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Freenet's anonymous P2P by years end?

Written by James Delahunty @ 04 Aug 2005 7:42 User comments (20)

Freenet's anonymous P2P by years end? On Wednesday a group of developers announced that new software for filesharing will be available by the end of the year, but this software has an advantage over most other P2P software. The claim is that this P2P software will provide it's users with real anonymity. Called a "Darknet", this new system offers users anonymity while sharing information on a decentralised system. While offering anonymity, making copyright infringement safer is not the aim of this group.
Since P2P file sharing networks became popular, large amounts of copyrighted material has been shared amongst the users of the networks, much to the anger of the copyright holders. Many (including the recording and movie industries) have taken legal action; the recording industry accounting for more than 14,000 suits worldwide so far since the first lawsuits by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 2003.

The tactics used to find people who are sharing copyrighted material seems foolproof; everyone has an IP address. This IP address is required for file transfers to take place. That means, anyone who is downloading from someone on a P2P network, can very easily find the IP address of that person (and also, it is easy to find IP addresses of people who have potentially got copyrighted music in their "shared folders" by making a simple search of a P2P network).

New P2P projects offer "anonymity" by never having the uploader or downloader directly connected to each other. Software like Mute uses file routing instead, which means that if you are connected to the network, you act as a "proxy" for other users transferring files to each other and they act as proxies for you too. Also to defeat the problem with searching, the network assigns everyone a "virtual address" which is what you will receive while making searches instead of IP addresses.

This is obviously a problem for those who are fighting piracy on P2P networks; if many networks could come along like this one and be successful, then it could be a real problem. The Supreme Court Grokster ruling stated that owners and operators of P2P services could be held accountable for copyright infringement by users in some cases (such as networks that advertise and promote it's use for piracy). Freenet however, doesn't advertise this network as a safe haven for piracy but does take the side of privacy over copyright enforcement.

Ian Clarke, head of the Freenet project said that having freedom in communications and following copyrights is not possible, as the two are "mutually exclusive". However, if this new service is half as success as they seem to hope it is, you can be sure it will be met with fast and hard opposition. Test versions of the software exists but the group said it is neither "user-friendly nor secure at this point."


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20 user comments

14.8.2005 20:39

bout time something like this came around! cant wait to see the RIAA and MPAA fight this one off.. gonna be somethin to watch!..

24.8.2005 22:08

Ah, but then it's not P2P is it? More like P2S2P. ;) (Peer to Server to Peer)

34.8.2005 22:30

other file sharing app creators had better get on the train or this soft is going to take over...

44.8.2005 23:38

wow wouldn't that be nice....... freedom 2 roam and not only that, there will be no leechers! at the moment 70% of P2Pers are leechers, but, if theres no risk of getting caught..... everyone will share and atere will be treble the amount of files available!!! sweet!!

55.8.2005 02:11

wouldn't you be held accountable for everything you are uploading still? Even the partial files....?

65.8.2005 02:45

Either way I just want to see what this does in terms of download and upload speeds.

75.8.2005 02:55

It will slow down speeds at least a bit. I've tried MUTE and it wasn't that quick but it could have been the files...

85.8.2005 05:18

wouldn't you be held accountable for everything you are uploading still? Even the partial files....?
its goin to be ANONYMOUS FILE SHARING..... so u cant be held accountable 4 sh1t.

95.8.2005 07:39

BUT as i understand it when you upload something, you first upload to another user who then uploads it to the actual person. aint the proxy user still uploading copyrighted stuff, even though s/he themselves aint doing it, they are still technically breaking the law?

105.8.2005 08:02

You could look at it as being a network of acsesories to one large crime. But since the person(s) involved has no knowlege of what is being transferd via there PC (hardware) they cannot be accountable (for now). Plus, everyone is assigned a static (randomly) encrypted "virtual address" that is only available when you connect to the network. Once you log off it is assinged to someone else. Your ISP is completely out of the loop too.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 05 Aug 2005 @ 8:04

115.8.2005 09:25

This sounds good to me, but i'm going to have to test it out before I start using it.

125.8.2005 10:32

yea same! otherwise its gna b a sharp tip back to trusty old limewire!!

137.8.2005 23:51

I'm just surprised something like this hasn't happened sooner (on a large scale). Can't wait to see it in action.

148.8.2005 06:50

Hopefully it will not be as disappointing as freenet itself... I am optimistic, however I do not believe that anonymity on the net is an achievable goal..... Its kind of like copy protection, its just not possible at this point.

158.8.2005 10:31

This seems almost too good to be true. Has anyone considered the possibility that this could be another "Operation Site Down" and the server you link to actually records your IP address? That way the government could not only get the main distributors but also the little guys? This may just be another crazy conspiracy theory, but i think I'll hang on the side lines and see what happens until Freenet is a bit more established

168.8.2005 16:05

The strange thing is, you know what could be on your computer. It could not be there too. You just don't know. On freenet, you could be a big porno smuggler and not know it. Only the community as a whole can remove that kind of stuff by just not visiting/download it. That could be the same way here. I'm still not exactly sure how that works. If you go around carrying a clear bag of white powder and a cop asks you what's in it, you tell 'em you don't know because you really don't, but you know what it could be. What's going to happen? They'd bust you with the possession of illegal substances, if nothing else. If they took you in and found it was just flour, you could bust 'em back for obstructing the peace (or something like that). I suppose music isn't quite like that though.

1711.8.2005 09:10

sinister7...what you do is download a two programs called privoxy and tor from and configure FireFox or internet explorer to run through them and you never broadcast your real ip address

1811.8.2005 19:01

FINALY!! GO Mr. Clark.... GO !!! put the beta out and let us all help out !! Cheers Hotliner

1912.8.2005 10:29

Thanks for the tip wetsparks. But does doing that hinder downloading in any way? Because a firewall I had once gave me nothing but headaches when I tried to use mIRC and the like.Also how would you go about running it through internet explorer and could you use that combo with mIRC and similar programs.

2013.8.2005 07:32

i don't know if it will work with that program because i've never used it but it should, when you go to the website there will be a walkthrough that tells you exactly what to do step by step so you can make sure it works

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