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FreeNet's Ian Clarke Answers Privacy Questions 218

Posted by Roblimo
from the who-is-that-masked-man-anyway? dept.
On April 5th you asked Ian Clarke of FreeNet many questions about this new project, which is designed to permit almost totally anonymous Internet posting of almost any kind of material. Here are his answers.

Who is liable?
(Score:5, Interesting)
by tcd004

You said that this: "allows information to be published and read without fear of censorship because individual documents cannot be traced to their source..."

I'm all for an open forum for free speech, but this seems almost reckless. In most venues of speech, accountability for someone's words is fundamental. The Internet has opened up the possiblity of free speech without accountability to a small degree, and look at what has happened. Do you fear any legal repercussions to your group for creating this forum based on this fact?

Ian:

Thanks for your question tcd004. The problem is that it is sometimes impossible to have free speech unless it can be delivered anonymously, since the threat of retribution can be a very effective deterrent against people stating their opinions. I would even go so far as to say that a forum which forced people to identify themselves was not permitting true free speech (This is why Slashdot allows "Anonymous Cowards" to have their say). I should further point out that there is no reason that people cannot digitally sign information they place in Freenet to indicate that they are the authors of a piece of information, but we don't force people to do that. Someone could even build up an anonymous reputation by signing all of their work with the same private key.

My personal feeling is that liable, and liable law, assumes that people will believe everything they read. This might, to an extent, be true in this time of centralized media, but my hope is that systems like Freenet (and indeed SlashDot) will encourage people to make judgments about the reliability of information themselves rather than relying on a corruptible centralized source.

Why the name FreeNet?
(Score:4, Insightful)
by K8Fan

Maybe I'm just showing my age, but to me a "FreeNet" is a local free Picospan/shell account. Maybe it's a bad idea to take the name of an existing and quite venerable free service?

Here is part of the Detroit Freenet FAQ:

* What is a Free-Net? A Free-Net is a free, public-access community computer system. Free-Nets can serve populations of any size, from large metropolitan areas to small cities and towns. They offer a wide spectrum of on-line information services to the public, including community and government databases and worldwide electronic messaging. They don't charge for their services, so everything on them is free. Free-Nets also have an interactive aspect, in that users can dialogue with information providers. While there are many Free-Nets around the world, each Free-Net is tailored to meet the needs of the local community, so no two Free-Nets are identical.

Seems like the existing Freenet is already a very good and useful thing, and it really doesn't need the confusion.

Ian:

Basically our experience is that while other systems and projects have used the term "Freenet" in the past, for the most part it had fallen out of common usage (if you don't believe me just take a look at the current contents of alt.freenet - which is primarily spam). We believe that since we are developing a "Free Network", the abbreviation of "Freenet" is too good not to use, and since it isn't really in common-usage anywhere else right now, we have resurrected it.

Poisoning the waters
(Score:5, Interesting)
by Mike Schiraldi

What protection is there against someone poisoning the system with malicious data? For example, let's say MPAASoftRIAAOL Corp. sets up a system of computers all over the place with wildly different IPs, and they feed either random or specially crafted bogus data into the system.

This is sort of analogous to renaming Barry_Manilow.mp3 to DaveMatthewsBand.mp3 and putting it on Napster. How do we prevent it? Some sort of decentralized, everyone-is-created-equal moderation system?

Ian:

You raise an interesting point, and one which has created much discussion on the mailing list since these "cancer" attacks are probably the most difficult to defend against in any system, particularly if it is decentralized like Freenet. Right now, the way Freenet works limits the damage that can be done with such a node, but in the future we plan to implement mechanisms which will make such an attack even less effective. Basically Freenet avoids becoming dependent on any particular node since requests will be spread almost equally among all Freenet nodes (by the nature of the dynamic caching and mirroring). This means that even if 0.1% of the total number of Freenet nodes are corrupted, at most about 0.1-0.4% of requests will be affected by it. Right now whenever someone requests some data in Freenet, in a sense they are voting for it, and all of the nodes which were involved in retrieving it. This is less than ideal since you don't actually know what you will get until it is too late (much like voting in the real world!). We plan to implement a mechanism to address this, where you can "undo" your vote if you aren't happy with the result, and thus Freenet gets a much more accurate idea of the quality of different types of information, and the quality of the nodes used to retrieve it. This will mean that a malicious node of the type you describe will eventually be ignored by the rest of Freenet, so hopefully the threat you describe won't be an issue when we release Freenet 1.0.

Bandwidth and Piracy
(Score:5, Insightful)
by Valdrax

In your own FAQ, you pretty much sidestep the entire issue that FreeNet would become a humongous "warez" distribution system by saying that it's merely a more efficient means of doing what others have been doing before. Ignoring the seeming subtle endorsement of piracy through the system, I'll raise an important question for adminstrators of FreeNet nodes.

In your FAQ, you say that it is very hard for FreeNet node admins to know what is on their site. With the inevitable proliferation of "warez" on the site, how will the system avoid getting bogged down with hundreds of illegal copies of popular pieces of software?

For example, when Diablo 2 finally comes out in the stores, what would prevent servers from being overloaded with:

/software/games/Diablo2.iso
/software/games/RPGs/Diablo2.iso
/software/games/rpg/Diablo2.iso
/warez/l337gam3z/Diablo2.iso
/fr33gam3z/war3z/rpg/diabloII.crack.iso
/mywarez/ObfuscatedDistributionKey/Diablo2.image ...etc.?

You could literally have hundreds of 650 Mb images of games floating around jamming up everyone's nodes. With the lack of searchability, no one would know what keys hook into what files. Without this knowledge, warez people might keep uploading copies to different keys, thus flooding the system. In essence, does not the lack of protection against piracy and the seemingly intentional goal of keeping admins from controlling their system threaten to bring down the entire network under the burden of warez and junk?

Ian:

The simple answer is that copyright is economic censorship (ie. restricting the free distribution of information for economic reasons), and thus Freenet will make it difficult or impossible to enforce copyright. As for whether Freenet will be "overloaded" with Warez junk, well current methods of distributing Warez work fine already, but as for Freenet - the system will contain whatever information people request. If people request Warez, then there will be Warez on Freenet, if they request pornography, then there will be pornography on Freenet, and if they request political documents then there will be political documents on Freenet. Freenet makes no distinction, and if it did it could not claim to permit true freedom of information. If you want to know more about why we just might be able to live without copyright take a look at our philosophy page.

Regarding your comment about large files clogging up Freenet, right now, inserting a huge file into Freenet probably won't work, since a node won't store a file which exceeds its disk-cache limit. We also plan to make large files need to justify themselves in-terms of the number of hits they receive, so that they don't displace loads of smaller files.

Why such bad press, what is being done to fix it?
(Score:5, Insightful)
by griffjon

It's pretty scary when Wired slams you with the headline, "Alternative Net Protects Pirates", which contained in the story gems such as:

"Eric Scheirer, a music technology researcher at MIT's Media Lab, said Freenet is an interesting experiment, but said it would likely be used only by a small community of pirates and "privacy nuts."

And, failing Monday's piece in the Nando Times , that's actually been the best article so far. The New Scientist is running "out of control: The Internet is about to get even harder to police" in their current issue, and ABCNews.com did a one-paragraph style summary of this article, with the lead of "An Internet system designed to guarantee anonymous free speech on the Web could be used by child pornographers and terrorists, according to New Scientist magazine," which then proceeds to all but call you and the other programmers pedophiles in a grammatical burp.

My question is, if this is to be successful (which I for one am all in favor of, I'm in close contact with Brandon and Steven, two of the FreeNet programmers, and am very much in support of the existence of this), FreeNet can't come off as a tool for criminals and miscreants, lest you attract more attention than you'd like from the Fed-types. Now, you may say that because it's open-source and already available, etc., that the Feds can't put it down, but if it is branded as an evil tool for child pornographers (like it is currently), it will never gain the popularity and user-base needed to make it sufficiently robust against machine removals.

To get something called a tool for privacy nuts by Wired is pretty bad--and the rest of the press has been worse; is there any plan to get this project out of the gutter?

Ian:

Well, we actually have had more good press than you suggest, the recent Wall Street Journal article was very positive, as was an early Brave GNU World article (see our publicity page for links). As for the bad press, well I think whenever you do something really new you are always going to encounter resistance. I think most of these journalists were trying to stir up some controversy, which is what journalists do. Interestingly many of these journalists have explained that they are often given a brief by their editors before they have even spoken to me on what tone the article will have. You rapidly develop a thick skin when you are involved in this kind of project, although for the most part I have been reasonably happy with the press coverage we have received.

Re: Why such bad press, what is being done to fix it
(Score:5, Interesting)
by Eric_Scheirer

"Eric Scheirer, a music technology researcher at MIT's Media Lab, said Freenet is an interesting experiment, but said it would likely be used only by a small community of pirates and 'privacy nuts.'"

I stand by my quote in that article, although naturally it's a little short on context. Let me make clear that I am in favor of privacy, security, and anonymity when appropriate, and I despise the current attempts to make the WWW more corporate-controlled via both code and law. I don't think there's anything wrong with Freenet, I just don't think it will ever take off in the mainstream.

The fact is that most of the things that most people like to use the WWW for--such as e-commerce and Slashdot--cannot be built on Freenet, since it has no cookies and no memory. Given this, I can't see anything happening with Freenet except that it becomes a huge storehouse for illegal porn, pirated MP3s and 3l33t w8r3z.

It's a shame, because the potential political benefits that it raises, by allowing dissident speech in repressive countries, is great.

I guess my question for the Freenet developers would be: I am not a pirate, a privacy nut, a political dissident, or someone trying to spread illegal trade secrets. What does Freenet offer me? And are these benefits broad enough to a broad enough segment of the world population to create the momentum needed for Freenet to work sociologically as well as technically?

-- Eric Scheirer
MIT Media Laboratory

Ian:

Brandon (one of the other core Freenet developers) did e-mail you twice to answer the comments you made in Wired, he still awaits your response on the matter. Ok, what does Freenet offer someone who doesn't care about anonymity? One point that many people miss is that it is actually a very efficient way to distribute information due to its dynamic caching and dynamic mirroring. Freenet will move information to where it is in-demand, and will duplicate popular information automatically so that you should never encounter "The SlashDot Effect" with Freenet. In other words, your ability to publish information is no longer limited to the Bandwidth you can pay for. Because of this it should actually be a better way to distribute information than, say, the WWW or Usenet, even ignoring the fact that the information can't be censored. TheCarp mentions this below.

Wireless Freenet
(Score:4, Interesting)
by john187

I think Freenet would dovetail nicely with wireless network technology. I system of Freenet servers 1-2 km apart could blanket metropolitan areas and eliminate dependency on ISP's for network service.

What are your thoughts on this? Are any hardware people interested in looking at this problem? Building some prototypes?

Ian:

I agree completely, we have actually kept the protocol packet-based for just this sort of reason. I think Freenet would be perfect for a distribute decentralized radio network, and it would be a very exciting project.

Reversed priorities?
(Score:5, Insightful)
by mattr

If files live longer the more they are thrashed, will this not just breed thrasher bots and crowd out data from clients with less connectivity? How about a voting system for one or more directories which does not add files easily but they are there for good. If it is that good a resource it deserves a champion to protect it.

Also, I take it you are comfortable with already having divulged the identities of the entire first wave of sysadmins of FreeNet nodes? Seems like your most vulnerable time is now.

I've long considered the value of a peer to peer system for countries underdeveloped in the areas of infrastructure and rights. Unfortunately it seems that social engineering is steadily on the side of repression. Wouldn't the best way to get FreeNet into such environments be to make it a source of economic strength? In other words, your growth metric might look much better if you include authorship, copyright, and microcashpayment management. I can't see the Declaration of Independence sticking in the current system for long.. but it is in both a good library and a good bookstore.

Basically you have built a distribution system which in its optimal configuration has no delivery time since you already have the commodity on your hard drive... make it work for business as well and it may reduce prices and take on a life of its own.

Ian:

Well there is certainly more than one question here!

Firstly, the issue of "thrashing" or flooding Freenet is covered in the FAQ - I refer you to section 4.2. To summarize, the dynamic caching mechanism makes it very difficult to artificially make data more popular (since Freenet will just cache it on a node right beside you, and all of your requests will be soaked up by it).

As for divulging the addresses of the first few people to set-up Freenet nodes (I assume you refer to our "Inform.php" mechanism) that is merely a mechanism to "boot-strap" Freenet for testing purposes. Once Freenet is up and running properly we will have no need for such a mechanism, but it is useful in the early stages (and people have the option to switch it off in the config file if they really care that much). I should make it clear that Freenet now is still at an early stage of development. The project is lucky to have some very talented and hard-working developers, particularly Brandon Wiley and Oskar Sandberg who have really helped turned this from a dream into a reality, but we still have much work to do. Data modification, Content Hashed Keys, local data encryption, the list of ideas which we want to implement before a 1.0 release is long - but this is indicative of the cutting-edge nature of the project.

