FAQ pose us questions also on irc.dyne.org #dowse

Dowse is a software designed by dyne.org to build into a small inexpensive computer. It can be a board such as a Raspberry Pi, an OlinuXino, or just any computer you have standing around.
It allows you to see what kind of events are happening on your network in realtime. Dowse shades your DNS traffic to your Internet Service Provider. It's the digital equivalent of a door and a curtain.
Then it allows to recognise every appliance you have in your home - and give it a name and an ON/OFF button. If something does not seem right you can switch off-line a device or all the Internet connections, while you eventually investigate or ask for help.
Dowse is also implementing a simple way to sanitize your traffic by being able to detect most malware and spyware sites and make it visible: then is up for you to see who you trust.
Internet of Things machines might be calling home (their producer) for unknown reasons. Or they could have been infected by a virus or spyware, a software that spies on you. They could be spamming, or participating without your knowledge in a botnet used for a DDOS attack.
Even when you don’t care that this can happen, you should be aware of it since you can be held accountable when your machines are infected. And worst of all, you could be held responsible. By law you are accountable if your device causes damage or breaks the law.
Living together implies to give away a certain amount of privacy. Dowse mechanisms of awareness and control are thought to be an invitation to discuss, not a tool for censorship. Dowse is not made to inspect messages or sneakingly reveal secrets. On the contrary, it encourages polite behaviour and transparency.
Especially in the case that there is something really wrong - you should know. If you enter a room and someone is screaming in a corner, you will notice. The equivalent behaviour on the network is, by design, to pass unnoticed to the rest of the users, human, animal, and digital. for months. Until it's too late...
Devices are supposed to be reasonably safe to use. And home devices to be non-operative when unsupervisioned. For example, before leaving your house for holidays you close the gas mains. Imagine devices having open flames ( your barbecue ) or powerfull motors that are attached to your water pipe systems and that can be activated remotely. Does it sounds like a home of the future?
Dangerous sites on the network can install software intended to do harm, corporations can infer from your usage patterns to sell you more goods, but noone really wants all this poisoning of our attention span. These corporations do not need to know how how you use your devices, they can leak information about you simply by a lack of technical skills or consideration. They could not know and simply leak them by mistake. Or even worse: sell them and make money by something you give them unaware and for free. But don’t just believe us. Check for yourself :)
Dowse has been made openly. We made it as hard and secure as we could. It sits on a flavour of GNU/Linux we are developing at Dyne.org. It is a minimal flavor of the distribution - Devuan. We took away all security flaws we knew of and made it as simple as possible. The only certain thing, we say in Italian, is death. But we have no rush ;^)
You start caring about it. The rest will follow.
Dowse development has been granted in 2016-2017 by SIDN.net, a technology based public organisation that oversees the .nl domain name, and by nl.net, a foundation that "funds those with ideas to fix the internet".
We are doing our best to make it simple - as simple as the on/off switch. We also wanted to keep the design open to allow other people, possibly more skilled than us, to create interesting forms of visualisation and good interface to act upon it and share enhancements.
Try it. A conversation can be fun, challenging, difficult, impossible. As long as you have ears to hear and a mouth to talk you can engage the conversation. Dowse allows you to engage. It is up to you to decide where to take it, how to make it function. And yes, we do have fun with Dowse ourselves.