Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Anonymous, Decentralized and Uncensored File-Sharing Is Booming

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the can't-stop-the-signal dept.

Encryption 308

PatPending writes with this excerpt from TorrentFreak: "The RetroShare network allows people to create a private and encrypted file-sharing network. Users add friends by exchanging PGP certificates with people they trust. All the communication is encrypted using OpenSSL and files that are downloaded from strangers always go through a trusted friend. In other words, it's a true Darknet and virtually impossible to monitor by outsiders. RetroShare founder DrBob told us that while the software has been around since 2006, all of a sudden there's been a surge in downloads. 'The interest in RetroShare has massively shot up over the last two months,' he said."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Whackamole! (5, Funny)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237667)

Let the games...continue.

What a surprise (5, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237673)

Clamp down on torrents, clamp down on file sharing sites, what do you expect? People to meekly give up sharing files?

It only takes one person to write a darknet program like this and the game is back on.

It sounds a lot like a program I'd considered writing before and if done right it's basically impossible to shut down, or compromise effectively, without severely screwing up the internet. Which is probably the next step.

Re:What a surprise (1, Insightful)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237717)

And thing about private nets is that one cannot facebook them - convert them yet to another advertising media.

Darknet is the opposite of the main commercial function of Internet - advertisement. The main reason why we are getting so much freebies on any media nowadays, it's because the media is advertisement media.

Darknets is the end of internet. I am surprised ADB and NoScript survived for so long.

Re:What a surprise (4, Insightful)

biodata (1981610) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238059)

No this is backwards. The internet is a mechanism for exchanging data and messages between computers. It has been hijacked by advertising agencies for commercial purposes. Darknets will strip out the cancer.

Re:What a surprise (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39238177)

no it cannot.

if people found a meek way to circumvent monitoring, Govt. and peanut holders will find another way to montor and banish it.

it is a cat and mouse game where cat almost everytime wins as mouse is standing in an open place.

Re:What a surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39238301)

The only way the governments are going to monitor this is if they crack every possible key, and/or get that quantum computer thing going.

Re:What a surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39238695)

Quantum computers aren't magic. Even if they manage to break current encryption, stronger encryption will be made.

Re:What a surprise (5, Insightful)

thereitis (2355426) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238721)

The only way the governments are going to monitor this is if they crack every possible key, and/or get that quantum computer thing going.

The spammers will be all over this in due time: install a trojan onto people's computers that looks for darknets and start automatically sharing malware and/or adding the spammer's account to the list of trusted friends. If the spammers can do it, the government/big business can do it.

Re:What a surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39238539)

no it cannot.

if people found a meek way to circumvent monitoring, Govt. and peanut holders will find another way to montor and banish it.

it is a cat and mouse game where cat almost everytime wins as mouse is standing in an open place.

The mouse being the goverment, and the cat being the user ?

YEs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39238373)

It has been hijacked by advertising agencies for commercial purposes.

es, that's true. Then again back when the internet was just taking off, there was hardly anything worth while - even the porn sucked - I mean wasn't any good.

The commercial interests got big corps interested in laying more fiber, beefing up the trunks, and having better home connections. AND it created more competition.

Sure there's a shit load of advertising, but for the first time ever, consumers now have the upper hand over most industries: we can compare prices, products, and service. There's still more work to be done, like with Doctors AND especially lawyers. Speaking as an investor, I wish all of these investor tools, free tools, were available back in the '80s when I started. Back then something that would look quaint to Yahoo! Finance would cost you hundreds of dollars a month.

No thank you, I don't want to go back to the "good 'ole days" of the Internet.

Oh and as far as that content that "needs" to be shared? Pffft. Keep it. I have yet come across something where I just HAD to have it - legality of the acquisition be damned!

Re:What a surprise (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238245)

advertising is just the what makes re-publishing media on the internet again and again profitable. it doesn't need to be profitable for the INTERNET as a bit moving service to be profitable - very few isp's make shit any money from advertising - in fact they lose money for the extra data transferred as adverts over and over again for no reason other than to push up a metric that says the advertisement was viewed, the next time you're on some shitty site that has automatically starting videos on every fucking page so they can get views for those vids, it's leech data for what constitutes mainly as fraud committed against generic brand advertisers.

actually what anon darknet needs, what retroshare needs, is a facebook app for doing the pgp exchanges.

because that's whats always been bitchy about these networks, like waste, doing the keysharing. if it's easy to do through an already established messaging system it gets a lot easier and faster to spread.

however, some isp's who are just plain shit in the head are trying to move all internet consumer subscriptions into meteric variety, thus making p2p darknets less feasible(you wouldn't/couldn't be able to work as a hub for other people connecting to each other). they're doing this because they don't want to be an isp - they want to be cable tv station.

Re:What a surprise (4, Funny)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238393)

"in fact they lose money for the extra data transferred as adverts over and over again for no reason other than to push up a metric that says the advertisement was viewed,"

I should send a letter to my ISP, asking for a discount, since I don't see adverts. My router doesn't even pass requests to advertising sites. Multiply the savings by four computers, I'm saving them a LOT of money!

