It's nasty stuff, too. This is not "merely offensive." Kids are abducted and murdered to make this stuff. In some cases, the act of making it causes bodily harm. (Think of the mechanics of an adult having sex with a six year old.) In parts of the world children are more or less raised for the purpose. It's horrific. Picture someone getting off on photos of war atrocities. This is up there with that, but worse... imagine that the war was held expressly for the purpose of producing the images.
Edit: there is also, of course, rape porn depicting adults being abused horrifically. That isn't any better, and freenets are full of that sort of stuff too.
I'm not saying the technology is bad. I'm saying that it says something very depressing about the users of said technology. It also makes me dubious about running nodes on such networks, since I know that a lot of the material I'll be storing and forwarding is abuse-porn.
Giordano Bruno was imprisoned and executed for disagreeing with the church, so had much reason to hide his activities, even though they are what we could definitely consider "legitimate".
Child pornography producers and consumers are similarly persecuted, though clearly with much more sound reasons.
At least in western countries, there aren't a lot of instances of repressed communication that need to be conducted across a channel like this -- especially few legitimate ones. This is not to say that such a system isn't useful; just that I believe the fact they're so full of child pornography and the like is actually, in a roundabout way, an indicator of a healthy society.
We know that lots of child porn exists. If you create additional scarcity by preventing the exchange of old/existing child porn (probably mostly 20 year old pictures, etc.) then you increase the chances of new children being exploited.
The legal adult industry has seen most of the profit evaporate b/c of the large amount of free content. The only people making money are those selling ads on top of existing content, which is often not even owned by the companies hosting it. The original owners lack the resources to enforce copyright law b/c they have no income stream to use to do so.
So rather than relying upon the idealistic notion that all exploitation and exploitative pornography can actually be successfully eliminated, it might make more sense to take a more pragmatic view about the forces of supply and demand involved, with the goal of reducing additional harm.
I can see no harm in anonymous data exchange (except copyright infringement) on an open society. But if you can order whatever you want online anonymously -- that could result in some deplorable stuff.
(That's why I think bitcoins will get shut down entirely by goverments at some point)
I do agree that the US Government will shut down bitcoin fairly soon, for the same reasons it doesn't allow people to create any other kind of currency.
I consider governments to essentially be criminal gangs that have achieved enough power to be able to buy legitimacy. Money laundering allows 3rd party gangs to start to claim legitimacy too, so it must be stopped. This is not to discount the good things governments (and gangs) accomplish, just to call attention to the good and bad done by both. Governments generally have elaborate propaganda and disinformation arms as well, and use money laundering laws to attack the funding channels used by competitors (described derogatorily as gangs).
How about an assassination market? Especially as far as present governments are concerned, this would be an enormous downside to the existence of an anonymous payment system.
Disclaimer: I am not declaring that assassination markets would necessarily be bad for humanity (I haven't thought about it enough), but on the surface it's definitely something that most people would consider to be a potential "bad" outcome of any anonymous payment system.
That Freenet is currently filled with it is a good thing -- it indicates how much pressure society puts on the people who are into this stuff and that no other group, such as the KKK, gun rights activists, astronomers, has that much reason to fear going public with what they right.
And any such group will quickly fill freenet up with other content, as it will be much bigger than the child abuse rings.
And while 16 year old sexting would be considered cp I highly doubt they would be uploading it to any such networ, if only because they don't want others to see them.
Is that true? How would you know? Is there statistical information out there about what fraction of the population is aroused by child pornography? Given your statement about naked 16-year-olds sexting falling into that category, it seems implausible.
We can predict how a tool might be used by various users. We can also look at how similar tools have been used historically.
If, empirically, certain tools tend to be mis-used in familiar ways, it's just ignorant to say "don't blame the tool". It's a straw-man. When people "blame the tool", it's typically short-hand for arguing that the creators and distributors of the tool share some of the blame for its misuse, along with the abusers.
I.e. there's a long history of tool creators playing dumb / innocent about the predictable and likely abuses of the tools they create. There's an equally long history of these abuses, so any such arguments are to maintain cognitive dissonance, or made out of pure ignorance.
Someone on here recommended an inspiring TED talk by the head? of Darpa. Rather than finding it inspiring, I found her naiveté or willful ignorance chilling. Somewhat off-topic.
The darknet problem as defined by most techies is solved, yet almost nobody uses these systems. Why?
BUT don't most people here also wish that nuclear weapons could be un-invented? Isn't that the general feeling among those that participated in the development of that technology, that they wish they never did it?
What about the responsible disclosure of zero-days? Don't we agree that those are things we don't want floating around so that anybody can potentially use them before it can be patched?
Or what about an intentional backdoor into an encryption system? Is it only bad if people use it? Or is it bad in of itself?
It is obviously more complicated than "never blame the tool". Some knives are designed for cooking, some knives are designed to inflict maximum damage and pain to human flesh.
