How to Keep the NSA Out of Your Computer
John Hersey Editor's note: Clive Thompson answered readers' questions about this article on Reddit on Aug. 28. Click here to view the conversation. JOSEPH BONICIOLI mostly uses the same internet you and I do. He and his fellow Athenians built it. Indeed, the mesh has become a major social hub. The Athenians aren't alone. THE INTERNET may seem amorphous, but it's at heart pretty physical. Meshes evolved to tackle this problem. "When people see the price they get from the mesh, they're like, 'Ten bucks a month? In some ways, a community mesh resembles a food co-op. In other cases, meshes are run like tiny local businesses. WHILE MESH networks were created to solve an economic problem, it turns out they also have a starkly political element: They give people—particularly political activists—a safer and more reliable way to communicate. As activism has become increasingly reliant on social networking, repressive regimes have responded by cutting off internet access.