In terms of making it possible to sell information using Freenet, or a Freenet-like system, I suspect that might be missing the point we are making! Never say never though...

Kiddy porn, rape movies, snuff films.
(Score:5, Interesting)
by Jinker

No matter what zealots tell you, no freedom is absolute. Your freedoms end when they infringe on the rights of others. This includes your freedom of speech.

My thoughts when I first heard about this project were extremely positive for the first five seconds or so. I was going to set up a server, and suggest all my other bandwidth-rich friends do the same. Then I thought about what would be going to and from my server.

Anonymity has its place from time to time, but usually in the cases of an abuse by a higher power against an individual. But in the general case, I feel that freedom of speech entails the responsability of accountability.

If I'm going to say that I hate Virgos, and all Virgos should be locked up and treated as the inhuman beasts that they are, I should have the conviction to do so without a pointy hood over my head.

If I'm going to be distributing porn, I should be able to do it with a clean conscience. If I wanted to post naked pictures on a Web site, I'd be in some way traceable. And if I wasn't identifiable, there at least would be a mechanism in place (an e-mail to my upstream provider) to curb my freedom of speech if I was posting vile material.

The ideal of individual freedom falls apart in the environment of actual individuals who abuse it.

I'm not saying in any way that this should be a legal matter, or that the product should be banned, just that in the case that it turns out like I expect it to (the majority of traffic for illicit files, both violating copyright and basic human decency) I will have no respect, even a measure of contempt for the people that do run the servers. THEY will be the ones I will hold accountable for the 'free speech' being exercised on the network. And if they were to be sued off the net by the RIAA, Church of Scientology and MPAA, I can't say I'll be surprised, or all that upset.

What arguments can you make FOR free, anonymous access to kiddie porn, snuff films and rape/torture erotica? Why should *I*, a server operator, nurture these sorts of activities in an ideal environment?

Ian:

You cannot have free speech without tolerating speech that you personally don't agree with. If you don't want to risk aiding the distribution of "kiddie porn" (which is *already* freely distributed on the Internet anyway), then steer clear of Freenet - it's not for you. On the other hand, if you want to help build a system which will help humanity share information, even though some of that information will be distasteful to you personally, then set up a Freenet node. See our philosophy page for more information on this.

some technical questions.
. (Score:4, Interesting)
by Cuthalion

Once something is put on freenet it cannot be removed. What does this mean? No censorship, but also misinformation stays in the system just as long as correct information, so long as it can 'trick' people into requesting it (by seeming to be relevant, for instance). This can be exploited intentionally to censor (some things are nearly unfindable on search engines because of 'key' collisions - the band 'Reload', for instance), or unintentionally - I write something, post it, and five minutes later learn that I was mistaken. Oh well! People will just have to decide for themselves what is truth. Even if I DO post a retraction, there is no way to verify that a trusted entity (such as the original author) retracted it.

As a medium for sharing artistic works (e.g., music, essays, images) this is not as important, but to carry actual facts, (e.g., hardware specs, controvertial news items, etc.) this seems a major shortcoming. Is there any solution to this problem in place or in progress? I ask because I feel that this is not adequately discussed in the FAQ.

Ian:

As I mention above we are working on improving the way that people can "vote" for the validity of information - I hope that this will address some of the concerns you raise. Having said that, you can't really drownout information on Freenet in the manner you suggest. If you have the key, you can get the data unless it has died out due to never being requested.

The whole area of choosing appropriate keys for the data you wish to insert is a huge, and ripe for further research. For some things, like MP3s, or poems, choosing an appropriate key is pretty easy ("music/mp3/artist/album/track" or "poem/poet/title" for example). It merely requires a standard way to refer to these things - and since it is in everybody's interest to use the same standard, hopefully good standards will emerge quite quickly. Other things are less easy. When people created the Internet, they probably never thought it might be used the way we are using it now - and they didn't need to. Similarly, Freenet is a platform upon which we hope others will build.

Re: Why compete?
(Score:4, Interesting)
by TheCarp

Actually....the Freenet Has a huge technical advantage over http protocols. The thing is... it's not just hard to track down who wrote it (unless they sign their name...it's only anonymous if you want it to be) and where it's stored...

It has cacheing built in. When you request something, it propagates. This means more copies exist. So if a document is REALLY popular, then no one server is bogged down with distributing it.

Imagine some really popular band that believes in mp3 distribution puts out a new mp3. Now everyone 80% of college students go to download it.

WHat happens? After the first few downloads at each college...the local university freenet server will have a copy of the mp3 and will be serving it to that university.

None of the requests for it will be going outside the local university network. Its the basic equivalent of everyone in the world being behind multiple layers of http cacheing proxy, except somewhat better (its built into the protocol)

Ian:

What can I say? Cool - you get it! Just to reiterate though, Freenet is an experiment. It is quite different from projects like Linux and Mozilla, which are essentially open source re-implementations of technology which has already been proven (and, incidentally, I am a big supporter of both of these projects). There aren't really any precedents which we could follow in designing Freenet, certainly nothing that came close to what we wanted to achieve. The difficulty with Freenet is that we can only *really* test it by encouraging people to use it on a reasonably wide scale. There is much further work to be done on Freenet, it is really only at the beginning of its testing phase right now - so please don't expect it to change the world just yet - but please do try it out!

--------------------------

You may also be interested to note that we have released Freenet 0.1beta.

All the best,

- Ian

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FreeNet's Ian Clarke Answers Privacy Questions

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    You forgot the world also contains Judges and people with guns who follow their orders.

    FreeNet is about more than freedom of speech. It's about freedom of information transfer and storage too. The Public doesn't want and will not tolerate the existance of such freedom when (not if) it is used for purposes in conflict with their comfort. FreeNet will be shut down as soon as it has been found to be useful.

    These people are wasting their time.

    I think the only feasible systems have accountability and optional psuedo-anonymity built it, but the identifying information must be obtainable only with a court order and that restriction much be gauranteed by technological methods and law which will send violators of that restriction to jail.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I work in Marketing, and I am well aware of the abuses perpertrated by spammers and junk

    ...... just a small remark... what are you as a marketing person doing reading 'news for nerds' ?

    However, I am also a keen amatuer scholar of the US Constitution, and I wonder about the implications of this technology. If misapplied, it could end up with non-US citizens being able to say whatever they liked, with no fear of retribution. This could include opinions that no democrat could countenance. (I am thinking here primarily of Communism and Atheism, but this 'anonymous posting' technology could be used to promote almost any anti-us agenda).

    Not entirely sure if you are just trolling or if this is serious... but lets take it serious...
    The word democrat was invented in Greece and not in your USA. The first constitution in Europe predates the USA one by a few hundred years, and besides... having lived in both the USA and Europe I can only come to the conclusion that where you have freedom of speech in your constitution, most of western europe has it in practise not just on paper.
    Also. freedom of speech comes with the nice freedom to refrain from reading what you don't like
    And... last but not least, this world is 'a bit' bigger then your USA. If you would actually understand anything about that country you live in, and its constitution and history, you would understand that the USA has tried to convince others to get the same political system as them, or at most a slight variation on it. This is all nice since that system happens to work reasonably well, but it doesn't make you any different from those communists and atheists that you seem so afraid off.
    Maybe you are just afraid of yourself, of your beliefs being so weakly founded that things which should be easily recognisable as propaganda might convince you? well.. in that case just don't read... but don't determine for other people if they are strong enough.

    The problem with this technology is that while Americans are used to freedom of speech, and for the most part use it responsibly (see this very forum for examples) the less developed parts of the world (and I am thinking mainly of Europe here) do not have the tradition of free speech that we Americans do, and so may abuse the privelege this technology has bestowed upon them.

    I could comment on this, but actually its so obviously wrong that I don't think I have to explain this.

  • This is absolutely true. True control of information has been impossible since the development of reasonably easy to use cryptography. It doesn't really matter if the information is traceable if it is practically unreadable. The CDA was more or less a joke for that reason. If people want to exchange information which others don't want them to exchange, it's pretty trivial to take the traffic underground. No legislator is going to change that practical reality without seriously draconian efforts.
  • (This browser doesn't support cookies, so this may appear to be an anonymous posting. I [logi.org] am not trying to hide.)


    Speaking of standard protocols and getting mainstream apps to support free-net (which I'm still thinking about whether I support in general or not), is anyone working on defining URI's for documents on free-net and maybe even adding support for these to Mozilla?


    If this really is a more efficient distribution medium people might consider simultaneously releasing a document on the web and on free-net in HTML and link from each to the other.


    In fact, you could deliberately copy entire sub-webs from the HTTP-based web to a free-net based equivalent. It would be easy to script this and convert all links. You now have an instant user-base, the system is made much more legitimate and the added number of users and servers makes it more robust, both technically and against themakers, users and abusers of the law.

  • It seems that no one is concerned about the very probable fact that illegal pornography will end up on your computer! Does no one have any problems with that? What happens, if for some reason, your computer is confiscated, and they find child porn. Try to explain that.
  • And how will this freenet help those oppressed people. What's to stop those evil governments or corporations or whatever from making managing any freenet node illegal?
    __
  • You might be an atheist, but you believed a troll.

    That'll be 20 ave marias and 30 paters for you.

  • As for inserting bogus information, the worth of information in Freenet is determined by the number of people who request it. Random data will only displace other data in Freenet if people actually request it

    Doesn't that mean that a DOS attack that included both bogus insertion and bogus requests (possibly using something like the distributed DOS attacks seen recently) could make it impossible to find the attacked information?

  • "...Americans are used to freedom of speech, and for the most part use it responsibly (see this very forum for examples)..."

    Who was the humorless twirp that moderated this brilliant satire down as a troll just because of the humorless twirps who responded as though it were?

  • I have to concede the fact that action != speech. However, I remind you that Ian said:

    You cannot have free speech without tolerating speech that you personally don't agree with. If you don't want to risk aiding the distribution of "kiddie porn" (which is *already* freely distributed on the Internet anyway), then steer clear of Freenet - it's not for you.

    Semantics and logical hair-splitting aside, Freenet can allow and even facilitate the distribution of illegal material in a manner that makes it exceedingly difficult to defend against, under the auspices of "free speech". Noble words and intentions, to be sure, and a worthwhile endeavor. I think it's incomplete, and dangerously so.

    Python is right -- action and speech are separate entities that cannot be equated. Ian seemed to equate them, so I commented on his answer. Assuming (as I do), that Ian doesn't really equate kiddie porn to free speech, he at least seems to be saying that on Freenet, you can only support free speech by simultaneously allowing a method by which the distribution of kiddie porn is *greatly* facilitated. I say "greatly" because there is the opportunity for a Freenet adminitrator's node to be used in a way the administrator may not like, and cannot defend against.

    I'm not trying to make an ass of Ian: to the contrary, I wish the project much success. However, their decision to not allow node-administrator control -- indeed, no control whatsoever -- places their project in a dangerous position by which it can and will be used for such things as kiddie porn, and the good intentions of the project gets swept aside.

  • It's not a misparaphrase, it's an exact quote, copy-and-pasted from Ian's answer.

    Ian does not seem to be implying the opposite: he seems to be equating free speech (specifically, speech that you personally do not agree with) with distribution of "kiddie porn". I went to the extreme, granted, by taking into the "action" part of creating kiddie porn, but it is a valid extension of the argument. Hair-splitting aside, kiddie porn (at any stage, whether creating, distributing, or possesion) is illegal now. Whether you're streaming bits, or actually sodomizing a 10 year old boy, if it's kiddie porn, it's illegal.

  • First, Freenet is not a place where rape and mutilation take place, but instead a place where they may be documented. Second, he made no claim that kiddie porn was free speech, but only that it would be necessary to tolerate it in order to support free speech.

    Okay, in order: I'm not saying Freenet should be illegal (as you seem to be saying -- if I've miscontrued your argument, I apologize and retract my following statement). I'm saying that it is a weakness of Freenet to not allow some level of control so that such activity does not take place. At any point in the process of "kiddie porn" -- creation, distribution, possesion -- the product and/or action is illegal. Hmm... I guess I AM saying it's illegal... your point.

    I disagree that allowing free speech means tolerating legally and morally (oooh.. the "M" word) repugnant activities. It is the grossest of mistakes (or some kind of utopian happytalk) to say you cannot have one without the other. The world is not like a computer: there are many shades of gray in addition to the black and white binary world.

    not every form of expression falls into free speech . . . Ass-fucking a 10 year old boy is not "expression".
    . . . and noone at Freenet would tell you otherwise. In fact, its quite impossible to ass fuck a 10 year old boy on Freenet. You see, the real problem takes place in our heads and in our communities. The representation is mostly a symptom and it's something we should learn from. It's quite possible that this anticipated documentation of taboo subjects will encourage us to understand why people act this way (and not simply be disgusted by it).

