone and fax networks. Internet is also not so redundant as it was enthusiastically thought when the community started using it, but can be virtually shut down, channeled and single user disconnected.

The proposal here is the implementation and construction of a High Frequency (HF) radio, point to point secure analog-digital network first within Europe and its tactical media centers and further around the globe in the range of 1.6-30 MHz.

The system would consist of base HF stations, portable units and
gateways to connect it to the global data network. We can gather from
military analysis and amateur radio experience over the last 50 years,
that HF technology has unique characteristics that make it ideal for
long haul communications. (...) Further, the costs of HF use during one year of operations are in connection to certain calculations, 15 times lower that the costs of satellite based communications.

The system we are proposing is called INSULAR TECHNOLOGIES (IT) and it is a product of PACT SYSTEMS (Projekt Atol Communication Technologies), with the first two station prototype being currently developed.

Each IT station consists of the following:
- PC based computing module
- HF transceiver
- HF modem
- CRYPTO module
- Key management hardware and software
- Amplifier (for specific solutions)
- Antenna system


"Insular Technology is basically a development of a secure short wave voice and data communication equipment for centres like Ljudmila, V2, Backspace or E-Lab. It's for these centres which work with new and old media and have a need for secure and unbreakable communication that does not use the internet. It's a hardware development project of 256 bit encryption, which is a very strong encryption and it will be a proprietary technology of PACT Systems, which is a research unit of my group, and a company called SIFRA(?) in Slovenia, which already produces its own 128 bit encryption system.

This will be a box with a terminal which will have the ability of sending text and voice. Each of the centres will have it's own call number and the plain frequency range is 4MH, 8MH and 13 megahertz. The whole idea is to build a trust with a pool of money and distribute this product to all this centres. We would come and install the equipment and provide the manual. The initial idea for this project is of course that there might be a day when the internet will die. For example we have some colleagues in Albania who still don't have access to the internet and from then on I said, fuck it. If I can talk to Japanese people every night over the short wave, why shouldn't I talk to Tirana and talk securely, especially because the world today is very dangerous at the moment. So that's it, I am just starting to work on this project and the first prototypes will be out next year."

Marko Peljhan, informal description of Insular Technologies at the Art Servers Unlimited conference, ICA, London, 4th of July 1998. link) link)

1999, March 15-17: Insular Technologies workshop at V2_Organisation, Rotterdam, during the third Next 5 Minutes conference. Prospective members of the Insular Technologies Consortium include:
Backspace, London.
C3 - Centre for Culture and Communication, Budapest.
CRAC - Creative Room for Art and Computing, Stockholm.
CyberRex, Belgrade.
E-Lab, Riga.
Ljudmila - Ljubljana Digital Media Lab, Ljubljana.
Public Netbase, Vienna.
V2_Organisation - Institute for the Unstable Media, Rotterdam.
De Waag - Society for Old and New Media, Amsterdam.
Source: link)

"During Makrolab mark II, which is currently [February-April 2000] stationed on Rottnest island, Western Australia, Pact Systems will try to establish the first HF digital connection between the lab and Europe, using the Insular Technologies communications suite, comprised of an SGC-2000 transceiver, a SG-7200 DSP modem, antenna system and software."

Source: Makrolab website, 2000: link)

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