I'm going to have to say if that's the basic motivation for censorship resistant communication in the USA, I am disappointed and sad.
Wonder if it's actually useful in places where you actually have censorship, or if it's just a nice beacon for the ISP to send the rubber hose men to visit.
Not to mention random links purporting to be terrorist manuals, normal porn, incoherent blogs and the other usual detritus.
It's sad but I think in most modern democracies that are relatively free, like the USA and EU, the primary use for these services is CSAM. There's no other reason to use it, except maybe paranoia or technical curiosity, and only the former will keep someone using it. The technically curious will move on quite quickly.
How about idealism?
I mean 20 years ago, you would have been declared paranoid, if you said secret government agencies and big corporations track everything you do online - but now you just speak a inconvinient truth, most people are aware of, but try to ignore it as much as possible.
It is good, to have working alternative plattforms, in case there are really needed by us in the west.
But yeah, currently I do not use them either, because my last experience with them were "dark", too.
Because yes, the strongest incentive right now have those people not acting out of idealism, but because their content is not tolerated on the open web. Quite a shitty situation. How do one establish a "alternative, anonymous" communication service, without attracting all the kicked out elsewhere btards first?
The goal of anonymity is to avoid disclosure of identity but not secrecy of content. You don’t care if the entire world sees the substance of the communication. You care that they cannot detect who you are. Networks like this and Tor share your information across a large number of nodes to resist identity detection.
Privacy is the opposite. You don’t care that the entire world knows who you are so long as they can never read your communications. Privacy is challenging to achieve with anonymity because it is almost impossible for one party to trust the other against information disclosure if they have no idea who they are.
The first world problem is confusing these concepts so that you can have your cake and eat it too, typically for self-serving reasons.
The journalist does not need privacy or confidentiality to publish. The source does. And without the source, there’s no story.
I have been.
That’s why I deeply appreciate having a pseudonym that’s separated from where I live so I don’t have to fear Neonazis turning up at my doorstep or attacking my kids when I write something they do not like.
EDIT: For what it's worth, if neonazis are not a threat where you reside (where is that and how can i get citizenship?), any bad actor could engage in the same kind of behavior, whether it's a political police, an industrial group whose corruption/pollution you're fighting, a local mafia who wants to ruin you...
I can use Tor or I can use Freenet. That’s it. I use both: Tor to google simple medical questions. Freenet to discuss. Because in Freenet — different from Tor — the Forums don’t die and the prevailing forums don’t block me with neigh unsolvable CAPTCHAs.
So instead keep using it and actually put the other content onto it yourself!
Hosting on Freenet is free and easy, you just upload a site and post it to FMS and it will be online for many years if people keep accessing it.
You don't need any server whatsoever: The machines of the other users store content which you upload (in an encrypted fashion so they cannot censor it and aren't legally culpable for it). It automatically gets replicated to more machines as it becomes more popular, thus good content stays available for a very long time and unpopular content gets garbage-collected.
So put your "money", i.e. effort, where your mouth is:
Don't just only constantly criticize FAANG for lack of privacy and censorship.
Instead, also take care of actively maintaining the spaces which provide privacy & freedom so they don't become barren.
A free public space which is only controlled by the general public needs the general public to take care of it.
There's this thing where a certain level of censorship resistance and free speech seems to yield some very horrible things. I don't even want to remark on the US law (first amendment rights, legal analysis) here, just focusing on ethics.
> A free public space which is only controlled by the general public needs the general public to take care of it.
I would remark here that the traditional system for taking care of a general space is to have a government controlling it, whether that be the council of elders, a senate, or a monarch. Fully democratic/anarchist space management is not typical of a human society. The historical outcome of fully unregulated online spaces seems to be a lot of CSAM and groupthink.
anyway. freenet is technically interesting, legally dodgy, and, imho, an ethical trap.
This is a ridiculous position.
The network is flawed. It's not hard to provide anonymity and yet still be able to remove child pornography.
Stop being an apologist for a network that delivers child pornography. Absolutely nothing makes this unfixable except the creators' dedication to making false ethical arguments.
Both provide user-controlled moderation. They make it your responsibility as user not to boost people who post content you disagree with. And if it isn’t seen, it disappears automatically from Freenet, just as it does with a caching proxy.
Both are game-changers, and if it weren’t for them, I would have a hard time using Freenet.
“Make the place I like better by being there!”
Nah. Make the place you like better, then people will want to be there.
That's Freenet. It's the internet that should have been.
I came for the memes and I stayed for the community. FMS and WoT (Freenet Message System and Web of Trust) use trust lists to decide what I see and most people who use FMS and Sone (sort of like Twitter) are decent. Pedo's and generally bad people typically use Frost-Next, a third party application that the Freenet Project does not endorse that is susceptible to spam. I have had so many in-depth, thought-provoking discussions on FMS over the years. Far more than any other clearnet website today, Reddit included. There is a real sense of community on Freenet you'll be hard pressed to find elsewhere.
I enjoy making websites and writing. Freenet hosts numerous websites (freesites) I have made over the years and a ton of my political and philosophical writings. I just finished making a Super Mario 64 Freesite in honor of one of my favorite video games. I spent a lot of time working on it and I'm proud of it. That's just for Freenet. I live in the United States too, and this is what I use Freenet for. I also host the Astronomy Picture Of the Day freesite I update everyday. You don't have to need censorship resistance to use Freenet, it's existence merely safeguards the prerequisite to all real civil liberties in the digital age-- privacy. I am convinced that the existence of Freenet and tools like it (especially Tor) are necessary for a free society to exist.