    Tough one -- I don't say that you will be sodomizing 10 year olds on Freenet. I say that Freenet provides no provision to defend against questionable material, and as such facilitates the distribution. Returning to your above statement, you can't have one without the other, whereas I say "Yes you can". Eliminating the control of one's own node may not attract the legions of free-thinking people the project hopes for. Rather, it may attract only the bottom-feeders of society, since it gives them untraceable conduits to pass their material around. I think the balance struck is the wrong balance -- some control needs to be there.

    Ian talks about routing around "cancerous" nodes when Evil Corporate Geniuses will pollute the Pure Freenet Stream with corporate doubletalk. Yet, he simply says, "don't run Freenet if you don't want the possibility of hosting kiddie porn on your node". This seems to be a wildly dis-proportionate view. Corpoations may be dumb and witless, but evil? Not really.

    Finally, I may or may not "stay away from Freenet." I like the idea, I like the ideology. I'm not thrilled about the seeming decision to give up on blatently illegal activities. It's a tough choice, and I don't envy the Freenet's team job ahead of them in defending what (in a more perfect world) would be an indispensible entity. Good luck and best wishes to them.

  • While I like the Freenet's technical capabilities (dynamic caching and mirroring), I dislike their philosophical stance on "free speech", to wit:

    The simple answer is that copyright is economic censorship (ie. restricting the free distribution of information for economic reasons), and thus Freenet will make it difficult or impossible to enforce copyright.

    This is ridiculous. Copyrights are not economic censorship, unless the copyright holder chooses to use it as such. For example, Philip Greenspun [photo.net] lets web admins use his photos, generally for free, as long as they attribute him. He maintains the copyright. This is economic censorship? No, it's a legally enforceable method of control of somebody's intellectual property. (I know, IP is a dirty word...) Philip might spend hours setting up and taking a shot -- if he wants to retain control of his interpretation of an idea, that's his legal right.

    You cannot have free speech without tolerating speech that you personally don't agree with. If you don't want to risk aiding the distribution of "kiddie porn" (which is *already* freely distributed on the Internet anyway), then steer clear of Freenet - it's not for you.

    So, in other words, "kiddie porn" is free speech. Really? I didn't know that. Guess ritual rape and mutilation is free speech too, and if done in a pointy hat with candles, it's a religious observance, too.

    While I agree with the point that supporting free speech means supporting ideas and thoughts that you may not agree with, not every form of expression falls into free speech. Throwing a punch at someone, even if it's a cracker-ass Grand Wizard of the KKK, is not "expression". It's assault, and your butt will rightly be hauled into jail. Ass-fucking a 10 year old boy is not "expression". It's ass-fucking a 10 year old boy -- a minor, and protected (rightly) by law.

    Developing a system whereby administrators (you can't even rightly call them that, since they "administer" nothing) have no control over content, you make a technically competent and interesting system that is *really* uninviting to operate, since your box can be the source of something nefarious (or something you disagree with, and do not wish to support). You are welcome to your ideas, but do *NOT* push them onto me.

    A side issue is about the "voting" or "rating" system built into Freenet. I like the idea, but I think it overlooks something. What about tiny, insignificant, but really important things that don't get used much. For example, a HOW-TO on setting up an Amiga 2000 to run NetBSD. Not many A2000s out there, nobody runs NetBSD anyway... what's this node about Windows 2001? Looks neeto...

    If unpopular nodes get pushed out, doesn't that run contrary to the "free speech" dictum? Unpopular now means "kill the niggers", but 40 years ago, unpopular meant "I have a dream...". Popularity is a poor substitute for personal decision.

    Freenet is a great concept, but it's missing a few important concepts and components. I personally think that an philosophical ideal and a technical solution don't neccessarily mix very well. GNU software might be the rule-proving exception or the theory-smashing evidence. Freenet, however, is mostly concerned with ideology, and is developing a technical solution to promote that ideology at the expense of that self-same ideology.

    At least, that's what I think. I'm also a well-known idiot

  • You cannot have free speech without tolerating speech that you personally don't agree with. If you don't want to risk aiding the distribution of "kiddie porn" (which is *already* freely distributed on the Internet anyway), then steer clear of Freenet - it's not for you.
    So, in other words, "kiddie porn" is free speech.
    This is a very wretched misparaphrase. Ian seems to be implying the exact opposite. His point is not that kiddie porn ought to be protected from censorship, but that Freenet will do so, due to its technical nature.
  • hehehe i like the bullseye line :)

    you make a good argument, he shouldnt of said whast he said, but my point is, he isnt the one that is actually doing the illegal activities...

    Napster, for example, is out right admitting 'we solicit music piracy'... (well, mabey they dont say it that way :) but my point is, i dont thing they should be held liable for it...

    the Gnutella software is awesome, the ultimate free tool for warez trading, w/o the need for centralized servers... thats a bigger threat than anything else mentioned in this thread :)
  • hmmm i dont agree...

    so if someone cracks the NT sam file for a bank using l0phtcrack, the fbi is going to go after l0pht, since they wrote the software? i dont think he should be accountable for anything... why not go after the internet's founders, heck they pioneered the internet which is used for distribution of 'kiddie porn' right? ;)

    Keep information free!
  • I think I must be responding to a troll here.

    I am astounded at the arrogance and ignorance displayed by DumbMarketingGuy in his post! Some main points:

    - Europeans are used to a certain degree of freedom of speech. The UK has strong libel laws, but if you can't be proven a liar then you can say pretty much what you like. The press has a lot of freedom, public rally's (rallies?) are legal, etc.

    - How exactly can you abuse freedom of speech? Making statements of hate? Personal abuse? Please, provide an example, and make damn sure I can't show you American examples of it (hey, I'm not ragging on Americans, I am merely asking him to prove free speech can be abused, and that Americans are not involved in that particular abuse)

    - less developed in Europe? I'm flabbergasted.

    - this 'anonymous posting' technology could be used to promote almost any anti-us agenda So it could. It could be used to promote any agenda. What's your point? Why should a technology be pro-American. Why shouldn't a technology be available that is 'Anti-oppressive regime' - think how such a tool would benefit people in totalitarian states. (No, I'm not saying America is an oppressive regime. Don't make that insinuation.)

    In short, your sheltered naive view of the world bemuses me.

    ~Cederic (using the freedom of speech he seems to have forgotten to abuse, even though he's had it all along and yet - amazingly - isn't American)

  • At post number 35, I don't think that you've got a reasonable census for making such a statement. You should have waited another half hour or two before posting what you'd already decided to say.
  • You cannot have free speech without tolerating speech that you personally don't agree with. If you don't want to risk aiding the distribution of "kiddie porn" (which is *already* freely distributed on the Internet anyway), then steer clear of Freenet - it's not for you.
    So, in other words, "kiddie porn" is free speech. Really? I didn't know that. Guess ritual rape and mutilation is free speech too, and if done in a pointy hat with candles, it's a religious observance, too.
    First, Freenet is not a place where rape and mutilation take place, but instead a place where they may be documented. Second, he made no claim that kiddie porn was free speech, but only that it would be necessary to tolerate it in order to support free speech. It's the same principle as "innocent until proven guilty." Even though someone is probably guilty (and Freenet will probably have horible information), we give them the benefit of the doubt because we think everyone has the right to a trial (and Freenet will be invaluable for certain people).
    We directly advance the notion of free speech without injuring someone else. This is a good trade off in my opinion.
    not every form of expression falls into free speech . . . Ass-fucking a 10 year old boy is not "expression".
    . . . and noone at Freenet would tell you otherwise. In fact, its quite impossible to ass fuck a 10 year old boy on Freenet. You see, the real problem takes place in our heads and in our communities. The representation is mostly a symptom and it's something we should learn from. It's quite possible that this anticipated documentation of taboo subjects will encourage us to understand why people act this way (and not simply be disgusted by it).
    Developing a system whereby administrators (you can't even rightly call them that, since they "administer" nothing) have no control over content, you make a technically competent and interesting system that is *really* uninviting to operate, since your box can be the source of something nefarious (or something you disagree with, and do not wish to support). You are welcome to your ideas, but do *NOT* push them onto me.
    You should really read the part where he suggests that people like you should stay away from Freenet.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Please start the Java vs. Perl flamewar now. Extra credit for dragging in Python, C/C++, Lisp, Scheme, Tcl/Tk, assembler, the existence of God, and/or gun control.

    Thank you.
  • Someone asked in a question

    How about a voting system for one or more directories which does not add files easily but they are there for good. If it is that good a resource it deserves a champion to protect it.
    and the web page says that infrequently-requested data will eventually expire and be deleted.

    I think that the "champion" idea for keeping data is a good idea. Suppose the freenet server allowed the admin to define a separate, node admin-controlled area. In that area would reside data that the admin wants to be permanently available. Under normal operation, the data would be distributed across all of FreeNet, but if it all expired and someone then asked for it again, the request would make its way back to the permanent repository and get the data from there. This does negate some of the advantages of FreeNet, namely that the admin will know what's on his server and could be contstrued to be liable for it, but it allows a guarantee of permanence for the data. Does this sound reasonable?


    --Phil (I'll probably be setting up my FreeNet node when I get my cable modem.)
  • Balderdash. People will be able to use Freenet just like peoples in oppressed countries all over the world are able to use less advanced technologies, like remailers and proxy servers for surfing anonymously NOW. I suggest you do some reading up on how hard it is to detect some of these technologies, let alone block them. The whole point of things like Freenet and remailers it to deal with countries like China and others that control their citizens access to the net.

    And the fact that its hard as it is for peoples in those countries to speak freely now is all the more reason for things like Freenet - and all the more reason why we have to make it better and more foolproof so that no can censor content thru it.
    --
    Python

  • While I agree with the point that supporting free speech means supporting ideas and thoughts that you may not agree with, not every form of expression falls into free speech. Throwing a punch at someone, even if it's a cracker-ass Grand Wizard of the KKK, is not "expression". It's assault, and your butt will rightly be hauled into jail. Ass-fucking a 10 year old boy is not "expression". It's ass-fucking a 10 year old boy -- a minor, and protected (rightly) by law.

    The fallacy here is that speech does not equal action and vice versa. You are confusion the action with the speech, and thats apples and oranges. So your whole point is fallacious and your argument falls apart there. It IS OK to talk about punching someone in the face, its not OK to do it most cases. Its OK to talk about, even describe kiddie porn, its not OK to have sex with children.

    Kiddie Porn is illegal not because of the speech, but because of the ACTIONS. Its deemed to be so abhorent that videos and pictures of it are illegal as well to, ostensibly, reduce the amount of real pedophila occuring. Its the ACTION thats at stake here, not the speech. Its OK to talk about it, even describe it but to do it, is not legal.

    So you're commiting a real logic fallacy equating the two, and your not looking at whether the cure is worse than the disease.
    --
    Python

  • This is kind-of a computerised version of the liable issue. When people download stuff from the Internet and install it as root, they are taking a big risk. It is just the same with Freenet, except perhaps the threat is more obvious since you know that the person who created the file is untracable. This issue is, however, easily addressed using digital signatures. You could build up a trusted reputation by signing all of your output with the same signature, while remaining anonymous.

    In addition to this, we are working on ways to give Freenet a more accurate impression of the quality of data stored in it (as determined purely by popularity).

    --

  • Ok, so the FBI has to go to court and explain that it was actually their investigations which placed the data on the node whose owner they are now trying to prosecute! Also recall that in-order to do this, the FBI has actually helped propogate the offending data further throughout Freenet.

    --

  • Overall, Freenet is a Good Thing. I'm saddened to see the outright hypocrisy shown by many Slashdotters, who claim to value free speech yet attack Freenet simply because it will enable just that.

    But the idea does need a bit more work. A few things that would make it even more valuable.
    • Signatures. I know this one's being worked on; perhaps the Freenet folks should look into GPG integration for this one. The idea is that you still get the true anonymity which Freenet makes possible, but you can also get the reverse: absolute verification. The reason I think this should be integrated into Freenet is because then it could be possible to see, say, if an article was signed before actually downloading it (think of it as a "Verified" flag). The other advantage is the future possibility of being able to update data that you've injected.