Re:What a surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39238273)

ADB and NoScript are used by very few people. I use them and always recommend them, but Joe Average will most likely not use it. And honestly, if your core business depends on me clicking on Ads *cough* Google *cough* that's your problem, not mine.

I couldn't care less if companies like Google disappeared tomorrow.

--
The Strong Jas!

Re:What a surprise (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238569)

You can embed advertising into any shared content, TV style.

Re:What a surprise (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238645)

Darknet is the opposite of the main commercial function of Internet - advertisement.

I will presume you don't mean that as a troll, and simply don't remember the internet back before "marketing" turned into a four-letter word.

The internet arose and thrived before the corporate world learned how to make money with it. Primarily universities, but also a steadily growing number of people who realized they couldn't live without it after graduation from uni, paid for a network connection so they could participate in this wonderful global sharing of ideas. And before that, people paid for access to very very crude (by comparison) dialup BBSs that gave them just the smallest taste of what an online global network had to offer.

The problem we have with the internet today, and I would say broadcast-vs-cable TV has the same problem - Companies simply got greedy. Once, they sold us cable as a great new way to get static-free TV with no ads. Now people pay over a hundred bucks a month for the same thing they used to get over the air (admittedly with more channels), and have to pay even more for premium channels that really don't have ads - Except, even those have started pushing the definition of "no ads". The internet did just fine back when it functioned as nothing but a pipe to your door, and everyone could attach whatever services to their end of the pipe they wanted.

Personally, I think the big shift really happened when ISPs started to ban "servers", basically reducing the network back to nothing more than one more way to reach consumers. As long as everyone and their brother could host whatever the hell they wanted, advertisers really had to bust their balls to reach more than a handful of people online; once people started accepting the internet as a set of places you go to get content, rather than a (albeit "Wild-West"-like) community in which you participate, the internet became nothing more than another 50k TV channels, complete with ads.

So I, for one, welcome the growth of darknets. It means We The People, rather than our corporate overlords, can once again decide what we allow on our network. If Hollywood and Madison Avenue, and even the government, doesn't like that - No problem, they can consider themselves not invited to my party.

Re:What a surprise (5, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237729)

One possible strength is also an obvious weakness: everything hinges on trusted friends - i.e. if you do not have any trusted friends that use this RetroShare then you can not join the network, unless you are willing to join through a non-trusted friend. A side effect is that the amount of content available on this network is highly limited.

This works until critical mass is reached, which very well may just have happened. Enough people in the network that most of the rest of the world has a friend that is connected already, and increased word-of-mouth advertising, and more content which in turn attracts more users. Closure of megaupload and some other legal wins against torrent sites will surely have helped them too. But without critical mass it's still not a viable option for many bittorrent/megaupload refugees.

Re:What a surprise (4, Interesting)

EdZ (755139) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237783)

It basically sounds like Perfect Dark [wikipedia.org] , but with manual initial per-finding and weaker security (if you always have the same web of friends, you can likely be tracked by this web).

Re:What a surprise (3, Interesting)

4phun (822581) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238407)

It basically sounds like Perfect Dark [wikipedia.org] , but with manual initial per-finding and weaker security (if you always have the same web of friends, you can likely be tracked by this web).

Now all of a sudden Google's new March first privacy policies make a lot of sense. If they can connect all the dots to reveal the connections things like DarkNet, Google would be of great value to the government and no one else need be any wiser.

Re:What a surprise (2)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237913)

Scammers can sell the service of buying your way in.

Re:What a surprise (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237919)

There's bittorrent refugees... hold on a sec while I move these torrented files to my server.

Re:What a surprise (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238079)

I also wonder how many of these downloaders are using the software for illegal sharing. It sounds like the sort of system that would be great for sharing files in a small company (easier to configure than a file server and VPN) or sharing photos with friends. Hopefully the FreedomBox will ship something similar...

Re:What a surprise (2)

Vegemeister (1259976) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238183)

The FAQ makes it sound like file transfers are 0 or 1 hops, and you can only see the files shared by people up to 1 hop away. It seems more like a collaboration tool than a darknet.

Re:What a surprise (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238357)

Sure, until the pirate bay starts using magnet links instead of .torrent files.

Magnet links can be integrated into this.

Re:What a surprise (2, Insightful)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237761)

...it's basically impossible to shut down, or compromise effectively, without severely screwing up the internet. Which is probably the next step.

"You have transferred more than 100kB of encrypted data. Your internet connection will be suspended until the end of the month."

Re:What a surprise (1)

mdenham (747985) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237803)

Possible to get around; the simplest setup I can think of involves a character-to-syllable substitution table. It's an extra step, and it obviously screws with your storage capacity (required space is going to be somewhere between 2 and 5 times as much, depending on your table), but it's basically foolproof as far as preventing analysis of the files. They look like extremely long text in (with a properly tuned table) a natural but unknown language.

Re:What a surprise (5, Informative)

bobbocanfly (1061244) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237811)

"You have loaded an HTTPS site. Your internet connection will be suspended to the end of the month". It would never work.

Re:What a surprise (5, Insightful)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237929)

Exactly. Most of my traffic is HTTPS these days - mail, search, twitter, work, the list goes on. Any ISP trying to bar encrypted traffic will lose customers quicker than they can ban them.