I2P is great too and I'm just as passionate about that, though it's been awhile since my servers have been up. Same philosophy of censorship resistance, but with I2P you have to run a server 24/7 to host content and can have dynamic content as well. Freenet is more distributed. I2P is like Tor but is more used by nerds than criminals. Both I2P and Freenet are amazing tools. I highly recommend people to check them out.
Censorship shouldnt be the central focus. The real hope is that from 1000 ranking algorithms, we can find one that isn't a divisiveness amplifier
Along with pseudonymity that prevents people from pressuring you into voting as they wish.
Freenet ranks others by their distance to you and weights their votes from that before aggregating them.
And the up- and down-votes in the Web of trust are signed, because that is what happens automatically if you upload something under your key in Freenet.
It might be possible to establish for a given not heavily contested fact whether it is correct, but not to establish for a given person whether they are a crank. Just ask people around the world about the POTUS.
Freenet replaces that by personal trust. The only remainder of a global trust is initial visibility via seed-IDs. And that is transparent and can be revoked by every user.
It's not like we're immune to this in the west, didn't you see the censorship on all the social media recently?
P2P was mostly about piracy. NNTP was used before that. BBS's were before that. And what comes next? IPFS?
I recommend FMS the freenet messaging system which uses web of trust successfully to moderate messages in a Usenet forum.
What I don't understand is the word “exposed”. Let's take Mein Kampf, for example. I am sure have hit upon it on the internet multiple times over the years. I am sure anyone can find its text in no time, even if their native country banned it. Still it never occurred to me to start reading it. It would really be a joke, and I have nearly endless list of better things to read. I guess I was “exposed” to Mein Kampf, so what?
Basically anything you've thought of the NSA or other intelligence agencies intercepting, it was wide out in the open there. The types of things you'd see kids telling themselves about urban legends of the "darkweb", well, it was extremely real and in the open on Freenet...
Sarcasm aside, that experience sounds similar to what I've seen when trying out freenet way back.
On the other hand my I2P experience was quite pleasant (by just following the planet.i2p stream, basically an announcement site for new "registered" domains and torrents), with easy discovery of downloadable leaks, anarchist and conspiracy theorist blogs. Really felt like my 90s internet experience where I could find new and edgy content everywhere.
Maybe you should try again. It is quite a different experience nowadays (if you just use what you see and don’t go digging for stuff to get angry about — if you do the latter, you’ll also find "the internet" to be a place full of disgusting evil).
Maybe I'll give it a go next time when I muck around with anonymous P2P setups and protocols, until I get frustrated with the UX/DX, as always, and give up.
By the way, I really hate meaningless spooky terms like “dark web” and “dark net”. I can still remember the time before journalists invented them.
Given the other responses, I wasn't the only one who was aware of the content on Freenet 20 years ago.
And the quotes around "darkweb" were largely to abstract it as a concept of urban legend itself, so I guess we can agree on that.
> In the years since 9/11, police raids of terrorist cells in the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain have yielded countless images of hard-core child pornography.
I'm done with this thread. You guys are way too literal. If I cared I would find better sources, but two simple Google searches is enough for me. I have dishes to wash which is much more productive than these threads have become.
Perhaps my memory fails me, and you have some links to fix my error? Please share. Before you say you can't remember the specifics, let me tell you that most freesites are still available (at least the pages in their root archives), and that Frost and FMS has archives of most public discussion that happened there, so it would not be hard to check whether something like this happened or not.
Anyone who took this trolling at face value should really reconsider trusting everything they read on the internet.
I never said that a central slave market was on Freenet. I don't even think the protocol would be a very effective way to do it due to how slow and unreliable the protocol is at retrieving things. What I meant was that images of this stuff were available in large galleries, and the previous messaging system before Frost would auto-find new forums for you at random. Frequently they would be large galleries of images of this stuff.
So have fun with whatever you are expecting me to pull out of 20 years ago links that are like however many 40+ hex digits long. I haven't used Freenet since I saw that stuff. Not really sure why you'd think I would keep links to it or I would have a photographic memory or even would actively seek out the stuff.
I'm not sitting here saying I contributed, I'm saying I would play around with Freenet, even submit some harmless static HTML pages for fun to test the protocol. After the messaging system started popping up forums that I didn't find acceptable, I deleted the client and never touched Freenet again.
The burden of proof is not on me nor you. This is a conversation on the internet not a spontaneous scientific journal nor an inquisition.
The days where many people posted stuff just for the thrill of being able to post something illegal and disgusting are long gone — partly because the communication structures in Freenet evolved, so such stuff will quickly make you invisible to most people (since most people subscribe to moderation that hides that).
Also, if we talk literally 20 years ago, Freenet was at infancy, still used arbitrary human-readable content keys that were supposed to be shared externally —
You are probably thinking of more mature days of Freenet version 0.5, which, in its turn, was a network independent from Freenet version 0.7 (2008—present). I've seen 0.5 when it still ran in parallel, and can't remember the content being way too different in general. Still no child slaves for sale.
edit: though bulk delivery by railroad car may be technically correct, just add some heat, or let the car stand for a while.
One does not need to imagine the 'epic whiffs' coming from that, because it happens IRL!
Not that I want to defend that book, but it at least has some historic value. It is the sort of thing I would envision a research library keeping on a back shelf. But space lasers and pizza restaurants with dungeons, such things are beneath even Freenet.
There's a reason books and movies have an age restriction. The reason is that kids are not able to understand the consequences. It's easy, as an adult, to rationalize that they see it eventually.
But if you had a welcome screen with some gore porn on your computer...would you a) use it in a public cafe? And b) use it in front of a kindergarden?
