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Darknets Coming Soon?

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the something-to-think-about dept.

IT 288

Anonymous Stalwart writes "CIO.com is running a story on darknets and their implications for security. With the ruling against Grokster, darknets seem poised to become a reality. How this will impact the future of the workplace, from top-level IT/IS managers all the way to non-IT jobs will depend on how the tech community that is developing this technology treats it."

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288 comments

How Fitting (0, Offtopic)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020003)

Nothing for you to see here. Please move along.

Re:How Fitting (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14020009)

It's simply amazing to me how that joke just keeps getting funnier.

Re:How Fitting (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14020029)

Aha! You just gave a proof that a darknet exists on Slashdot. We just can't see it. But this article got propably a thousand dark wannabe first posts already.

META-NET (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14020516)



There is already a well used "dark net". Search around for "meta-net". There are some public entry points. Once you're in you need to know how to setup and configure a VPN client and routing software.

Then... you're in on a 10/8 IP.

Ok, real response (5, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020013)

Shouldn't the first sign "something" is up be an increase in bandwidth?
Once you know its happening, you know you have to identify the problem.

Unless somebody can root all the routers and IDS systems for every OS along the way, these darknets will always be detectable.

Re:Ok, real response (2, Insightful)

agraupe (769778) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020018)

Even if the darknets are detectable, it still won't be possible to monitor traffic on them. There is still the matter of encryption that will provide relative security to the users.

Re:Ok, real response (2, Interesting)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020148)

Not in the corporate environment - the IT department will simply challenge you to explain why you're using so much more bandwidth than anyone else. If you can't, you either stop or face disciplinary action. At my company that sort of thing could possibly be grounds for sumamry dismissal; ymmv.

Re:Ok, real response (3, Insightful)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020313)

ot in the corporate environment - the IT department will simply challenge you to explain why you're using so much more bandwidth

TFA was focused on corporate espionage, which wouldn't necessarily consume huge bandwidth. Besides corporate types thnk nothing of sending huge files (video presentations, eg) around, so even sneaking out big files wouldn't necessarily make a blip. Of course, USB dongles and such are a much easier and right-now threat in that regard.

Re:Ok, real response (4, Insightful)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020026)

The point is not hiding the network's existence, but hiding the traffic and the data itself. No use in you yelling "something's going on here" if you have no clue what it is.

Re:Ok, real response (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020040)

YOu get on the phone or send an email to the owner of the machine and enquire just why there is a shitload of bandwidth coming from their station.
If theres not a reasonable response then you disconnect them from the net.

Simple as, this isn't some home user we are talking about, its a corporate system and the company owns the bandwidth.

Re:Ok, real response (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020058)

Unless somebody can root all the routers and IDS systems for every OS along the way, these darknets will always be detectable.

Technically, they can look like any kind of encrypted connection, HTTPS, SSH or whatever. Besides, I think the idea of Darknets is flawed to begin with. It is taking current anonymous P2P networks (Freenet, Ants, I2P etc.) and tying both hands behind their back by no longer allowing all-to-all connections, but only connections to people you trust. That pretty much precludes any sensible routing and load balancing because people are selecting the available routes, and you can't create new connections. Say you are the only person with access to two different social groups, all info must flow over your connection creating a huge bottleneck that the software is not allowed to compensate for.

Re:Ok, real response (4, Informative)

archeopterix (594938) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020116)

Besides, I think the idea of Darknets is flawed to begin with. It is taking current anonymous P2P networks (Freenet, Ants, I2P etc.) and tying both hands behind their back by no longer allowing all-to-all connections, but only connections to people you trust. That pretty much precludes any sensible routing and load balancing because people are selecting the available routes, and you can't create new connections. Say you are the only person with access to two different social groups, all info must flow over your connection creating a huge bottleneck that the software is not allowed to compensate for.
This is true as the implication of "invite-only". There is, however, a middle ground between the current p2p mainstream and true darknets - encryption + origin hiding routing (onion or ants routing), but no invite-only. MUTE [sourceforge.net] is like this.

Re:Ok, real response (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14020154)

Not true, entirely. An invite only darknet could easily implement levels of trust.

For instance, if user a trusts user b, and user b trust c, and c trusts d, and user a has a share level trust of 1 and a view level trust of 2, (assuming each client has similar settings) then:

user a will be able to connect to users b and c, but not d, to get files, while only user b can retrieve files from them.

Bottlenecks may be lessened in this manner at the same time each user gets to set a predetermined 'risk level'. I believe the only thing that would require a direct connections between users a and b would be the retrieval of a CA Cert (or some other such 'public' method of asserting trusts), and timed based refreshes of b's list of trusted peers.

Re:Ok, real response (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14020184)

Say you are the only person with access to two different social groups, all info must flow over your connection creating a huge bottleneck that the software is not allowed to compensate for.

We found a way around that issue. Feel free to drop in and see for yourself: http://anonetnfo.brinkster.net/ [brinkster.net]

Not Really (4, Informative)

IBitOBear (410965) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020282)

Actually, If you establish the DarkNet in the right way, once you are connected to a trusted node you could connect to any other node by passing authentication and encryption keys the long way. This would allow for dynamic (re)routing.

Think of an IRC style web. Basically, a properly designed network would allow one party to inform another that it wanted to make a connection. Then it would make that connection. By pre-passing the keys and proof of identity, you would be able to make arbitrary connections within a "closed surface" of the net.

===

What I have been waiting to see make a comeback is the good old fashioned POTS modem. With all the internet wire-tap laws being generally weaker than the phone tapping laws, it would _really_ make sense to transfer authentications (etc) through a old-fashioned BBS style "drop sites" that were not really on the net.

So you downloaded some particular binary splash. To turn it into the song or whatever you would have to go get the key/completion-tidbit. Heck, the actual directores could be encoded so you _couldn't_ know what you were passing unless you were also in on the sideband/drop-site.

Re:Not Really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14020438)

Wouldn't it be easier to go pay the 99 cent for that Brittney Spears song you want so bad? Or are you Abu Mummia Al Jamal who must have a way to secretly distribute anti-government propaganda?

Re:Not Really (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020506)

Actually, If you establish the DarkNet in the right way, once you are connected to a trusted node you could connect to any other node by passing authentication and encryption keys the long way. This would allow for dynamic (re)routing.