Re:What a surprise (2)

trancemission (823050) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238005)

+1

Sadly here in the UK some ISPs just rate limit all traffic [unhappy Virgin Media customer - soon to change :) ]

http://www.virginmedia.com/images/tm-table-fu-large.jpg [virginmedia.com]

Re:What a surprise (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238093)

If you're unhappy with Virgin Media, who have you found in the UK that doesn't have equally (or more!) aggressive caps? Some ADSL providers have bigger caps for the same speed, but they charge twice as much.

Re:What a surprise (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39238191)

I'm with Demon Internet (aka Thus plc). Used to very, very good. Now I'd just rate as "better than the alternatives". Static IP, haven't hit the cap even with downloading Ubuntu 12 DVD iso's. 25UKP a month :-(

Re:What a surprise (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238277)

I'm currently paying VM £21/month for their cheapest broadband service. The most stringent part of the cap is 1500MB/day between 4pm and 9pm, which I can occasionally go over if I watch an iPlayer HD film in the evening. After 9pm there is no cap. With Demon, I'd have a 50GB/month cap for a slightly higher price (closer to the VM price for 20Mb/s, which comes with a 7000MB/day cap for peak times) once you factor in the cost of BT line rental. 1.5GB/day for 30 days is 45GB, so the total cap for Demon is only very slightly greater than the evening-peak-time cap for VM. If I saturated my line at off-peak times with VM, and used up to the cap at on-peak times, then I would be using 67GB per day. In other words, VM lets me download more per day than Demon does per month (I've never actually done this, but I have downloaded over 20GB in a single day when backing up a remote server to my home machine).

Re:What a surprise (1)

WizardFusion (989563) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238231)

Plus.net They have an unlimited cap during the off-peak hours (12:00am - 8:00am)

Re:What a surprise (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238287)

So does VM. No cap at all between 9pm and 10am. And, from what I've heard from people who switched, plus.net has even worse customer support than VM (e.g. two weeks to send an engineer out to fix a problem, when the worst I've seen with VM is 2 days, and that was when calling after 5pm to report it).

Re:What a surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39238309)

Sky.. If within their llu network at least, totally uncapped.

Re:What a surprise (3, Insightful)

lattyware (934246) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238321)

Sky (on an LLU) offer a truly unlimited service, no FUP at all. ADSL24 also offer true unlimited packages on LLUs and unlimited off-peak (midnight-8am and weekends) on fibre and normal ADSL/2/+.

Re:What a surprise (1)

hot soldering iron (800102) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238255)

No kidding. All bank sites use https, along with any shopping sites payment pages, paypal, Amazon, Wal-mart, etc... Pass laws to ban encryption, you've also passed laws to ban commerce. The **AA groups would quickly find that they just took the biggest guy in the room, and pissed in his drink. Not a smart move by any measure.

I'd love to see them try it. If they thought the response to SOPA was bad...

My old ISP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39238691)

Well, they won't kill your connection, what my ISP did is reduce all SSL connections to 7Kb/s (my normal web usage was 600Kb/s). This means banks, basic SSL sites all work fine, but try to use a VPN for work and you're not going to have any fun. I had to switch to a much slower ISP that didn't throttle SSL connections because of it. I expect a LOT more throttling like this to start in other ISPs over the next few years :(

Re:What a surprise (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238095)

Don't underestimate the bandwidth of physical media in the real world. It's entirely possible to create a transmission form that would send routing information over the network and then simply switch disks (possibly in a suggested optimal pattern for maximum amount of transmitted material) with friends and family to achieve the underlying movement of files. Just like the old times of vhs and tape copying but augumented with the ability to 'request' and use multiple sources.

Re:What a surprise (1)

Maglos (667167) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238629)

lets say we did exist in such an Orwellian society where this could happen; encrypted communications would be made to mimic existing systems, such as skype or youtube.

Re:What a surprise (1)

fa2k (881632) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238075)

it's basically impossible to shut down, or compromise effectively, without severely screwing up the internet. Which is probably the next step.

In the war between pirates and copyright cartels, the Internet suffers all the collateral damage. I wish we could leave things like they are now. Torrents can be very efficient if the client selects nearby peers -- most network tech is symmetric, so torrents just make better use of the upstream bandwidth. Darknets, on the other hand, are quite inefficient, like the one in TFA which requires an extra hop to transfer a file. And most people pay for entertainment now anyway.. Torrents are sufficiently difficult to deal with (just file management, really) that many people will opt for streaming/iTunes like systems. HTTP download and illegal streaming sites go up and down, and it's not a very pleasant experience either -- those who have money will use the simpler legal options.

Re:What a surprise (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39238315)

Around here the only options for western media are pirate copies, either you torrent them or you pay for a pirate copy. Unfortunately, even the ones in fancy boxes are typically TV rips rather than real copies.

I'll delete the copies I have when I move back to the US, but it's pretty much the only access I have to my own culture right now.

Re:What a surprise (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238395)

if done right it's basically impossible to shut down, or compromise effectively, without severely screwing up the internet

It's not like the copyright lobbyists are opposed to screwing up the Internet; in fact, that has been there goal for many years now, with bill after bill proposed or passed to turn the Internet into a fancy cable TV system.