Why not? Exactly. The same reason why communities should be able to decide why they do not want to host gore porn on their companies.
Free speech works two ways. If I decide I dont like gore porn on my computer, but the peer to peer database/blockchain/whatever decides for redundancy purposes that my computer has to host it, I'm not gonna use that technology again.
Users must have the decision what kind of content they want to see. Otherwise it's gonna be the same propaganda machine all over again, where content of hate and emotions will persist longer than content of rationality and logic.
And Freenet has a method for communities to express that people (actually pseudonyms) who disrupt the system should not be seen.
It is a decentralized blocking system where the choice of moderator is on the individual. It easily runs circles around current clearnet moderation systems, because it had to cope with actual pseudonymity from the start, and it was created to address an actual need to stop disruption without centralization.
If you don’t like gore porn, you ask the other pseudonym not to post it. And if he/she/it continues, you record blocking, and those who trust your judgement will no longer see that pseudonym. That’s how in Freenet you decide what content to see. And it works: Within Freenet we had quite a few constructive discussions between political groups that would normally be at their throats.
So Freenet itself acts like an abstracted ISP that only provides access while the moderation system does the value-call and moderation — also fully decentralized, but as separated from the core system as a hacker news moderator or web-hoster is from the internet service provider.
And if I say „the Freenet moderation system runs circles around clearnet moderation“, I mean it: The fediverse people are now experimenting with implementing the Freenet moderation system for Mastodon and others: https://socialhub.activitypub.rocks/t/scalable-moderation-us...
Yes, it is called hypocrisy. Do you think there exist a kid who stopped at age restriction dialog?
Ratings have always been either a publicity stunt, a way to benefit from grab of authority on them, or a pretext for censorship. Most well known example is MPAA, which basically allowed studios to make the same kind of movies while jumping through hoops to tell people they were “approved”. Later, it was shortened to “This label means the kids won't see it, so it's okay, don't worry”. Another example: until very recently, there was no age restriction on books in Russia, and no one cared at all. Then the government decided to promote itself as a defender of “traditional values”, and age ratings were promptly introduced, just to make any non-encyclopedic discussion of homosexuality fall under 18+. Does it stop people from accessing information? Not really, and it doesn't matter, because ratings are not for kids, they are for grown ups who feel good from looking at “protective measures”. And so, some teenagers are doing drugs while their parents are happy because they bought family access control software to shield their children from the information about drugs and other nasty stuff.
...or so the thinking goes
History has shown this to be true over and over and over. We even have evidence to this: https://news.mit.edu/2018/study-twitter-false-news-travels-f...
Fake news travels faster and convinces more people than the truth.
On the other hand, if it's essentially gossip, like twitter, the truth isn't particularly important but shock value is- it's more about social standing/status, entertainment or whatever.
The arguments for controlling 'misinformation' are really just claims by one entity that they should be in control of the gossip.
If information is of real value — like vaccines — … do you see where I’m going?
In today's media visibility is massively skewed by the platform's interest of "engagement" — which too often means enragement. That’s how fake news spread so fast (also in ad-click-financed newspapers, by the way).
They aren’t only exploiting human psyche, but also the proprietary, centrally controlled algorithms that drive social networks and the ad-financing of newsrooms.
If you log out of Youtube and then watch a talk about Java development, and then the Youtube algorithm suggests alt-right content in the auto-play-list, then something is wrong with the algorithm.
It is ironic that platforms that send the fake news your way in the first place then put a fact check underneath.
Sure, education can improve things. But this is a problem even worse outside the United States, so it's hard to blame it on a single education system.
And this is something Freenet actually solves to some degree. Because it had to. This is why in Freenet we know the Zen of Tolerance: https://www.draketo.de/politik/random-babcom#the-zen-of-tole...
- You are entitled to voice your opinion.
- You are not entitled to force it upon everyone.
- You are not entitled to force it upon a subgroup repeatedly.
- You are also not entitled to hurl hate towards participants, since that would disrupt communication.
- If you cannot stay respectful and friendly after being asked to, I will unsee you and advise others to do the same with a clear and brief explanation, so they can take an informed decision.
Didn't say anything of the sort. And truth isn't determined by any of them. Which agin, proves the point. I had a comment with only three sentences, and you managed to misread it.
I'm not for corporate or government censorship, but people that can't read comments correctly are a much bigger problem.
It's incredibly slow (think Tor over Tor over Tor), and needs to be run for 1-2 weeks to even work mildly. Tails would not be an ideal choice, a dedicated space is necessary.
There's no real reason to use Tor to connect to Freenet anyway, as it's encrypted in a way that the network traffic cannot be known nor even the content on your machine by yourself unless you know the private key which serves as a link to the content you are trying to locate, and it eventually will sync up those keys with your local storage. You don't even know the public key of the content that is stored in this local cache.
If you've seen Silicon Valley, this is the idea that likely founded "the Platform" concept, but they add a bit of magic and speed to the concept for the show. When your content is published, it's published "everywhere and nowhere". If you publish something, then destroy your node, that content will stay in many nodes and still be accessible. This information gets kept or cleared out based on how often it is being queried.
Latency is typically high, but the browsing experience is pretty good.
The content of those sites is whatever their authors want it to be :)
Further, dynamic applications such as forums are also available. Here's a list of apps built on top of Freenet: https://github.com/freenet/wiki/wiki/Projects
Freenet needs UDP so it likely won't work on Tails as Tails tunnels everything through Tor - which does not support UDP AFAIK.
So you can only connect to Freenet with this setup if you already know someone else who uses Freenet and peer with them manually ("darknet").