      The only way this is going to work well, however, is if they get real integration with encryption. Enough that you can basically sign something with one click (and whatever passwords are needed, of course). That's one of the main reasons encryption isn't as ubiquitous as it should be; it's unnecessarily difficult to use. I'm hoping this will start to change once the RSA patent expires, so that more people can start building encryption functions into their software (OpenPGP standard, anyone?)
    • Searches. This one's certainly going to be harder to do, seeing as you'd be searching on a distributed system. However, you can't rely on guessable keys, which the current system uses. That simply won't work forever, particularly since the keys need to be unique.
    • More/better documentation. The reason for this is so that OS-native clients can be developed. Java is a good place to start, and it does allow for platforms with no OS-native client to run Freenet servers/clients, but the memory and performance gains from an OS-native client cannot be denied. It also allows clients and servers to be made which better fit the OS on which they're run in terms of interface.
      What I would suggest is that the Java client become the "reference release" of Freenet. Since it's Open-Source, other clients can then be brought up to date with the Java client without too much trouble. The choice then becomes down to using the Java client to stay bleeding-edge, or OS-native for the performance gains.
    • Some way to manage firewall support. I would be operating a Freenet node right now, but the security of my machine is important to me, so I have a personal firewall set up. My guess is that this will come in time, just as signatures will.

    The idea of Freenet is a great one. As it is, it needs a bit of work, but that's to be expected of a first release. As it is even now, though, it shows a great deal of promise.

    Oh, a quick bit about the "concerns" some Slashdotters seem to have about this.
    • First, that terrorists might use it. That's just plain crap. Why would a terrorist want to use Freenet? You can't use it to plan attacks, due to its public nature (sure, they might not know who you are, but if they know to expect an attack then you're still not going to be able to do it). And claiming responsibility for an attack anonymously sort of defeats the purpose of claiming responsibility. So you can't plan attacks, and you can't boast about them.
    • Warez/MP3. Not in Freenet's current state. As it gets easier to use, maybe. Regardless, it won't be different from any other platform. The Web gets used for warez too. So do FTP, Hotline, IRC, ICQ, AOL, and any number of network services. And even before these were around, there was still a warez trade. One more forum isn't going to make that much of a difference.
    • Kiddie porn, rape/torture/snuff films, and the like. Again, it'll happen. And it's a shame, too; I wouldn't mind seeing it all mysteriously vanish in one big system crash. But free speech is working at its best when it protects the speech we hate. You cannot silence any voice -any voice- without jeopardizing every voice. It's a sad fact that as long as there are sickos who want this sort of thing, there'll be even sicker freaks who actually make it. These people are already very good at keeping their stuff from being traceable; Freenet's anonymity won't be doing them any favors. In fact, it could hinder them; as anonymity emboldens these monsters, they'll get sloppier, counting on Freenet's anonymity to save them. A very costly mistake indeed, for while the films may be free speech, the techniques used in making them (a snuff film, for example, by definition requires that someone be murdered to make the film) are not protected.
      A third factor needs to be considered here: the "re-inventing the wheel" phenomenon. Kiddie porn is comparatively easy to get, but rape/snuff films are, understandably, exceedingly difficult to find. Usually they have to be custom-made for one person, since they're obviously hard to sell (think about it: would you sell tapes of yourself committing various felonies?) There is always the chance that, because some sicko got his fix from something off the Freenet, he won't commission a film and one less person will suffer. Is that not worth it?

    Will Freenet be misused? Certainly; anything that can be misused inevitably is. Does that mean it shouldn't be allowed to exist? Certainly not. Even in the most hideous abuses of this, there is potential for some good to come of it. And the potential for good from proper uses of this is staggering.

    One final note, and an interesting possibility: might it eventually be possible, via a browser plugin (to give one example) to integrate a Freenet client into a Web browser? Putting a Web interface on top of Freenet would certainly make it much easier to use, and could speed its adoption greatly. Who knows; there may be a time when a "Freeweb" comes into being, where entire sites (rather than files) are sent through the network. Some of the underlying principles of Freenet (particularly the moving of data to where it is most needed) would benefit the Web greatly. Any thoughts on something like that?
  • Finally, true freedom of speech. What I find interesting is all the people that "supposedly" like freedom of speech until they begin thinking that anything can be said and then they become very Politically Correct about what should be free and what shouldn't be. Interestingly, this is mirroring American Politics and the attempts of Federal, State, and City goverments trying to limit this type of speech or that type of speech. Everyone is becoming a victim of someone else's freedom of speech.

    What's funny is here is America Free Speech is a RIGHT!!! Whether that speech is hateful towards a group or is critical of the/a goverment at least our forefathers knew that and they accepted it because they felt that all speech has to be free in order for a society is to consider itself free. People have arguements whether that is correct or not but the reality is that free speech has been under attack for over a century in one form or another.

    FreeNet is to give complete freedom over what you say. Whether you own it or are anonymous with it you still have the complete freedom to say it without retribution. That is what Freedom of Speech is all about. And is also one of the primary reasons that not even the Supreme Court wants to limit that kind of freedom on the internet. Anyone can say anything and no one institution has control over it. But does it stop the goverment from trying to limit it, even with two dead CDA bills, no, they now are trying to force issues with the ISP. The FBI is trying to get more generalized, rather then specific, rights to commandiere any computer with information that they suspect might be on a computer because of, oh my, terrorists or child pornographers.

    When did American's want the goverment to keep a close eye on them? For over two hundred years people have flocked to America because thought control, and other basic freedoms, were considered of paramount importance. Now when technology begins to aid in securing those rights to freedom people begin to worry about the "criminals" and this is wrong because I don't like this speech it hurts me - because I'm a victim.

    Is that the biggest conspiracy the goverment has created. Without creating it. Proproganda is still proproganda and anyone who believes that a goverment cares about freedom of speech but within reason, is a person blind to censorship.

    Of course the really superb thing about FreeNet is that it is completly non-American and is truly about complete freedom!!

    Long live FreeNet - finally true Freedom can exist!

  • the peaceful anarchists [infoshop.org] and libertarians

    My, what an embaressing mistake. The proper URL is http://www.infoshop.org/faq/.


    Michael Chisari
    mchisari@usa.net
  • This guy is clueless. Typical liberal leanings, willing to tolerate warez, rape/kiddie/snuff/torture porn and God knows what else just so satisfy his need for "free information". Bah.

    What will probably happen, and would seem to be the best idea, is if MegaCorp A wants to keep it's brand new copy of OfficeSuite 3000 from showing up everywhere, just coordinate a upload/request barrage of something that looks like the OS3000 but is a worm/virus/trojan whatnot, then blame it on "pirates" or "hackers", pointing out that you can only "trust a copy we put out."

    Discredit it quickly, and make it unuseable. That's the key.
  • This reply neatly avoided one question I have - how do you ensure integrity of the files this thing distributes? It's all fine and dandy that you *can* put files out there, but if somebody poisons the thing, there's no way to distinguish slashdot-0.9.tar.gz 490381 bytes from slashdot-0.9.tar.gz 490381 bytes (which happens to have a root compromise in install.sh).

    There are just a *ton* of tech issues to resolve to get this thing off the ground.. only some of them have been addressed. The harder ones are on the human interfacing... you're putting data on a network with no way to ensure integrity. Then again, in an anonymous net what would be the point? Hrrrmmm...

  • Ever since I first heard of FreeNet, I've been trying to come up with some 'clean room' attacks (i.e. I don't read the FreeNet discussions)

    Here's one I call 'The Info Blockade' that is along the lines you describe, but uses specific Freenet features to defeat FreeNet:

    1) Imagine a file that a government wishes to block within its borders (a manifesto, plans for a strike, documents proving massive corruption, etc. Historical example: Daniel Ellsberg's The Pentagon Papers from the 70's)

    2) The government creates a false file (it might even be able to forge authentication, if it's the right government, and determined enough)

    3) The government massively releases the false file via it's own FreeNet servers (while possibly also pursuing the usual stamp-out tactics). This information would
    a) likely be the closest server to a domestic requester of the information
    b) would slowly 'diffuse' onto the larger FreeNet

    4) Within hours, the Government makes large numbers of requests for the false file at the communication bottlenecks into the country. This will fill the caches of the foreign (uncontrolled) Freenet sites with the false file (both from copies that 'diffused out of national boundaries in step 3, or copies from Government sites that happened to be the 'nearest' freeNet node with a copy of the file.

    5) Eventually, this false data would be largely 'fixed' into a blockade around the communications bottle necks (the virtual border) of the nation. The World at large may see the genuine document, but the high-bandwidth tactics of the gov't would mean that, internally, the nearest available FreeNet copy would be 'false'.

    6) The manigfesto's author could e discredited by the forged file, the strike could fail, organizers could even be made to give themselves away through false 'planted' info.

    This is not a criticism of FreeNet. it is simply fodder for the 'debugging' of FreeNet I am far more interested in the free speech aspects than the warez/prOn use, and I hope FreeNet will someday stand against a determined opponent with great resources, likie a gov't or multinational

    __________

  • How do you learn that the author of a manifesto isn't the nutcase your downloaded file makes him seem?

    Or that the new scientific theory/application (which the gov't intends to seize and classify, since as a citizen, you and your works are its property - strained, yes, but that's how it works)
    isn't flawed [Science see a lot more 'incorrect' breakthroughs than correct ones, every year]

    Or that the file you downloaded has a 6-mo timebomb?

    __________

  • someone cracks the NT sam file for a bank using l0phtcrack, the fbi is going to go after l0pht, since they wrote the software

    I think the FBI would have cause to go after l0pht if they said things like "Our software can be used to crack NT security for banks, so if cracking the security for banks makes you nervous, then you probably shouldn't have anything to do with our project."

    Selling a notched strip of spring steel is not illegal. Selling it as a tool to open your car when you lose your keys is not illegal. Selling it as a tool to break into someone else's car is illegal. It's a fine line between saying "This tool I'm selling can be used for illegal things" and saying "Buy this tool I'm selling so you can do illegal things." I think an ambitious federal prosecutor could severely blur the difference between the two.

    I'm not saying that this is right; I'm merely saying that I think that Ian has walked into the kill zone of an ambush with a bullseye painted on his torso.
  • Call this flamebait, if you like, but I cannot BELIEVE the naivete of this guy. He has acknowledged, in the worst possible way, that this system can be used for Bad Things. Read this quote:

    If you don't want to risk aiding the distribution of "kiddie porn" (which is *already* freely distributed on the Internet anyway), then steer clear of Freenet - it's not for you.

    After this thing gets up and running, the FBI will doubtless be all over it. While they may not be able to identify the people who post child pornography, or the people who run the servers, they will certainly be able to identify the guy who helped architect the system. They will find quotes of his like the one above. They will charge him, try him, and convict him, and fry him.
  • Er... charge him with what? Creating an information storage-retrieval system?

    Er...yes. If I create an information retrieval system for the express purpose of disseminating child pornography, and then the system is used for disseminating child pornography, I think the Powers that Be might get a bit upset. You might think that silly, but I guarantee you that, given the sort of statement I quoted, law enforcement officials will NOT be amused. It will be apparent (to them) that this system was created for the express purpose of distributing illegal materials.
  • Try IBM's jdk (looks and feel just like Sun's). The JIT (built into jre/java) is faster than you may believe...
  • This is the fallacy of your thinking:
    People should *NOT* believe everything they read, should not take it at face value.
    If you publish something libelous, claiming it to be truth, and you are lying, then it is up to others to prove that you are wrong. Should you be punished? Your only punishment should be one of respect. If you lie enough, nobody will believe you.

    I have enough integrity in society that if a faceless, nameless person is going to slander me, what do I care?
  • Except by my reading of the interview this won't nessecarily be true. Because the random noise would get voted out. Not true for current version, but the plan is that voting will occur post viewing of material. So if I get a chunk that's garbage, I vote it down. So do others. Eventually it is voted out of existence. Companies could concievably overwhelm the system if they could get all of their workers to believe the same idea.
    So for example let's just take company XYZ (no not the zipper company). Bob posts a nasty note about XYZ and people read it. It gets moderated up to a +3 (or however this works). Then XYZ finds it and wants to squash it. Now XYZ is a world-wide company. They insert a counter random noise note. These random notes won't show up cuz nobody moderated them up. They send all of their employees (or maybe just a few trusted at each site) a memo to moderate up this bogus note they just posted. Eventually the employees at XYZ won't see Bob's note anymore. However if they go home, and their ISP is running a Freenet server they will see the note, and know that their work tried to crushed the note and succeded in preventing its viewing from work.
    The real problem I would forsee is with AOL/Time-Warner. If they were company XYZ there would be an immense decrease in Bob's note being seen.
    This is merely my interpretation of the interview and FAQ. Not entirely sure if its true.
  • Who's going to maintain the access points to keep flooding Freenet day-in and day-out? Who's going to go to all the trouble to find all the Freenet nodes and keep dinging them with bogus requests?

    Exhibit A: The government of the People's Republic of China

    Exhibit B: AOL/Time-Warner/whatever-else-got-gobbled-up


    Kaa
  • They will charge him, try him, and convict him, and fry him.

    Er... charge him with what? Creating an information storage-retrieval system?

    If I store kiddie porn pictures in MS Access, does it make Microsoft liable for this? (now, that's an idea...)

