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Title: PirateBox  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: USB dead drop, File sharing, Computer art
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Original logo of the PirateBox
Introduced 2011
Ports USB
Language English

A PirateBox is a portable electronic device, often consisting of a Wi-Fi router and a device for storing information, creating a wireless network that allows users who are connected to share files anonymously and locally. By definition, this device is disconnected from the Internet.

The PirateBox was originally designed to exchange data freely under the public domain or under a free license.


The PirateBox was designed in 2011 by David Darts, a professor at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development at New York University under Free Art License. It has been highly popularized in Western Europe since, particularly in France by Jean Debaecker, and its development is largely maintained by Matthias Strubel.[1] The usage of the PirateBox-Concept turns slowly away from common local filesharing to purposes in education, concerning public schools[2] or private events like CryptoParties[3] a crucial point also being circumvention of censorship[4] since it can be operated behind strong physical barriers.

Set up

The easiest and cheapest setup can be built with a TP-Link Wi-Fi router and a USB flash drive. As of version 1.0, there is an improved installation path, with only a few steps followed by an automatic install.[5]


Users connect to the PirateBox in Wi-Fi (using a laptop, for example) without having to learn the password. They then launch software web browser, which will display the web page of the local PirateBox and so by means of web applications allow them to download or upload files, use the system of instant messaging available and post messages on the forum. All these data exchanges are confined to PirateBox and are unrelated to the Internet.[6]

Several educational projects use them to deliver content to students allowing them to share by chat or forum. The PirateBox is also used in places where Internet access is rare, such as African villages.

Devices which can be diverted to a PirateBox

Wi-Fi routers

Not an exhaustive list:

The PirateBox official wiki has an up to date hardware-list of compatible devices.[13]

See also

When online is offline


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External links

  • Official Page, official forum, Wiki of the main developer
  • "The PirateBox": WiFi + USB Drive = Your Own Mini-Internet (Freedom) (2013)
  • A Pirate Box for Sharing Files
  • PirateBox Takes File-Sharing Off The Radar and Offline, For Next To Nothing (TorrentFreak, March 2012)
  • PirateBox: an “artistic provocation” in lunchbox form
  • "The LibraryBox": A PirateBox-based alternative intended for education
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