A network vending child pornography should not be happy about this. This should be a terrifying warning to you.
Unfortunately you don't see it as a genuine problem, so you explain it away.
bad developers that make excuses for a network that won't stop the delivery of child pornography by hiding behind false ethical arguments
Anyone knows a way using these overlay networks, tor, i2p, freenet, to expose a service on a machine behind a NAT to be accessed through the internet without the need of clients needing special software?
(Well you can, but you shouldn't want to, will explain below.)
Freenet is a datastore: It addresses content, not computers.
So a Freenet address points to a file or a directory of files (a zip). The addresses can be versioned so files/dirs can be updated.
A file/dir may be stored anywhere in Freenet. Where it is stored is not known - the machines which store it are anonymous so censorship is prevented. If many people request a file, it will get stored on more machines automatically.
Now of course you can make a specific computer constantly publish new versions of a file to "send" data like on IP and poll for a remote file to receive data. This can emulate direct connections and does work.
But it invalidates the whole point of Freenet:
Freenet wants to be censorship-resistant, so content should not rely on a single computer to keep existing because that is a single point of failure.
- use a VPN from a net-neutral ISP to obtain a real public IP address over VPN (5-10€/mo)
- route specific ports to your own machine from an internet-facing server (via SSH/Wireguard/VPN tunnels) ; unfortunately it makes it impossible for different people (backend servers) to share a single routable port
- reverse proxy specific protocols to a backend server, using for example TLS SNI (or eSNI) headers ; a single internet-facing server can serve many different vhosts to separate backends, where TLS encryption is terminated on the backend
But of course you can run tor/i2p and other crypto-secure routing protocols (yggdrasil, zeronet, cjdns...) to expand the ways to reach your server. I'm unaware of good protocol-agnostic address discovery... for tor we usually do TOFU over DNS (eg. onionMX records) or HTTPS (HTTP2 Alt-SVC headers). The GNU Name System, at least on paper, sounds like the perfect crypto-secure naming scheme that could securely bootstrap addresses from names, but i don't think it has broad adoption yet.
And even if law enforcement could successfully convince a court that you're doing something illegal by hosting data which you cannot look into:
They couldn't first acquire the necessary search warrant because they couldn't prove that you are the one who is hosting the particular piece of illegal data: Freenet's routing algorithm is anonymized, both the people who retrieve data and the people who store it are anonymous. (Disclaimer: The security of the anonymization depends on how you've configured Freenet. In the less secure modes a well-funded attacker can de-anonymize you.)
So if law enforcement knows a certain file is evil then they cannot easily find out the IP addresses of the people who store it, and the people who store it don't know that they are doing so.
Hence it is censorship-resistant :)
You do NOT want your defense in court to rest on convincing a judge or jury of this.
In fact we cannot have people rent out condos or houses anymore either because illegal stuff will happen there and the owner is responsible even if they don't know!
Also we need to shut down all ISPs because at some point in time illegal data was cached on their machines during transit!?
1) The crime in question is not just that you acquired the content, but that you disseminated it. This is in sharp distinction from a hotel, in which the person renting the room is the perpetrator. It's not like there is some RICO statute that hotel owners routinely get pinned with when renting rooms out to shady people unless they are literally involved in RICO.
2) CASM is unique among crimes (in the USA) in that knowing of it and NOT reporting it is itself a crime. You cannot claim that you were frightened. So you now have to prove that you never decrypted it yourself, on top of evidence that you disseminated it.
This is not a position you want to be in legally.
You may be innocent, but you'll be spending tens of thousands of dollars and a chunk of your life agonizing over it before "justice" is realized.
No. What they said is that you don’t want to have to convince a jury that you aren’t responsible for stuff that is on your computer
I’m so tired of people arguing in bad faith. Debate what people believe, not a stupid version you made up to score points.
If someone downloads something on Freenet they don't know where it is coming from.
But how will they read it if even you can't?
plot twist: It's an one-time pad to xor your data against.
(and of course, they wouldn't generate it from XORing your data against illegal data...)
It's simple for anyone to create an xor "key" for anything.
I bet you’re just using those unencrypted images to hide evil stuff with steganography! We found illegal content by xoring our totally not invented xor "keys" with the noise in your JPEGs!
You're only going to have a few encrypted chunks of a given file in your datastore, you don't know what the file chunks are when put together or the key used to decrypt it. Information is neutral on Freenet. You would NOT get in trouble just for running a Freenet node in any sane/ free country in the world. If you go out of your way to use Freenet for something illegal, that's another matter entirely.
If you're paranoid, just use a VPN or install it to a VPS and SSH into it.
Upd: found this: https://geti2p.net/en/comparison/freenet.
-- i2p was originally a fork of freenet
-- Freenet was designed and conceived as a datastore, fist and foremost, whereas i2p using 'garlic routing' was apt for any IP protocol proxied over it (a bit like tor)
-- Freenet therefore is more efficient and distributing popular data
-- There are some concerns about the algoirthms behind freenet's anonymity, which i2p claims  are troublesome.
-- Incidentally, I have heard complaints about the crypto behind i2p, but I am not expert in this area enough to comment. My understanding is that the consensus is that "tor r is better", but note you can e.g. run freenet over tor if desired.
I played with both as a curious teenager around the time they were released. I am now largely terrified to, because of the prospect of accidentally finding CSAM, which I suspect is very high on both platforms.
Chilling effects in a nutshell.
Freenet is the same as it ever was. I don't think you could play around on there and not find that stuff. Dunno what's going on on I2P these days.
You're very unlikely to find it unless you're looking for it, none of the default indexes allow it.
It's lazy to equate implementation language with performance profile.