    Kaa
  • Ian states...
    The simple answer is that copyright is economic censorship (ie. restricting the free distribution of information for economic reasons)
    That has got to be one of the most self serving, amoral rationalizations I've heard in weeks!
    censor - to examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable1 [m-w.com]

    For copyright to be economic censorship it would have to be the author or content creator performing the censorship, denying other access to the author's own work.

    There seems to be an underlying assumption that all people should have the rights to any work. This is right in line with a 5 year old's code of ethics. Everything that exists is mine.

    Authors create works for a many reasons, they may use copyright to ensure that their work is distributed as they intended. freenet itself contains a 6 page long copyright notice specifying what can and can not be done with freenet. Are we to believe that it does not apply and was accidentally included as one of the six files in the installation kit? Perhaps we are free to ignore it?

    I can think of dozens of legitimate uses for freenet but it's creators should also honestly address its liabilities. If their goal is to create an tool for illegally distributing copyrighted material then acknowledge that and move on, if not then work to address it.

  • >1.Well for starters I really don't know a whit of Java so that renders me almost useless same for perl because I
    haven't been formally taught either.

    I do have a c client in development, but currently it's been kept pretty low profile.

    if you want to take a look: http://lar2.dyndns.org/~larry/freeclient

    doesn't work as of now.
  • Eventually that information will not exist because it will not be avaible because no one in their right mind would requst random noise.

    How do you know the contents of the data before you request it?

  • simple...the files need to be signed and you need to know the signing key. redhat and other distros have already addressed this and include a signature as part of the files (rpm for example signs everything).
  • IMHO, this guy needs to get his head out of the clouds and consider the consequences of this tool with crimes other than libel and kiddie porn.

    I agree 100% that bad *political* speech should not be censored. Let the damn KKK march in a Jewish neighborhood, let Phelps continue to protest outside of funerals. The cost of permitting them to deliberately offend people is far less than the ultimate cost of allowing the government to "protect" us from offensive political speech and acts.

    But not all speech is protected. Most of us would have serious moral qualms about helping in a kidnapping/murder, or in passing notes between a hitman and his client. Yet that's part of the payload that Freenet will carry, by allowing anonymous communications between hitman and client, or kidnapper and victim's family.

    It's possible that the moral good in providing a safe haven for whistleblowers and oppressed peoples will outweight the blood from murder victims. This is the type of moral dilemma that keeps people up at night. Pretending that this type of crime won't occur doesn't help answer this question, and in fact it casts doubt on all anonymous schemes because it makes the proponents come across as shallow eggheads who don't fully comprehend the consequences of their actions.

    (Why do I feel the urge to quote Oppenheimer quoting Shiva after the first nuclear detonation?)
  • Even if not, every ISP acceptable use policy I have
    seen, has some clause in it to that effect.


    Mainly for Public Image(tm) and legal liability, both issues which would be moot under the Freenet system, mainly because:

    I understand Freenet data is encrypted, supposedly to free the sysop from "knowingly" making
    transmissions.


    No quotation marks or playing dumb will be required. If you'd have read the FAQ, you would have read that:

    One of the design goals was to make it impossible to locate the exact place where any
    piece of information is stored. Even a server operator cannot determine what is stored at his own node.


    That's right, there's no way to know what you're serving to the world. And that's why you can't (or shouldn't, IANAL) be held liable. Even if the cops bust in and seize your server, they have nothing on you, because they have no way of knowing what's on it.

    If all the technology works as planned, of course...


  • It takes little more than one person to flood out a Usenet channel. The force necessary to take a document off Freenet would be more like if they had attempted to flood the whole Usenet out of existance to stop that one group, and even so Freenet is better (data on Usenet is sent everywhere, Data on Freenet is sorted to only a small nodes unless their is wide, distributed, demand for it).



    -
    We cannot reason ourselves out of our basic irrationality. All we can do is learn the art of being irrational in a reasonable way.
  • Second, consider your threat model. A lot of people are saying "well, that's not worse than the 'net in general". I don't think that's going to be good enough. There are two cruicial differences. The first one is scale. If Freenet becomes huge, a lot of its DOS problems will become easier. On the other hand, if it remains (relatively) small, DOSing it will not be hard. The second difference (as I pointed out in another post) is that Freenet is designed to make some people, corporations and government very unhappy. In a sense, one measure of success will be something like AOL trying to shut Freenet down.

    If your attacker has a total capacity greater than the entire network and is persistant in his attack, then any network can be taken down. It is true that much of our resistance rests on the hope that we can reach a critical size, but this is true for more then just floods (a Freenet of only a 3 Nodes won't do much anonymity either). And (which is suppose is your point) with that kind of force one could take down any public network.

    In this sense, I think that Eric Scheirers question about ordinary people would use Freenet for has more merit then Ian does. I do believe we will need a killer app (though, in some sense it is beginning to look like the freedom of speech on web will soon be so impeeded that it will be enough to drive everybody to Freenet - I certainly hope not however). But I also believe that seperating Cyberspace from meatspace by another layer is the natural next step of the information age - so I think the killer app will come.

    The other option is a network that attempts to hide, using limited points of entry, uses cryptographic authenication for all node-node communication, and PGP type web-of-trust systems for allowing new nodes onto the network. This has been discussed as well, and Freenet's heart, the routing, could still be used on such a network, so even if this is what it has to come to, our current work would not be without value. I guess this is what you believe a network which allows the Freedom of speech has to look like - so I would be most interested in seeing the code you have written on it.

    It ain't that easy. Making unique tags for each chunk of info is simple. But consider a different problem: how do I find the information I need? Crypto hashes of contents do not help at all. Again, to repeat another post, if I want to find out how many bowling balls can Clinton suck through a garden hose, and all keys like /us/politics/ClintonSucks, ../ClintonSucksBowlingBalls, etc. are press releases from White House, how do I get my information?

    How do you find information on the Web? You certainly didn't come to Slashdot looking for slashes and dots. You could have used a search engine, but a search engine is no more reliable then a descriptive Freenet key. Most probably, somebody told you about Slashdot, or you got saw a hypertext link from somewhere - both of which are equally possible on Freenet.

    Oh, it'll work -- for some time. The real question is robustness. Consider that you are likely to find yourself on the front lines of active information warfare. In this case the relevant question is not "does it work?", but rather "how quickly/easily can it be killed?".

    To me the same questions are one and the same (something like boolean question1(){return question2() == never}).



    -
    We cannot reason ourselves out of our basic irrationality. All we can do is learn the art of being irrational in a reasonable way.
  • Re:
    McIntyre v. Ohio Election Commission

    Justice Steven's opinion for the Court note that arguments favoring
    the ratification of the Constitution advanced in the Federalist Papers
    were published under fictitious names. Justice Stevens said "quite
    apart from any threat of persecution, an advocate may believe her
    ideas will be more persuasive if her readers are unaware of her
    identity. Anonymity thereby provides a way for a writer who may be
    personally unpopular to ensure that readers will not prejudge her
    message simply because they do not like its proponent." Stevens
    concluded "Under our Constitution, anonymous pamphleteering is not a
    pernicious, fraudulent practice, but an honorable tradition of
    advocacy and of dissent. Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of
    the majority. "

    " The
    Court relied in part on a 1960 opinion, Talley v. California, which
    held that the First Amendment protected anonymous speech."

    from:
    http://lcs.www.media.mit.edu/people/foner/Essays /Civil-Liberties/Project/supreme-court-uph olds-anonymity.html

  • I wrote a more detailed reply, but Netscape crashed before posting...so I'll keep this short.

    You are confusing two completely different entities... Censorship usually has to do with speech, ideas, points of view, etc. What we're referring to above is sensitive information, which are more like facts, specifications, and trade secrets.
    The post to which I replied - and I even quoted this, and you quoted my quote - said "Censorship is sometimes a good thing." It said nothing about "protecting sensitive information" being a good thing.

    Censorship is forcefully preventing speech or expression. Labeling the material under discussion "sensitive" doesn't change that.

    So, based on your definition of "censorship," protecting our military secrets in the interest of keeping American citizens alive is "an evil act, pure and simple."
    It's highly questionable as to how much of what's kept secret protects anyone. Anyway, not telling me something isn't censorship (except in a very loose metaphorical sense), it's keeping a secret. (Although the results can be just as bad. Check out this year's results from Project Censored [projectcensored.org].)

    I addressed this in the post you replied to: "Got military secrets? Fine, make sure you only tell people you trust. Don't dare try to silence me if I find out about them." Using force to silence me if I find out something you don't want me to know is censorship, and it is evil. Using force to restrict people's freedom so they don't find out certain information is censorship, and it is evil.

    And if you don't believe that there are other nations that would GLADLY smash us into little tiny bits merely for being demi-free Americans, you are very sadly mistaken.
    If we had a less paranoid attitude we might treat those other nations better, rather than propping up right-wing dictators, or making excuses to go to war in oil- or mineral-rich nations; and those other nations might be more kindly disposed towards us.
  • P.S. Censorship is sometimes a good thing.
    Never! Using force to silence someone - anyone - is an evil act, pure and simple.
    Read any history book on WWII and find out how control of important information saved hundreds and thousands of lives.

    Without censorship, how could Hitler have come to power? How could have other nations failed to act during the early years of the Holocaust? Things would have been quote different had German Jews, or the victims of the rape of Nanking, been able to communicate freely with the citizens of the nations attacking them, and with rest of the world.

    WWII might not have happened at all without censorship.

    "National security" is no excuse for censorship. The "security" involved is almost always the job security of some politician. If the nation is so insecure that my speech can destroy it, then it needs to fall and be replaced by something better.

    Got military secrets? Fine, make sure you only tell people you trust. Don't dare try to silence me if I find out about them.

    P.P.S. Copyright law is currently protecting a lot of free software so its occasionally useful too.
    Protecting it from what? From being censored, it would seem.
  • I couldn't think of a good question in time for the interview, but I'd like to interject that this smacks strongly of Hakim Bey's works. I wonder if the authors were inspired in any way by his writings, particularly Bey's thoughts on what he terms "Temporary Autonomous Zones" (see also Bruce Sterlings _Islands in the Net_).

    Does anyone else here see a connection? I am having difficulty putting my thoughts into words, so I'll let ya'll take over from here, if it seems relevant. have fun dongoodman

  • Oh course the point is 'tragically' missed here, because your metaphor doesn't work. Slashdot IS moderated, unlike freenet. Goto http://slashdot.org/faq.shtml for more info.

  • The only one to get screwed would be you for framing someone else.
  • 1.Well for starters I really don't know a whit of Java so that renders me almost useless same for perl because I haven't been formally taught either.

    2. Using java makes the whole thing much less cross platform ( I guess that's where the perl client comes in).

    3. The size of the java compiler and "runtime environment" limits access. g++ can fit quite well on my small hd. Java could not.

    4. Concept of having information residing on a changing number of systems prevents total 100% access of that data.

    5. Specialized clients are also a pain. Intelgration with standard protocols would be a nice thing. I can hardly see this getting popular unless popular browsers support it.

    6. Evil powers that be might just try to take it. (I get daily CVS snapshots from their page just in case).

  • ""Ian Clark is quoted on http://freenet.sourceforge.net as saying that he fears that his child may ask what happened to the freedom of the press on the internet. True freedom may have already been distroyed. Freenet is trying to get
    it back.""

    "When has "true freedom" ever really existed? The fact is, there isn't a good-old-days that Freenet is taking us all back to.
    "

    Freedom to say what you want without being killed or suppressed. Perhaps in the early days of the Americas. Usually you could get away with many things.

    "Again, idealism is getting in the way of common sense. There is much more freedom of the press on the internet than there is in the conventional media, and Freenet's philosophy of turning a blind eye to specious content is not just
    irresponsible, but potentially dangerous to the whole issue of internet privacy. Once enough John Q. Public's get outraged by the stuff flying around Freenet, our beloved saviors in Congress will rally to the cause and take action.
    We've already seen several attempts like this regarding the internet in general, but if Freenet indeed makes this information flow that much more pervasive, then the chorus calling for restrictions will get only louder. "

    Could you name me one way in which a person could totally shut down the concept of freenet. Assuming it gets off the ground to the extent you describe how would you be able to actually shut it down. Anonymous RSA say 60,000 bit+ keys, and untraceable in any way? Explain this to me because I would really like to know.
  • Who will run these servers? Who will actually do it? How can a small group of even dedicated people run a service comperable to the internet?
  • "I love it! I can trade mp3s, warez, pr0n, almost anything with anyone around the world! "

    Anyone who chooses to run the client.

    "Fortunately, this is not only a post-Microsoft, but a post-Copyright world. Copyrights are meaningless unless you have the ability to protect it. Sure, there are laws, but they don't mean anything to me. It's sort of like the Vice
    President: a nice sounding title, but basically worthless. Ok, your sound recording is copyrighted. Big deal. Try and stop me from sending to all my friends or making it available on FreeNet, Gnutella, or Napster. Heh. "

    I don't believe you. Unfounded calls of revolution and such. Sounds like a really crappy version of the French revolution.