Re:What a surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39238591)

It only takes one person to write a darknet program like this and the game is back on.

I wonder in how much time writing and/or owning such programs will become illegal.

Shock horror (1)

tqft (619476) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237675)

Encryption shields activities.

Soon to boom - questions about generating PGP certificates

disadvange. (1)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237707)

"downloads go via trusted friends"

This immediately shows the disadvantage of anonymized networks: all traffic is bounced of via several nodes, and thus a magnitude slower than more traditional p2p (torrent,eMule) networks.

But it is still way faster than going to a real store, buying it and playing it. Especially if you are on a budget.

Re:disadvange. (5, Insightful)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237763)

It's the first time I've ever seen any attempt at copyright protection that didn't resulted in worse outcome for their customers! For example...

. Funny sectors on floppy disks. Legitimate users can't make backup copies, pirates (with the copy protection removed) can make all the copies they want.
. "Find the nth word in the nth paragraph on the nth page of the manual". Legitimate users have to dig up the manual every time they want to play a game, while pirates (with the copy protection removed) can play any time they want without such annoyances
. Parallel port dongles. Legitimate users have to muck around with parallel port dongles that interfere with their printer. Pirates don't.
. Funny sectors on CDROM's. As per floppy disks, but it turns out that some CDROM drives couldn't play the games at all (RA2? or was it C&C2?). Pirates have no such problems
. Phone home via internet every time you want to play?... you see where this is going

It seems like every time the software industry introduces a new copy protection scheme, it really only annoys their paying customers. It doesn't hinder the pirates one little bit.

But it is still way faster than going to a real store, buying it and playing it. Especially if you are on a budget.

But on the other hand now it seems that the software industry has put enough pressure on the illegal file sharers that doing it that way is harder, or at least slower than it was. If the software industry allowed you to download the game direct from them for a reasonable price, they might be in with a chance. We all know they'll still continue to screw it up though.

Re:disadvange. (2)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237941)

But on the other hand now it seems that the software industry has put enough pressure on the illegal file sharers that doing it that way is harder, or at least slower than it was.

This is a myth being propagated by MPAA & RIAA. As someone who's been around since the days of Hotline & IRC sharing, if anything, it's easier these days than before. Torrents are fast & there's not much you can't get from ISOHunt or TPB or the likes.

Re:disadvange. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39238543)

This is a myth being propagated by MPAA & RIAA. As someone who's been around since the days of Hotline & IRC sharing, if anything, it's easier these days than before. Torrents are fast & there's not much you can't get from ISOHunt or TPB or the likes.

Pretty much this. I've been trading files online since years before even Napster was around, and it has never been easier than it is today. Hell, with our download speeds, we're getting close to instant gratification. Any reasonably popular album can be had in under a minute. You can pull down whole discographies in the time it took to download a single song 10 years ago. There are cams of any major movie online within hours of it's premier; blu-ray rips are out by street date, if not even sooner. Software is cracked before it even hits the streets...

There's just nothing that the MAFIAA can do to stop it. File sharing is a modern-day hydra, cut one head off, two grow in it's place, and short of monitoring everyone 24/7, which costs orders of magnitude more than the alleged "profits" they're "losing", they're never going to be able to keep up with it.

Re:disadvange. (3, Informative)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237963)

The serial-auth on ut2k4 was *almost* able to function with no negative effects for legitimate customers. Almost. There was but one flaw: The demand for legitimate serials for pirate use grew so great that some people wrote trojans for the express purpose of stealing the serials from those who actually purchased the game, resulting in the banning of many legal users after their serials were taken.

Re:disadvange. (1)

tqft (619476) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237769)

I actually prefer store bought media material - known format, quality assurance & convenience. It takes me less time to find it in the store (hell even ask the staff) to get it than trawl through spam, traps, seo bullshit & so on. However availability is an issue - 'net has almost everything, stores not so much. Unless you want to order and wait, even then. I think Game of Thrones S1 goes on sale next week down here in Australia.

Also the WAF (wife acceptance factor) who very much likes dropping the disk in the home cinema drive and doesn't like computers.

Re:disadvange. (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238167)

Try a media tank like the WDTV or an NBox HD and your wife will change her tune REAL quick friend. Having ALL the movies and shows she likes at a press of a button, no messing around with discs? Priceless. This is why the current MPAA crap is so pathetic, as its holding back innovation. there is no damned reason why i shouldn't be able to just hop on Amazon and whip out a CC and get an .avi or .mkv file of whatever show or movie i just bought other than sheer stupidity. does it in ANY way hinder the pirates? Fuck no, they have the movie or show at release if not before in their choice of formats. Look at any torrent or emule search engine and you can have your choice in .avi or .mkv in every popular resolution from standard 700Mb DVD rips all the way up to 8Gb+ Bluray HD rips, no hassle. All you can get legit is a big pile o' DRM suck that makes you jump through hoops and won't work on a single media tank short of a full blown HTPC.

