Extropy Unbound

September 26, 2017

Freenet: The forgotten cryptopunk paradise, by “Draketo” / Arne Babenhauserheide

Filed under: Politics,Science,Technology — mikewb1971 @ 3:10 am
Tags: , , , ,

Freenet: The forgotten cryptopunk paradise

by “Draketo” / Arne Babenhauserheide

I planned to get this into a newspaper, but it was too technical for the Guardian and too non-practical for Linux Voice. Then my free time ran out. Today I saw Barret Brown report (freenet mirror) on his 5 years court sentence for quoting a Fox news commentator and sharing a public link. Welcome to Freenet: The forgotten cryptopunk paradise!

# Freenet: The forgotten cryptopunk paradise

A long time ago in a chatroom far away, select groups of crypto-anarchists gathered to discuss the death of privacy since the NSA could spy on all communications with ease. Among those who proposed technical solutions was a student going by the name sanity, and he published the widely regarded first paper on Freenet: A decentralized anonymous datastore which was meant to be a cryptopunk paradise: true censorship resistance, no central authority and long lifetime only for information in which people were actually interested.

Many years passed, two towers fell, the empire expanded its hunt for rebels all over the globe, and now, as the empire’s grip has become so horrid that even the most loyal servants of the emperors turn against them and expose their dark secrets to the masses, Freenet is still moving forward. Lost to the eye of the public, it shaped and reshaped itself — all the while maintaining its focus to provide true freedom of the press in the internet.

Table of Contents

A new old hope

Once only a way to anonymously publish one-shot websites into Freenet that other members of the group could see, it now provides its users with most services found in the normal internet, yet safe from the prying eyes of the empire. Its users communicate with each other using email which hides metadata, micro-blogging with real anonymity, forums on a wide number of topics — from politics to drug experiences — and websites with update notifications (howto) whose topics span from music and anime over religion and programming to life without a state and the deepest pits of depravity.

All these possibilities emerge from its decentralized datastore and the tools built on top of a practically immutable data structure, and all its goals emerge from providing real freedom of the press. Decentralization is required to avoid providing a central place for censorship. Anonymity is needed to protect people against censorship by threat of subsequent punishment, prominently used in China where it is only illegal to write something against the state if too many people should happen to read it. Private communication is needed to allow whistleblowers to contact journalists and also to discuss articles before publication, invisible access to information makes it hard to censor articles by making everyone a suspect who reads one of those articles, as practiced by the NSA which puts everyone on the watchlist who accesses Freenetproject.org (reported by German public TV program Panorama). And all this has to be convenient enough for journalists to actually use it during their quite stressful daily work. As a side effect it provides true online freedom, because if something is safe enough for a whistleblower, it is likely safe enough for most other communication too.

These goals pushed Freenet development into areas which other groups only touched much later — or not at all. And except for convenience, which is much harder to get right in a privacy-sensitive context than it seems, Freenet nowadays manages to fulfill these goals very well.

The empire strikes the web

The cloud was “invented” and found to be unsafe, yet Freenet already provided its users with a safe cloud. Email was found to spill all your secrets, while Freenet already provided its users with privacy preserving emails. Disaster control became all the rage after hurricane Katrina and researchers scrambled to find solutions for communicating on restricted routes, and Freenet already provided a globally connectable darknet on friend-to-friend connections. Blogs drowned in spam comments and most caved in and switched to centralized commenting solutions, making the fabled blogosphere into little more than a PR outlet for Facebook, but Freenet already provided spam resistance via an actually working web of trust — after seeing the non-spam-resistant forum system Frost burn when some trolls realized that true anonymity also means complete freedom to use spam bots. Censorship and total surveillance of user behavior on Facebook was exposed, G+ required users to use their real names and Twitter got blocked in many repressive regimes, whereas Freenet already provided hackers with convenient, decentralized, anonymous microblogging. Now websites are cracked by the minute and constant attacks have made it a chore for private webmasters simply to stay available, though Freenet already offers attack resistant hosting which stays online as long as people are interested in the content.

All these developments happened in a private microcosm, where new and strange ideas could form and hatch; an incubator where reality could be rethought and rewritten to reestablish privacy in the internet. The internet was hit hard, and Freenet evolved to provide a refuge for those who could use it.

The return of privacy

What started as a student’s idea was driven forward by about a dozen free time coders and one paid developer for more than a decade — funded by donations from countless individuals — and turned into a true forgotten cryptopunk paradise: actual working solutions to seemingly impossible problems, highly detailed documentation streams in a vast nothingness to be explored only by the initiated (where RTFS is a common answer: Read The Friendly Source), all this with plans and discussions about saving the world mixed in.

