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Freenet 0.5 Released 406

Posted by timothy
from the makes-node-difference dept.
An anonymous reader submits "After over a year in the making, Freenet 0.5 stable has been released. This new version is far superior to previous versions of Freenet." The announcement specifically thanks Matthew Toseland, "without whom this release would still be vaporware," noting "On the 11th of November, Matthew will no longer be able to work full-time unless more people donate, so please give whatever you can spare at our Donations page."
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Freenet 0.5 Released

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  • Thank you! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 28, 2002 @04:01AM (#4545864)
    I just would like to be the first to say a big "Thank you!" to the entire FreeNet team.

    When I first heard of FreeNet, I thought, "I live in America, what would I need of this?" No, this isn't a troll. I was happy and complacent and slightly distrustful of the Big Bad Brother. Now the purpose of a network like FreeNet has become quite clear, as I'm neither happy nor complacent and I'm more distrustful of Big Brother with each passing day, as he takes further swipes at the freedoms my Constitution tells me I'm supposed to have.

    Thanks, FreeNet, for standing up. More importantly, thanks for the foresight. Imagine if they'd waited until it was really necessary.
    • Re:Thank you! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mumblestheclown (569987) on Monday October 28, 2002 @04:07AM (#4545887)
      How ironic that you mention the Constitution, when Freenet's de facto purpose is to subvert the following:

      Article I, Section 8. Powers of Congress

      The Congress shall have the power ...

      [paragraph 8] To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

      • Re:Thank you! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by glubbs (526448) <jimbalaya@@@mindless...com> on Monday October 28, 2002 @04:11AM (#4545902)
        I have to point to this:
        to authors and inventors
        In other words: NOT to the people who make mony off of the authors and inventors.
        • Re:Thank you! (Score:3, Insightful)

          Likewise the rest:
          To promote the progress of science and useful arts, (NOT the authors, inventors, or corps.s)
          by securing for limited times (not effectively forever)
          to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;
      • Re:Thank you! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mcubed (556032) on Monday October 28, 2002 @04:52AM (#4545997) Homepage

        How ironic that you mention the Constitution, when Freenet's de facto purpose is to subvert the following:

        I might almost agree with you, had Congress not already subverted it by turning copyright from a limited monopoly into an effectively unending one. So now it becomes a question of "which subversion of the Copyright Clause is better?" My vote goes to Freenet & P2P.

        Michael

  • by chrisseaton (573490) on Monday October 28, 2002 @04:02AM (#4545868) Homepage

    Freenet is free software designed to ensure true freedom of communication over the Internet. It allows anybody to publish and read information with complete anonymity. Nobody controls Freenet, not even its creators, meaning that the system is not vulnerable to manipulation or shutdown.

    Yeah.... but what is it? P2P? Blogger? Messenger?

    • by blonde rser (253047) on Monday October 28, 2002 @04:38AM (#4545962) Homepage
      Yeah.... but what is it? P2P? Blogger? Messenger?

      As I understand it, it is none of those things... but it can facilitate those things. What it is is kind of a different paradigm for the internet. At the moment with the internet I type in an address and I get data from the person who has registered that address - if he has the bandwidth. I know who is sending the info and who posted it. And if that person has spare bandwidth or is being /.'ed and needs more bandwidth, well that's just tough. With freenet I put info on freenet that is connected to some sort of name (I don't fully get how that works). Then freenet somehow determines where to actually store that data, in parts, depending on demand and who running freenet has bandwidth; ie what freenet clients to store parts of the file. Then if somebody is running freenet they can run some 3rd party freenet client (or any normal internet client I think) and enter 127.0.0.1:8888 followed by the name of the link. This queries freenet (that is running on your computer) and figures out where that data is stored and the most efficient way to retrieve it. One of the interesting things is nobody knows what data is being stored on there computer so nobody can feel guilty for that info. Of course that cuts both ways. You may feel guilty for every bit of naughty data spread by freenet because it may have come from your computer.

      If I'm wrong anywhere please correct. Or if I'm right but kind of shaky please reassure me. Hope this helps
      • by PerryMason (535019) on Monday October 28, 2002 @05:41AM (#4546082)
        One of the interesting things is nobody knows what data is being stored on there (sic) computer

        The one thing that always makes me wonder with Freenet is the potential liability for hosting 'questionable' content. If for instance, my node is used for storing some part of some kiddy pr0n and the authorities decide for whatever reason to inspect my PCs, how am I to prove that I didn't source the file myself. In fact, by hosting a node, it could be argued that I am soliciting for files of that nature.

        Whilst the files are presumably encrypted in transit and on disk, its still an illegal file stored on my system.

        Makes you think anyway....
        • by Hast (24833)
          The point is that the data on your disc in encrypted. Neither you nor the authorities are going to be able to actually find out which specific files (or parts of files) Freenet has stored on your hdd.
          • I'm sorry, but its not beyond the realms of possibility to decrypt an encrypted file.

            What algorithms do they use? Do you know for sure that there aren't backdoors in those algorithms? I mean personally I dont think that the NSA permitted 128 bit encryption to be exported outside the states if they didnt have some backdoor to decrypt without brute-forcing.

            Add to this that there are some legislatures in the world who arent keen on people having ANY form of encrypted file on their systems. The existence of anything encrypted thus points a finger of guilt regardless of the content.