At which point, you either have a) no scalability (all must trust all) or b) no trust, which negates the entire point of the darknet. Do you trust the friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend or a friend? You've essentially reverted back to current P2P networks with an incredibly complex and unnecessary login step. In particular, in only takes one "loophole" to invite someone, who invites others which together infiltrate your whole darknet mapping out all peers.

Re:Ok, real response (5, Interesting)

mr_z_beeblebrox (591077) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020066)

Shouldn't the first sign "something" is up be an increase in bandwidth?

Try monitoring a campus network where you have several thousand users and an obscenely large amount of bandwidth. Oh, and you have live research data being generated on campus and moved to places like the NCSA etc... Bandwidth consumption may vary by tens of megabytes by the minute. So I ask you, in that situation (which I work in) what is an "increase in bandwidth" a sign of?
I don't understand why this article has such a tin foil hat slant to it. Darknets tell nothing about acceptable use, they primarily identify malware and misconfigurations.

Re:Ok, real response (1)

mr_z_beeblebrox (591077) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020083)

I don't understand why this article has such a tin foil hat slant to it. Darknets tell nothing about acceptable use, they primarily identify malware and misconfigurations.

Well, TFA took over 10 minutes to load so now that I have RTFAd I guess the darknets to which I refered are different than the author. However, the bandwidth comment stands.

Re:Ok, real response (3, Interesting)

Florian Weimer (88405) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020298)

Try monitoring a campus network where you have several thousand users and an obscenely large amount of bandwidth.

I have done this and it is much easier than you think. Warez traffic (let's drop this "darknet" term, I always think that it's an end-user-empowered network run over dark fibers) doesn't follow the typical 24-hour cycle in the traffic pattern. The number of legitimate hosts with such a traffic pattern is pretty small in my experience, so it's quite possible to spot the offenders.

Of course, as a network admin, there isn't much you can do when the host admin says that periodic transfers of multiple GB are perfectly legitimate and done for research purposes. But detection is not the real obstacle.

Part of the real issue is that so much traffic on research networks is filesharing and warez crap. If you started to enforce an AUP, the bandwidth would drop to minuscule levels, and you wouldn't have any plausible justification whatsoever for those fat pipes. And people feel they need them because of the dick size wars at some research conferences.

Re:Ok, real response (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020360)

Part of the real issue is that so much traffic on research networks is filesharing and warez crap. If you started to enforce an AUP, the bandwidth would drop to minuscule levels, and you wouldn't have any plausible justification whatsoever for those fat pipes. And people feel they need them because of the dick size wars at some research conferences.

In other words, massive copyright infringement drives the demand for more bandwith, which drives research, investment and competition, benefitting the society enormously in the form of better technology (both communication and processing, since you need processing power for routing), better communication infrastructure, and cheaper prices for both. I see this as yet another reason for weaker, not stronger, copyright laws.

Re:Ok, real response (1)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020111)

these darknets will always be detectable.

While technically true, and usually is you can't tell what is going down the darknet. All you might get is a pair of IP address and quantity of traffic. So far many popular darknet's do not use crypto but many do. It is as simple as IPSec between two or more points. In fact, it is possible today to setup a completely private virtual network of friends over the internet by just configuring the operating environment.

Here is the problem for authorities and I/T security, there are as many legitimate uses to do this. You might get a warant to find out the person was working at home or downloading licensed software or data from a friend to do work.

That is why Sony rootkit'ed peoples PCs, as at the end points in a darknet you can monitor it. It gets embarasing to haul grandma's to court for watching family videos. Or they might be playing a peer-to-peer game. BTW, I think what Sony did was wrong.

Re:Ok, real response (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020510)

Shouldn't the first sign "something" is up be an increase in bandwidth?

Thats also the sign of a new spam source, or a new exploit in the wild, or that your little brother just discovered bittorrent. All it has to do is remain below the level of the rest of the noise out there.

I know the question we're all asking ourselves: (0, Redundant)

Sgt_Astro (848840) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020024)

What the heck is a darknet?

What is a darknet?... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14020047)

What the heck is a darknet?

I thought it was rather obvious from the article.
some programmers have announced they would pursue so-called darknets. These private, invitation-only [p2p/file-sharing] networks can be invisible to even state-of-the-art sleuthing.
- The Wolfkin

What is a darknet?...(Quack!) (2)

vertaxis (250038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020163)

If it looks like a Duck,
and it walks like a Duck,
and it quacks like a Duck...

Then it's still a BBS.

Amazing how people have coined a term for tech and a process that has existed over 20 years.

In the beginning, there was the BBS.
A place that may be public or private. Sometimes, found only by word of mouth and invitation.
Secured only by direct phone connections, and the lack of knowlege by the public.
Places where like minded people could contrbute to discussion boards and exchange files all in one package.
Private communities that were open and the members had little fear of the darker forces that we now see prowling the Internet.

Then, people discoverred the Internet.
A place that was open, had fat pipes, and fewer rules.
With UUNet, NetNews(nntp), FTP, Kermit, Gopher, and Veronica.
Ways to connect and share your files worldwide without paying long distance. ...and BBSes began to die to the more efficient, yet more barren medium.
It took years to get websites/portals up that came close to matching the functionality and community of the BBS.

Now, we hear of this story.
Of ways and places where private communities of like minded people come together.
People seeking to share files and ideas in private communities with lessened fear of the "dark" forces scanning the Internet for "illegal" content.
Over encrypted, high bandwidth links provided by the Internet.
By word of mouth and invitaion only. ..and the circle begins on itself again.

The crux of the issue is that the more the media companies squeeze the public, the more the public will rail against them. Copyrights extended to a period longer than a human lifetime is too long. The media providers seek to restrict use of "their" works and are trying to quash fair use and collect profits from old works while minimizing investment in new works. The large problem is that there is only one set of Copyright laws and they affect more than just media.

Re:I know the question we're all asking ourselves: (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14020052)

A Darknet is a private virtual network where users only connect to people they trust. Typically such networks are small, often with fewer than 10 users each. In its most general meaning, a Darknet can be any type closed, private group of people communicating, but the name is most often used specifically for file sharing networks.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darknet [wikipedia.org]

Light and Dark (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020286)

So, as more people join in and the Darknet gets a more public character, it becomes Lighter?

