Days after Kickstarter took down a campaign for Anonabox, the controversial Internet router that allegedly would keep its users anonymous, the company shut down a subsequent project that purported to fill its shoes.
TorFi, created by University of Michigan law graduate Jesse Enjaian and his friend David Xu, would have been a more honest incarnation of Anonabox. However, honesty doesn’t seem to be the solution where Kickstarter was concerned. The company closed down funding for TorFi after sending Enjaian an email that it wasn’t “innovative enough.”
“I’m frustrated because they claim that using pre-existing routers and modifying the software is not innovative enough for their standards,” Enjaian told ReadWrite. “I believe our idea filled a social need and was sufficiently unique, but I’m not going to challenge their decision.”
Unlike the previous project, TorFi was upfront about the fact that it was using a prefab hardware solution for the router, and simply installing the Tor security software on top of it. This may not sound like much, but it’s a service that’s clearly in demand. After all, Anonabox earned nearly $600,000—and this despite the controversy.
Enjaian once had law officials confiscate his computer during cyberstalking allegations while he was still a student. While it’s not clear if TorFi would have helped him in that situation, Enjaian’s description of the project suggests he might empathize with people who seek security and anonymity while browsing the Internet.
“TorFi aims to satisfy the demand demonstrated for a simple, plug-and-play, secure access point to the Internet… with no more technical knowledge than what it takes to plug into a home ISP connection,” he wrote on the project overview.
For people who are still seeking a plug-and-play anonymity solution for the Internet, Invizbox is on IndieGoGo and the crowdfunding site hasn’t shut it down—yet.
Update: An earlier version of this story suggested a connection between past allegations against Enjaian and his interest in TorFi. We’ve rewritten the paragraph to avoid any such suggestion, which we did not intend.