So trust me friend, try a media tank. To get your feet wet on the cheap I'd suggest an NBox HD (less than $60 most places) along with a 200Gb SATA or IDE drive with a $5 enclosure (If you're like most geeks you have some drives lying around and the enclosure is less than $10) and hook it up to the TV in the bedroom or den and watch how quickly she warms to having it all at her fingertips. Makes a great gift for older relatives too,and for those with kids they are a Godsend as you don't have to worry about little Suzy scratching her favorite Dora disc anymore.

Advantages and disadvantages (2)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238295)

I actually prefer store bought media material - known format, quality assurance & convenience. It takes me less time to find it in the store (hell even ask the staff) to get it than trawl through spam, traps, seo bullshit & so on. However availability is an issue - 'net has almost everything, stores not so much. Unless you want to order and wait, even then.

This availability factor can be a great annoyance. I discovered several years ago that the Dreaded P.D.Q. Bach Collection [*] [amazon.co.uk] was not available from any store in Finland, and that furthermore the stores within reach said they could not even order it. I ended up ordering it from Amazon UK, which involved waiting weeks and paying their shipping fees.

[*] I use the third movement of the Pervertimento for bagpipe, bicycle, and balloons from disk 2 as the primary ringtone on my phone. The third movement is mostly bagpipe and string quartet, and is rather attention-getting, in its own way.

Also the WAF (wife acceptance factor) who very much likes dropping the disk in the home cinema drive and doesn't like computers.

All of our CDs and BDs and most of our DVDs have been ripped to the media server. It's even easier to use than dropping disks in the home theater.

Re:disadvange. (1)

grub (11606) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238399)

We have 2 PopcornHour streamers. The WAF is high with them.

Re:disadvange. (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238447)

quality assurance

Unless they do this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_rootkit [wikipedia.org]

convenience

Except for this problematic situation, that makes store-bought DVDs very much inconvenient:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decss#Legal_response [wikipedia.org]

Also the WAF (wife acceptance factor) who very much likes dropping the disk in the home cinema drive and doesn't like computers.

That is what these are for:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVD_burner [wikipedia.org]

Really though, discs are rapidly becoming obsolete. Discs scale very poorly, they are energy-intensive to read, they weigh a lot (their weight is measurable!), burning discs is a pain, etc. Discs are kept alive by legislation and unfriendly efforts by the MPAA and RIAA, who want to first take control of your computer before allowing you to have discless entertainment (luckily, their days are numbered too; unfortunately, it will mean decades of pain as they fight for one bad, rights-attacking law after another).

Does it depend on DNS? (4, Interesting)

jdogalt (961241) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237683)

A true darknet would not depend on traditiona DNS (root servers). I can't immediately tell from their FAQ if their methods are entirely independent of DNS.

Re:Does it depend on DNS? (1)

allo (1728082) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238007)

it doesn't matter. the dns is doing a good job there, when dns will be censored, they can use an alternative infrastructure for this.

Re:Does it depend on DNS? (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238223)

A true darknet would not depend on traditiona DNS (root servers). I can't immediately tell from their FAQ if their methods are entirely independent of DNS.

Why does it matter? The point of private encryption is that you can hide what you transmit between A and B through a untrusted network, and be assured of the integrity of the transmission.
FWIW, the FAQ entry [sourceforge.net] does say they use a DHT, namely bittorrents, although they can also somehow take advantage of dynamic DNS.

Re:Does it depend on DNS? (2)

jon3k (691256) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238467)

Not necessarily. [wikipedia.org]

Freenet (3, Informative)

tudza (842161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237689)

Freenet has been around that long hasn't it?

Re:Freenet (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237973)

Freenet is the most paranoid of the networks, which in turn means also the slowest performing. It's just really, really, slow. On the upside, I doubt the combined efforts of the US and Chinese governments could track down a user on Freenet through the network - it's that hard to trace. They'd have to rely on the human factor - maybe send him a unique link to a story on a news site, then take the logs and grep to see which IP requested it.

Not very anonymous (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39237691)

Verifiability via PGP vs Anonymity: of course you can't have it both ways -- that's how PGP works. From the project FAQ http://retroshare.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Frequently_Asked_Questions#Is_RetroShare_anonymous.3F

        Is RetroShare anonymous?

        RetroShare is partly anonymous. There are anonymous forums and channels where no one can tell who posted something and you can download files from people your are not connected to anonymously, using anonymous tunnels. However the people you are connected to, know who you are and know your IP address. They can also see which files you are sharing, unless you mark them as not browsable. No one else on the network can see this information.

        The friends of your peers also know of your existence, and can attempt to connect to you through the Auto-Discovery system, but they can't connect to you unless you add them as friends.

Re:Not very anonymous (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237721)

Err, yeah, you are connected to people you know, therefore they know they're passing data your way.

Depending on how it's done, they may not know that data they are passing on is for you or for another hop beyond you, or what that data is. Each link is not anonymous to others it is linked to, but any given network transfer is.

Re:Not very anonymous (4, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237787)

OneSwarm, from the University of Washington, addresses this issue. You can join any number of private networks or set up an arbitrary number of your own. And in that sense it is not completely anonymous, in the same way that RetroShare is not fully anonymous. But with OneSwarm, it is impossible to tell where the [pieces of] files reside on the network, or what nodes the files go through when you download. So while joining the network might not be completely anonymous, sharing files is.

