A controversial Kickstarter project that promised anonymity for web surfers has been axed.
The Anonabox was a Kickstarter project that was supposed to offer its backers the opportunity to help fund and own a small and portable device that allows for the private and anonymous browsing around the internet, from virtually anywhere. The problem with this Kickstarter was that its founder, August Germar, was claiming that they had spent vast amounts of time developing the software and hardware in order to reach the point that they were at before the Kickstarter. Germar also claimed that his team needed Kickstarter funds in order to be able to propel the project forward and complete the software as well as the hardware and ship it out to consumers. In fact, they even talked about how they had made multiple hardware revisions and had ultimately reached the little white box design.
The only problem is that this device which Anonabox and Germar were promising had already been designed and sold by a bunch of Chinese manufacturers well before the Kickstarter had even begun. Some of the first discoveries of Anonabox’s false claims came from Reddit, where people had found a Chinese-made router that was identical to the ones shown by Anonabox selling for $20 on Aliexpress. If you look at the images of the Anonabox router and the Aliexpress router, the similarities are shockingly striking, and the teardowns of both also look freakishly similar, because they are.
Now, however, the project has been officially suspended by the Kickstarter staff and all of the pledges that were made have been cancelled. This is a great win for consumers because it means that nobody lost any money on this bogus Kickstarter and that serious scrutiny is finally being put on new technology projects by its own backers well before it even closes funding. This project was going to get nearly $600,000 and they were charging $45 for a device that they were probably going to pay $10-$15 (because you can always negotiate volume discounts on Aliexpress) for. They would have very likely walked away with more than $300,000 in profit on this project without actually having had to create anything. Since they broke the rules, Kickstarter has indefinitely suspended their Kickstarter and given notice to all its backers.
This is without a doubt a win for consumers and Kickstarter, but there’s also caution here for anyone looking to back a new technology project. Kickstarter also needs to do more work on vetting their projects and at least trying to do some research to see if these projects claims are somewhat legitimate or not, after all, they’ve already been lampooned by South Park for their exact approach towards crowdfunding.