What makes you think that?
If I had to guess, I'd say ~30-40% of people on HN support the US concept of "gun rights". "Gun rights" support probably around 50% in support in the US, but 80-90% against outside the US. Given the large international audience HN has I think that would move the average significantly.
(I agree with the rest of your comment, though)
 http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2012/07/23/gun-control-po... says in the US 44% support the status quo and 11% support less strict laws.
A solid majority don't know what the laws are so "support the status quo" is interesting.
They tend to believe that the laws are less restrictive than they actually are. When you quiz them about specific "proposals", which happen to be current law, you find that those proposals are significantly less popular than the status quo.
Two examples of this are wrt concealed carry and automatic weapons. On the former, very few people think that police should have complete and arbitrary discretion wrt CCW, yet they do in the jurisdictions with the majority of the population.
They're not a very acccurate reflection. For one, their demographics are very different.
> then that would reduce support on HN even further than I estimate above.
Reduce support for what? My claim suggests that the more folks know about US gun laws, the less they support current law and the more they support less strict laws, and I didn't even address the folks who want more strict gun laws. (When you ask them the same questions, many of them have the same reaction as "status quo" folk. They want "more", but they don't want things as strict as they already are.)
BTW - That's why the whole "assault weapon" campaign is political genius. The guns in question are "military" in the same sense that the cars that you can get at a Chevy dealer are race cars (that is, not at all). It plays on ignorance.
Then again, a large number of folks think that "tactical vest" means "bullet proof". (It means "lots of pockets"; think fishing vest, only black or camo fabric.)
BUT - I think that technology is an amplifier - it makes things easier, quicker and more powerful than before.
Sometimes, building tools that amplify certain behaviours isn't neutral.
At least at the time of writing this, his comment is the only top-level comment. So it's not so much that it's the top-rated comment, but rather it's the only one that can be displayed in that position.
EDIT: Nevermind. I didn't notice that there are multiple pages of comments. Disregard.
The biggest problem with this mindset is proportionality at the moment - bank safe deposit boxes have much more public awareness than these services, and have thus gained wider use (and acceptance).
Here's a thought...
Put on your foil hat for a second. Let's say you were a government and you wanted your citizens not to use systems like Tor and FreeNet. Wouldn't flooding them with extremely disturbing porn be a great way to make sure these systems weren't used by anyone except CP wankers? Wouldn't it be a great way to get people to go along with outlawing them?
This is a technical problem. When you think about it like that, it becomes obvious that this is a vulnerability in the security/crypto sense. I'd state the problem this way: these networks are trivially vulnerable to a particularly devastating social engineering spam attack that renders the network virtually unusable by most people. Call it a social DOS attack.
Edit: I believe I can state the problem succinctly:
Design a darknet/freenet network that is anonymous, uncensorable, and yet is not trivially vulnerable to social engineering DOS attack.
Hard problem. Hard equals interesting.
Personally, I've spent quiet some time on the .onion network and never been ambushed by child porn. Don't you think your problem is solved on the .onion network the same way it is on the clearnet: with moderation on a website-by-website basis?
What I'm saying here is that there's an interesting unsolved problem and that this problem might be the thing that's blocking the adoption of these technologies.
It's also a critical mass problem. I don't think you could run that sort of attack against the Internet because it has over a billion users. Once the network reaches a certain mass, it becomes far less of a problem. The problem is that CP-wankers (and possibly attackers) instantly colonize darknets, rendering them quickly polluted before they have a chance to escape their nascent phase. Like I said in another post: you could apply game theory here.
The specific issue with these networks is proportion of use: they get co-opted so early by bad uses that they never get a chance to show their legitimate side.
I'm not going to make a blanket statement that this is a good or a bad thing, since it largely depends on what's in there (the technology itself is neutral); and some jurisdictions might define as depraved indifference (minimally) or facilitation (maximally) should the contents be illegal.
Also I can easily foresee that being unable to trace the provenence of data stored on one's node could put one in a difficult position to assert it isn't one's own, when possession is usually all that is needed for criminal liability.
The banker can cover the ownership case, and hence his backside.
As far as public/private goes, it seems this network from what I read, maintains an opacity shield with regards to contents, but is peer-to-peer storage. So in that regard, neither the safe deposit box nor the storage network are "publicizing" anything, per say.
But in this case we know they are swapping pictures of child abuse, we just don't know who they are. The problem is the inverse.
But more-over, even if you investigated Tor exit-node traffic you can't know if any porn you might see was actually being traded or merely continually transferred by repressive regimes to have an excuse to ban anonymity providing services.
You suspect a lot, and have reached some conclusions, but you don't know what it is, let alone who if anyone is doing it.
How do we design a system that is anonymous and un-censorable where users can opt out of being relays for certain types of data?