Re:Not very anonymous (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238217)

So basically it is about as anonymous (or not) as TOR. Every single node knows exactly who they are connected to, and who they are sending data to and where that data comes from (i.e. the next node).

All data can be tracked all the way from source to destination by enquiring all en-route nodes one by one. And the anonymity and untrackability is basically provided by this enquiring being in practice virtually impossible to carry out due to practical and/or legal reasons.

Virtually impossible to monitor by outsiders? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39237701)

Sheesh, has no-one read Little Brother??

Re:Virtually impossible to monitor by outsiders? (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237727)

Exactly my thoughts. When something is popular with many people, it's easy for any people to just net of trust.

Re:Virtually impossible to monitor by outsiders? (3, Funny)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237737)

Yeah, it's the most overrated book in geekdom, IMHO. Don't understand all the love it gets around here.

It read like Doctorow was whcking off under the table with his free hand while he typed it with the other. The main character was a mary-sue par excellence an, well, I just didn't think it was that good.

Re:Virtually impossible to monitor by outsiders? (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237991)

I've never read it, but there is a class of books where characterisation is severely neglected yet the book is still good because it shows an excellent setting. The characters are really just a narrative tour guide.

Re:Virtually impossible to monitor by outsiders? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238459)

The best way to read Doctorow is to treat his books as essays describing possible futures, not as stories.

"Goes through a trusted friend"? (4, Interesting)

sirwired (27582) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237733)

"...files that are downloaded from strangers always go through a trusted friend."

Doesn't that just make the "friend" instantly liable for contributory infringement? It's going to be hard (impossible)? for the "friend" to qualify for "common carrier" status, which could provide a safe harbor against an infringement suit.

It's true that this setup appears to be resistant to monitoring by outsiders, but keeping the people you don't want as members out of your online network is difficult, to say the least. It's certainly more work than busting up torrenters, but it's not exactly a difficult barrier either.

And, if I'm providing files, I want files downloaded TO strangers to go through one of my trusted friends (of course, that friend is going to have the contributory infringement problems I suggested earlier.) I don't give a *bleep!* about the downloader covering his tracks, (And when has the xxAA gone after downloaders? Don't they always go after uploaders?) I'm more worried about mine.

Re:"Goes through a trusted friend"? (4, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237825)

Repeat of what I replied to someone else above: OneSwarm is a darknet-capable file sharing client (it is also compatible with regular P2P networks), that addresses this issue. OneSwarm is designed such that once a file is put on the network, it is impossible to tell exactly where the file (or pieces of the file) are hosted, and it is equally impossible to tell what nodes they go through to get to you.

So actual transfer of files is indeed anonymous.

Re:"Goes through a trusted friend"? (1)

CobaltBlueDW (899284) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237845)

Contributory infringement doesn't seem like it would fit in this situation, unless you knew your friends were going to use the software in an infringing manner. I could be wrong, but it sounds like you, as a friend, are simply a referrer. If you don't know your referral is being used illegitimately you wouldn't be abetting. It would be akin to 2 of your friends robbing a bank, and you getting charged with a crime because they met through facebook with you as a mutual friend.

Re:"Goes through a trusted friend"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39237853)

Doesn't that just make the "friend" instantly liable for contributory infringement? It's going to be hard (impossible)? for the "friend" to qualify for "common carrier" status, which could provide a safe harbor against an infringement suit.

Yes. The friend will get fried for facilitation. Are the charges made? No, if the scale of infringement is low. The friend will not get a "common carrier" status, or equivalent because hshe is not a registered entity doing business in the field of communications industry.

Re:"Goes through a trusted friend"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39237901)

17 USC 512 (a)

(a) Transitory Digital Network Communications. — A service provider shall not be liable for monetary relief, or, except as provided in subsection (j), for injunctive or other equitable relief, for infringement of copyright by reason of the provider's transmitting, routing, or providing connections for, material through a system or network controlled or operated by or for the service provider, or by reason of the intermediate and transient storage of that material in the course of such transmitting, routing, or providing connections, if —

(1) the transmission of the material was initiated by or at the direction of a person other than the service provider;

(2) the transmission, routing, provision of connections, or storage is carried out through an automatic technical process without selection of the material by the service provider;

(3) the service provider does not select the recipients of the material except as an automatic response to the request of another person;

(4) no copy of the material made by the service provider in the course of such intermediate or transient storage is maintained on the system or network in a manner ordinarily accessible to anyone other than anticipated recipients, and no such copy is maintained on the system or network in a manner ordinarily accessible to such anticipated recipients for a longer period than is reasonably necessary for the transmission, routing, or provision of connections; and

(5) the material is transmitted through the system or network without modification of its content.

Re:"Goes through a trusted friend"? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39238441)

Doesn't that just make the "friend" instantly liable for contributory infringement?

Yes, but that isn't a problem.

The entire point of a invite only method is to make sure that everyone invloved is trusted. The problem with many systems like that is that when it grows too big it becomes easier for soeone of the RIAA to be "a friend of a friend" and get access to the whole network that way.