Conclusion: many connections suck the Dark out of a Darknet.

#define HAVE_nanosleep
#define HAVE_personality

Re:I know the question we're all asking ourselves: (3, Informative)

rholliday (754515) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020067)

That was a short, almost pointless article. Basically amounted to "use standard security practices."

I found this article [darknet.com] about "darknets" that I found informative, even though it's a book ad.

Re:I know the question we're all asking ourselves: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14020093)

Only those who didn't read the article are asking that! ;-)

Re:I know the question we're all asking ourselves: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14020095)

What the heck is a darknet?

The first rule of the darknet is that you never talk about the darknet!

The Internet is strong in this one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14020374)

"The first rule of the darknet is that you never talk about the darknet!"

Vader will not be pleased!

Re:I know the question we're all asking ourselves: (1)

doublebackslash (702979) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020215)

Is it not obvious?

N Qnexarg vf n cevingr iveghny argjbex jurer hfref bayl pbaarpg gb crbcyr gurl gehfg. Glcvpnyyl fhpu argjbexf ner fznyy, bsgra jvgu srjre guna 10 hfref rnpu. Va vgf zbfg trareny zrnavat, n Qnexarg pna or nal glcr pybfrq, cevingr tebhc bs crbcyr pbzzhavpngvat, ohg gur anzr vf zbfg bsgra hfrq fcrpvsvpnyyl sbe svyr funevat argjbexf.

Gur grez bevtvangrq sebz Gur Qnexarg naq gur Shgher bs Pbagrag Qvfgevohgvba, na negvpyr ol Crgre Ovqqyr, Cnhy Ratynaq, Znephf Crvanqb, naq Oelna Jvyyzna, sbhe rzcyblrrf bs Zvpebfbsg. Gurl nethrq gung gur cerfrapr bs gur qnexarg jnf gur znwbe uvaqenapr gb gur qrirybczrag bs jbexnoyr QEZ grpuabybtvrf. Guvf grez unf fvapr frra hfntr va znwbe zrqvn fbheprf, vapyhqvat Ebyyvat Fgbar, Gur Rpbabzvfg, naq Jverq zntnmvar, naq vg vf nyfb gur gvgyr bs n obbx ol W.Q. Ynfvpn.

Jura hfrq gb qrfpevor n svyr funevat argjbex, gur grez vf flabalzbhf jvgu gur creuncf zber jvqryl hfrq Sevraq-gb-sevraq - obgu qrfpevovat argjbexf jurer hfref pbzchgref funer svyrf bayl jvgu gehfgrq sevraqf. Gur zbfg jvqrfcernq svyr funevat argjbexf yvxr Xnmnn, naq rira urnivyl rapelcgrq argjbexf yvxr Serrarg, ner abg qnexargf fvapr crref jvyy pbzzhavpngr jvgu nalobql ryfr ba gur argjbex. Gur creuncf zbfg jvqryl hfrq qnexarg fbsgjner vf Ahyyfbsg'f JNFGR. Gur qrirybcref bs Serrarg unir fgngrq gung gurl ner jbexvat ba n arj irefvba gung jvyy or n qnexarg, juvpu hayvxr glcvpny Qnexargf, jvyy or pncnoyr bs fhccbegvat cbgragvnyyl zvyyvbaf bs hfref hfvat na nccyvpngvba bs fznyy jbeyq gurbel.

Rneyl irefvbaf bs Nccyr'f vGharf nyybjrq hfref gb fcrpvsl gur VC bs n erzbgr fhoarg naq funer gurve zhfvp jvgu hfref va gung fhoarg va n Qnexarg yvxr snfuvba. Arjre irefvbaf qvfnoyr gung shapgvbanyvgl, ohg fgvyy nyybj hfref gb fgernz zhfvp jvguva gurve bja fhoarg; unpxf fhpu nf bheGharf nyybj hfref ba gur fnzr vGharf argjbex gb qbjaybnq rnpu bguref' zhfvp jvgu ab ybff bs dhnyvgl.

Gur pbzchgre tnzr Fcyvagre Pryy: Punbf Gurbel zragvbarq n vagrerfgvat pbaprcg sbe n jveryrff Qnexarg gung hfrq aba-fgnaqneq serdhrapvrf, cbffvoyl vyyrtny hayvprafrq barf, gb znxr vg irel qvssvphyg sbe nal fvtany gb or vagreprcgrq. Jvgu fbcuvfgvpngrq uneqjner naq hfr bs fcernq-fcrpgehz enaqbz serdhrapl ubccvat bire n ynetr serdhrapl onaq bs, fnl, 900ZUm gb 10 be rira 50TUm, guvf pbhyq or n irel rssrpgvir zrgubq bs frphevgl, naq vaqrrq vf fvzvyne gb gur enaqbz serdhrapl ubccvat gung vf hfrq ol zvyvgnel enqvbf gb znxr fvtany vagreprcgvba irel qvssvphyg.

So simple...

Re:I know the question we're all asking ourselves: (1)

cecil_turtle (820519) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020276)

Gunaxf sbe gur rkcynangvba, ohg qbrf rirelguvat ba n qnexarg unir gb or EBG-13 rapbqrq?

Re:I know the question we're all asking ourselves: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14020328)

#!/usr/bin/ruby

### BEGIN FUNCTION DEFINES
def caesar text, rotation
    str = ""
    text.each_byte do |c|
      if( c > 64 && c 96 && c \n"
  exit(1)
end

file = ARGV[0]

begin
    text = open(file).read
rescue
    $stderr.print "No such file #{file}.\n"
    exit(1)
end

print "=========ORIGINAL=========\n#{text}\n"

print "===========NEW============\n"
smallest = -1
besttext = ""
wholetext = ""
if(text.length > 8192)
    #only use a sample of the text. Probability of being right is near 100%
    wholetext = text
    text = text[0..8192]
end
rot = 0
(1..26).each do |rotation|
    plaintext = caesar(text,rotation)
    temp = plaintext.tr('^a-zA-Z0-9 ','')
    wrongcount = `echo "#{temp}" | ispell -l`.size
    if(wrongcount.to_i smallest || smallest == -1)
      smallest = wrongcount
      besttext = plaintext
      rot = rotation
    end
end
print "Best misspelling count: #{smallest} with rotation #{rot} "
if(wholetext != "")
  print "on sample of 8192 characters.\n"
  print caesar(wholetext,rot)
else
  print "on whole article.\n"
  print besttext
end
print "\n"

### END MAIN EXECUTION

Re:I know the question we're all asking ourselves: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14020366)

er..