Hard problem. Trying to solve it would be interesting. Not trying to solve it would make you identical to FreeNet and Tor and all the other efforts in this area, and thus less interesting.
I agree that there is no 100% solution to this problem, since all data can be converted to any format. There is also no 100% solution to pollution in a city, for example, or public health, or usability of a GUI. But there are 90% solutions that could make the problem marginal rather than severe.
BTW, on my "emotional vomit:"
Tell me. If these networks are for real human beings to engage in open communication, what happens when one of these real human beings comes across... say... a picture of a little girl being cooked over an open fire like a pig. (I didn't see this, but I was discussing the Tor .onion network on Reddit and someone claimed they came across this. I believe them.) Do you really think that person is going to return to this network to discuss... say... politics or economics or their local election?
It is a problem. To strip away the "emotional vomit," let's call it a usability problem. How do we make a freenet that is usable for non-psychopaths?
Edit: what I'm really saying is this:
Freenets have been done. It's a solved problem. Add some PK crypto and some hashing and some onion routing and shake.
What isn't a solved problem is: make a darknet/freenet that your mom would feel comfortable using. Make one that your average person -- maybe one with kids and thus really turned off by CP -- would want to one-click install from the Mac app store and browse.
THAT would make a serious political impact. Now you'd have hordes of average people using an utterly uncensorable chat system that was also hard to data-mine and tie to identity.
Right now, most people are going to start browsing the offerings that already exist (Tor is pretty easy to set up) and see stuff like "world's largest archive of hard-core lolita!", close the app, delete it, and never return. That's why these networks are not very popular, and it severely limits their political impact.
Personally, I think this is enough to stop the spread (if not the storage) of horror. In other words, someone might safely store their cache on my computer without my knowledge (heaven help me) but I refuse to store anything that is searchable as a horror.
If you're fine with that, that's good enough; you can run this system, and political activists and perverts alike will be able to stick their blocks there, accessible to anyone to whom they can pass the relevant short keys. But many people will be uncomfortable with even this much.
> How do we design a system that is anonymous and un-censorable where users can opt out of being relays for certain types of data?
As long as we are reasonable by taking "un-censorable" to mean very difficult to censor and "users can opt out of certain types of data" to mean highly limit traffic of data type <x>, it seems like a hard problem until proven impossible.
How then can it be used to share anything? I can see how it could be used as a secure, distributed backup (which itself is rather handy) but I'm not sure how it can be used to distribute data.
In the OMG, think of the children case: A number of cases that went public (some even linked here) agreed that legally, child porn is 'i recognize it when I see it' kind of subjective. I'm obviously talking about teenagers here and different moralities or a missing context (such as those 'taken for fun' or 'sent to a friend, privately and deliberately' cases).
Api might, from his subjective view, decide that this as-yet-never-encountered image is bad/evil/perverse. How would you ever create an algorithm for that, other than 'api, please press a button that says "fine by me" or "no way hell", right next to the image in question'?
Consider the problem of one time pads. If I have two messages the same length, one made of 'good data' and the other consisting of 'bad data' and I encode them both with different one time pads, then it is possible for the resulting ciphertext version of each message to be identical. Another way of putting this is that for any given ciphertext that has been properly encoded with a one time pad, the only information available about the plaintext is the length of the message (assuming you know already that a one time pad was used) and nothing else.
So not necessarily following any of the specifications of the system in the article.
I read his specification to mean that users are anonymous, they can post data and it can not be tracked to them. I do not see this necessarily requiring the data be filtered in a encrypted state only that it can not be tracked back to a submitter who took reasonable precautions.
That it is paradoxical does not necessarily make it impossible, though. The goals are certainly contrary but I am not certain that they are contradictory.
If you think about community-based censorship, this could probably be arranged even in an anonymity community, as long as it had active-enough participation. A popular search engine like Google can have tremendous ability to censor others even on a network like Tor where people cannot easily be censored.
The chief problem is that «api» faces is that his/her aspirations are too individualistic and unimaginative. You could always put the to-be-censored material in an encrypted archive and distribute the link to the material with the password to it -- this sometimes happens with BitTorrent (and then you'd have to click on ads to get the password and it becomes a nightmare). Then nodes cannot inspect the content. So what are you going to do, limit content-types? This was done by Napster, where only MP3s would be shared -- but a piece of software quickly came out called Wrapster which "wrapped" other files in MP3s. There exist JPEG steganography tools as well, both hiding files within the least-significant bits of the image data as well as in parts of the JPEG which do not get interpreted by a normal JPEG reader (e.g. appending a RAR archive to the end of the JPEG image).
I say "too individualistic" as well because any sort of relay net where the nodes themselves inspect the content that they trade is going to expose itself to a possibility of systematic censorship. "I know that you know what you were sending me" is a horrible way to start your cryptosystem.