In some abstract case - yes, it's possible. In many concrete cases, including I2P, Java-written code is quite resources-consuming for anything close to the router hardware.
To answer your question, better? Neither I2P nor Freenet claim to be inherently better than the other. It depends entirely on what you are using Freenet or I2P for.
I2P is like Tor but internal (it does not mainly anonymize clearnet traffic, think onionland) and it is anonymous by default. How anonymous? Theoretically as anonymous as Tor. You can use I2P for torrents and filesharing, pretty fast irc, etc. To host an eepsite (I2P site) you have to run a server and keep it running as long as you want the site to be up, similar to running a Tor hidden service or any server on the clearnet.
Both networks are great, lots of cool people use them. I use FMS a lot (Freenet Message System, similar to Usenet) and Sone. When I use I2P I usually host a few eepsites and hang around Irc2p (I2P's irc). I recommend installing and using both. They're both great.
IRC over Freenet is actually in use today: It is called FLIP and has 1 minute round trip times. Which is shorter than what people typically notice (except if they actively measure it), because most take longer to type their answers than FLIP needs to deliver it.
Also, Tor hidden services are somewhat close: https://geti2p.net/en/comparison/tor.
> The two primary differences between Tor / Onion-Routing and I2P are again related to differences in the threat model and the out-proxy design.
This is the first paragraph. No further explanation is given about this point. The fact that it says "are again related..." suggests that the page used to have another paragraph before this one, that was later removed?
I would like to read about the different threat model and about the out-proxy design, anyone has sources?
wget 'http://ftp.lysator.liu.se/pub/freenet/fred-releases/build014...' -O new_installer_offline.jar;
java -jar new_installer_offline.jar
If you want Freenet on a server:
java -jar new_installer_offline.jar -console
Point in case: On Freenet it does. But I had to close down my youtube comments on my channel completely when they discovered my youtube-Account. Because it’s the clearnet where moderation sucks.
Its actually scaling, fully decentralized moderation system is how Freenet keeps communication friendly with actual pseudonymity and privacy protection: https://www.draketo.de/english/freenet/friendly-communicatio...
If the question is WHO to censor, I've always thought the solution is not at the server side but on the client side. Any platform where sensitive topics are being discussed (conspiracies for example) is going to be spammed, trolled, forum slided, etc. The solution is to have filtering on the client side take away the spam. Similar to how you have ad lists which block adsense, googleanalytics, etc. Allow ALL speech, and then filter out just the ones you want. Much better than having a tyrannical government or corrupt media or powerful tech giants do it for me.
I don't know how Freenet works well so I'm not sure how it differs from IPFS, I would really like to see some kind of comparison table on how they do things.
So I don't know how you get the impression that "public servers are off limits"?
It is possible that CSAM exists in certain forums on Freenet which might indicate the specific goal of sharing CSAM by their name.
But if it were to be posted into non-CSAM forums then the community's web of trust would flag it as spam and thus make it disappear. So you're unlikely to just run into CSAM involuntarily.
Also, IMHO saying "public / private servers" in the context of Freenet is wrong because Freenet is not organized into "servers". Basically the whole of Freenet is connected into one big public network.
And it addresses files, not machines: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=28588336
"Private" happens in terms of a file being "private" if you don't share the link to it with anyone.
(A separate Freenet network which is fully private would be possible if every participant configures his instance to not connect to the outside. But one participant disobeying that and it is not private anymore, so it's unlikely that such networks exist.)
1. Installed Freenet
2. Clicked on the site directory from the Freenet home page to see what sites are out there
3. Saw links to child pornography sites on the site directory
4. Uninstalled Freenet
I hope this has been addressed, it’s sickening how the network seemed to be mainly used by pedophiles.
IIRC Freenet's current policy is to only add indexes to the default bookmarks if their authors do label them as filtered.
Perhaps this was a slip-up of whoever the anonymous maintainer of the index was.
It is also possible that in the past the bookmarks contained both the filtered version of an index as well as another one of the same index which was explicitly labeled as unfiltered with a big warning. Then the users could decide on their own if they want filtered content or unfiltered content for the sake of avoiding censorship.
In any case: The default bookmarks are here, you can check the git history yourself:
It’s a shame but it’s a pattern - if you make untraceable communication platforms, people will use them for that.
It is not clear how that statement can emerge from the mere observations above it. Are you telling the full story?
You can send illegal stuff by post, FedEx, BitTorrent, pgp encryption, etc. Who cares?
Or maybe it was just parroting the “common knowledge”. Another kind of common knowledge is that law enforcement from multiple countries has been arresting people for about ten years now because Freenet is far from perfect pedophile heaven. I guess there is common knowledge one prefers to use, and the common knowledge one prefers to overlook.
To put it bluntly, there is a lot of thought put into Freenet, and a lot of work, and a lot of discussions of how things should work, and a lot of uncommon practical solutions invented for truly serverless communication, and some general ideas why it is needed at all. When a casual idler shows interest in none of these, but hurries to find child porn, and with deep satisfaction proclaims “Eww, the whole place is dirty!”, it is OK to point out that there is zero understanding in that.
Because default index sites have always been filtered — and I can vouch for that, — to see something outrageous one had to actively look for something outrageous. Keep it in mind when reading all those comments.
Things may have improved on the common indexes since then, I’ve not been back to check, but you seek to whitewash and diminish the problem which is not great either.
What exactly is the problem? That child exploitation exists, or that you are reminded that it exists (and prefer not to be reminded)? It doesn't stop from you not using Freenet, and it doesn't stop from everyone not using Freenet (for anything). If you believe that it's only good for child porn, it's your opinion; others might think differently.