#!/usr/bin/ruby

### BEGIN FUNCTION DEFINES
def caesar text, rotation
    str = ""
    text.each_byte do |c|
      if( c > 64 && c < 91)
        str << sprintf("%c",((c-65+rotation)%26)+65)
      elsif (c > 96 && c < 123)
        str << sprintf("%c",((c-97+rotation)%26)+97)
      else
        str << sprintf("%c",c)
      end
    end
    str
end

### END FUNCTION DEFINES

### BEGIN MAIN EXECUTION

if(ARGV.size != 1)
  $stderr.print "Usage: #{$0} <file>\n"
  exit(1)
end

file = ARGV[0]

begin
    text = open(file).read
rescue
    $stderr.print "No such file #{file}.\n"
    exit(1)
end

print "=========ORIGINAL=========\n#{text}\n"

print "===========NEW============\n"
smallest = -1
besttext = ""
wholetext = ""
if(text.length > 8192)
    #only use a sample of the text. Probability of being right is near 100%
    wholetext = text
    text = text[0..8192]
end
rot = 0
(1..26).each do |rotation|
    plaintext = caesar(text,rotation)
    temp = plaintext.tr('^a-zA-Z0-9 ','')
    wrongcount = `echo "#{temp}" | ispell -l`.size
    if(wrongcount.to_i < smallest || smallest == -1)
      smallest = wrongcount
      besttext = plaintext
      rot = rotation
    end
end
print "Best misspelling count: #{smallest} with rotation #{rot} "
if(wholetext != "")
  print "on sample of 8192 characters.\n"
  print caesar(wholetext,rot)
else
  print "on whole article.\n"
  print besttext
end
print "\n"

### END MAIN EXECUTION

Re:I know the question we're all asking ourselves: (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020390)

Or just
#! /bin/sh
 
tr ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwx yz NOPQRSTUVWXYZABCDEFGHIJKLMnopqrstuvwxyzabcdefghijk lm
Less flexible, but gets the job done, and you don't need to install anything.

And, by the way, the whole thing that starts in tr is a single line.

Re:I know the question we're all asking ourselves: (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020351)

C erb-y gbe.poyabew ,day-o yday .bjpflycrb frg-p. gocbiZZ s[)

Re:I know the question we're all asking ourselves: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14020307)

http://anonetnfo.brinkster.net/ [brinkster.net] if you are interested in seeing for yourself.

We feel our security model doesn't warrant an "invite only" position.

Dark Ambition (5, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020025)

The "Grokster" ruling says that network operators can be liable for users illegal network abuse when operators promote abuse. It's a stupid ruling, but limited. And its standards for proving promotion are unfounded, really allowing just "appreciation" of abuse, without any evidence of public promotion. But operators which do not include even internal organizational acceptance of abuse, which promote only legal use, which offer even minimal protections of abuse, rather than any internal corporate policies which rely on the abuse, are not threatened. The sloppy evidential and jurisprudential standards in that landmark ruling will make it much more expensive for legit operators to remain safe, as they're sued willy-nilly by vengeful media corporations. But the mass media story that "P2P is now illegal" ought to get no promotion on geek sites like Slashdot. If you're going to run a darknet, why not just leave out the abuse promotion, and let your P2P flag fly?

Re:Dark Ambition (5, Interesting)

theonetruekeebler (60888) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020117)

With due respect, it's not a particularly stupid ruling. Grokster did in fact promote its product as a way of doing something illegal. The Supreme Court agreed that doing so exposed them to liability. If Sears/Craftsman promoted its crowbars as "The Burglar's Best Friend," they'd be liable for that, right? If Louisville Slugger had a booth at the local skinhead rally, promoting its bats as the perfect fag-bashing tool, they'd be liable for that, too. It's that simple---promote an illegal use, accept responsibility for illegal use. Why shouldn't Grokster be liable for promoting the illegal use of its products?

I have no problem with uniformly enforcing product liability laws. My problem is with the insanity of today's copyright laws. TFA was very sloppy starting off with a falsehood like

The Supreme Court might have stirred up a bigger problem than it settled when it ruled last June that file-sharing networks such as Grokster could be sued if their members pirated copyrighted digital music and video.

The Supreme Court said no such thing. But the RIAA/MPAA will of course do everything they can to take a mile from this very straightforward inch.

Re:Dark Ambition (5, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020323)

The Supreme Court found that Grokster "promoted" abuse solely on evidence that Grokster employees planned to use growth from abuse in scaling their network, and considered ways to use that abuse. They did not find any evidence that Grokster publicly promoted abuse. They found "intent" by a corporation, which is not a person who can "intend" (even if you believe that a person's intent can ever be proven). Hence my comment that Grokster "appreciated" abuse, but did not promote it.

I don't believe that people who promote illegal acts, whether advertising products or mere advocacy, are liable for the actions of those who take them up on their promotion. I do believe that their free speech can be found to be contributory, a lesser liability, when they have either demonstrated expectations of satisfaction of their promotion, clearly reasonable expectations, willful neglect of developing prior expectations, or even negligent passive ignorance of such expectations. Yelling "fire" in a crowded (nonburning) theater is a lesser crime than shoving someone down the stairs. Liability, especially liability for speech to people with freedom of choice, is not quite so simple. The Supremes have made such speech even more complicated, by ignoring its absence, and finding liability where criminals act without even the speech, just the benefit. That's an economic argument, but not a legal one. And the economics of the industry now employ the prohibitive expense to keep new distributors they don't control out of the competition. With the Court as their enforcer.