The practical capabilities of Freenet should be known to every cryptopunk. But a combination of mediocre user experience, bad communication and worse PR (and maybe something more sinister, if Poul-Henning Kamp should prove to be farsighted about project Orchestra) brought us to a world where a new, fancy, half finished, partially thought through, cash-cow searching project comes around and instead of being asked “how’s that different from Freenet?”, the next time I talk to a random crypto-loving stranger about Freenet I am asked “how is Freenet different from X which just made the news?” (the answer which fits every single time is: “Even if X should work, it would provide only half of Freenet, and none of the really important features — friend-to-friend darknet, access dependent content lifetime, decentralized spam resistance, stable pseudonyms, hosting without a server”).

Right now, many years of work have culminated in a big step forward for Freenet. It is time for Freenet to re-emerge from hiding and take its place as one of the few privacy tools actually proven to work — and as the single tool with the most ambitious goal: Reestablishing freedom of the press and freedom of speech in the internet.

Join in

If you do not have the time for large scale contribution, a good way to support freenet is to run and use it — and ask your friends to join in, ideally over darknet.

freenetproject.org

Since the focus of Freenet has been on the big goals, there are lots of low hanging fruit; small tasks which allow reaping the fruits of existing solutions to hard problems. For example my recent work on Freenet includes 4 hours of hacking the Python based site uploader in pyFreenet which sped up the load time of its sites by up to a factor of 4. If you are an interested software developer and want to join, come to #freenet @ freenode to chat, discuss with us in the freenet devl mailing list and check the github-project.

Welcome to Freenet, where no one can watch you read.


NOTES

  1. Original article [text-only version / PDF version]

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July 11, 2016

No TOR for the Masses?

Filed under: Politics,Science,Technology — mikewb1971 @ 10:50 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Recently Techspot India reported that the NSA doesn’t want us civilians using the TOR technology —

NSA classifies Linux Journal readers, Tor and Tails Linux users as “extremists”

Funny how TOR was originally developed by the Naval Research Laboratory and furthered by DARPA. Now that it’s out of the bag, they want to put it back under their exclusive control. Sort of like the internet itself.

Of course, the govvies probably won’t mind too much if political figures with ties to George Soros and the Saudi royal family use it. At least they didn’t seem to mind when a certain former senator turned Secretary of State mishandled classified information on a private home-based server, so I’m guessing that they’ll sign off on corrupt use of the TOR tech as well, just so long as it’s the “right people” using it.

H/T Seth Anderson Bailey


FOR FURTHER REFERENCE

  1. Wikipedia page for Tor
  2. Wikipedia page for TAILS
  3. Wikipedia page for Dark web

NOTES

  1. Approximate reading level – 11.7
  2. Reposted –
    1. The Weekly SeditionFacebook / Twitter / WordPress.com
    2. Libertarian Party –
      1. New MexicoLPNM Blog / LPNM Official Facebook page / LPNM Official Facebook group
      2. Bernalillo County, New MexicoLPBC Blog / LPBCNM Official Facebook page / LPBCNM Official Facebook group

Copyright © 2016 Libertarian Party of New Mexico, Libertarian Party of Bernalillo County, New Mexico and Mike Blessing. All rights reserved.
Produced by KCUF Media, a division of Extropy Enterprises.
This blog entry created with medit and Notepad++.

August 24, 2014

From the Space for All Foundation — $1000 Libertarian Student Essay Contest

Filed under: Politics,Science,Technology — mikewb1971 @ 4:54 am
Tags: , ,

Subject: $1000 Libertarian Student Essay Contest
Date: Mon, 4 Aug 2014 11:25:04 -0700
From: BM-2cX6yauJFsr8ueVDUjNNK4qi6ADrnn1HRQ@bitmessage.ch
To: SpaceforallFoundation@bitmessage.ch

Dear Fellow Libertarian:

Let me take a moment to thank you for all the hard work that you do on behalf of liberty. Unfortunately there is far too much work and too little appreciation! Can I ask a favor? Would you please send the following out to any appropriate lists?

We are a small group of libertarians developing an organization to promote private space travel.

Pie in the sky?

Perhaps. We would really appreciate you letting people know about this contest.

Please let us know if you have any comments or questions.

Sincerely,
Board of Directors
Space for All Foundation


Space for All Foundation Essay Contest

Two Levels and eligibility:

Level I: 4th – 9th Graders
Level II: 10th Grade – College Undergraduates

Entry Deadline: October 30, 2014.

Grand Prize for each level is $1000 in Bitcoins.

There will be one prize (Grand Prize) awarded for each level.

Prizes will be announced by December 20, 2014.