For some reason, people find a simple idea that you need to tolerate people you don't approve of because other people also tolerate you hard to get. Freenet is basically a technical implementation of Voltaire's quote — and any real censorship-resistant network will be same.
Of course you are, you're outright denying people's reported experiences - "to see something outrageous one had to actively look for something outrageous."
As for the rest, I'm not making any particular claims here, just pointing out that yours seem to be driven by agenda more than reality.
The original claims that freenet is mostly used for CSAM might not be supportable either (in fact they may never be supportable, given the nature of freenet and how it works), but you go too far the other way.
All of these make me uneasy
Other things that have changed my opinions about the nature of speech on the internet are what's happening with american politics, anti-vaccination conspiracies and a bunch of other instances in which our wonderful tools of mass communication cause negative outcomes, either through directed propaganda or through simply connecting hoards of morons together.
Tech utopianism seems to be waning.
But how can a censorship-resistant network make certain content disappear? Isn't that impossible by design on Freenet, except by the slow, unreliable process of all nodes purging the data?
And it’s optimized so you have much less work for that than on the clearnet. On Freenet Spam- and Disruption-prevention actually scales better than spamming.
Can you also filter out certain content (by means of hashes I suppose) that you don't want to personally host (not even as partial chunks) but allow everything else?
To the second no: In Freenet 0.5 there was a plugin for that, but for 0.7 this has not been written yet.
You can write that, but you cannot check what exactly it would block. Whom do you trust to censor you? The devs cannot make that judgement. And who will control the censors? You would need a list of all chunks to block (by their routing key).
I would blindguess that this was caused by Travis CI shutting down its free service for open source, the website was deployed using Travis IIRC.
If you want to file a pull request, that would be very welcome!
The new chat is https://web.libera.chat/?nick=FollowTheRabbit|?#freenet
However, it seems when we actually accomplish those goals and create systems that are truly anonymous, private and/or encrypted they basically say it's only for criminals and child abuse.
That's where the paradox has to be coming from. When they say "end censorship" they mean "prevent filtering that we don't want to happen" (like whistleblowing). But at the same time they absolutely totally want NOT to prevent filtering they want to happen (like drugs, child porn, terrorism, etc). It's only censorship if they don't want it, if they want it that's not censorship that's a different word.
It's like saying it's a candy if it's intended to be eaten, but a toy if it's intended to be had, and then expecting to eat the candy and have the toy.
I'm sure there's a lot of this about, but the situation with freenet is more complex than that. When you run a freenet node, you are storing data on behalf of others, and you don't have access to that data so you don't know what it is.
It's one thing believing that speech should be free, but that's a different thing to believing that individuals should be forced into storing and sharing speech they disagree with.
It's that extra level of potential complicity in speech you find objectionable that makes freenet more problematic, and that makes accusations of hypocrisy a little unfair.
In the past decade that has been shifting more and more towards “the cops can break open every device you have just in case you may someday do something illegal”.
But if they can install physical surveillance, all security is already moot. That is the balance that works.
But that is no longer enough. They want to have cheaper surveillance of everyone instead. Surveillance that is cheap enough to be used on everyone.
And they promise they will totally not abuse that. Or send your address to violent extremist groups that are pissed at you because you exposed their activities. As happened to more than one journalist in Germany who investigated Nazis.
Everybody? Not really, some people are really vocal about how "data wants to be free".
It's a good thing that the legacy tech scene that the loud, high-karma moral busybodies on this site represent is becoming hated, bypassed, and ultimately irrelevant.
Where do you draw the line when freenet evolves to be more than just free speech and starts seeing morally reprehensible services pop up..
Still, no one has made anything more advanced and educational. Which is quite sad, as these are still the ideas on anonymous communication from the '90s and early 2000s. A whole generation has probably gone down the drain, and did not do any work.
I really don't like this wording. How are you so sure that they NEED real anonymous systems? I understand the value of privacy, but I don't think I get to dictate what other people NEED.
So I'm all for dictating that everyone need everything.
I then went to the IRC, reddit and wiki and ether got nothing back or nothing useful. Eventually gave up.
Vs something like IPFS where you just run the software and localhost becomes your portal to the network and you can even access files as a basic file path via the FUSE mount.
Edit: Clarifying that I was using an unofficial build for freenet which may have made it harder.
Sorry but that must have been a bug or misconfiguration on your machine:
It should connect to the network by default without any tinkering.
Perhaps you didn't pay close attention to the first-time wizard and told it to only connect to manually chosen peers instead of connecting to random strangers? If you then don't add peers manually you won't have any connections.
> The GUI didn't make much sense, I couldn't work out where I was meant to go to browse content.
The default feature is browsing HTML content just like on the regular web.
By default it ships some bookmarks to "index" sites, i.e. sites which list links to plenty of other sites.
Those bookmarks should be right at the main page of the UI at http://127.0.0.1:8888
It's been too long for me to remember the exact details but if I couldn't work out how to make it run as a long time linux and p2p user, I can't see how the average user could.
Perhaps you can update your topmost post to mention that?
The official installers are here: https://freenetproject.org/pages/download.html
Thanks for clarifying though!
This type of uncaring about the user experience nonsense is exactly the type of issue that the person you’re replying to is sharing about their experience.
Though distro-packaging in Guix is still far superior to a flatpak, because it gives the freedom of flatpaks but integrates much better.
I have been contributing for ~ 12 years and now have acquired long-term funding (independent of Freenet's own funding!) to continue my contributions in a more intense fashion.
The core network which serves static HTML sites + audio/video is stable and usable. It has a bunch of reliable long-term contributors working on it.