Nonetheless, there might be hope for a sort of global data-store which the nodes collectively take responsibility for, which nodes collectively trade and where nodes can vote to "veto" certain indexed files. The idea would be that you can't take down the data store by taking down individual nodes, you can't prove which node "uploaded" a file, and you can't necessarily fault the nodes for failing to down-vote a file tracked by the community since hosting the file is a collective decision, not an individual one. It would have to use central aspects of the design of BitCoin alongside central aspects of anonymity networks, but I don't see why it would be impossible.
Though I do not study cryptograph professionally that would be my current guess.
Maybe you could establish a blacklist of CP sites, and that could be applied at the entry and exit nodes of the Tor network. This blacklist would have to be public and checked by many that it didn't contain non-CP sites, so in effect it would be a public directory of CP, which is problematic already.
Then, those that run entry and exit nodes could voluntarily apply the blacklist. In this way the Tor community could have its own values, while still being independent of any authority.
But this assumes that CP will remain restricted to certain domains in the .onion system, or the traditional DNS system. Which of course they won't. Maybe there will be one .onion domain per picture. Maybe there will be a Flickr of .onion where it's not so easy to figure out who's doing what. Then you'd have to lean on that service to police its own members' content.
I can imagine various messy and imperfect ways to limit the amount of CP in the world, or at least make it harder to find, but we just don't have good legal models for dealing with true freedom of speech. And our institutions today would rather persist in the fantasy that they can completely control speech, than accept that their role might just be to advise the citizens on how to police themselves.
If you do really want true anonymity and un-censorability as guarantees of the system design, then no, I don't think users can decide what they don't want to store or transmit. For, if they can, then their governments can coerce them into making the same "choice." Any preference that can be set by a user, can also be forced upon said user by a system administrator, operating system vendor, etc.
My real question is, do we need cryptography and anonymity built in at a protocol level to have something that's useful for political activism? It seems to me that there are only two real "innovations" these networks bring over, say, pushing encrypted blobs to people over SFTP drops (these, by coincidence, are both factors I've only really seen on Freenet):
1. That you have the ability to "push" content into the network, such that it will then replicate and spread through the network as it is accessed, without the possibility of an audit trail leading back to the source peer (even though the original source may know which client uploaded it, each peer only knows which other peer they got it from, so all you need to ensure anonymity is an internet cafe);
2. That content cannot be removed from the network easily--as there can always be dark peers who have copies of your data block, who will come online later and repopulate the network even if it has been seemingly purged of a block (by, say, all involved homes and data-centers being raided by the feds)--and that this happens pretty much transparently to the people involved, since people are always joining, leaving, and re-joining the mesh/swarm/whatever-it-is.
Encryption need only happen on a layer above this system, where and when it's desired. Anonymity need only happen at the end-points: the users can just access the system over Tor if they don't have the requisite internet cafe/seven proxies handy.
As long as you're just passing cat pictures around, why not just throw them onto a simple, infinitely-sized, everyone-can-create-files-but-nobody-can-delete-them DHT-based "disk"? And if you're passing political activism around, just encrypt and sign it like you were going to send it over email, then drop it in the mesh and email the URN instead. (This is presuming a stable PKI key-publishing/querying infrastructure as well, of course.)
And if you want to make it convenient for end-users, just make a browser extension that can load those URNs through the mesh as if they were regular HTTP URLs, and does the decryption and signature-validation automatically--and have the mesh software install that browser extension--and then you'll have something.
The latter is basically equivalent to this system, and so your system would have exactly the same problems: the only way you could avoid being a relay for child porn is to refuse to relay any encrypted content, at which point your node is not helping the political activism. Allowing unencrypted content also leaves you much more open to traffic analysis (if only a small fraction of data is encrypted, it's much easier to find the nodes that are inserting the political activism data).
We can probably convince your mother to download an app from the App Store that integrates just with the lower layer--hey, it's just like Dropbox, but bigger! [Well, as long as anyone and everyone can read random samples of your data if they like...]--because the upper layer, with the encryption and signing, will siphon off all the stigma of not-so-above-board usage of the protocol and attach it to itself. It's no different technically, but it is very different socially.
The advantage of having one reviled app on a larger infrastructure is that that reviled app gets to "hide" its blocks among all the above-board usage of the infrastructure. Like another poster in the thread said, if you go onto Freenet or the Tor Directory, the links to CP sites are plain and obvious, because it's a large part of what's going on there. But if you could look at your own disk usage as a node in this network, I imagine the number of encrypted blocks as compared to, say, plain-old MPEG frames of TV shows, would be vanishingly small. (And it's be relatively impossible to define which is which, either, since this infrastructure has no "index" or metadata; it merely is a big bucket of blocks named by their content hashes, of which most--not just the encrypted ones--are meaningless unless you have another block giving the order in which to string them together to make a file.)
