Piratebox is a self-contained hardware device providing file sharing services to anyone who connects to the network, it includes shoutbox for communication in between users. A Piratebox is not connected to the Internet, it creates an ad-hoc wireless network acting as access point broadcasting its signal to anyone around to share files, there is no need to login, for privacy reasons activities aren’t logged. The software can run on any router supporting Openwrt and dd-wrt Linux firmware,or a laptop, there are initiatives to run Piratebox on an Android phone.
When a Piratebox is switched on it will broadcast the wireless SSID (Service Set Identifier) “Pirate Box- Share Freely” after someone connects to the network the Internet browser is launched with a minimalistic interface allowing people to upload/download files, browse available files or chat over the network.
By not being connected to the Internet the number of users are reduced to Piratebox’s broadcasting range, around 30 meters, on the other hand this tool can not be taken down like a server, it is portable, easy to set up, and it only needs an Internet browser to work, there is no need to download any software, smartphones with Wi-fi can access it too.
Tools like the Piratebox can be useful in countries where there is no Internet due to a Government cutting it off or lack of material resources, but the location of a Piratebox could be pinpointed using radio triangulation and there is no encryption making it possible to eavesdrop on users, besides the fact that someone could set up a rogue Piratebox to entrap people, the greatness of Piratebox resides on its portability and not needing an Internet connection. It is a good tool to share low level risk files and to quickly set up a filesharing network without Internet access, but not a a serious privacy tool that will protect you from state sponsored opponents.