    Speaking of the Vice President he actually does have power. He also has reputation. Plus he now is going to be featured in, many, many books when he is long dead. How's that for power. I doubt you could say the same.

    "Same with software. While Slashdot has it's own trading boards, FreeNet makes it much easier to get the latest cracks for apps (like Corel Office 2000 for Linux!) or games (any Loki game: your choice (I like Civ:CTP, myself. Got it
    off FreeNet a while back)). This is what FreeNet really excels at. "

    Slashdot does not sposor these "boards" and they don't actually store files. I doubt that you could trade files in this manner easily. I would like some actual proof.

    Also you forgot to actually read the README file in the distribution. You don't have any anonyminity at all. Oops. I suggest you escape while the getting's good.

    "Keep up the good work! Looks like "copys" ain't so "right", after all! "

    The use of freenet is not to facilitiate copyright infringment but to facilitiate free speech. Your supposed ability to circumvent copyright is not a goal but a side affect.
  • There seems to be an underlying assumption that all people should have the rights to any work. This is right in line with a 5 year old's code of ethics. Everything that exists is mine.Ah yes, that must've been one of those "laws of physics" that I slept through during college. Get a grip - there's no "natural" law that enforces copyright. It's just a legal invention designed to encourage selfish people to use their creativity so that the rest of society can enjoy it.
  • "Ian Clark is quoted on http://freenet.sourceforge.net as saying that he fears that his child may ask what happened to the freedom of the press on the internet. True freedom may have already been distroyed. Freenet is trying to get it back."

    When has "true freedom" ever really existed? The fact is, there isn't a good-old-days that Freenet is taking us all back to.

    Again, idealism is getting in the way of common sense. There is much more freedom of the press on the internet than there is in the conventional media, and Freenet's philosophy of turning a blind eye to specious content is not just irresponsible, but potentially dangerous to the whole issue of internet privacy. Once enough John Q. Public's get outraged by the stuff flying around Freenet, our beloved saviors in Congress will rally to the cause and take action. We've already seen several attempts like this regarding the internet in general, but if Freenet indeed makes this information flow that much more pervasive, then the chorus calling for restrictions will get only louder.

  • Or the "Hillary Farias Date Rape Prevention Act"
    named after a girl who police said died from a
    drug overdose (GHB) even though it wasn't
    consitant with the evidence and a medical doctor
    who examined the case said otherwise. (anyone
    with more information on her case would be a
    great help...the web pages that had the info
    dissapeared when I checked them shortly after
    the bill passed...guess they gave up)

    Luckily this bill hasn't had too much effect...all
    it has done is make posession, sale, or
    distribution" of red meat to any person without
    a licence to handle schedual 1 substances very
    illegal. (yes folks its true Red Meat is illegal
    in the US...mere posession of it could mean years
    in prosion)
  • Am I the only one bothered by the fact that we all have accepted that the FBI would try to stop the distribution of a document that US citizens have made "very popular." If its something we all want then we should have it.
  • 2 points:
    1:ever heard of the word "wireless" before? as soon as we can...

    2:a much more likely reaction would be a reset of the infrastructure, with a black-hole list of nodes which are no longer trusted. remeber the hacker's manefesto? You can stop one (whether a node or a whole net), but not all.
  • A node can only find the details of nodes topologicly close to it. Every other node in the network is masked by the surrounding nodes.

    As searches and data replys move through the network nodes may randomly rewrite the source to hide the original data source from the node that made the request.

  • Could you name me one way in which a person could totally shut down the concept of freenet.

    As I recall, FreeNet is being implemented as its own protocol. While I, as a broadband customer, may want to implement a FreeNet node, my provider may be blocking that protocol at an upstream point.

    So we fix that by encapsulating FreeNet traffic inside a VPN (IP Type 50, for example), to prevent this sort of attack (and raising the bar perhaps a bit more for people to create FreeNet nodes.

    BEGIN HYPOTHETICAL SUPPOSITION Now let's say that I, as the member of the armed services of one of the world's largest nation-states am tasked with reducing FreeNet's effectiveness. What do I do?

    1. Develop a simple app which can reside on any computer. This app will be given FreeNet indices and told to retrieve that data. This app is controlled remotely.
    2. Install this app on every Windoze box in the military I work for, which happens to have (lots of) computers on most inhabited continents. We have enough machines that we have our own dedicate "InterNet."
    3. To block copyright infringement, as soon as a new video/song/game comes out, post content-free (or, better, yet, trojanized installers for executables (see below)) binaries with the most likely indices. Notify the computers on my networks to go grab those, and vote them as "reliable". If someone beats me to the punch, have my machines vote them "unreliable."

    * What to put in those trojans:

    • a notification program back to me via a covert channel (even, say, FreeNet :), notifying me of the downloader and their location.
    • A directory broadcaster that would notify me of the contents of that person's node (how else will I stay up to date with the latest and greatest indices in use?

    This model has several strengths. First, it reduces the effectiveness of FreeNet to distribute illicit wares by inserting a significant amount of chaff into the environment. Second, it enables me to learn the locations of a large number of users of FreeNet, especially those engaged in illicit downloads. This will let (Censored - No Such Agency) have a good starting point on performing traffic analysis to determine the locations of the encrypted FreeNet nodes.

    And once I have the locations of a significant percentage of FreeNet nodes, really, the system goes down. DDoS works nicely.

    I left out many of the more useful things that I could do with the trojans, for obvious reasons.


    Information wants to be free

  • The freenet info site is very enthusiastic about the idea that it is "almost impossible" to remove any information that has been posted to freenet. This, of course is supposed to be wonderful, because only evil people want info removed, and true freedom of speech means speech you "find distasteful" and all that.

    So lets see....

    Freenet becomes a large scale phenonenom. In addition to the predicted users, it has a fair amount of information on safe sex and abortion focused on teenagers. Prolifers attmpt to fight this by marking any information about abortion "untrustworthy", but the information still propogates.

    An herbalist and naturapathic midwife posts information on how a healthy woman can safely induce abortion in the first trimester with certain herbal products taken internally and other solution used as a douche. Another naturapath who has contributed to Our Bodies Ourselves backs up the info.

    Problem is, the natuarpaths don't exist. They are a single anti-abortion terrorist who figures that anyone planning on killing her baby should be hurt for it as much as possible. If you can't save the baby, give it it's revenge.

    Concerned readers of all political persuasions attempt to correct the info, but all of that sort of info is "moderated down" and a number of teenagers in desperate situations try it. Some are hospitalized, one dies.

    That's the hypothetical. My questions to all supporters of freenet are :

    1) Technologically, what could be done in that situation?

    2) Philosophically, what should be done in such a situation?

    -Kahuna Burger

  • One thing that some of these people who say that FreeNet will be a huge child porn, warez, mp3, etc repository seem to forget that even within the existing internet, popularity *usually* governs the viewership of material. With the voting system of freenet that is even more true. It seems that FreeNet will be most accurately represented by its users. If it's filled with child pornagraphers, it will most likely be filled with such. If it isn't, then the occasional bit of objectionable material will eventually expire. The same goes for anything else. The same goes for warez and mp3's. The Internet began (not really at the beginning, but it blossomed) through community effort and opinion. Maybe freenet will bring back some of what the internet used to be.
  • Duh. It's found as Senate bill 486, the House Companion is moving as HR 2987
  • Who is liable?
    by tcd004
    You said that this: "allows information to be published and read without fear of censorship because individual documents cannot be traced to their source..."
    I'm all for an open forum for free speech, but this seems almost reckless. In most venues of speech, accountability for someone's words is fundamental. The Internet has opened up the possiblity of free speech without accountability to a small degree, and look at what has happened.

    From a historical perspective, anonymity has played a vital roll in the creation of this country! All of the talk about porn and warez seems to be very US/UK biased. Think for a moment that maybe the benefits of FreeNet aren't for the democratic 1st world countries, but for every other country on this planet. Yes, kidde porn will be on it. Yes, warez will be distributed on it. But the social and political exchanges that would become possible far outweigh the porn/warez factor. Think outside the US circle. A while ago Slashdot posted a great article by Jonathan D Wallace, Nameless in Cyberspace: Anonymity on the Internet [cato.org]. It's a great piece on the historical importance of anonymity. Here's the intro:

    Proposals to limit anonymous communications on the Internet would violate free speech rights long recognized by the Supreme Court. Anonymous and pseudonymous speech played a vital role in the founding of this country. Thomas Paine's Common Sense was first released signed, "An Englishman." Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, James Madison, Samuel Adams, and others carried out the debate between Federalists and Anti-Federalists using pseudonyms. Today, human rights workers in China and many other countries have reforged the link between anonymity and free speech.

    If you're always worried about kiddy porn and warez, you're missing the bigger picture.
  • IANAL. I know part of the CDA (Communications Decency Act) got tossed by the Supreme Court, but I am pretty sure that the part about transmitting Illegal or obscene material stuck. Even if not, every ISP acceptable use policy I have seen, has some clause in it to that effect. Bottom line, Freenet sysops can be held accountable for their transmissions by the Man and ISPs. I understand Freenet data is encrypted, supposedly to free the sysop from "knowingly" making transmissions. That ends as soon as a cease and dissist letter is issued to sysop, wherein they are put on notice that they are in fact transmitting illegal or "obscene" (whatever that means) material. Besides, I think that since the keys to the encrypted data are readily available, it would not require a law-equivalent of a Rocket Scientist(tm) to argue some type of negligance on behalf of sysops.

    What I see is the bigger question, can common people enjoy the same type of immunity that the big telecom companies enjoy? Obviously, ISPs are never held accountable for forwarding warez, et.al. via usenet. My call on that is those with the deep pockets win.

    Sorry I didn't have the opportunity to raise this issue at the appropriate time.

  • Could you name me one way in which a person could totally shut down the concept of freenet. Assuming it gets off the ground to the extent you describe how would you be able to actually shut it down. Anonymous RSA say 60,000 bit+ keys, and untraceable in any way? Explain this to me because I would really like to know.

    Easy, the U$ Gov already has the mechanism in place, they just need to expand the authority. The FCC could be tasked with content control, as it is for other information mediums. Can you say "Liscensed Server"?

    Don't think the FCC can control servers in Europe and elsewhere? Wrong. They would block any and all that don't comply. The FCC can be quite brutal. And how many wouldn't tow the line in order to get access to the U$ markets?

    Give the U$ Gov enough ammo and you WILL see the Internet as you have known it squashed like a bug.

    _____________________________________

    And the Geek shall inherit the Earth.

  • But not all speech is protected. Most of us would have serious moral qualms about helping in a kidnapping/murder, or in passing notes between a hitman and his client. Yet that's part of the payload that Freenet will carry, by allowing anonymous communications between hitman and client, or kidnapper and victim's family.

    Well, sorry to break it to you, but this is true of the internet in general: you can anonymize mail any number of ways, some of them are secure, and any machine carrying public trafic is involved. Freenet is a change in scale, but not in kind as far as criminal or otherwise prejudiced communications go.

    It's possible that the moral good in providing a safe haven for whistleblowers and oppressed peoples will outweight the blood from murder victims. This is the type of moral dilemma that keeps people up at night. Pretending that this type of crime won't occur doesn't help answer this question, and in fact it casts doubt on all anonymous schemes because it makes the proponents come across as shallow eggheads who don't fully comprehend the consequences of their actions.

    The question is not whether this sort of crime will occur: it will. Criminals have for years been making use of the mode technologies of the day, and the internet is no different. Remember Sneakers? The Mafia's encrypted Information Systems Cray? It's just fiction, but the point is that Organized Crime has always adapted.

    Is freenet really going to be so much more of a problem? We'll see, but I'm betting that it won't. The people who really have something to hide have been doing it sucessfully since the Cypherpunk remailer was launched, and so far I haven't heard of any kidnappings being brokered across that.

    (Why do I feel the urge to quote Oppenheimer quoting Shiva after the first nuclear detonation?)

    Firstly, it was Krsna, not Shiva.

    Secondly, get a grip: freenet and it's successors are not the equivalent of a neuclear weapon for anybody except perhaps a few copyright holders - many may be significantly better off once we get those damn record companies and their publisher stooges off their backs. They may not think so now, but when we see hundreds of thousands of dollars of micropayments for music going straight into the pockets of the artists, rather than into the maw of corporate copyrighted america, we'll see which way the wind blows, eh?

    Vinay

  • There's just one teeny-weeny snag with this grand scheme for a censorproof network...

    ... it doesn't work.

    The freenet search algorithm leaks information so badly that *any single node* can: Ascertain the topology of the network.
    Deduce the IP address of any node.
    Determine the contents of any node.