            Take for instance China, where Freenet's benefits would me most keenly appreciated. They arent even permitted to download the thing under export restrictions. So someone who _did_ download and use it would be easily detected; just follow the encrypted traffic flow.
            • I dont think that the NSA permitted 128 bit encryption to be exported outside the states if they didnt have some backdoor to decrypt without brute-forcing.

              Believe me, the rest of the world doesn't care what the NSA does. Encryption technology doesn't always originate in the USA you know!

              Besides, society has enough problems trying to regulate international trade in drugs, weapons and even people. No one is going to care about breaking these stupid, internet-ignorant anti-export laws.

            • by grainofsand (548591) <grainofsand AT gmail DOT com> on Monday October 28, 2002 @07:39AM (#4546317)
              I am currently living in Beijing, China and just tried to access the freenet webpage. Blocked of course. Google searches for "freenet" return 404.
        • by Greg W. (15623) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:45AM (#4546750) Homepage

          If for instance, my node is used for storing some part of some kiddy pr0n and the authorities decide for whatever reason to inspect my PCs, how am I to prove that I didn't source the file myself.

          Your question should be modded up. It's one of the most important ones.

          The idea behind Freenet's anonymity is plausible deniability. But before I can go into what that means, I need to describe how Freenet works in a little more detail.

          There are two different types of Freenet nodes: permanent and transient. If you run a permanent node, it means that you're a full participant in the Freenet network. Your node acts as storage and as a router for requests and inserts. Data moves through Freenet in the form of keys, which are basically the same as files (or in some cases, segments of files) but with cryptic names. Your node caches all the keys that it sees (with least recently used keys being deleted when the node's data store is full, with "full" being defined by the amount of space you choose to let it consume).

          Let's say Alice inserts two files into Freenet: the text of Mein Kampf and a picture of Adolf Hitler. She does this using her Freenet node, specifying a hops to live value on the insert. This HTL value is usually around 10 to 15, and is the number of other Freenet nodes that must be talked to. Each node that processes Alice's request decreases the HTL and passes it on to another node. When the last node to get the request sees that HTL is 1, and it still hasn't found Alice's file (because she's the first person to insert it), it returns Data Not Found to the previous node, which passes it to the previous node, etc., all the way back to Alice.

          Alice's node gets the "failure" message back, and then sends actual copies of the data files back down the chain. Thus, the files are inserted into Freenet.

          Now, this is where the plausible deniability comes in: the data coming from Alice's node looks just like the data coming from all the other nodes she talked to during the request/insert process. There's no way to distinguish between the node that originated the request and a node that's simply passing the request along on someone else's behalf. So if someone were to sniff the traffic coming from Alice's machine and decrypt it and discover that her machine was inserting Mein Kampf, then she could claim that she had no knowledge of it; that her machine was simply routing an insert by someone else.

          The same goes for requests. Suppose Bob stumbles upon a key which claims to be an ISO image of Windows 2000 Professional and requests a copy of it. His node generates a request with a certain HTL (generally 15 or more for requests), and it's passed along to other nodes until one of them either finds the key, or runs out of hops. The final result (either an error condition or the key he requested) is sent back to Bob's node.

          But Bob could claim that he wasn't the person who originally requested that key -- he could say that his node was simply routing someone else's request, and he had no knowledge of it.

          The same thing goes for files inside the local node's data store. Just because your node is storing a copy of a nude photo of Ronald Reagan doesn't necessarily mean that you either inserted or requested that file. Your node might simply have acted as a router for someone else's activity, and cached a copy of the key.

          Now, all of this protection goes straight out the window if you run a transient node. Transient nodes don't ever act as routers for other nodes -- they're pure leeches. Anything on a transient node is there because you, the node operator, requested or inserted it there. You have no plausible deniability any more.

          This explanation is a bit vague, and for that I apologize. The actual routing algorithms and encryption ciphers are a bit beyond my understanding at this time. If you have more detailed questions about how Freenet works, please check the Freenet mailing lists.

          • by sql*kitten (1359) on Monday October 28, 2002 @11:52AM (#4548409)
            Now, this is where the plausible deniability comes in: the data coming from Alice's node looks just like the data coming from all the other nodes she talked to during the request/insert process. There's no way to distinguish between the node that originated the request and a node that's simply passing the request along on someone else's behalf.

            Uhh, yes there is. Just correlate requests going into and out from the node, if you're snooping all the traffic anyway. You can probably even do this by looking at the timings, if it's encrypted. If you see an outbound request with no inbound request in the n preceding milliseconds (established empirically) then it's pretty obvious that it was a request originating at that node. Want to know what the content is? Just replay the same request yourself, see what you get, and see which nodes talk to you.

            Freenet might work if you only look at one-way traffic from one node at a time, but the people that it was built to circumvent - governments - have the resources to take a wider view.
            • by Harik (4023)
              Uhh, yes there is. Just correlate requests going into and out from the node, if you're snooping all the traffic anyway. You can probably even do this by looking at the timings, if it's encrypted. If you see an outbound request with no inbound request in the n preceding milliseconds (established empirically) then it's pretty obvious that it was a request originating at that node.

              Ok, you're wrong here on some points. First off, it's encrypted traffic so you can't just sniff. You'd have to be running a node yourself and hope they contacted you. Secondly, an inbound request can (and often does) make multiple outbound requests. If a node returns DataNotFound, and the node has another reference to try, it detracts the HTL and shoots it in a different direction. (Explanation simplified)

              That foils straight-up traffic analysis. Also, it takes time to route requests in freenet, and the average node is getting 1-2 requests/second, so it's pretty tough to correlate.