Assume the following:

  1. We are limited to our solar system. No Faster Then Light travel. No wormhole technologies. No time travel. No alternate dimension travel.
  2. We would like the essays to focus on the next 20 years.

Topics for Level I

  1. Why are private space travel and exploration more important then government controlled efforts?
  2. What are the immediate benefits of private space travel as opposed to government space travel?

Topics for Level II

  1. What are the immediate benefits of private space travel as opposed to government space travel?
  2. How would society change with common place private space travel and exploration?

Judging

The winning applicant will be judged on both style and content. Judges will look for writing that is clear, articulate and logically organized. Winning essays must demonstrate an outstanding grasp of the societal implications of the topics. Essay submissions are evaluated in a fair and unbiased four-round judging process. Judges are founding members of the Space for All Foundation and the essays will be judged in a manner to ensure the anonymity of our participants. The Space for All Foundation checks essays with Ithenticate plagiarism detection software.

Rules

No application is required. The Contest is open to students worldwide. Entrant must be a 4th-9th Grader for Level I and a 10th grade to college undergraduate for Level II. To avoid disqualification the email with the essay must include the following information:

  1. Your name and address.
  2. Your e-mail address.
  3. The name, address and telephone number of your school; (optional) the name of the teacher who assigned the essay, if you are completing it for classroom credit.
  4. Your current grade level.
  5. Topic selected (#1 or #2 from list above).

Level I

  • Essay must be no fewer than 450 and no more than 1,500 words in length.
  • Essay must be emailed no later than October 30, 2014, no later than 11:59 PM, Pacific Standard time. Essay must be emailed to SpaceforallFoundation@bitmessage.ch
  • Essay must be solely the work of the entrant. Plagiarism will result in disqualification. Essays must not infringe on any third party rights or intellectual property of any person, company, or organization. By submitting an essay to this Contest, the entrant agrees to indemnify the Space for All Foundation for any claim, demand, judgment, or other allegation arising from possible violation of someone’s trademark, copyright, or other legally protected interest in any way in the entrant’s essay.
  • Decisions of the judges are final. Employees of the Space for All Foundation, its board of directors and their immediate family members are not eligible for this contest. Past first-place winners are not eligible for this contest.
  • All entries become the property of the Space for All Foundation and will not be returned.
  • Winners will be notified via e-mail by December 20, 2014.
  • Winners will be required to provide a picture holding their essay in order to receive any prizes. Contest winners agree to allow the Space for All Foundation to post their name and picture on any affiliated websites. The winning first place essay may be posted in its entirety on any of these websites with full credit given to the author. Winners will be solely responsible for any federal, state or local taxes.

Level II

  • Essay must be no fewer than 800 and no more than 1,600 words in length.
  • Essay must be emailed no later than October 30, 2014, no later than 11:59 PM, Pacific Standard time. Essay must be emailed to SpaceforallFoundation@bitmessage.ch
  • Essay must be solely the work of the entrant. Plagiarism will result in disqualification. Essays must not infringe on any third party rights or intellectual property of any person, company, or organization. By submitting an essay to this Contest, the entrant agrees to indemnify the Space for All Foundation for any claim, demand, judgment, or other allegation arising from possible violation of someone’s trademark, copyright, or other legally protected interest in any way in the entrant’s essay.
  • Decisions of the judges are final. Employees of the Space for All Foundation, its board of directors and their immediate family members are not eligible for this contest. Past first-place winners are not eligible for this contest.
  • All entries become the property of the Space for All Foundation and will not be returned.
  • Winners will be notified via e-mail by December 20, 2014.
  • Winners will be required to provide a picture holding their essay in order to receive any prizes. Contest winners agree to allow the Space for All Foundation to post their name and picture on any affiliated websites. The winning first place essay may be posted in its entirety on any of these websites with full credit given to the author. Winners will be solely responsible for any federal, state or local taxes.

To Enter

  • Please do not submit duplicate essays!
  • If submitting your essay electronically, you will be sent an email confirming our receipt.
  • If you have not received an e-mail notification within 48 hours, please e-mail SpaceforallFoundation@bitmessage.ch and ask for confirmation.

Comments or Questions

Comments or questions about the essay contests are welcome. Please write to SpaceforallFoundation@bitmessage.ch

Sincerely,
Board of Directors
Space for All Foundation
http://3ayspace4uiyivsz.onion (Requires Tor Browser to see the site)

Home of the Space Lottery


NOTES

  1. Approximate reading level – 11.5
  2. Reposted –
    1. Extropy UnboundFacebook
    2. The Weekly SeditionFacebook / WordPress

Produced by KCUF Media, a division of Extropy Enterprises. Webmaster Mike Blessing.
This blog entry created with gedit.

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