    In short, you really don't want to trust your future to Freenet. You would have a better chance at avoiding prosecution if you just wrote your name and address on the data and posted it to the police.


    --
  • by Sanity (1431) on Monday April 10, 2000 @06:57AM (#1141822) Homepage Journal
    I suggest you read our F.A.Q [sourceforge.net] where we address the issue of DOS attacks. Basically DOS is something which can affect any computer on the Internet, not just Freenet nodes (as we have clearly seen). Freenet is more robust than most systems since it doesn't make much difference if you bring down a small number of Freenet nodes using DOS or DDOS because Freenet is quite robust. As for inserting bogus information, the worth of information in Freenet is determined by the number of people who request it. Random data will only displace other data in Freenet if people actually request it (and it is not really possible to simulate requests for the data due to the dynamic caching mechanism).

    --

  • by dominion (3153) on Monday April 10, 2000 @09:02AM (#1141823) Homepage

    Cars, computers, medicine, software, music, art. I was under the impression that *people* made these things, not corporations. A corporation is only a piece of paper (a charter). Open source shows that it's more than possible to exist without huge monolithic corporations.

    No money? Definitely possible, western culture seems to be the only one that can't imagine society without a centrally controlled monetary system. On the other hand, who said that corporations are synonymous with money? You can get rid of corporations and still have an economy. You could even do vice-versa if you're ambitious.

    Really think about what you're saying before you say it.

    Michael Chisari
    mchisari@usa.net
  • If unpopular nodes get pushed out, doesn't that run contrary to the "free speech" dictum? Unpopular now means "kill the niggers", but 40 years ago, unpopular meant "I have a dream...". Popularity is a poor substitute for personal decision.

    I completely agree. The most popular data is not necessarily the only important data. The First Amendment is all about the rights of the minority, and deleting little-used data is violating the spirit of free speech. I think that is an important issue.

  • by Bad Mojo (12210) on Tuesday April 11, 2000 @02:43AM (#1141825) Homepage
    "Freenet could be used by pedophiles and terrorists." Okay, this is kind of ridiculous. In a way, saying this makes it seem as though there are is a large army of child pornographers just waiting for an anonymous network.

    Just like they were waiting for pencils, paper, cars, etc. Freenet is a tool and if people always focused on the horrible things a tool could be used for, we'de have a lot less tools, no?

    Bad Mojo
  • by mindstrm (20013) on Monday April 10, 2000 @07:58AM (#1141826)
    1) Freenet adjusts availability of data based on use. If the vast majority of people using it want kiddie porn, then the kiddy porn will persist. If they don't, it will vanish.

    Is the world crying out for a way to anonymously share information via the internet? YES! Many just don't know it. Far too many people won't feel their rights have been violated until it's far too late.
    Copyright violations? Breaking copyright is still illegal. If your business is using illicit software, it's STILL illegal. If you are in posession of banned material, it's STILL illegal. Leave that up to the community. FreeNET is simply a medium that is free of censorship as of NOW.
  • by Hobbex (41473) on Monday April 10, 2000 @07:51AM (#1141827)

    • No, no. Not random. I am talking active hostile information warfare. The point of Freenet is to publish information that makes certain people, corporations and government very, very unhappy. Put 2 and 2 together yourself.


    Actually, Freenet's goals go far beyond this. Freenet is a further refinement of cyberspace, another step towards the further seperation of it and the world of physical reality. The most obvious consquence is that one of the basic laws of cyberspace, "Information wants to be free", is a lot stronger on Freenet then it is on the Internet (as it is stronger on the Internet then it when information was carried in books and minds only), but it is far from the only consequence.

    Pissing people off is not a goal within itself. The fact is that those people who would be pissed off by Freenet are those who do not want any Freedom in Cyberspace - and that are already threatening it on the web.



    -
    We cannot reason ourselves out of our basic irrationality. All we can do is learn the art of being irrational in a reasonable way.
  • by Hobbex (41473) on Monday April 10, 2000 @07:23AM (#1141828)
    Java is not ideal for writing daemons by a long shot (try sig-trapping), but it is a nice language for writing experimental code that is constantly changing. Unless a miracle occurs in the world of Java VMs soon, we will probably want to write a real Unix server in another language when/if we get things together correctly, but for now I'm glad we are using Java.

    BTWx1, It will work with Kaffe, for those of you who don't want to use proprietary software.

    BTWx2, I originally wrote the perl client because the text based protocol made it very easy. Perl's thread handling would probably make writing a Node with even a chance at being cross platform very difficult.



    -
    We cannot reason ourselves out of our basic irrationality. All we can do is learn the art of being irrational in a reasonable way.
  • by cyanoacrylate (47864) on Monday April 10, 2000 @07:56AM (#1141829)
    IANAL.

    In the US at least, one needs a targeted search warrant - the police cannot just invade your (virtual) house and look around for anything that might be illegal. Even aquiring a search warrant for kiddy porn and then booking you for warez is not legal.

    In Canada, that is not the case :-( . But this protects the data stored on a node from being outright sifted.

    Of course, the courts might decide that since the material is publicly available, this is equivalent to putting up pictures of kiddie porn on your front lawn.

    Hoewver, due to the cacheing nature of the system, I can't see how you could be held liable for the contents of a filing cabinet you put on your front lawn, and then someone else starts putting illegal things into it.

    In the end, I suspect that someone, somewhere will legislate against this sort of thing, but for now it will probably be legal.

    Cyano
  • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Monday April 10, 2000 @06:51AM (#1141830)
    The ideal here isn't about providing criminal content to whomever wishes it, but to allow a group of people who WANT to transfer info anonymously to do so.

    Crime is everywhere, yet we don't have ID and papers check points on every street to stop criminal activities. But on the net there are tons of virtual id checkpoints and some people won't stand for it.

    The world certainly isn't 'crying out for a means to anonymously share information,' as you put it, because they're happy with yahoo.com, shop.com, and cnn.com. There are people who have a great need and desire to exchange info anonymously, just because Joe "lowest common-denominator" Public doesn't want it doesn't make the project useless.

    There are also bigger issues that this project serves, that anonminity doesn't equal criminality and illegal/legal doesn't equal wrong/right.

  • by slashdot-terminal (83882) on Monday April 10, 2000 @06:44AM (#1141831) Homepage
    "I have my doubts about the viability of Freenet and the like projects because of the ease of denial-of-service attacks against them. "

    I then ask you has that stopped the internet in the least?

    "Freenet by definition has to accept information from untrusted sources. As the goal is anonymity, it cannot authenticate posters. Thus, at least two DOS attacks: "

    Oh no not "untrusted sources". Bad not getting all that authentication.

    "(1) Plain-vanilla: rapidly dump (and continue dumping) a lot of random-noise content into Freenet from multiple launch points (DDOS). Soon enough the random noise will crowd out the real information. "

    Eventually that information will not exist because it will not be avaible because no one in their right mind would requst random noise.

    "(2) Targeted: let's say there is a Freenet file, e.g. '/us/politics/ClintonBlowsGoats' that you want to suppress. Just make your own file with the same net and inject it into Freenet. Again, use multiple launch points and repeat injection
    at will. Again, the bogus file will crowd out the "real" file very quickly. "

    A read over the mailing list freenet-dev will show you that in fact these things are being addressed. If you feel the need to discuss these things with people who know sign up.

    I think this is one of the first things that is being addressed.

    "Note that the threat model for Freenet must assume that large corporations and governments will be trying to suppress info. It's clearly within reason for them to be able to inject false/misleading/random information into Freenet from
    100s and 1000s of geographically distributed machines. "

    There is no historic prcedent for information dumping and the like (I may be wrong). References?

    "An accompanying problem is non-uniqueness of keys. There could be dozens of different info chunks floating around Freenet, each tagged with a '/foo/bar/qux' key. Which one you'll get depends on the node through which you access
    the Freenet -- not a very desirable dependency. Try to get the same thing a day later and you may well get a different info chunk for the same key. "

    The server is supposed to prevent you injecting something with the same key. It is true that you will go along a different route to request the same data but the node may actually remain the same for a while.

    "To summarize, this is a key vulnerability of Freenet -- it can be saturated with bogus/misleading information quickly and easily. "

    This will eventually be addressed in it's full form. What I think is that despite the possibility for random information good information will always win in the end.

    You might be able to say block information from someone you suspect to be an evil source of said information. Or you could filter information from requests on your node. That is entirely possible. Eventually the data will dissapear.
  • by slashdot-terminal (83882) on Monday April 10, 2000 @06:37AM (#1141832) Homepage
    "The fact that Freenet will not just tolerate, but actually provide an easier means to anonymously distribute illicit material (copyright violations, kiddie porn, etc.) will be the doom of this project.
    "

    I very, very, seriously doubt this in any way. The people who are doing the work are in disperate locations, and because of this access is difficult to curtail. Not to mention that even people like me are probably mirroring the data for no apparent reason. Doom censoring at all.

    "Idealism can be a nice thing, but there is such a thing as focusing so strongly on a central idea that all perspective is lost. Is the world crying out for a means to anonymously share information via the internet? No, not really. "

    Maybe not now but what about tomorrow? Ian Clark is quoted on http://freenet.sourceforge.net as saying that he fears that his child may ask what happened to the freedom of the press on the internet. True freedom may have already been distroyed. Freenet is trying to get it back.
  • by TopShelf (92521) on Monday April 10, 2000 @06:22AM (#1141833) Homepage Journal
    The fact that Freenet will not just tolerate, but actually provide an easier means to anonymously distribute illicit material (copyright violations, kiddie porn, etc.) will be the doom of this project.

    Idealism can be a nice thing, but there is such a thing as focusing so strongly on a central idea that all perspective is lost. Is the world crying out for a means to anonymously share information via the internet? No, not really.

  • by KahunaBurger (123991) on Monday April 10, 2000 @09:14AM (#1141834)
    Kiddie Porn is illegal not because of the speech, but because of the ACTIONS. Its deemed to be so abhorent that videos and pictures of it are illegal as well to, ostensibly, reduce the amount of real pedophila occuring.

    Actaly, it seems to me that pictures and vidoe would be illegal because 1) the production of them is a crime (since it must involve the illegal actions) making distributers an accessory if the crime's main point was to make them money. 2) Except in narrow cases, you need a person's permission to distribute their image. Children cannot legally give that permission, and any parent who would in the case of child pornography would also be giving permission to rape their child and lose custody pretty damn fast. Therefore, if it is real images of a real child, it is automatically illegal to distribute, unless said child has reached the age of consent and is now making money by distributing the tapes taken into evidence of his/her own rape.

    Frankly, I'm not enough of a free speech fanatic to think that this means that child porn cartoons or text descriptions are beyond any control, but thats another subject.

    Sick thought of the day - what if the RealDoll company started making child dolls? Is there anything wrong with that?

    -Kahuna Burger

  • Should the Methamphetamine Antiproliferation Act, as passed by the Senate, become law, it would exempt Freenet operators from Felony provisions of the Act, only until they had recieved written notices alledging violations of the statute's fuzzy definitions of online drug paraphernalia and manufacturing information.

    The exemption, added just before the Senate closed for 1999, protects ISP and hosts, by turning them into forced agents of government censorship.

    The House Judiciary is overdue on their touted hearings on this bill. I suspect its backers, including the Clinton admin, know it was in trouble, and are quitly reworking it.

    Bill text:
    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c106:3:./t emp/~c106ly7wUr::

    Cannabis Culture: http://cannabisculture.com/library/artlist.cgi?sub =Censorship&head=LEGAL+ISSUES

    My notes http://weedstock.com/ben.htm
  • by plastickiwi (170800) on Monday April 10, 2000 @07:08AM (#1141836)
    (1) Plain-vanilla: rapidly dump (and continue dumping) a lot of random-noise content into Freenet from multiple launch points (DDOS).

    Sure, this works, but only to the extent that people are willing to continue doing it indefinitely. Who's going to maintain the access points to keep flooding Freenet day-in and day-out? Who's going to go to all the trouble to find all the Freenet nodes and keep dinging them with bogus requests?

    Freenet needs some sort of mechanism for blocking requests from hosts (and perhaps even entire domains) that keep pulling the same keys over and over. I believe they're working on that.

    (2) Targeted: let's say there is a Freenet file, e.g. '/us/politics/ClintonBlowsGoats' that you want to suppress. Just make your own file with the same net

    Aren't the keys hashed from the actual data in the file? It was my understanding that keys are unique, and so simple name substitution won't be an effective attack.

    The Freenet site expresses some doubts about whether it's desirable (or even technically feasible) for Freenet to be easily searchable by document title or keyword. That's just not how it works.