              Want to know what the content is? Just replay the same request yourself, see what you get, and see which nodes talk to you.

              Nice try. Freenet keys are composed of two parts: the address (content hash, name hash or key-signed name hash) and the decryption key. If you sniff, you have nothing. If you're a cancer node, you have a routing key and no way to decrypt it.

              Freenet might work if you only look at one-way traffic from one node at a time, but the people that it was built to circumvent - governments - have the resources to take a wider view.
              Governments generally have found it's cheaper and easier to boot a door down then spend months trying to crack encrypted traffic. Even to the point of putting keyloggers on a machine to get passwords rather then trying to crack it themselves.
      • Some small things (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Freenet documentation does a whole lot better job explaining how everything works.

        You should also visit Nubile-freesite (site in freenet) for which you can find a link from many freenet sites.

        Basic information in freenet is stored in CHKs (Content Hash Keys) - they can be found when requested with their contents hash key. Content itself is encrypted and encryption key is stored in CHKs.

        This means that unless you know what you're looking for, you can't see it.

        There are also KSKs which are basicly named redirects to CHKs. They are not secure as they are not signed by any keys and everyone could change them by inserting a new KSK with the same name (and hope they do not collide in the network).

        There also also SSKs which are protected with public/private key architecture. They are requested with public key and inserted with private key. All freesites use SSKs (with at least one exception, the anarchy-freesite wich is a KSK keyspace).

        Large content can be split to multiple parts and then clued together using 'standard' format splitfiles. This basicly is that you insert all the parts and one additional file that tells

        Program listening in 127.0.0.1:8888 is fproxy (internal in fred - freenet reference daemon) which does most of the nasty work with keys. It accepts request fot all previously mentioned key types and passes them to browser.

        Other programs which want to access freenet should do it with another port that talks FCP (Freenet Client Protocol). FCP is an ASCII protocol - very easy to use.

        Read more from fine manuals :)
  • by charon_on_acheron (519983) on Monday October 28, 2002 @04:04AM (#4545878) Homepage
    I thought that Freenet just received a large 'donation' from Abiword's PayPal account a few weeks ago. :^)
  • by fleppir (563959) <arnic.hi@is> on Monday October 28, 2002 @04:16AM (#4545909) Homepage Journal
    ... is a little lacking. Having dl'ded and installed the program, I can't seem to connect to anything. Helpfiles are not helpful. Being a computer geek and not getting it running in 2 minutes flat annoys me to no end. Cool Idea thou.
  • by Big Mark (575945) on Monday October 28, 2002 @04:18AM (#4545915)
    Please remember NOT to set yourself as anything other than a transient node, unless you have a great big fat unfirewalled Internet pipe and never turn your PC off.

    Really. There is nothing more annoying than broken links on Freenet which takes ages to resolve.
    • wrong (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 28, 2002 @04:27AM (#4545944)
      Please set your node up as non-transient as long as you're online most of the time (where most is something like 75% and above). The network desperately needs non-transient nodes (high bandwidth is not that important). Also, your anonymity is a lot higher when running a non-transient node.
    • I tried freenet a while ago and that was the problem with it, waiting ages for a page to resolve and most of the time it didnt appear at all. I'll check out this version when I get a chance, it cant be worse than the one I tried.
      I love the idea though, the power for anyone to publish everywhere without restriction.
  • On the 11th of November, Matthew will no longer be able to work full-time unless more people donate

    On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, let's take this time to remember our veteran programs, without whom we wouldn't have freedom of software. Don your antiquated RAM chips on your lapel and be proud to be a programmer.
  • by blonde rser (253047) on Monday October 28, 2002 @04:20AM (#4545917) Homepage
    the package appears to not be gzipped (despite the suffix). Hence use tar -xf freenet-0.5.0.tgz. Also the shell scripts in the package don't have the proper executable attributes set so that also needs to be modified. After that just follow the instructions :)
    • by Anonymous Coward
      This sounds more like you're using a braindead browser (some older versions of netscape, for instance) that decompress gzipped files transparently without changing the extension.
  • A quick description (Score:5, Informative)

    by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Monday October 28, 2002 @04:21AM (#4545922) Homepage
    For those who have never heard of FreeNet, here's a quick rundown.

    FreeNet is essentially the bulletproof P2P data exchange. It's practically impossible to destroy, or track down people who are on it. It is NOT designed for swapping MP3s or porn for those who have got the wrong idea, it's purpose is (as the name implies) to guarantee freedom of speech by allowing totally anonymous yet scalable publishing.

    Scalable? Yes, one of the more interesting aspects of Freenet is it's intelligent caching and retrieval system. This isn't Gnutella, when you request a file it traverses the nodes being cached at each level. Therefore, the more a file is requested, the more distributed it becomes and the easier it becomes to get to - the opposite of the web.

    FreeNet takes the form of a web for new users, you can "surf" the FreeWeb, and there was at one point a google-style search engine for it, I have no idea if that's the case. Some of the problems I remember were that it was often hard or impossible to reach certain pages as they hadn't propagated enough to be found before the timeouts were hit, and even then the timeouts were pretty high (like 2 minutes). On the more popular sites the owners would have to manually request it from different parts of the FreeNet in order to make it accessible.

    Another problem was that because nothing can ever be deleted from the FreeNet once published, it was hard to do news/blog style sites: at the time they used JavaScript date based redirects, I think that shows how long ago I used it. Suffice to say that I'll be trying this release with interest.