By only allowing the users to get access to the network through the "close firends" a member of the RIAA that gets access to the network can only monitor the firend that invited him/her. This means that you only have to trust the ones you invite and don't have to worry about them later inviting som random stranger they met on the internet.

Traffic is still tracable (4, Interesting)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237759)

If you are being monitored the police/... can still see who you are talking to even if they can't understand what you are saying. OK: if messages are routed through a friend to some other ''accomplice'' it makes things a bit harder for them, but most private networks like this will not have huge numbers of people on them. Also you can learn a lot just by studying the timings of packets (eg: a packet from A to B is often followed by a similarly sized packet from B to C, it looks as if A is talking to C).

Re:Traffic is still tracable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39237939)

Yes but when everything file of 700 MB the copyright holder cannot tell if its their content. If no logs are kept in the US you just call the 5th and everywhere else your privacy is of higher concern than potential copyright infringement that will take too many man hours to prove anything.
If you are doing something more serious than copyright infringement then why the hell are you not using tor.

Re:Traffic is still tracable (4, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238109)

Yes, there are much stronger anonymous designs but the downsides are equally high. I'd call several of these recent designs "anonymous light", good enough that the MAFIAA can't just hook up and collect IPs but not good enough if you have the FBI, NSA or anything like that after you. Personally I don't like this design exactly because what if one of those I trust download something nasty? They'll come to me. I'd much rather see a design that affords some plausible deniability, that no it wasn't me it must have been one of the other nodes in the network, downloading through me.

Re:Traffic is still tracable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39238389)

But as far as I understand, you can download through any number of friends, and friends of friends, and their friends, etc, meaning you don't know who's downloading what, and from where. You just know that there's a tunnel on your system.

Re:Traffic is still tracable (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238735)

if messages are routed through a friend to some other ''accomplice'' it makes things a bit harder for them, but most private networks like this will not have huge numbers of people on them

That depends on your definition of "huge numbers of people" -- Tor certainly has a lot of nodes, although Tor is not the most robust anonymity system out there (Mixmaster is much more robust, but has about 20 nodes).

Also you can learn a lot just by studying the timings of packets

Assuming that your system is based on anonymizing sockets as opposed to email messages, file transfers, etc. The most popular anonymity systems -- proxy servers, Tor -- are based on anonymizing sockets, which is why those systems are popular, but there are other systems that are more resilient to passive eavesdropping even against a global adversary. Mixmaster is an example, although it would be very difficult to transfer a large file through Mixmaster.

(eg: a packet from A to B is often followed by a similarly sized packet from B to C, it looks as if A is talking to C).

That is an easy attack to defend against; you do not even need a dedicated system. Send an encrypted message to alt.anonymous.messages, and have the receiver download all the messages that are sent to that newsgroup. The receiver's privacy is protected in one of the strongest ways possible; assuming that there is more than one person downloading the messages (which is certainly true right now), no information about the receiver's identity will be leaked. This technique will still leak information about the amount of data being sent by the sender, but that can be mitigated by sending cover traffic that is not part of the payload. It is not the most scalable system, but it certainly defeats the attack you described.

Luckily, there are more scalable approaches. The problem with the Usenet approach is that every single party must receive all messages and cover traffic. Imagine a network in which each node connects to 100 other nodes, and exchanges messages with those nodes; messages may or may not be cover traffic, but must first be forwarded to yet another node. A node could then choose to forward cover traffic or to replace it with part of a message, which helps to obscure how much data the sender is sending; the receiver and the sender agree on some subset of nodes to connect through, but never directly connecting to each other (similar to Tor's hidden services architecture, or the use of pseudonymous remailers in the remailer system).

Really though, these highly robust systems are overkill for the majority of users. The anonymity provided by Tor is more than enough for a typical file sharer -- the only potential global eavesdroppers (intelligence services of major world powers) are not interested in copyright infringement (thank God) or even more serious crimes (child pornography, murder plots, etc.). The problems with using Tor in this manner are:

  1. Storage servers are required; there is no way a popular file sharing site would remain undetected even if it were deployed as a hidden service. It would require too many resources to run, and eavesdropping would not even be necessary to narrow down the targets.
  2. Bandwidth is too limited; it would take days to download an HD movie over Tor, which is even less convenient than going to the nearest video store to buy it legally.

If these problems can be solved, and if the system remains easy to use, it will take the downloading/copyright lobbyist battle to an entirely new level (one which will inevitably result in a technical victory for downloaders and multiple new rights-attacking laws to counter downloading activity; unfortunately, copyright enforcement will probably win over any argument about Chinese dissidents sharing videos of police crackdowns).

darknet (-1, Offtopic)

Home Remedy (2489784) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237767)

It only takes one person to write a darknet program like this and the game is back on. Home Remedy [pearlyhomeremedy.com]

Re:darknet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39238253)

It only takes one person to write a darknet program like this and the game is back on. Crappy Home Remedies that don't Work [pearlyhomeremedy.com]

Nothing like spamming here to try to get the Slashdot "Bump".

Re:darknet (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238473)

Links from ACs have rel="nofollow" on them, so neither of your posts will do anything to the page rank. This used to be disabled for users with excellent karma, let's see if it still is...

crap that doesn't work [pearlyhomeremedy.com] .