Hence development on my personal side is focused on polishing existing dynamic applications which are built on top of Freenet, and implementing some new ones.
Basic implementations of notably forums, social networking, blogging and mail exist already, the goal is to make them easy to use (integrate them into the main UI instead of being standalone), add much more features, improve performance and security.
Here's a list of these and dozens of other apps built on Freenet: https://github.com/freenet/wiki/wiki/Projects
Developing dynamic stuff is taking so long because it is a complex endeavor:
On the regular Internet, censorship happens by "look up who owns the IP, go to their address, remove the computer."
Since this is not possible on Freenet as everyone is anonymous, censorship will happen by denial of service: For example forum systems would be spammed to death to get rid of unwanted content.
Thus the architecture of censorship-resistant systems has to be reinvented from scratch, you can't just take a regular forum system and stick Freenet on top of it.
It has to be decentralized to be resistant against DoS - there must not be Tor-alike central servers ("hidden sites" / .onion sites). Instead messages are stored across the whole network and replicated automatically if they are downloaded more often and thus need more bandwidth (the added redundance also makes them more censorship-resistant).
And spam filtering need to be a first-class application, I have worked for years only on that.
First it's "we'll develop a regular app, we can bolt Tor onto it later", then they realize that the threat-model is so different that this is just not possible and the projects never become anonymous/censorship-resistant.
So privacy needs to be built in from the start.
Luckily, Freenet did that right (even though it was the first anti-censorship + privacy network!), and I don't mind that it's taking decades to develop because of the extended threat model:
That's still better than being one of wheel-reinventing post-Freenet projects which then abandon the privacy idea in the end anyway, or postpone it forever.
This isn't even close to true.
There are many networks that predate you, provide real anonymity, and still remove the child pornography that would otherwise taint them and their maintainers.
You just play games with the definition of censorship.
When people tell you "you shouldn't be the vendor of the sexual abuse of children," you try to turn it into a censorship issue. Like people somehow have the right to publish this.
Except they don't, and you've become so addicted to a decade of hiding behind that shield that you don't realize what a villain it has actually turned you into.
The reason the other networks exist is that people actually to want privacy, but they won't shame themselves by swimming in your child pornography filled pool.
Stop telling us the way to fix your network is to participate, and water the numbers down.
Fix your miserable problem.
Tor won over most of the anti-censorship users of Freenet by adding hidden services. The model of servers and clients seemed to be easier to model around than a shared data store, for reason that might have to do with how websites on internet has moved on from the 90's and early 2000s.
I am unsure if the concept of a anonymized and censorship resistant shared data store has a place in the future. If copyright enforcement actually become effective in stopping torrenting, then maybe Freenet will see a renewal (possible as a patch to the torrent protocol). Hopefully without java.
The goal is growth and consolidation. They want every major industry to be completely dominated by a small handful of big players. This makes it much easier to regulate and implement policy.
It would be impossible for them to have nearly the same amount of control over a economy if the economy was dominated by hundreds or thousands of small and medium players. By having 3 or 4 major public corporations they are much more easier to manipulate and keep tabs on. They can 'invite them to the table' to advise and help draft policy and regulations that are mutually beneficial. Also it makes it much easier to convince the public that such regulation is done for the public's benefit.
This model of American State Corporatism was developed in the late 19th, early 20th century and has since been exported across the world.
It is a pattern that is repeated over and over again. Whether it's automobile manufacturing, steel manufacturing, railway transportation, television broadcasting, ISPs, or Social Media.. once the government set it's sites on regulating it you will see markets devolve into 3-5 major corporate players that pretty much control everybody else. All of this heavily encouraged through regulation of capital markets and central banking systems.
The classic pre-internet example is the development of AT&T monopoly. FCC used it's ability to regulate peering agreements to heavily favor the markets towards re-establishing the AT&T monopoly. A monopoly that they essentially lost when the early Bell patents ran out.
They were then able to use that monopoly, through regulatory forces, to gain control over the communication infrastructure during the cold war, which was a national security priority. That is how we ended up with things like Room 641A. (which was in 2003-later era, but is something they did through out the entire cold war)
History repeated itself with the Prism revelations.
And confidential Friend-to-Friend Chat over Freenet as Android App.
Last year saw Freenet ported to Android.
There are a lot of changes still in the pipeline to be released this year.
With the existence of crypto that requires large disk spaces to mine coins, could you abuse freenet for this goal?
If nobody is interested to download your files, which they wouldn't be because they are undecryptable blobs, then very soon you will be the only one storing those files, and you have gained nothing from making them available on freenet, but you have wasted your own bandwidth by uploading them.
Also it would be horribly slow as far as storage goes compared to a hard drive.
This isn’t to say privacy and escaping the bottleneck of traditional internet isn’t compelling. But I’ve yet to see a use case for Freenet.
Although I think I'm following what you meant now, it's very easy to read
> But I’ve yet to see a use case for Freenet.
exactly like that; I didn't realize that you were asking for documented real world instances.
Or is it just used for criminality, in practice?
(Which, of course, is often a temporary state of affairs - the means of censorship are the same regardless of their target, so the more pervasive they are, the more chances that they'll be used against people who did not anticipate themselves being targets.)
But even if you go by this arbitrarily restricted definition, there's still one item on my list that is not legal in most countries.
The harmless substances? You can't ingest those via ethernet, so I skipped that one on purpose.
Some time ago, certain people used Freenet to transfer enormous amounts of data (for such a small network) in the open, and most users did not notice, and it rarely got mentioned (if at all). So when people state they have estimates of network usage, I get really skeptical.