    • by yatest5 (455123) on Monday October 28, 2002 @04:24AM (#4545936) Homepage
      "designed for swapping MP3s or porn for those who have got the wrong idea, it's purpose is (as the name implies) to guarantee freedom of speech by allowing totally anonymous yet scalable publishing"

      Yes, I cannot see how anonymous posting would be useful for porn or MP3's.
      • Yes, I cannot see how anonymous posting would be useful for porn or MP3's.

        Although of course you could use it for trading porn/mp3s, in reality the upload/propagate nature of it means that it's not simply a case of "publishing" a folder, you have to explicitly upload files to it. Due to the lack of a built in search protocol (hence the existance of search engines for it) you'd be much better off using Kazaa.

        • by yatest5 (455123)
          Not if you wanted to distribute / collect illegal pornogaphy, you wouldn't.

          Incidentally, I don't run freenet - before the police come knocking down my door.
    • by wossName (24185)
      "nothing can ever be deleted from the FreeNet"

      That's not how I understood it. AFAIK, everything disappears automatically if nobody requests it. Even your own files, because instead of sharing a folder, you upload stuff to your datastore, which is part of the distributed cache that is Freenet. Am I wrong ?
      • That's correct. There are OTOH projects which do aim to preserve data. E.g. Eternity Service [cypherspace.org] use distributed servers to do it.
      • by Uruk (4907) on Monday October 28, 2002 @08:57AM (#4546858)
        You are right - but what's meant by the statement "nothing can be deleted" is that others can't take things out of the network. Your own node may take something out of the network by choice at some point.

        The algorithm removes the least recently used file in the datastore when the store fills up, and has a bias towards larger files.

        If you insert content that is popular and gets requested though, it's not possible to delete it even if you (the author) wants to
    • It is NOT designed for swapping MP3s or porn for those who have got the wrong idea,



      Before anyone gets misled, let me state for the record that Freenet does have porn and MP3s in it. In fact, it's quite a good platform for publishing collections of pornographic images. (It's not quite as good for MP3s and Oggs because they're much larger files. But it has been successfully used for that purpose. It may even have been used successfully for the next order of magnitude (ISO images, movies), but I can't confirm or deny that.)



      So if you're reading this wondering if Freenet is going to have any pr0n -- yes, it does. But you may be somewhat disappointed if you're looking for huge MP3 collections.

  • by krazyninja (447747) on Monday October 28, 2002 @04:22AM (#4545926)
    From the explorers area of the freenet pages [freenetproject.org]:
    6. Isn't censorship sometimes necessary? ..Governments seek to prevent people from advocating ideas which are deemed damaging to society....The second argument is that this "good" censorship is counter-productive even when it does not leak into other areas. For example, it is generally more effective when trying to persuade someone of something to present them with the arguments against it, and then answer those arguments....

    But what about questions that are not answerable? For instance, some anonymous person "places" a file containing the source codes for all the windows operating systems+MATHEMATICA source code+xyz corporations major software. The software companies attitude could be bad, and mainly oriented towards profit and monopoly. But do even such companies deserve such a death blow? At one stroke, their entire product goes down the drain.
    While I am not against freenet, it is not without its disadvantages. Taken to its limits, nobody can control us, yah, but nobody can control this "network" either!

    • by AlCoHoLiC (67938) on Monday October 28, 2002 @06:04AM (#4546131)
      Getting source code doesn't mean that entire product goes down the drain. I legally cannot start to sell my own WinXP clone compiled from original source code. There're laws and other measures that prevents such practices.

      Information (knowledge) itself isn't good or bad. It's just that: human knowledge. It's entirely upon human being what he does with the knowledge. Man should be held accountable for his deeds not for what he knows.

      I know how to make explosives and yet I don't make them. Almost every high school student knows how to make nuke and (surprise, surprise) almost nobody is trying to make one. Just because I possess the information (in your case the source code) it doesn't mean I'm criminal. Nobody has the right to tell me what I'm allowed to know. And that's exactly what Big Brother is trying to do - prevent people from having the information he doesn't want them to know, and to criminalize people who possess such kind of information. Freenet is designed to fight this information slavery.
    • by deblau (68023) <slashdot.25.flickboy@spamgourmet.com> on Monday October 28, 2002 @06:15AM (#4546156) Journal
      The software companies attitude could be bad, and mainly oriented towards profit and monopoly. But do even such companies deserve such a death blow? At one stroke, their entire product goes down the drain.

      This observation is inevitable. Let's do some basic business logic:

      1. [Assume] Businesses need recurring revenue (i.e. you can only burn VC $ for so long)
      2. [Assume] As long as your hardware doesn't crap out, software lifetime is infinite
      3. [Assume] You have a finite customer base
      4. [Assume] If you keep improving your software, eventually it will do everything your customers want
      5. [Therefore] You can only sell so many copies of software to your customers before they don't need you any more
      6. [Therefore] Software as a product is only good for a limited amount of money, and that isn't recurring
      7. [Conclusion] Software as a product is not a viable business model in the long-run
      Microsoft is having this problem right now with their operating systems. See, Windows 95 is good enough for most people. It runs AOL/MSN, Word, Outlook Express, Solitaire, and their printer. What more do they need? The MS solution has been to release a new OS every 2 years and hype the hell out of it, as well as purposely not provide patches for their older versions to support newer hardware, thus forcing software upgrades when old boxes die (since the older hardware isn't sold any more). The problem is, people are catching on, and new OS sales are fewer and fewer these days. The same could probably be said for purchases of Office. Who needs more Excel or Powerpoint templates? Anyone?