Not the answer (3, Insightful)

wormout (2558092) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237893)

Private darknets are a step backwards, IMO. At the one end you could have a large number of small networks between people who trust each other very well, but are limited in the size of the shared pool of material. At the other end you have less trusted large networks with a more material, but still nowhere near as large the entire internet, thus you would often not be able to find what you want. And the larger a network is, the less you are likely to trust everyone on it and the more vulnerable it is to infiltration. Even a small network could be compromised by someone who decided to betray all of their 'friends' (not necessarily out of malice).

'Breaking into the scene' of private darknets is diffcult for anyone who doesn't have pre-existing, probably real-world contacts (much like having ready access to good drugs, it might be easy for kids in a college environment, not so much for your average person). And at the end of the day, if you are going to limit your file sharing activities with a few people you know, you might as well just use email.

For a true culture of free information exchange, we need to look to systems that anyone with a connection and the right software can access and preferably search. This is far more technically challenging, and due to the measures taken to preserve anonymity, usually less convenient than what we are currently used to. But this will improve in due course. Tor, Freenet, I2P and others like them are the future, not walled gardens.

Re:Not the answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39237947)

"if you are going to limit your file sharing activities with a few people you know, you might as well just use email."

Yup, sure, 7-digits /. ID. Because we all know how well email handles attachments of hundreds of MB or even a few GB in size right!?

I mean, dude... Give me some of what you're smokin'

Re:Not the answer (2)

wormout (2558092) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237993)

Yup, because there's no such thing as multi volume rar archives.. OK, flippancy aside, the main point I was making is that if you're going to share files with only a small number of people there's not much need for new technologies, any number of existing ones that can support some form of encryption will do just as well.

Retroshare is snakeoil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39237965)

its not anonymous, its absolutely non-anonymous to your peers, and its not good cryptography. We will see a huge retroshare-bust, when the hype continues.

Nice advert... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39238053)

*downloading software*

Retroshare still requires a central server (3, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238089)

Retroshare itself may not require any centralized resource at all, but... how do you find like-minded friends in the first place and establish a web of trust? You're going to need a centralized forum/chatroom, aren't you, where you can meet people and identify those with common interests and focus? Retroshare simply shifts the focus of the centralized resource from the actual sharing of data to the social aspect of creating and maintaining that web of trust.

And apparently all it would take, as hinted by someone else here, is one traitorous bastard in your web of trust to lay the whole thing out bare for the exploitation by others with selfish motives.

RS connectivity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39238111)

Now it would be nice if they make RS traverse NATs, because now connectivity ration is VERY low no matter how good that software is.

until you find out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39238251)

people will trust anyone with anything if the risk is low, and they find out their trusted friend is an fbi agent.

Web of trust can't work for something like this (4, Interesting)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238317)

Web of trust models will only work where there is an incentive to keep people out of the network. In the P2P world its just exactly the opposite. Users want as many other users on the network as possible because it speeds up their transfers and increases the amount of available content. You could use web of trust for something like e-mail where users generally want to prevent spoofs, scams, and spam.

I realize that users of P2P networks want to keep *some* people (FBI,Secret Service,DOJ,Interpol,[M,R]P?IAA employees ) off but for the most part they want users on. The next problem is you have the lowest common denominator issues. Again you want it to be simple enough that everyone and anyone can use it so you have content selection but that also means you get the same idiots who are still providing the account and routing numbers to 419 spammers. All mister federal agent needs to is promise to upload tons of free porn and John HighSchool is going to cross sign his PGP key.

Re:Web of trust can't work for something like this (1)

Aguazul (620868) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238703)

Yes, it is inevitable that traitors or impostors will get onto the web of trust, unless it is a very very small web of trust. If it is a small web, then it is little different to me sending mix cassette tapes through the post to my personal friends. Is this why it is Retro?? Not sure how this safely goes beyond the small group, or gets sufficient momentum to become a noticeable movement, without sacrificing the 'personal trust' aspect.

Source Verification (2)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238341)

At a glance, I don't see any hashes to validate the source files that are being downloaded.

If I were the Feds (of any country) or anyone who wants to inject malware (ie the recent Anonymous trojan), I'd replace the installers or redirect when people go to get source files or updates.

Encryption to be regulated (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39238491)

There are countries (France, afaiu) where encryption is illegal without a "licence".

So while many comments here say you simply can't ban encryption without banning safe commerce, that's not so true. The government simply makes using encryption require a license and said commerce sites get a license and commerce and advertising continues. Joe Average User doesn't get a license, and when he does use encryption (with another unlicensed party), they go to jail.

The one sticking point that I have never understood about such a situation though is that the government must also ban sending "garbage/random data" between two parties, otherwise how does it determine when two parties are using encryption and when they are just catting /dev/random to each other?

Interesting (1)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | more than 2 years ago | (#39238603)

As someone who just the other day uploaded torrents of their own work to some torrent sites this news intrigues me.

Technical question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39238663)

If the file is on the harddive of the friend of a friend of a friend of a friend.

Will the download go through 3 proxies?

Can you say sting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39238687)

It is perfect. Nice and traceable.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?