    The keys will be distributed through non-Freenet channels, in much the same way as people distribute PGP keys now: as e-mail and news .sigs, on WWW sites, etc. No one will request the bogus "ClintonBlowsGoats" file, because they'll be looking for it based on a key passed to them by a trusted source.

  • by mindstrm (20013) on Monday April 10, 2000 @07:52AM (#1141837)
    #1. Freenet is not cool, because you don't understand the language. Got it. They should have consulted you first.

    #2. Java isn't as cross platform as perl? Hmm. Could have fooled me. My java apps run on my Windoze boxes (all of them), my linux box, my sparc, my mac, and the list goes on.... And with Perl, it's NOT fully cross platform. There are exceptions for every platform.

    #4. How do you figure that a java runtime takes up so much space? It doesn't.

    #5. We are developing something completely new, so why should we use a 'standard' protocol? There ISN'T a standard protocol that even comes close to matching what we want to do. By your logic, HTTP should not have been developed, and they should have just used a 'standard' protocol. Same for MySQL. They should use a 'standard' protocol too.

    #6. Evil powers might just try. Yeah. They might try at that. Good luck...

  • by Kaa (21510) on Monday April 10, 2000 @06:25AM (#1141838) Homepage
    I have my doubts about the viability of Freenet and the like projects because of the ease of denial-of-service attacks against them.

    Freenet by definition has to accept information from untrusted sources. As the goal is anonymity, it cannot authenticate posters. Thus, at least two DOS attacks:

    (1) Plain-vanilla: rapidly dump (and continue dumping) a lot of random-noise content into Freenet from multiple launch points (DDOS). Soon enough the random noise will crowd out the real information.

    (2) Targeted: let's say there is a Freenet file, e.g. '/us/politics/ClintonBlowsGoats' that you want to suppress. Just make your own file with the same net and inject it into Freenet. Again, use multiple launch points and repeat injection at will. Again, the bogus file will crowd out the "real" file very quickly.

    Note that the threat model for Freenet must assume that large corporations and governments will be trying to suppress info. It's clearly within reason for them to be able to inject false/misleading/random information into Freenet from 100s and 1000s of geographically distributed machines.

    An accompanying problem is non-uniqueness of keys. There could be dozens of different info chunks floating around Freenet, each tagged with a '/foo/bar/qux' key. Which one you'll get depends on the node through which you access the Freenet -- not a very desirable dependency. Try to get the same thing a day later and you may well get a different info chunk for the same key.

    To summarize, this is a key vulnerability of Freenet -- it can be saturated with bogus/misleading information quickly and easily.

    Kaa
  • umm..no. the data is encrypted and they'd have to get the keys to decrypt it which the owner of the site doesnt have. the keys are dynamically generated and change fairly rapidly.
  • by Hobbex (41473) on Monday April 10, 2000 @10:58AM (#1141840)
    But look at where things are headed. You can already be arrested for posting code to allow you to watch DVDs in whatever way you want, or to unveil the list of sites censored by a certain by a peice of software. You already have a web where people are trying to make it illegal to LINK between documents without permission, and where the little guy is dependent on corporate ISPs for hosting that are ready to throw him out at even the hint of legal trouble. We already have a world where content companies and next to forcing machines into your home with the expressed pupose of controlling you, and where it is illegal to work around those controls.

    Maybe none of this concerns you now, but how long until it does? How long until something you want said pisses off some corporation and your ISP kicks you out. How long until you no longer want a Web covered in corporate plastic and littegation
    - a place controlled completely by the corporate interests, meant only to pump information into you without ever letting you have access to it. Things have gotten rapidly worse on the Web over the last year, and nothing seems to indicate that this has turned around.

    And, if not for anything else, then a lot of (very normal) people are already trying to get around economic censorship (I'd bet even you are: have you paid your "existance of huge international recording conglomerate" fee for all your MP3s?) I'm not to happy about this being the main use of Freenet, because it is so bandwidth intensive, but the freedom of information is the freedom of information, no matter what the size is.

    Freenet implements freedom. The sort of people who will fight Freenet are also the ones who are fighting freedom on the Web - where it is still possible without fighting the Web itself. If these people have the power and will to destroy all of Freenet (like you believe), then they definitely have the power and will to destroy freedom on the Web completely.



    -
    We cannot reason ourselves out of our basic irrationality. All we can do is learn the art of being irrational in a reasonable way.
  • by Battra (65036) on Monday April 10, 2000 @06:10AM (#1141841)
    ...anything happening with Freenet except that it becomes a huge storehouse for illegal porn, pirated MP3s and 3l33t w8r3z.

    No kidding, we don't those ciminals with their sommelier's spoons, white towels, and silver crumbers corrupting the Internet!

  • by streetlawyer (169828) on Monday April 10, 2000 @06:36AM (#1141842) Homepage
    Well, this is a thread about FreeNet, a system with no moderation, free from any sort of control over content, with total anonymity.

    And this thread is absolutely swamped with useless, moronic, offensive posts, drowning out all useful discussion, and wasting everybody's bandwidth.

    Somehow, I get the feeling that a point is being tragically missed here.
  • by Python (1141) on Monday April 10, 2000 @09:03AM (#1141843)
    Is the world crying out for a means to anonymously share information via the internet? No, not really.

    Its nice to live in a free country where you can so easily say such a thing isn't it? The fact is that most of the peoples of this world live under the constant threat of governments that don't allow them to speak their minds, so its kind of hard for them demand such a thing. When you have freedom, you don't spend much time asking for it do you? There is a huge number of people that not only want the ability to this, but survival demands that they have it - but without it, they can't ASK FOR IT! Wonderful problem eh?

    I can't even begin to count the number of times that I've gotten e-mail from persons in Singapore, China and other places thanking me for running an anonymous remailer and making it possible for them to do something, speak freely, that would otherwise get them killed. A right that you take for granted, which is actually quite rare.

    Its all fine and dandy, in a free country, to say that people do not need anonymity to speak freely. "Put your name on it!" they cry, "only criminals need anonymity!", "what are you hiding?" and so on. Ignorance is bliss I suppose. When you have freedom, its hard to understand what its like to live in a country without it.

    Never forget this: Most of the world does not have the freedoms that you enjoy. Is the world crying out for a means to speak freely and without the fear of reprisals? Yes they are... just not in public.
    --
    Python

  • by dominion (3153) on Monday April 10, 2000 @06:50AM (#1141844) Homepage

    I have to say, I am very impressed with the level of dedication to freedom that the authors of Freenet have expressed. Let me address a few points that people have been making, though.

    "Freenet could be used by pedophiles and terrorists." Okay, this is kind of ridiculous. In a way, saying this makes it seem as though there are is a large army of child pornographers just waiting for an anonymous network. Whether Freenet existed at all, pedophiles would still exist, and they aren't decreasing or increasing due to the internet. Pedophilia is a social and/or mental illness, and until you address that illness, FreeNet or not, pedophiles will still exist.

    As for terrorists, who is a terrorist? Was Martin Luther King? The FBI thought so. What about Abbie Hoffman, or Gloria Steinem? Despite what people believe, our government is not terribly worried about the bomb-setting religious fanatics that they portray in the movies, they're worried about the peaceful anarchists [infoshop.org] and libertarians who feel that the real criminals reside in the oval office and/or attend stockholder meetings. Right-wing militia and hate groups are hardly ever bothered by the authorities until they commit a murder or assault. On the other hand, peaceful groups like Earth First! or Food Not Bombs are constantly hassled by police and the FBI, for "terrorist" behaviour such as blocking a bulldozer or giving away free food to the homeless.

    I support FreeNet because hoping for a better future is a dangerous idea. I feel that it is necessary to have a medium where this dangerous idea can be spread without fear of incrimination.

    "What about all the warez and mp3's?" What about them? More importantly, what about all the independant game developers and musicians and film makers that will now have a fantastic medium for spreading their work?

    People need to do away with the idea that corporations are worth saving and protecting. We can do without them, especially the ones that are focused on making money off of the art and music of others. If the major labels all fail miserably because of MP3's, would it be a major loss? Honestly? What if in it's wake, a couple thousand indie labels started up? I not only do not fear that outcome, I anxiously await it.

    I would like to help out any way that I can (I know perl, but not Java). I'll see how I can get involved.

    Michael Chisari
    mchisari@usa.net
  • by Darkstorm (6880) <lorddarkstorm.hotmail@com> on Monday April 10, 2000 @07:32AM (#1141845)
    I like the idea of FreeNet. Although porn in general doesn't interest me, it is all over the net. If I had the desire I could fill up my hard drive with the crap. I don't. But I don't curse the internet for having porn on it. The internet has good and bad things on it. I'm sure I can find many sites detailing how to create explosives. I haven't created any bombs in my basement.

    The whole point I'm trying to make is that FreeNet is not giving us anything which isn't already on the net. But what it will give us is a way of keeping corporations from suppressing ideas. You can trust big brother AOL to properly filter your internet access, show you just what it wants you to see. If you wish to flame FreeNet for its disregard of copyright and its unconcern for the types of material it will pass, you must also treat the internet the same way. In essence they are the same thing in concept, just differ in distribution.

    You may dissagree with me, but just point your browser to your favorite search engine and search for porn...or explosives...or warez. Its all out there. I personally am tiered of watching big companies try and tell me that they are doing all these things to protect thier interests. Why should my life be more complex because they need to add 3 more layers of bullshit to their product so its harder to pirate, but only slows me down.

    There is good and bad to FreeNet, some will use it properly, some will not. If this disturbs you so bad then why are you on the internet? It holds the same nasty things you are complaining about. As for being annonymous...Any "free" web site is pretty annonymous. They will even give you a free email address.

  • by FascDot Killed My Pr (24021) on Monday April 10, 2000 @06:48AM (#1141846)
    "...(since Freenet will just cache it on a node right beside you, and all of your requests will be soaked up by it). "

    But doesn't this then serve to identify the FreeNet node location?

    Let's say there was a law passed against a certains kind of document (porn, political manifestos, whatever). Let's call such a document D. I'm the FBI looking for D. I have a suspect list already, so here's my procedure:

    1) Identify the ISP of suspect S
    2) Get an account with that same ISP
    3) Fire up a FreeNet search for D
    4) Repeat step 3 until I'm certain that D is cached on a FreeNet node nearby to me.
    5) Beat down the door of S and search his hard drive for D.
    6) Prosecute and repeat.

    (this procedure might have to be changed depending on the definition of "nearby", but you get the idea)

    Furthermore, there's another similar, potentially worse problem. Let's say D is very popular (like the Starr Report, for example). A LOT of people will be requesting it from FreeNet, so it will likely be cached on EVERY node. So the FBI doesn't even need a procedure: just port-scan at random and arrest anyone running FreeNet--if they run FreeNet they surely have the popular D.

    Which leads to an EVEN WORSE situation: It doesn't really matter if there is a single popular D out there. There are many many D's. Surely one of them is illegal. Just bust every FreeNet node owner a priori--don't worry, you'll find something illegal once you do the (ex post facto) search. Can't happen?
    --
  • by Hobbex (41473) on Monday April 10, 2000 @07:07AM (#1141847)
    I already wrote a little bit about this in the Freenet FAQ [sourceforge.net] as Ian noted above. I'm not going to say that we are not worried about flooding attacks, because that would be dangerously vain, but on the other hand, we do have a system that is designed from the ground up to withstand them as well as possible. How well only time will tell, but I do believe that we are better off in this department then any other equivalent system.

    Regarding the non-uniqueness of keys, that can be solved, at the loss of some convenience. The most simple solution is simply to index documents that you want to be able to have a unique address of with a hash of their contents as the key, and have the Freenet nodes enforce this relationship (there is a more complicated variant of this that uses digital signatures instead and would support updating data). Obviously, this sort of key could not be guessed, but it could be used in a link, or in an email, which is exactly the situation where it is important that the key be unique. The consensus among the developers is that we want to support both the current free type of key and this kind of key in the future.

    We are aware of the technical problems that our network will face, and of course we cannot be sure that it will work. But nothing I have seen so far has convinced me, as pessimistic as I am, that it _won't_ work, which makes it worth trying in my book.

    /Oskar Sandberg (The Freenet Project)



    -
    We cannot reason ourselves out of our basic irrationality. All we can do is learn the art of being irrational in a reasonable way.
  • by vkg (158234) on Monday April 10, 2000 @08:27AM (#1141848) Homepage
    I'm amazed at the amount of hostility that Freenet is drawing from the Slashdot community. It's like it's hit some sort of a totally raw nerve and really separated the men from the boys (and the women from the girls, I suppose).

    Get with it, people. Freenet is where the internet has been headed from the start. The technical issues (moderation, crypto) will be sorted out in time, and then we'll get to see what the future looks like because we'll have participated in it's creation.

    If you can't handle it, pick up a shovel and cut your DSL line: this technological development has always been latent since the beginning of public key cryptography, and now it's here.

    Vinay

Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward.

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