      The product business is fine if the product has a finite lifetime. Take housing, for instance. People will always need to repair and build houses, because they weather. Software doesn't, which means the only money to be made long-term on software is in support. The same argument applies to patents and other 'intellectual property'. Dolby has the right idea: come up with an idea, and license it until the end of time.

      Companies that sell a product that doesn't break have already signed up for their death blow. Distributing the software online only speeds it up.

  • DMCA RIAA Bush... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by e8johan (605347) on Monday October 28, 2002 @04:23AM (#4545930) Homepage Journal
    Isn't this the nightmare of all anti-freedom lobbyist organisations: Any one can publish anything, while still being anonymous.
    IMHO there are three optional futures:

    * It is deemed illegal and shut down.

    * It is stopped by Palladium and shut down.

    * All developers and users are sued and it is shut down.

    I still wounder why everything good has to go.
  • Paypal . (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shri (17709) <{shriramc} {at} {gmail.com}> on Monday October 28, 2002 @04:26AM (#4545942) Homepage
    Ugh! Bad time to be asking for donations via Paypal!
    • Re:Paypal . (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tanveer1979 (530624)
      Ugh! Bad time to be asking for donations via Paypal!

      Give them a break. They didnt deliberately do it. Crackers have brought down the internet a couple of years back. Do yo u stop using it? OpenSSL had a security flaw.. Did people stop using it. The mantra "if it is cracked stop using it" is not in the spirit of the net. If it is broken, get it fixed, find out why it got broken.

      This is the first incident of its kind, so dont write of paypal, unless of course they are not at all willing to take any corrective or remedial action.
  • Why I don't use it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wossName (24185) on Monday October 28, 2002 @04:32AM (#4545955)
    The idea of Freenet is really great, but there were two things in the implementation that really annoyed me:

    1) I cannot control what is in my datastore. Free speech or not, I'm not going to cache your kiddieporn for you. So if I know that there's a file I don't want, give me a way to blacklist it. If it's encrypted then it's another story.

    2) My files aren't shared permanently. If nobody requests the files I injected, they are thrown out after a while, even if my node is online 24/7. That's just plain stupid.

    If I'm wrong or this has changed, please feel free to correct me.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      1) I cannot control what is in my datastore. Free speech or not, I'm not going to cache your kiddieporn for you. So if I know that there's a file I don't want, give me a way to blacklist it. If it's encrypted then it's another story.

      The whole point of freenet is that all speech is free. Your first point goes against those ideals by judging what should and should not be on freenet. By allowing people to filter their content, you would break the system. Doing so would limit material from ever even getting the chance to spread, which according to you would be good in this case, but how could you limit it to just kiddie porn? Can't happen.

    • 1) I cannot control what is in my datastore. Free speech or not, I'm not going to cache your kiddieporn for you. So if I know that there's a file I don't want, give me a way to blacklist it. If it's encrypted then it's another story.

      That's the whole point. If people could figure out what was in your data store, then the concept of free speech would be meaningless as you could be forced to hand over lists of content and then have it removed. Having the owner not able to see is the only way of guaranteeing that content cannot be deleted.

      2) My files aren't shared permanently. If nobody requests the files I injected, they are thrown out after a while, even if my node is online 24/7. That's just plain stupid.

      If you run a non-transient node this isn't the case, but this is like running a web server, so you need a 24/7 machine with lots of bandwidth. If you publish data that is popular, and then go offline however, that data is still available - it's more like the web than Gnutella.

    • by aqua (3874) on Monday October 28, 2002 @05:01AM (#4546011)
      1) I cannot control what is in my datastore. Free speech or not, I'm not going to cache your kiddieporn for you. So if I know that there's a file I don't want, give me a way to blacklist it. If it's encrypted then it's another story.

      It is. The store is cryptographically opaque; you don't know what you're hosting. Whether it's possible to identify whether a particular item is in the store when you know its key, I'm not sure.

      2) My files aren't shared permanently. If nobody requests the files I injected, they are thrown out after a while, even if my node is online 24/7. That's just plain stupid.

      It's necessary for a distributed-storage system where the injection point needs to be distanced from the storage points. Data flows to where it's being requested, so you could keep an item in your own store by requesting it automatically every so often. It won't go anywhere else, but it will stay in the keyspace should it ever be requested later on. You could do much the same thing to prolong the longevity of someone else's data that you valued -- but again, it would tend to live only on your own node if no other nodes were requesting it.

      • Whether it's possible to identify whether a particular item is in the store when you know its key, I'm not sure.

        Well it must be, otherwise how would a server know whether to answer a request?

        • True. But it should be noted that the keys are hashes, so there is no way for you to know what other people are searching for. Descriptions of the protocol can be found in the paper [freenetproject.org] on Freenet. (That is not the original paper, but a revised version.)

          They also adress the "I don't want to have kiddyporn on my computer" in the FAQ:
          The true test of someone who claims to believe in Freedom of Speech is whether they tolerate speech which they disagree with, or even find disgusting. If this is not acceptable to you, you should not run a Freenet node.

          There is another thing you can do. Since content in Freenet is available as long as its popular, you can help limit the popularity of whatever information you do not like. For example, if you do not want a file to spread you should not request it and tell everyone you know not to request that specific key.