Re:Dark Ambition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14020485)

On the "darknet" that I am a member of I claim common carrier status. It is not my resposibility to look after the traffic that goes over my connection. No different than Sprint, Level 3, uunet (are they still around?), etc.

http://anonetnfo.brinkster.net/ [brinkster.net] -- the internet the way it _should_ be.

the RIAA needs to be careful... (5, Insightful)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020034)

by prosecuting unencrypted networks like eDonkey, bittorrent, etc. they're only enforcing users to search for encrypted ways to transmit data. And I don't think encouraging encryption is gonna be any good for national security.

Just a thought.

Re:the RIAA needs to be careful... (1)

Arkan (24212) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020078)

I see your "national security" for a "totalitarian government", and raises a "privacy protection". Take that!

--
Arkan, fed up of people ready to give away freedom for security

Re:the RIAA needs to be careful... (1)

Homology (639438) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020079)

And I don't think encouraging encryption is gonna be any good for national security.

Oh man, even for a /. comment this is a silly comment. You don't to encourage use of https when doing online banking or buying from an Internet store? Administrators should use telenet than ssh? Of course, bye bye VPN.

Re:the RIAA needs to be careful... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14020205)

RTFA, moron. He's NOT talking about https.

Re:the RIAA needs to be careful... (1)

Halfbaked Plan (769830) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020275)

And I don't think encouraging encryption is gonna be any good for national security.

Sure, it will be. The use of encryption will be a signal of dubious opportunity and law enforcement will know who to swoop down on: anybody generating encrypted traffic.

The problem will be that the real crooks will just use stenanography. But they already do. So there won't be any new problems.

Re:the RIAA needs to be careful... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14020281)

In TFA they are talking to chief scientist from Lockheed. Ever worked with any security folks from there?
I have, the king of the paranoid freaks! There's nothing to see here folks, move along....

Re:the RIAA needs to be careful... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020461)

And I don't think encouraging encryption is gonna be any good for national security.

Unless of course, ppl are using encryption methods that the gov. has the ability to crack in a realtime approach, and ppl talk more and do not attempt to hide the data in any other way. Then this will allow the gov. to easily seperate the signal from the noise, as the encrypted packets says where to look.

Darknets? Blame the RIAA!!! (5, Insightful)

ThatGeek (874983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020039)

Well, only 3 comments posted, and the link is already hosed.
As reported by Darknet dot com [darknet.com] , a darknet is nothing more than a place where illegal communication (filesharing/hacking talk/speaking badly of the US president) can take place.
I don't see how darknets will make things any different. For years we've had gopher, IRC and other communication channels that have been below the vision of the management elite.
I think lawyers are starting to learn that techies can't be bullied as easily as most, because techies are able to build new infrastructures. Instead of giving up, techies take threats as a challenge or motivation to dive further and further away from public vision.

Re:Darknets? Blame the RIAA!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14020056)

"Well, only 3 comments posted, and the link is already hosed."

Perhaps people are R-ingTFA before posting - except the guy who said "what is a darknet"! I know, amazing.

Re:Darknets? Blame the RIAA!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14020060)

Give me one port, give me one port mister, give me one port out the door ...

Give me one port, give me one port mister, and I won't be back for more ...

Not necessarily illegal (4, Insightful)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020063)

A Darknet is a private virtual network where users only connect to people they trust. That's it. It can be used for good or evil.

Re:Not necessarily illegal (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14020347)

well what is by definition illegal?

i use anonet (a collaboritive, trusted, encrypted vpn, peer to peer network) to bypass government censoring, this would make my actions illegal right? yes, illegal to that country i'm bypassing their censorship.

Re:Not necessarily illegal (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020410)

Not necessarily illegal, but I hardly think they're being used primarly to trade legal files.

Re:Darknets? Blame the RIAA!!! (2, Insightful)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020088)

>> a place where illegal communication (filesharing/hacking talk/speaking badly of the US president) can take place

Oh, a place like say... /.?

Re:Darknets? Blame the RIAA!!! (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020297)

Except that if you speak badly of the US president, Java, or a few other favorites, you get modded down, severely reducing the effectiveness of your communication.

Re:Darknets? Blame the RIAA!!! (1)

william_w_bush (817571) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020090)

I think lawyers are starting to learn that techies can't be bullied as easily as most, because techies are able to build new infrastructures. Instead of giving up, techies take threats as a challenge or motivation to dive further and further away from public vision.


while lawyers otoh, get paid by the hour. sit back and grab a beer, this fight ain't going nowhere.

seriously, it's like the cold war, it's against lawyers interests for either side to win, endless escalation is killer for billable hours. this kind of thing has been happening in every field of industry, blame the US for producing way too many of the vermin.

Re:Darknets? Blame the RIAA!!! (3, Interesting)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020338)

blame the US for producing way too many of the vermin.

That's the most reasonable bit of U.S.-bashing I've heard yet on Slashdot. At least you didn't single out all of us as being warmongers or evil or Bush-lovers or whatever. And you're right: we're becoming a remarkably litigious society. Not that I have any idea how to cure the problem.

But your average corporate attorney isn't the problem, he or she is simply a tool, and a symptom of a larger problem. It is bad law, admittedly written by a bunch of lawyers (collectively known as "Congress"), combined with corporate executives who see nothing but dollar signs. Corporate lawyers just don't sit around suing people and companies for fun: somebody has to pay them to do it, and pay them handsomely. Those people are the ones you need to worry about.

You know, like the good folks in charge of Lexmark, Diebold and DirecTV. Laws like the DMCA just gave them an opportunity to put their lawyers to work. All Congress did was give a loaded gun to a bunch of idiots.

Re:Darknets? Blame the RIAA!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14020092)

NOVEMBER 1, 2005 | CIO MAGAZINE
FILE SHARING
Spies in the Server Closet
BY MICHAEL JACKMAN

Advertisers

The Supreme Court might have stirred up a bigger problem than it settled when it ruled last June that file-sharing networks such as Grokster could be sued if their members pirated copyrighted digital music and video.

Since then, some programmers have announced they would pursue so-called darknets. These private, invitation-only networks can be invisible to even state-of-the-art sleuthing. And although they're attractive as a way to get around the entertainment industry's zeal in prosecuting digital piracy, they could also create a new channel for corporate espionage, says Eric Cole, chief scientist for Lockheed Martin Information Technology.

Cole defines a darknet as a group of individuals who have a covert, dispersed communication channel. While file-sharing networks such as Grokster and even VPNs use public networks to exchange information, with a darknet, he says, "you don't know it's there in the first place."