† "Anonymous, Uncensorable, Ethical: pick two."--named after the CAP theorem of database design. Well, it would really be the AUE conjecture for now--but I'd love to see someone prove it either way; it seems like the sort of thing that is amenable to that.
If you can't tell whether a given block is encrypted data or just part of an mpeg, how can you choose to store only unencrypted data? I suppose you could make an argument for building this system on top of a nonencrypting distributed data store, like bittorrent, for the sake of looking like that nonencrypted protocol to anyone intercepting the traffic. But there would have to be some metadata that let the encrypting protocol know where to find its stuff, and if the user who's downloading it can tell, so can anyone intercepting the unencrypted stream. Wouldn't you just end up with a situation where the upper layer is to the lower layer as freenet is to the internet?
I didn't say you could :) The point of this alternative is that it separates the stigma 1%-99% toward the upper layer, but puts the implementation 95% into the lower layer--and therefore we get a stable, un-censorable distributed storage network on the lower layer with the "abuses" of the upper layer (CP and political activism both) being an unavoidable free rider, but not something "visible" (in the sense of seeing CP sites listed in your index directory) to people only using the lower layer.
This situation, of course, also describes the Internet as it is today: protocols like HTTP and SMTP are used by everyone, and also by some unethical people who send their stuff over those same protocols in encrypted containers using anonymizing proxies.
The difference here is that the two big hurdles--of identity-diffusion over time after initial data seeding, and of guaranteeing data persistence as long as there continue to be consumers of the data becoming persistent-caching peers--are taken care of by the lower layer, allowing the upper layer to just handle transparent encryption in whichever way it sees fit.
(And thus can we also replace the upper layer if we come up with a better way to anonymously and securely get the right metadata into the right hands, without having to throw out the network effect of all the extant peers. They simply start transmitting-and-caching blocks representing the new kind of metadata exchanges along-side the blocks representing the old kind.)
I think that groups like LulzSec provide a public service (see "Why the Joker and Not Batman is the Savior of [sic] Us All" http://thisorthat.com/blog/why-the-joker-and-not-batman-is-t... ) in that they show the importance and the need for everyone to be security conscious. I wish there were more groups like this out there raiding and dumping stuff periodically.
I wonder about whether it'd be political or legally feasible to have a law enforcement agency which just trolled around the internet and attempted to crack services that citizens depend upon.
The reason why this is relevant and important to dark nets, is that currently the only folks who use dark nets are folks who have something to hide. That might be folks who are illegitimately persecuted by governments, or folks who are legitimate criminals. These two groups are functionally indistinguishable, even if their intents and causes are different. They both have data they're trying to hide and communicate, without exposing themselves to authorities.
Basically, each person that didn't like the content would spend some CPU time to up the difficulty of transferring it. After awhile, it'd take someone who wanted the content so long that they would give up, in which case the content wouldn't be transferred any more.
If the reality is that my contribution of resources to a project mostly just benefits a bunch of child-porn creators doing horrible things to innocent human beings, then I have to admit that my romantic notion is naive and behave correspondingly.
Sometimes you just can't have nice things because the worst members of society will criminally abuse them.
Tor gives the impression of being a sea of kidporn with little islands of interesting stuff, especially when you factor in the cognitive fact that human beings give greater weight to negative stimuli.
The real problem here is child abuse, and people should focus on this. Sometimes I think that actually our society don't really care about the children: it's more like they just don't wanna know and that's why the common answer from the govt is "filter the Internet".
IMO the best we can do is think how we can find the child being molested on certain pic, not trying to figure out some magical way to stop distribution, because if we keep trying this we're just wasting the(ir) time...
Then, when the government wants to ban darknets, nobody objects because everyone knows darknets are only for pedophiles because what non-pedophile would want to be immersed in kidporn?
This severely limits adoption and thus political impact. Average people are just not going to use it. Niche things do not change the world. Want to be really subversive? Build a darknet your mom would want to use.
And it is your approach is naive. You ignore technology. You can not technically limit information propagation in any kind of network. It will find a way. But if people will think that the only reason to go to any time of crypted network - is to fetch CP - here we go - society prepared for laws preventing cryptography (you can be imprisoned in UK for not giving crypto keys for a several years!)
Again - we might want to work on technology recognizing nudity, or abuse or whatever and protect ourselves and our kids or our moms from this type of content, but this should be completely separated from technology used to share this data! Just like there are parts of big cities which are not safe for white/black/chinese/etc guys. It doesn't mean we have to put tall wall around this part of city. Instead whoever think it is not safe there - just do not go there.
Anyone could become a trusted agent by publicly verifying their identity. Basically you need to find at least one other person who's identify is public to "sponsor" your information.
If you are publishing information the Chinese government you find a U.S. sponsor and vice versa.
One idea I've had is a content-type-restricted network that permits only text. That would allow utterly un-censorable communications: chat, planning revolutions, whatever, but wouldn't be useful for CP. (Unless you like ASCII-art CP.)