          There has been attacks suggested though. E.g. using the "time to live" variable in order to probe a specific node for what data it stores. The same technique could be done to probe your local store. I'm not sure if these issues have been adressed yet.
          • The true test of someone who claims to believe in Freedom of Speech is whether they tolerate speech which they disagree with, or even find disgusting. If this is not acceptable to you, you should not run a Freenet node.

            Hosting kiddie porn is not a freedom of speech issue, it is a legal one. (and etchical one, and moral one). Criminal activity is not protected speech under the 1st Amendment.

            It sounds like they should replace Freedom of Speech with Anarchy in the FAQ.
            • The first amendment isn't authorative everywhere. Part of why freenet exists is to provide a means of communication which is purely free and protected, so as to be unstoppable by authority, in part because authority can become corrupted. It is a safeguard on the political system. Could freenet be abused? Well yes it could. Do we need something like this? God willing we never will, but then whoever hopes they need a fire extinguisher. Freenet is just an experiment until someone manages to dissolve the constitution. Then it becomes a necessary tool. At which point it becomes illegal. It would seem that the only societies that would allow freenet are those free enough not to need it yet. So perhaps its most useful time frame would be immediately after a coup, but before the regime has consolidated power.
            • by karlm (158591)
              Hosting kiddie porn is not a freedom of speech issue, it is a legal one. (and etchical one, and moral one). Criminal activity is not protected speech under the 1st Amendment.

              Umm... you would be referring to the extent to which the U.S. Constitution guarantees free speech. Don't confuse that with free speech itself. How would you classify a communist pamphlet?

              Your viewpoint is also very U.S.-centric. Mathew Toesland is in Britain, btw.

              If your definition of free speach is legal speech, what will you do if your government outlawed criticism of its policies, or makes it illegal to greet anyone with anthing besides "Heil Hitler"? Do you think the U.S. will never go through another period of McCarthyism?

              Don't get me wrong... I can see where you're comming from. Personally, I think think there's no lower form of human being than one who takes pleasure at the expense of a child. I would not be at all opposed to life sentances for producers of child pornography. However, when you step back and look at all of the things they would like to make it illegal to say, (talk to Emanuel Goldstein, Eeeeeed Felton, Dmitry Sklyarov, et. al.) you begin to wonder what fundamentally makes us different from the Taliban.

              Look at all the crap Phil Zimmerman went through to bring you PGP. That was legal speech, yet the U.S. Government harassed the hell out of him. Let's not forget what happened to Communist and even suspectedCommunists durrin the Red Scare. Don't forget that Communist propeganda was outlawed then too.

    • by McFiegolx (168360)
      The idea of Freenet is really great, but there were two things in the implementation that really annoyed me:

      Yes but these aren't bugs they are a fundemental parts of the design.

      1) I cannot control what is in my datastore...

      Then neither can anyone else, if a blacklist was implemented (keys a node should not cache) then Evil Organisation of your choice (RIAA,FBI,MI5), could publish a blacklist that you MUST use.

      2) My files aren't shared permanently..

      Because its not just about storage but about routing. The requesting of files should cause data to "migrate" across the network allowing for specialisation. The caching and expiring of data is a fundemental part of this process. It is this that gives the scalability thats I feel is lacking in other P2P networks.

  • no legitimate use (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Twirlip of the Mists (615030) <twirlipofthemists@yahoo.com> on Monday October 28, 2002 @04:47AM (#4545985)
    I know I'm going to get moderated back to the stone age for saying this, but I suspect that I'm not the only one thinking it. I'm having a very hard time imagining any nontrivial legitimate use for this technology.

    Consider for just a minute that given a situation in which one individual distributes material to which another individual or group objects, most of the time there's a good reason for the objection. Maybe the material being distributed is copyrighted (like movies or music), maybe it's dangerous (like blueprints to a nuclear reactor), maybe it's offensive (like child pornography). Most of the time when the distribution of material is opposed, there's a good-- or at least understandable-- reason for it.

    Now, it's possible to imagine a scenario in which it might be justifiable, or even imperative, to distribute certain pieces of information. "Soylent Green is people" is a silly example, but a more realistic one might be distributing news of the outside world to a society whose media is heavily controlled. But in that sort of scenario, is the Internet really going to be a useful communication pathway? Assuming the people who need the media have access to the Internet at all, what are the chances that they're going to have unrestricted access to the network of Freenet servers? If you think about it, I think you'll agree that it sounds pretty unlikely.

    What I'm saying is this: it sounds to me like there's no realistic, nontrivial, legitimate use for this software. The idea sounds cool on the surface, but I have some serious doubts about its practicality.
    • by R.Caley (126968) on Monday October 28, 2002 @05:02AM (#4546015)
      I'm having a very hard time imagining any nontrivial legitimate use for this technology.


      The first which comes to mind is whistle blowing.


      OTOH, I think the most likely impact on freedom of speech is

      1. A resonable number of people start using it
      2. It becomes flooded with stolen goods and kiddie porn
      3. The powers that be make a fuss.
      4. They use it as an excuse to pass sweeping anti-encrypton (etc) laws.
      5. We have all taken a big step backwards.


      On the whole, I think in resonably open societies, suc a the US and Uk still are, the only sane option is `publish and be damned'. That way they at least have to be somewhat public in acting against you. If you hide, they can attack you in hiding, perhaps by attacking everyone who looks a little like you.