All an employee has to do to set one up is install file-sharing software written for darknets and invite someone on the outside to join, thus creating a private connection that's unlikely to be detected. "The Internet is so vast, porous and complex, it's easy to set up underground networks that are almost impossible to find and take down," says Cole.

He advises that the best--and perhaps only--defense against darknets is a combination of network security best practices (such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems and intrusion prevention systems) and keeping intellectual property under lock and key. In addition, he says, companies should enact a security policy called "least privilege," which means users are given the least amount of access they need to do their jobs. "Usually if a darknet is set up it's because an individual has too much access," Cole says.

Re:Darknets? Blame the RIAA!!! (1)

oztiks (921504) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020133)

The Darknet is a relatively new concept. The term was coined in a scientific paper four Microsoft researchers released in November 2002 at a computer conference.

Ohhh gawd save our souls, microsoft _DID NOT_ coin this term togeather its an old school IRC term thats as old as the term efnet ...

Darknets? Blame the apathetic consumer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14020455)

"I think lawyers are starting to learn that techies can't be bullied as easily as most, because techies are able to build new infrastructures."

Why yes! I can see all those "techies" building their own "fiber to the curb" and the routers that make it all possible. You guys rock!

"Instead of giving up, techies take threats as a challenge or motivation to dive further and further away from public vision."

Well the problem with "hiding out" isn't the difficulty of doing so, but the added time, effort, and resources consumed doing so. That's why a lot of heavy-duty P2P apps consume resources, and have other downsides.*

*And to think slashdots "IT" and "YRO" section would be mostly empty if you all had exercised your "voting with your dollars" to begin with, instead of "gimme free stuff". Just like you all get the government your apathy generates. You get the commercial market your apathy and selfishness generates.

Article Text && Coral Cache URI (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14020072)

http://www.cio.com.nyud.net:8090/archive/110105/tl _filesharing.html [nyud.net]

---
FILE SHARING
Spies in the Server Closet
BY MICHAEL JACKMAN

The Supreme Court might have stirred up a bigger problem than it settled when it ruled last June that file-sharing networks such as Grokster could be sued if their members pirated copyrighted digital music and video.

Since then, some programmers have announced they would pursue so-called darknets. These private, invitation-only networks can be invisible to even state-of-the-art sleuthing. And although they're attractive as a way to get around the entertainment industry's zeal in prosecuting digital piracy, they could also create a new channel for corporate espionage, says Eric Cole, chief scientist for Lockheed Martin Information Technology.

Cole defines a darknet as a group of individuals who have a covert, dispersed communication channel. While file-sharing networks such as Grokster and even VPNs use public networks to exchange information, with a darknet, he says, "you don't know it's there in the first place."

All an employee has to do to set one up is install file-sharing software written for darknets and invite someone on the outside to join, thus creating a private connection that's unlikely to be detected. "The Internet is so vast, porous and complex, it's easy to set up underground networks that are almost impossible to find and take down," says Cole.

He advises that the best--and perhaps only--defense against darknets is a combination of network security best practices (such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems and intrusion prevention systems) and keeping intellectual property under lock and key. In addition, he says, companies should enact a security policy called "least privilege," which means users are given the least amount of access they need to do their jobs. "Usually if a darknet is set up it's because an individual has too much access," Cole says.

---

Something really smells here (1)

argoff (142580) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020530)

There is no technology reason that I know of why someone would need a invatation only darknet to practice their right to share information freely. But this is the exact kind of orginisation that government people are trained to infilterate. The government is notorious for creating, or infilterating various gangs or club like groups so they can draw in suckers and arrest them in big sting opperations from time to time to justify their over paid budget.

This method also has the advantage of not hooking people who are 13, or grandpas whose kids did what they didn't want them to do, or people who had their computer hacked and didn't even know they were sharing files. Instead they get willing cooperating knowing accomplices who are easier to sue and prosicute and these structures also naturally form a leadership hierachy that they can attack.

So my question is, is this really the way things are going, or is this just the system trying to direct the flow in a way that they want it to go? Is it really going to be the next natural social structure, or is it designed to create a hireachial structure that government bureauocrats can infilterate and understand?

was always going to happen (0)

external400kdiskette (930221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020094)

p2p cant be stopped because there's to many people using it and using it anyway and you cant arrest everyone and most people haven't stopped because a few people get arrested every now and then with a "it's unlikely to happen to me mentality". now as a natural consequence the same programmers who've made open source p2p programs in the past are still around and will just focus their future efforts on cloaking and de-centralized networks.

Re:was always going to happen (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14020146)

Jesus, if you wrote in English (using even half-way correct grammar and spelling), then those of us reading might understand what you are trying to say. Correct English is just another protocol that takes very little time to learn....

Darknets (5, Interesting)

ledow (319597) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020100)

For those that are asking, a darknet is used in this context as a closed P2P system (i.e. you, your mates, your mates' mates and others by invitation only sharing what you have with each other over the internet).

Reminds me of something me and my brother used to do. We wanted to play a game online over the Internet but didn't want to sign up to yet-another online gaming service (The Zone or something it was called). We both had legit copies of the game, we both had internet connections and we just wanted to play online against each other. We couldn't do a straight TCP/IP connection for some reason or another so the only options left in the software were LAN, Modem or this Zone thing.

So what we did was set up PPTP between our routers, assigned nearby IP addresses on both sides that routed across the connection and played a "LAN" game over the Internet. As far as I can see this was a type of darknet if you like.

If we'd had non-legit copies, many games of the era would let you plan LAN without the CD so long as one player had the CD but not across the Internet. Or, say we'd cracked or VirtualCD'd the CD so that neither of us had a legit copy but could still play online. Then this sort of "PPTP darknet" would be used to let groups of friends without the legit CD to play over the Internet without needing the authorisation or intervention of the person running the gaming servers.

A further thought, bringing it up to the modern day, would suggest that things like Steam could be played over this sort of "PPTP darknet" as a LAN game (connecting to PC's spread over the internet, all disconnected from the "real" internet and bypassing restrictions on who / what is allowed to play)?