It could support ANSI. That would be neato. It would feel like the old BBS world. Wonder if anyone would still care if a name like ViSiON-X were stolen for it. :)
* You can base64 encode any file, so it'll look like text. Limitations on message size might solve that.
* Sometimes, photos and videos are important. Think of the Abu Ghraib torture pictures, the Tianamen Square Tank Man. Sometimes photos & videos are censored and should be shared with the world.
Maybe binary content propagates differently. Text that meets certain criteria is replicated indiscriminately, but binary content is only replicated when a user votes on it.
Edit: you could apply game theory to this problem. Model the network as a graph and write an agent-based modeling rule set for... say... CP-propagators and non-CP-propagators. Run iterative simulations of different propagation rule sets and weightings/parameters. Now introduce bad actors in the form of, say, government agents trying to suppress political discourse. The difference is that average-joe will cooperate in pushing out CP but will "defect" in a game with the other kind of bad-actor. You're looking for rule-sets and parameters where the CP gets pushed to the margins of the network or excluded but where the other kind of bad-actor is also excluded.
Could Bayesian classification be implemented through a homomorphic cypher?
If the encoding schemes become so obscure as to not be recognizable, then the problem is still effectively solved.
Usenet shows this kind of thing in action. It's now used for the most part for illegal file trading.
It doesn't get rid of them, but that's something that we wouldn't really be able to do (they all existed prior to the internet), but it would make the darknet usable.
It would be possible to encrypt text in such a way that things could be said about its information density but not about its meaning, too, though that would permit steganography to be used. But it would raise the technical bar for using the system for this purpose so high that it would probably drive away all the chickenboners.
There's also a dumb way: length limits. That would force binary data to be divided up into a huge number of posts, making it an annoying medium for file trading. Plotting the Iranian revolution would not require >1mb posts to a forum.
One idea I had was for the system to be semi-anonymous. Publishers would form public groups and the publication of content comes from the group as a collective. The members of each group are known, but the specific originator of the content within the group is not. This is the spartacus model of anonymity :)
I want to stop people from doing horrific shit to other people in the first place. Unfortunately, I have no idea where to start...
The difference with this one is that you can conduct your 'business' entirely online, with almost complete anonymity. And what liberal solution is there that doesn't involve children or agitating the mob?
Technology is definitely the wrong thing to look at, I agree. I think, historically, it would be like blaming speakeasies for allowing people to drink illegal booze.
As I evaluate content on the network, I classify it and rate it. My identity associated with those things is established though (possibly) anonymous. Over time, islands of trusts within the web will form that can be used to help filter large amounts of content.
If I start a node, I can link to islands of trust to only allow verified content acceptable to my filters to pass through my resources.
It's not perfect. Some will attempt to game the system by building up trust and then attempting to sneak content through. Some will attempt to hide illicit content in innocuous content.
*Edit: If Google can use reputation to solve search, why can't reputation be used to solve this?
Something like an anonymous decentralized HN or reddit with mods that have the ability to ban posts, topics , & users. It wouldn't be as 'free' as tor or freenet, but with the right group of benevolent dictators it could be as free and useful for a certain niche topic like politics or news.
"The Art Of Memory" by Frances Yates outlines the pathway of mnemonic and knowledge systems from alchemy to the Rennaissance, and is a comprehensive introduction to the life and work of Giordano Bruno, Ramon Llull and many other ancestors of our various technologies of memory.
Easily filtered spam garbage.
Of course it would depend on the network not being taken over by a majority of childporn distributors and viewers, and the flagging system would need to be resistant to spoofing and manipulating.
Tribler is heading that way with anonymous metadata, iirc their roadmap.
The non-repudiable tracing of exchanges make it easy to trace consumers of a piece of data.
See their note:
In this regard the anonymity guarantees of the Cryptosphere are no different from a system like BitTorrent, aside from the plausible deniability defense that comes from the fact all content is encrpyted and peers automatically provide storage service to other peers.
What I have to ask is whether the people in these photos, even the very "soft-core" ones, know that their pictures are being shared over the Internet and used like this. Did they give consent, and did they understand the full implications of that consent? Did they get paid? Did they sign a contract?
I think I'm opposed to this kind of thing because I'm a libertarian. I see it as exploitation and deceit and privacy violations levied against people who are too young to understand or that cannot defend themselves.
I've debated people on this topic once before, and it seems to me that there are a lot of cyber-libertarians that will go straight to the mat to defend privacy rights except here. Why don't eight year olds have privacy rights? What if your doctor photographed you, told you it was for medical purposes, and then posted the pics to a gay porn site? What if a TSA screener posted millimeter wave video of you (essentially naked) to YouTube? Isn't this a lot more invasive than Facebook selling your friend graph to a marketing company? Yet most people would find that very invasive and deceptive -- a violation of their rights -- if they hadn't given consent.