And people often make wrong assumptions.
That does not really do much to convince me running it is a good thing, you know?
But it doesn't need to be so dramatic. Like most of the people on this site, you probably use more or less cheap broadband or mobile internet at home. The reason it's much cheaper than a dedicated line to your location is because a lot of people in your area want an internet connection, too (and they don't use it fully, or all at the same time, etc.), so there's a great deal of ISP infrastructure sharing. So you help your neighbor in having a cheap internet access, and your neighbor helps you.
What if one of your neighbors is a maniac who streams killing people, or a botnet owner, or a military drone operator working from home, or just a domestic abuser? Have you asked your provider to only join the “decent people” network? If not, you are actively helping bad people right now.
But they weren't asking about whether the network had some users doing "super-illegal" things. They asked if it was roughly all the users. So that analogy isn't even close to fitting.
One of the central ideas of Freenet (and some other projects) is that you don't know what exactly you transfer. Moreover, if you could discern “good content” from “bad content” in some general or specific fashion, you would instantly be forced to do so according to numerous laws.
If we followed that path, all bittorrent clients would get outlawed long ago (we all know certain businesses have always wanted that).
Participating in society inevitably helps some cold-blooded killers.
But I wouldn't deliberately help out a group made of cold-blooded killers.
So I think that moral makes sense. Which part would you disagree with?
> If we followed that path, all bittorrent clients would get outlawed long ago (we all know certain businesses have always wanted that).
Well, if I was strongly anti-piracy I sure wouldn't run a bittorrent client that helps relay anonymous chunks between other users. I don't think we need to involve legality in this discussion, that just complicates things.
Maybe you just want to say that all Freenet users are pedophiles. Maybe you want to think that all Freenet users are pedophiles to not think about other things. Maybe you want to state that “normal person” has no reason to use (and won't ever have to consider using) anything like it. It's your choice, thank you very much.
I just think it sometimes matters what the percent is. And I'm curious what the percent is.
I even ran a pretty stable freenet node at one point, thank you very much.
And you didn't really explain where your moral reasoning differs from mine. I'm not discussing what should be legal...
We can make that calculating approach universal. What percent of your neighbors is not good enough in general? What percent of all people on Earth? If we start close inspections, we will find that not a lot of people pass the test… and the rest can inevitably be discarded and excluded. Let's not forget about yourself, what's your percentage? Are you good enough to join other Freenet users? That's the opposite side of original question.
Moral choice can not be calculated, it turns into something else when one does it.
And I think "there's some kind of fuzzy threshold where you should stop assisting someone" is a much better plan than "never assist anyone" or "always assist anyone, even hitler".
(If you think that's a strawman, you need to explain how the way you do things doesn't fit any of those three options.)
(And I'm not talking about hurting someone, or depriving them of basic human rights. Just not going out of my way to help them do what they want.)
OK, so then you're saying that unless you can prove for sure that NO criminal -- "really bad", actually morally repugnant "criminal" -- activity benefits from Freenet, one shouldn't run it. Great, thanks for the clarification.
What lawyers don't do is assist their clients in ongoing breaking of the law.
But big groups of people are much easier to judge when you only care about things like the average, and my own choices don't have to be sure beyond reasonable doubt.
You wrote the original message that it's easy to know if nodes' users are decent people. I'm saying it's not easy, with an example.
The whole point of projects like freenet is to let people communicate data between each other without censorship and without being identified, no matter what that data is. If you disagree with that principle then I believe that freenet is probably not for you.
> That does not really do much to convince me running it is a good thing, you know?
Make sure to block TLS connections on every network that you manage. You don't know what naughty things your users might be doing after all. You would not want to help a criminal, would you?
Way not to get the point.
Are you saying the overwhelming majority of users on some network GP manages are using it to do "naughty things"? Yes, then of course GP should shut it down. That's why the question in this sub-thread is "Is this used for other stuff too, or in practice almost exclusively for morally repugnant stuff that I don't want to support?".
If the question can't be answered, that's one thing; then people will have to base their moral judgment of whether to participate or not upon their own more or less educated guess. But most of the proponents here seem not to (want to) even understand the question, and in reply gibber about anything and everything except what was asked. Which makes not only themselves but the very thing they seem to think they're defending come off in a real shitty light.
Way to score an own goal.
"Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize. Assume good faith."
> Yes, then of course GP should shut it down
I would say that this is debatable.
I did not say that. I am sure that CRConrad is acting in good faith.
> but you are fine with
Yes, I explained why I said it in the post that you are replying to. My biggest mistake was using sarcasm to convey the message I guess.
Anyway, it would be nice if you focused on the essence of my post instead of the weak presentation of my last point.
> I did not say that. I am sure that CRConrad is acting in good faith.
Oh yeah? Quoting the admonition to "Assume good faith" at me in https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=28591865 certainly at least strongly implies the opposite.
Yeah, well, sorry, but I really couldn't see much of a stronger interpretation.
I mean, hey, was my take all that much more of "a weaker one that's easier to criticize" than:
>>> Make sure to block TLS connections on every network that you manage. You don't know what naughty things your users might be doing after all. You would not want to help a criminal, would you?
? I'd say no.
Freenet actually warns you about that during installation.
In any case, using Freenet is safer than using a platform that is actively monitored by the government and linked to the user's identity.
It is likely that using Freenet in opennet-mode can get you on a watchlist — but you’re already on that if you wrote here.
There have not been report of actual tracking of Freenet in pure friend-to-friend mode, but there are too few people using it exclusively in that mode to be sure.
For me that’s a compelling use-case.
(... for some definition of "many".)