It's a interesting idea, sort of like a hidden black market for the internet (which I'm assuming is where the name comes from). As companies crack down on people lending movies to their friends and similar other quite legitimate activities, things like this are going to appear, translated from the real world where this happens all the time to the Internet.

It seems to me that these sorts of things have existed for a while, though. I've heard that things like paedophile rings are already using such tactics? Detection is much, much harder than for a centrally administered P2P network. The only way to detect is to infiltrate the network itself, which is basically social engineering?

Re:Darknets (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020478)

Well, if I read it like you then this is basicly a no-news item. If Darknet == private network, then it is essentially nothing more than existing solutions going back as far as "social" p2p networks in the 1970s, one sends by irc to another by e-mail etc. I believed Darknets were to provide an anonymous network on top of trusted peers (your friends). Networks that are only private do nothing if they don't prevent going "upstream". Imagine the RIAA going "Ok, cooperate with us and turn in your peers for a normal settlement, or we'll sue you for $150,000/song without mercy." Which would you choose?

Nothing new.... (0, Redundant)

spawnofbill (757153) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020122)

To me, "darknet" sounds a lot like older file-sharing protocols, I.E. IRC, Hotline, and even FTP transfers. (which are all alive and well in various ways)

Once a upon a time (1)

oztiks (921504) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020123)

Not being a united states citizen so i dont know usa ammendments off by heart but arnet these supposed 'darknets' also protected by the 2nd ammendment, freedom to associate? I belive ever since the dawn of chatlines such as IRC this prohibited the FBI from overseeing private networks in the 1st place? Im sure there are someone can shed more light in this particular issue.

Re:Once a upon a time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14020153)

The second amendment is the "Freedom to shoot people" one. I'm not sure there's an explicit "Freedom of association" in the Bill of Rights, though many would argue that virtually everything that limits association also limits speech, and therefore would be a violation of the first amendment.

That said, the Communist Party was explicitly banned in the US in the 50s, and membership was a criminal offense, and from memory, that was ruled constitutional.

Re:Once a upon a time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14020220)

Most US citizens don't know the Constitutional amendments either. The 2nd amendment protects the right to bear arms, which isn't relevant to Darknets...yet. The 1st amendment protects the right of free assembly but, like every law, it is only words. The law enforcement agencies are not motivated to protect individual rights, nor are corporations. Within the government, only the courts really defend those rights, and then only if they choose to. Ultimately the defense of those rights lies on the backs of the citizens themselves...hence the rationale behind the 2nd amendment.

Re:Once a upon a time (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020401)

The 2nd amendment protects the right to bear arms, which isn't relevant to Darknets...yet.

Or not anymore. They scratched the article that said encryption was considered ammunition, right?

They'll Never Learn! (5, Insightful)

TheZorch (925979) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020141)

You can't teach the RIAA anything. They think they can stop P2P file sharing but the truth is all their legal efforts are driving it underground...where it was before Napster appeared.

There are a lot of very talented techies out there who can come up with some astonishing new tech. A fully encrypted P2P service that masks a user's IP address would make it hard for "the man" to find those who are illegally filesharing. Also, the hacker community can adapt to changing situations faster than any corporation. This is because they aren't hindered by office politics, ethics, patant and copyright compliance and legal compliance. They operate above the law, so it was really no surprise to me when Slashdot ran the story of the trojan that exploited the cloaking ability of Sony's DRM.

I wasn't surprised one bit.

Because of Grokster and others the RIAA bring down a new, bigger, and better P2P service will emerge with multiple layers of custom encryption, IP address masking, and no central server that can be distrupted. You could even block ports at the ISP level and they'll adapt again to support multiple ports at once. Its a loosing battle they just don't get it yet.

Why do you think Internet Security and Antivirus Industies are racking in so much money these days. They DON'T want to see the hacker put in jail because if all the security threats cease and no more viruses are being made they are all out of a job. It a multi-billion dollar industry.

The RIAA is utter and completely out of their league.

Re:They'll Never Learn! (3, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020274)

Oh, bollocks. If Darknets become the future of P2P, the RIAA and its members are going to high-five one another and say "We did it!"

The issue with P2P is that it's a way for a single person to distribute a piece of music to potentially millions of anonymous strangers. That hadn't existed before, and it was, by and large, mostly used for piracy. People took copyrighted materials whose producers were relying upon sales (and realistically have no alternatives) to pay for the costs of production and, without permission, used Napster and its successors to distribute it instead.

That's what got the music industry in a panic. Suddenly content that could, previously, only be accessed under relatively controlled conditions was available, on a on-demand basis, to anyone who wanted it, without the receivers having to contribute a penny to the costs of production. While some Slashdotters have argued the additional publicity might have generated sales as people were exposed to content they wouldn't otherwise have been, it's also a fact that many, possibly even most, P2P users used P2P to build music collections directly, bypassing the usual pay-for-CDs routes. I know such people, and I know more people who I can definitely say didn't pay money they otherwise would have done, than people who bought CDs purely on the basis of being exposed to the content via P2P that they wouldn't otherwise have been.

What Darknets do is they reduce the numbers involved considerably, and return music-redistribution to the limited scales we saw in the days of home taping. The participants know one-another. Downloadable music libraries become limited to those of a small group of friends. It ceases to be possible for millions of people to be able to download a song illegally the day after it goes on sale.

Darknets represent a victory for the recording industry. Oh, they'll continue to chase them, if only to keep the numbers down and limited and prevent a single darknet from becoming large enough to constitute a threat, but over-all, darknets will never be as damaging, in practice, as Napster and its successors.

Don't think like a geek. The issue with Napster wasn't that you could physically transfer an MP3 from one person to another. It was that you could rip an MP3, and then it'd be available to millions of people within hours, in a form easily searched for and obtainable on demand. In short, if someone thought "How can I get Rosen and the Hillarycats's latest hit 'Copy me to the moon'", they now had two choices: find the CD and buy it, or download the MP3." That latter method just isn't practical with Darknets.

Re:They'll Never Learn! (1)

Halfbaked Plan (769830) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020329)

A fully encrypted P2P service that masks a user's IP address would make it hard for "the man" to find those who are illegally filesharing.

Yes, but a scheme like that makes it equally difficult for 'peers' to find one another. Unless there is a way to invite in peers. Which law enforcement will penetrate. Same thing all over again.