And no, the dark stuff is not wild conjecture. I understand that the majority of pedophiles wouldn't be into it, but it certainly does exist. Over at Reddit /r/onions I read a while ago about a forum that exists on the Tor darknet called "Violent Desires." There were lots of "I cannot un-see" kinds of comments, and many warnings about "do not go there... you do not want to know." Child trafficking is quite real as well. The world is absolutely filled with unbelievably dark stuff (in other areas too) that normal people sometimes have a hard time believing: torture ("extraordinary rendition"), blatant fraud to the tune of billions of dollars, human trafficking, slavery, off-the-books unethical human experimentation, and so on... My experience in other areas of life suggests to me that the reality is probably worse than I care to imagine.
My instinct is that this is, objectively speaking, morally good, but would still be unacceptable to the population at large.
Adult pornography isn't bad unless there's a real rape. I don't see why this wouldn't apply to minors.
Is it bad to take a picture of your chidren in its bath? No.
(There's plenty of pictures of baby-me in the tub at my parent's house)
Is it bad to post it on the Internet? No.
Is it bad to wank to a picture of a child? No.
Is it bad to violate a child? Yes, as it his with adults.
In fact I think there's a giant stigma around paedophilia. Somehow, today it's okay to be gay (sexual deviation), but not okay to be a pedophile (another sexual deviation). Unless there's rape or abuse, these people should have the same respect as homosexuals.
"Did they give consent, and did they understand the full implications of that consent? Did they get paid? Did they sign a contract?"
Usually it is the responsability of the parents to support the child and take some decisions for him. They could loose this if they do something to endanger the child, but taking pictures of him without clothes does not constitue a danger in my book. In fact, it's pretty much as harmless as it can be.
"If god had wanted us to run around naked, we would have been born that way"
And to you, api, this is a very tactful response. I'd like to see more respectful posts like this between lovenothate and you, lmm, and some others in this thread. But it appears that's not welcome on HN?
None of the links I follow into the onion (coding mostly) have ever led to porn, let alone CP. Even if it's everywhere you look (and maybe you should consider why that is) it's nowhere I and most other people look.
Even if there were a non-insignificant amount of CP being distributed there are really just two options, 1) there's a super-secure, secret group of pedophiles who cooperate to abduct and molest children and they continue to get away with it, or 2) various law enforcement groups use the same few pictures over and over in stings and honeypots.
No, it's a nigh-unto made-up problem, and to the tiny degree it may exist at all, it's exactly the same on the Internet as a whole, on Dropbox, via shortened URLs in twitter, etc.
To combat the problem perception that Tor is for CP problem simply quit telling people about it constantly. And if you're told that's all Tor is, treat it exactly like you would someone who started at the sleaziest portal they could and complained the internet was full of porn.
As for you knowing what Freenet is full of, that's impossible unless you're claiming to have seeded it.
Instead, the Cryptosphere favors system robustness over guarantees on anonymity. Participants in the system maintain a history of their activities in the form of a long-chain certificate. You can think of this being somewhat like the BitCoin block chain, where the longest version always wins, and its integrity can be cryptographically verified. Every peer maintains its own long chain certificate of all its activities, including services requested and services completed.
Rather than verifying the integrity of a long chain based on hashes, the Cryptosphere uses public key cryptography. Peers requesting services sign off on both the request and delivery of a service (e.g. storing and serving a particular chunk of a file). While in isolation the data points contained within a particular long chain certificate are meaningless, peers can collect several of these certificates and build a database of other peers in the system, using tools like collaborative filtering to make intelligent decisions about which other peers are worth interacting with.
This is interesting. If i understand correctly, this means that given a transfer that you'd like to engage in, searching for a particular file you can trace back the provenance of that file through a network of peers who are making it available (if their transfer histories are accessible).
The peer "block chain" will only contain transfer metadata, not specifically which files are transfered. That information is only known by the peers involved in the exchange.
And that's where the anonymity of the system is definitely inferior to FreeNet: peers involved in any given exchange know exactly what was transferred and to what IP address.
I decided not to solve the anonymous transport problem because Tor, I2P etc are working quite diligently on that and it's a hard enough problem in and of itself. I think this has been a big stumbling block for FreeNet.
That doesn't sound very anonymous, does it?
You trace back the "provenance of that file" through crytographic signatures. You could make your own throwaway identity, use it to publish something, and through the continued propagation of that data through the network its publication would no longer require your activity.
It should be considered psuedoanonymous publishing.
If this is just a distributed block based storage without an index that folks can search, then it's more akin to a way for you to ask folks to hold on to encrypted data for you for a while (without them knowing what the encrypted data actually contains).
I think it's more of a matter of how secure the block chain is. Note this part of the opening blurb:
To ensure quality service and prevent abuse, the Cryptosphere uses an integrated cryptographically secure reputation system which provides a distributed web of trust.
