arkOS Launches Funding Campaign to Challenge Internet Titans, Bring Privacy to the Masses

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Privacy tool and software stack aims to take the hassle and jargon out of hosting your online life.

Today, arkOS has launched a crowdfunding campaign to change how individuals share their data on the Internet.

Traditionally, Internet users share their websites, emails, "cloud" data such as calendars, contacts, files and more, all via centralized platform services. These services, of which Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Dropbox are but a few, use their users' data in many ways that they may not agree with or consent to. Users do not have a competitive alternative to using these services if they are privacy-conscious and still want to remain in close contact with friends and family.

"arkOS aims to be an independent solution for hosting your own data, and in many cases from your own home on very cheap hardware," explained Jacob Cook, the project manager of arkOS and its associated outreach program The CitizenWeb Project. Cook is a 23-year-old software developer, student and privacy advocate based out of Montreal, Quebec. "No matter what kind of data you have - webpages, files, photos, emails and more - arkOS makes it easy to bring it home and place it under your control."

arkOS consists of an operating system and a software stack that manages the self-hosting experience from start to finish. The key is in its revolutionary graphical interface, called Genesis, which makes setting up new websites and services as simple as installing from an "app store"-like repository. The arkOS framework uses already-existing services available for Linux, but provides a streamlined and intuitive interface with which to manage them - no need to touch the command line, and no need to be an IT expert. With arkOS, you can run your self-hosted server just as easily as a desktop computer or a smartphone.

The software puts an emphasis on ease-of-use for all, but it also is highly preoccupied with the security and privacy of its users. arkOS software aims to give users a higher degree of security than if they were only using large services like Google. It includes an automatic firewall, blocking access from certain networks or individuals that the user does not want, as well as an integrated defense system that anticipates intrusion attempts and employs countermeasures against them.

"Keeping data secure and independent from the large platform services is incredibly important for end users, in these days of mass marketing and NSA snooping," Cook continued. "But at the same time, users still want to be able to share what is important to them with their friends. You shouldn't have to sign a deal with the devil, or be a computer hacker extraordinaire, to have the best of both worlds."

"We know the NSA has been rooting around in the networks of these large companies. When your data is all in one place like it is with Google, it provides a 'single point of failure', which is a terrible tactic from a security perspective. We need to decentralize these structures, and by bringing your data back home with arkOS, you are making decentralization a reality."

Cook has already released an alpha version of the software, in which it provides the ability to run popular web services like WordPress and ownCloud on an inexpensive and power-saving Raspberry Pi microcomputer. The future brings many more options to the table. "arkOS has launched a funding campaign to drive forward its goal of bringing privacy and security to all Internet users," he says. "With the successful completion of this campaign, we will be able to introduce a wide array of exciting new features, such as email hosting, compatibility with the Tor network, and much more. We will also be able to radically improve the stability of the main applications and make it possible to run them on a much wider scope of hardware."

Learn more about arkOS by visiting, or become a backer of its funding campaign at

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Jacob Cook

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