    • Re:no legitimate use (Score:5, Informative)

      by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Monday October 28, 2002 @05:09AM (#4546026) Homepage
      What I'm saying is this: it sounds to me like there's no realistic, nontrivial, legitimate use for this software. The idea sounds cool on the surface, but I have some serious doubts about its practicality.

      On the contrary, FreeNet is used by a lot of Chinese people as it's a good way of distributing information without being traced. Right now freedom of speech may not be a problem for us, but we're lucky.

    • by aqua (3874) on Monday October 28, 2002 @05:11AM (#4546032)
      Anonymous publication and retrieval are tools for the politically oppressed. Freenet could, in theory, make any information of value unsuppressible. F'rinstance, an outlawed political group publishing a manifesto, someone reporting the actions of a corrupt government, that sort of thing. Suppose that during the demonstrations in Tiennamen Square, there had been only one camera in private hands; getting that video out would be a perfect job for Freenet.

      For which reason, tools like Freenet are banned in China and a number of other nations.

      There does exist a tricky bit of how to deliver such technologies to the people in need of them; possession of crypto is still a crime in much of the world, much less crypto intended to do that which oppressive regimes cannot allow.

      • Re:no legitimate use (Score:3, Informative)

        by Maniakes (216039)
        Anonymous publication and retrieval are tools for the politically oppressed. Freenet could, in theory, make any information of value unsuppressible. F'rinstance, an outlawed political group publishing a manifesto, someone reporting the actions of a corrupt government, that sort of thing. Suppose that during the demonstrations in Tiennamen Square, there had been only one camera in private hands; getting that video out would be a perfect job for Freenet.

        What's wrong with usenet for anonymous publication? Posting is over SMTP, so you can put whatever you want in the from block, and you can post through any public SMTP server you want. Once you post, the document is rapidly spread throughout the world's news servers and is permenantly cached by several servers.

        The only problem I see with usenet is that your local ISP has a carnivore-like packet scanner, the MIB can catch you in the act of posting. You'd need to encrypt your message and send it to a confederate who decrypts it and posts it to usenet.

        BTW, usenet is great for piracy as well. They'll never shut down alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.*, alt.binaries.multimedia, alt.binaries.warez.*, and alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.*. They're hosted by the ISPs, and the ISPs can use the phone company defence (ie, "We provide a medium for legitimate communication. Not our fault if people abuse it").
        • Re:no legitimate use (Score:3, Informative)

          by R.Caley (126968)
          What's wrong with usenet for anonymous publication? Posting is over SMTP,

          No, usually NNTP.

          so you can put whatever you want in the from block, and you can post through any public SMTP server you want.

          Which will (potentially) log where you came in from. Spooks get NNTP server people to hand over logs (or, if they have any sense, they are running most of the public posting enabled NNTP servers), talk to your ISP to see who was dialed in on that line and come pay you a visit.

          Yes, you can be more indirect etc. but so can they, will you bet your lievelihood (or in some countries your life) on your ability to be better than their staff?

          The penet vs scientology [eff.org] case is an example of what even a private organisation can do in one of the more free states of the world.

    • by blkwolf (18520) on Monday October 28, 2002 @05:17AM (#4546043) Homepage
      How about Fulan Gong practitioners being able to post or read information about their religion in a country that bans and outlaws it?

      How about women in the middle east being able to safely find information about women's rights in other countries, and possibly even using such a network as medium for creating political change in their own countries?

      How about cuban, south african, (name your favorite country here) being able to safely speak out against atrocities performed by their own governments or provide proof of such acts without fear of retaliation?

      How about americans being able to express their disagreement with current "anti-terrorist" laws or actions of the Bush administration without fear of ending up on some FBI list as a potential terrorist or disadent?

      • How about cuban, south african, (name your favorite country here)

        Since 1994, the South African government has been fairly enlightened about both the safety of it's own citizens and press freedom. I would insert 'Zimbabwe' there.

    • by Greg W. (15623)

      I'm having a very hard time imagining any nontrivial legitimate use for this technology.



      Free hosting for your daily web comic. You could even have normal World Wide Web URLs embedded in the Freenet page, pointing back to your web-store for merchandise, etc.



      Free hosting for your own music, that you composed and recorded yourself. See above for merchandising. ("If you like these lossily-compressed songs and want to buy a better-sounding copy on CD, click here....")



      Free hosting for a personal web log.



      I hope you see the pattern here. In addition to this pattern, we have:



      Uncensorable criticism of your employer, the Church of Scientology, the government of your country, etc.



      Uncensorable expression of unpopular opinions (hate speech, underage erotica, racism, sexism, negative religious speech of all flavors). Publishing these forms of expression on the traditional Web could lead to unpleasant repercussions.



      That's just "shooting from the hip". I'm sure someone with different needs and perspectives can come up with even more legitimate uses for this application. Use your imagination.

  • by spacefight (577141) on Monday October 28, 2002 @04:54AM (#4546002)
    As the Freenet Philosophy [freenetproject.org] says it all:
    You cannot guarantee freedom of speech and enforce copyright law
    This is exactly where the big media/entertainment industry should get to. Either you forget freedom of speech or you forget copywright laws over there in the U.S. or maybe your whole country will end in a bigger destater (internet related) that it already is.
    • This is exactly where the big media/entertainment industry should get to. Either you forget freedom of speech or you forget copywright laws over there in the U.S.

      If only Europe and the Far East would let us here in the U.S. If you read the Eldred v. Ashcroft transcript, you'll see that harmonization with European copyright term was an important part of the government's argument that the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act was perfectly legitimate.