Re:They'll Never Learn! (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020425)

Driving it underground is probably beneficial. The harder it is to do something, the fewer people there are who'll go to the trouble. Eventually only hardcore hackers will bother with piracy, most people will switch to legal means of getting their music/films.

And the MPAA/RIAA's response will be... (2, Insightful)

theonetruekeebler (60888) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020150)

...treachery. Seriously. If they can't go through a public channel to find wrongdoers (that is, to find unprofitable conditions), they will start using undercover agents to befriend and betray their way into darknets. So basically they'll have spies pose as college students then coaxing real students into inviting them into the henhouse.

Hell, they'll probably set up a few darknets of their own, as "loss leaders" in their quest to fuck as many people out of as much money as possible. And they'll start a terror campaign, too. Did I say terror? I meant public relations. As in "The Guy You're Sharing Files With Might Be A Cop."

Re:And the MPAA/RIAA's response will be... (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020442)

Hell, they'll probably set up a few darknets of their own, as "loss leaders" in their quest to fuck as many people out of as much money as possible.

How are they 'fucking' people out of money by selling CDs? Jesus, you'd think they were going round to people's houses robbing them rather than just doing business. All they're doing is closing down illegal trading.

In case you weren't aware, piracy is illegal, selling CDs is legal, the RIAA aren't doing anything wrong. If people understood and respected the law, there wouldn't be any need for all this hassle.

Some people on this site seem to think piracy is acceptable, rather than a petty crime, and think pirates are noble crusaders against the evil corporations, rather than just cheapskates.

Coming? They've always been here. (1)

venomkid (624425) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020236)

It's the way things were and they way they should have stayed. p2p has been a huge mistake, finally giving authorities and companies good reasons to invade the net, attempt to control it, and even put rootkits on our media [slashdot.org] to "protect" it.

Small affinity groups always have and always will be more successful at this type of activity than the general public, even when "competition" from the public draws attention, making it difficult for everyone.

Honestly, I love watching p2p networks fall.

Wrong Premise (4, Interesting)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020241)

From TFA:

``The Supreme Court might have stirred up a bigger problem than it settled when it ruled last June that file-sharing networks such as Grokster could be sued if their members pirated copyrighted digital music and video.

Since then, some programmers have announced they would pursue so-called darknets. ... And although [darknets are] attractive as a way to get around the entertainment industry's zeal in prosecuting digital piracy, they could also create a new channel for corporate espionage''

Am I the only one who thinks that if darknets are attractive vehicles for corporate espionage, they would be built no matter what the Supreme Court rules on filesharing?

Two definitions (2, Informative)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020245)

As usual, a Slashdot story summary haughtily uses new jargon without defining the term. So as usual, I go to Wikipedia to look it up. It seems there are two definitions [wikipedia.org] .

One definition is an encrypted protocol over the Internet. The other definition is using wireless technologies off the Internet. Oddly, the person quoted in the CIO article was trying to claim that encrypted, closed file sharing over the Internet was nothing like a VPN. That makes no sense to me, especially given the other definition of a darknet (the wireless one off the Internet) really is nothing like a VPN.

A wireless-off-the-Internet darknet could serve Thomas Paine purposes if the U.S. government ever shuts down the Internet in response to a terrorist attack. An encrypted, closed information sharing network on the Internet could not.

Re:Two definitions (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020378)

"A wireless-off-the-Internet darknet" Sounds like the mesh network that those MIT(?) kids setup in the offcampus housing to provide internet access. Even if the net connection gets cut, they've still got a really big wireless LAN to play around in.

We could fall back to the true Darknet (2, Insightful)

popsicle67 (929681) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020247)

I'm talking about snailmail. If it gets right down to it you can fall back to this time honored completely private way of transporting any files you wish to share. It also has the advantage of carrying a federal criminal violation against anyone who attempts to stop your mail. If things gat so bad in this country that even this becomes too troublesome we can all move to eastern europe or china as they will become the beacons of freedom much as our country used to be.

SneakerNet (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020422)

You're really talking about a SneakerNet. "the bandwidth of a station wagon full of HDs" The FBI can request (for National Security) that the Post Office make a copy of "any data appearing on the outside cover of any sealed mail or unsealed mail delivered to an address, forwarding address, or Post Office box" Translation: really labor intensive packet sniffing of an encrypted network. Your postal mail is effectively encrypted because they're not allowed to look inside, but if they spend enough time watching where all those packets go, they can perform the same type of analysis they'd use on any computer network.

Already there (3, Informative)

m50d (797211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020272)

Gnunet [gnunet.org] is here and working. Fully usable as a P2P network, not as fast as unencrypted but close. I haven't tried using it in pure friend-to-friend mode but the functionality is there. And of course it has all the things you'd expect from an advanced P2P network, searches for automatically extracted keywords, signed namespaces where you can publish content anonymously but show that it's all from you, directories, etc.

Picking Nits (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020278)

``These private, invitation-only networks can be invisible to even state-of-the-art sleuthing.''

Invisible or incomprehensible? Seems to me that as long as you're sending data over the same Internet as everybody else, others can see that there's traffic. In that case, this is just like a VPN (invite only, encrypted traffic between endpoints), right?

Another Gibsonian prophecy comes to pass (1)

Nicky G (859089) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020355)

The Walled City from Idoru. Makes perfect sense that closed, invisible networks would begin to pop up in this bizarre legal environment. Too bad overzealous copyright holders are pushing people to develop technologies that will be of genuine use to truly "bad" people. Not that the real baddies probably haven't had their own darknets for years.

Darkness coming soon? (-1)

Elrac (314784) | more than 8 years ago | (#14020415)

My initial misreading of the post title led me to remember this joke, which I'm risking my karma to relate to you:
Q:How many Microsoft employees does it take to change a lightbulb?
  A:None. Bill Gates will declare darkness the new standard.

Thank you, thank you! No applause please, just throw money!

first rule of darknet - don't talk about darknet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14020451)

please, "darknets" have been here since before the whole www thing caught on - good ones have anonymous encrypted access to the mainstream p2p network content

*it's pretty damn annoying when "visionaries" invent things that've been around forever. what's next, indoor plumbing? sliced bread?
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