Kickstarter has suspended the crowdfunding campaign for Anonabox, a gadget that had earned nearly $600,000 from 9,000 backers in just a few days. Despite its popularity, it appears that the project ran afould of Kickstarter guidelines.
The gadget claimed to use a combination of the Tor privacy software and a custom, open-source hardware frame to create a tiny router that anonymized its users. However, as the device continued to ramp up in popularity, these claims came under fire.
When its creator, security consultant August Germar, gave an “Ask Me Anything” interview on Reddit about the project, he was unable to explain how the hardware was “custom” and not just a generic pre-produced item. Sleuths found exact copies of the Anonabox frame on Chinese suppliers’ sites. And given that those Chinese products turned out to be regular factory-made routers, many became suspicious of the Anonabox claim to keep users truly anonymous.
Kickstarter’s actions tends to support redditors’ claims. The company suspended the project Friday. Kickstarter did not and does not typically give a reason for project suspensions, but its terms of service state that all projects must be “honest and clearly presented.”
Photo via Anonabox