You might be able to overcome this by using a many-to-many authentication mechanism. But realistically, what could the government hope to accomplish by feeding you false information? (this is the only thing they are likely able to do). Consider:
There is no way to back track traffic and discover who sent the request.
Once you realize a source is feeding false information, you know to never trust that source again.
It is easy to imagine a decentralized rating system for the quality of information provided by various keys on the network. Keep in mind you can't really fake who you are. You are your public key, no one else can publish under your public key but you.
EDIT: I highly recommend reading the freent paper:
If you control a vast majority of the nodes, this is simply incorrect.
This is how freenet works. Of course, in freenet there is a time to live associated with each request so it will die eventually if, for example, the searched for item is not present on the network at that time. You could figure out that it's from a particular node by seeing what the time to live is from that node, but small amounts of random variance in time to live values can effectively ensure that both requests don't live forever and that it is suitably difficult to determine the origin of the requesting node.
Now, it is certainly possible with enough concerted effort to find out what a user is doing with some statistical probability that a user is looking at something, but you can rarely be absolutely sure.
And in other situations where people might want to use a darknet (e.g. a repressive regime) a few false positives aren't going to bother anyone concerned.
Unless you live in a predominantly authoritarian state (and I guess disagreement about this is what most of these discussions come down to, in the end), keeping government in check by empowering the people with insight and access to its processes is usually what enables a democracy.
Your point about darknet traffic being inherently more interesting is insightful, but I'm not sure where it gets us. The same can be said about TOR (and there have been attacks on this, too, as well as TOR posing the same issue of possibly being 'infected' by too many nodes of a single attacker) and I guess it' really just a technical challenge, in the end.
I would much prefer a network that piggybacks on the existing infrastructure and poses as innocuous traffic through stenography or encryption.
(my emphasis). Depressing!
Cell phones, wifi, etc. had mostly been cut off in Tehran, which is where there were some really horrible things happening that the rest of world needed to know about. In a situation like that, a mesh network full of wifi devices that could communicate with either HAM operators, or satellite internet operators would have been really helpful.
A lot of people were actually surprised that the CIA didn't have something like this sitting on the shelf ready to be distributed. (And this is where I start sounding like one of those people, but the CIA has been involved in revolutions in places like South America. A communications kit seems like something that they would employ.)
Across oceans? Never underestimate the speed of a ten foot container filled with 2 terabyte harddrive :)
No. Never underestimate the bandwidth of a truck filled with harddrives. Always underestimate the speed of said truck.
Networking is easy when latency doesn't matter. Unfortunately, it does.
Where is the Internet's 'off button'? Sure, there are exchanges and backbones that are more important than others (e.g. LINX in London), but it takes sustained and continuous efforts by a government to even come close to filtering/censoring the Internet effectively.
That is very different from saying that it can't be turned off, by a government with the power to legally compel infrastructure operators to do things.
I'd say that the US government, if it wanted to, could turn off the Internet, for most of its citizens, over the course of a few days.
What would stop this happening is the legal framework, and the business and societal infrastructure that depends on the Internet functioning; but not some technological property of the Internet.
The ability to knock domains out, at the DNS level, was demonstrated not too long ago - e.g. http://torrentfreak.com/feds-seize-pokerstars-full-tilt-poke...
Theres this meme out there that the Internet cant be turned off, because its designed in a 'decentralised' manner, and its just not true, in pragmatic terms.
Yes, and they (government) are the sort of people who sometimes want to censor speech & the internet. Some countries have filtered the internet before, this is not an abstract problem.
When somebody comes up with a £50 home wifi access point that has a range of a mile or more inside an urban environment, that is when we'll get a proper darknet.
There is not a good evolutionarily stable strategy that leads to 1-mile-range wifi becoming standard. At least not now and not any time soon.
The idea is that you have a pretty high density of users. 100 meters would be more than enough to cross any street and reach several buildings away in any direction. Even in an American suburb, it'd reach a few houses away. That's a realistic goal: 100 meters, not 1600.
If you expand the number of neighbours to all of those that are within a mile of me, you increase the likelyhood of finding somebody by a large amount. I would buy kit just because I'd be interested in finding these people.
Decentralized routing is a hard problem, but there has been a lot of research with pretty convincing results. I'm not sure if it scales to the size of the internet, though.
None of these find shortest paths; they aim to find paths that are within a constant factor of shortest.
it's hard to imagine that TDP will ever move beyond the conceptual stage. The group behind the effort is big on ideas but short on technical solutions for rolling out a practical implementation
I like the idea of using WiFi as hardware, since it's a technology that's almost everywhere now.
I'd also like to suggest that the network be powered purely by standard Internet client machines and off-the-shelf hardware. Custom software would be necessary, but it's better to rely on a random guy with a quick installer on a USB key than custom hardware mesh routers deployed by professional installers.
(Referenced HN thread that also happens to be on the front page: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3208563)