The Pirate Bay says it is planning a fleet of airborne servers to evade the attempts of anti-piracy forces to shut down their file-sharing service.
And, no, it's not yet April Fools' Day.
The team behind the site says that the falling cost of GPS and remote-controlled drone technology, coupled with the advent of systems such as the $35 Raspberry Pi Linux machine, have inspired the idea. Since the situation on land is getting trickier, the team said they are planning Low Orbit Server Stations (LOSS) to evade both state controls and the site's current legal issues.
"We're going to experiment with sending out some small drones that will float some kilometers up in the air," said team member Mr. Spock in a blog posting. "This way our machines will have to be shut down with aeroplanes in order to shut down the system. A real act of war."
The designs call for a basic proxy system of drones that would allow data speeds of 100Mb/s per node from up to 50km away, although Spock provided no information about the wireless technology to be used that was any more specific than "modern radio transmitters".
The Pirate Bay thinks that they could get a basic front-end for the system up and running – and flying – which would then redirect users to secret land-based servers. Looking much further ahead, the post claims that plans are afoot for a "galactic" service, which would use parts fabricated from downloadable plans, possibly from its 3D archive.
So, are the Swedish pirates serious, or is this just publicity stunt intended to worry Big Media? Probably a bit of both. For years the team has been looking at different ways to evade legal controls, and it set up a short-lived collection to buy the so-called Kingdom of Sealand – a collection of anti-aircraft stations rotting off the Suffolk coast. Since then it has relied on mirror sites to keep the service going.
But drones are a very different matter. Although software-assisted flight control in rough weather is getting better, all of the really good stuff is military-grade. Drones are becoming more capable, but they have very limited flight time – and you'd need a lot of them, all ready to take to the skies if the RIAA comes knocking.
El Reg recommends a good dose of skepticism until further information is released – if it ever is. ®