Or can you build up enough "creds" to keep your data in the cloud for some time after your node disappears?
Bingo, from what I understand. More to the point, the data will persist as long as users continue to transfer it.
As a result, this network would be useless for CP-mongers, they'd get caught about as easily as using plain old FTP.
On the other hand, I do think the ability to pre-compute hashes is a flaw that massively reduces this network's usefulness to dissidents. It is quite effective as a "publish a manifesto network" with a secret writer and overt readers - the original write is of a never-before-seen file, there is no hash to monitor. It's unsafe as a "store my pirated stuff" network, writers of a well known file can be tracked. And it would take very little statistical monitoring to reveal the interests of a reader.
wouldn't the hash be different for every rar password used?
I guess the problem is once any copy infringing hash is found it is trivial to search the network and find everyone who has transferred it?
edit: although if the only writer is the uploader, would you be able to tell who read the copy infringing copy vs who just has it because their part of the network?
The addition of the long chain activity log may perhaps add some disincentive to upload CP in the first place but getting the economics of that (e.g. ease of getting upload privileges) right sounds like a difficult balance though.
The only complaint I ever received was from Sony after those "Geohot revenge hacks", in which they claimed that a hacked user database from one of their services was copyrighted by them, while at the same time they denied that it actually was the real user database.
We did some searches for the URL of the webinterface and discovered that it indeed was mostly used by "Anonymous" as a Pastebin alternative, at which point it was decided that we did not want to aid in the spread of personal information, which is why it was shut down.
So you are right, there is no public grid because of unwanted files, but not because of Child Porn, but because of some script kiddies.
Until that happens, you don't know, you don't need to know, and you can't know, that's the whole point.
They have won. The people is already under total control, nobody can take the power from the people ruling this world.
Buying a camera doesn't directly help the creation or distribution of info you consider to be immoral or unethical. Obviously you may want to use a camera maker or ISP that actively discourages such behaviour.
I'm sure you would feel extremely guilty if someone used storage facilities that you controlled to spread CP. On the other hand, I've never felt guilty about buying a camera as I've never let anyone use my camera for such purposes.
In the camera example, you have the option of not letting people use your camera your nefarious purposes, which isn't the case here. It's more akin to supporting the camera manufacturer, who, in turn, makes things that might be used by people for crime.
If I didn't know? Definitively not.
I think this was the point of the GP asking, "How do I not unwittingly get CP being stored on my device?".
And what about physical things? If you're working on a retail job, the customer buying piece of rope may be planning on using it for tying people up. The guy renting a car may be planning to use it on a hit.
Ultimately, it's not possible to keep track of everything people do with the services we offer.
Lots of people have no sense of guilt whatsoever. It's not a good thing, but with an enabling community saying "it's not your fault" it's awfully easy for people to pretend there was nothing they could do.
I see two problems with this:
1. So, if both hashes of a file of illegal content becomes publicly known, like say on a website, I don't see how you avoid liability having it on your machine. It seems you can only avoid legal liability if someone stores stuff on your machine that is never intended to become publicly available. In any other case, the system has created a cryptographically provable trail between the data and your storage, which can be used to prosecute you.
2. The FBI can generate a SHA256 hash of every computer file of child pornography it has ever collected, and immediately be able to identify every node that contains this data. Presumably this gives them enough legal authority to shut down your node, regardless if you have plausible deniability that you are aware of the contents.
The confirmation of file attack is actually the degenerate case of the "learn the remaining information attack", in which the majority of the plaintext is known except for some low-entropy portion.
You can imagine a standard form letter that contains your credit card number. An attacker can then generate all possible permutations of that low entropy data and find matches where those are stored.
For more information see: https://tahoe-lafs.org/hacktahoelafs/drew_perttula.html
But what does this limitation mean for the security of Cryptosphere for its defined use cases? from the article: "If you want to store banned books or political pamphlets without attracting the attention of an oppressive government, or store pirated copies of music or movies without attracting the attention of copyright holders, then the confirmation-of-a-file attack is potentially a critical problem."
Doesn't this mean this system is DOA for its intended purposes?
Cryptographically this feeds in as a salt/initialization vector to HKDF along with the entire plaintext. HKDF is then used to generate a key and iv for use with AES
If you could calculate (and store!) a trillion trillion (10^24) hashes per second, that would take about 15000 years. Needless to say, nobody has ever found a SHA256 collision.
Well, at least that's what CryptoCat author has got
I'm betting that Tony could get away with keeping things on the downlow and not getting harassed too badly. But this is an empirical question. We shall see.
So, you might as well give them a sensible reason to interrogate you :)
I wanted to post not the AMA, but this:
Cryptocat creator, Nadim Kobeissi, talks about his border interrogations -
> So, you might as well give them a sensible reason to interrogate you :)
They don't know who am I ;)