      And then, of course, there are the RIAA Big Five:

      AOL Time Warner - U.S.
      Bertlesmann - Germany
      Vivendi - France
      EMI - U.K.
      Sony - Japan

      Michael

  • Paypal?! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mattbee (17533)
    Will they take a cheque, do you think? :)
    • Re:Paypal?! (Score:3, Informative)

      by e8johan (605347)
      Yes, just look at the donations page (liked from the article):

      Alternatively you can make donations by mail. Checks should be made payable to "Freenet Project Inc". The address for donations is:

      Freenet Project Inc.
      2554 Lincoln Blvd #712
      Venice, CA 90291


      Just fill in a nice figure (lots of zeroes), sign it and post it!
  • US Free Speech? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mobileone (615808) on Monday October 28, 2002 @05:27AM (#4546055)
    From the philosophy [freenetproject.org] page:

    in some European countries propagating information deemed to be racist is illegal.

    I often hear how US citicens have a constitutional right of free speech. This i not so.

    On the contrary the legal system in the US poses a number of restrictions on free speech. This includes libel, porn, patent and copyright laws. These laws all in some ways limit your right of free speech. So don't tell me that the US has free speech - because you don't.

    Besides I personally think it makes sense for racist propaganda to be illegal. Look at it as a sort of class action libel case. Also rasism is one of the key points governed by the UN Human Rights declaration.
  • How? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by neroz (449747)
    What is new? I don't want to download it just to find out that it is just as slow as before. _How_ is it "far superior"?
    • Re:How? (Score:4, Informative)

      by PerryMason (535019) on Monday October 28, 2002 @05:51AM (#4546107)
      [Whore mode on]

      Whats new in 0.5

      Far too many improvements have occured between the 0.3 series and the newly stable 0.5 release. A few highlights are in order, though:

      * Security
      o Strong public-key cryptography used for inter-node communication which prevents man-in-the-middle attacks.
      o Node announcement protocol which eliminates the need for any central directory.
      o File-sizes enforced to a power-of-two to prevent traffic analysis.
      * Publishing
      o Support for splitfiles and redundant encoding (improves reachability of large files)
      o Enhanced Freenet Client Protocol (FCP) for application developers.
      * Usability
      o FProxy (The Freenet Gateway) beautified and improved
      o Node Status information readily available
      * Resource Utilization
      o Improvements made in performance, memory usage, and threading.
      * Tool Support
      o Many third party tools ready for website authoring, bulletin-board style discussions, and some near completion like Internet Streaming Radio, and more.

      And perhaps most importantly, It Just Works!
  • quotation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jukal (523582) on Monday October 28, 2002 @05:37AM (#4546071) Journal
    Today is a role-play day. In my normal role, I like the idea of free speech, but lets take a role of those on the other side. Quoatation from the front page [freenetproject.org]:

    "'Daddy, where were you when they took freedom of the press away from the Internet?'"

    "Daddy, where were you when they took pictures of me playing naked on the beach when I was five, and when they posted me to the pedophilia board."

    The concept of free speech/press is not so simple.

    • Re:quotation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by amck (34780) on Monday October 28, 2002 @06:40AM (#4546205) Homepage
      Yes, its not so simple.

      Unfortunately, censorship increasingly is becoming easy (with Palladium, etc.). As information transfer gets increasingly automated (ie happens via the internet) then censorship becomes automated, too.

      We get forced to a hard choice: either censorship, or freedom. Freedom means not being able to censor the stuff we don't like (racism, paedophilia, etc). We have to look to other ways to fight these .

      If you believe in freedom of speech, then your're defending that right for your enemies, too. Free speech means spending some of the rest of my life countering the arguments of holocaust deniers,etc.

      But I'd rather do that than live without whistleblowers, in a world where employers, politicians, etc can use technologies like palladium to convince us all is right in the world, and stop us from hearing about, and _fixing_ the cruelties that exist. I don't believe for a second that most CEO's, etc. out there, given the tech. to prevent bad news of toxic waste , pollution, etc. problems in their factories killing people, would actually fix these problems if they could guarantee their workers could never tell anyone.

      Our daily quality of life is guaranteed by freedom of speech. Its not just for wierdo politicos.

  • the Dark Side (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TuringTest (533084) on Monday October 28, 2002 @05:49AM (#4546097) Journal
    The FreeNet principles are a good things, but I'm concerned about the possible wrong uses of freedom.

    I'm not worried about nazi propaganda, I think is a good thing that the normal citizen have access to this information in order to study it. But pedophilia images and personal information can also be published through this channel with no ways to remove it. My only hope in this case is that these crimes can be pursued by police through other normal ways.

    On the other hand, the fact is that the more popular information is better found, and the marginal info is hard to obtain.

    Moreover, the control of the net is in the hands of users. If this technology became a widely used criminal tool, people would decide to turn off their servers and the proyect would die. The purpose of the FreeNet will be decided by the majority.
    • Re:the Dark Side (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pongo000 (97357)
      But pedophilia images and personal information can also be published through this channel with no ways to remove it.

      This is the price you pay for freedom. You take the good and the bad, and hope the good outshines the bad.

      I'm sure the pediphiles and crackers would find other ways to distribute their shit if it weren't for Freenet.

    • by FreeUser (11483) on Monday October 28, 2002 @10:24AM (#4547641)
      The FreeNet principles are a good things, but I'm concerned about the possible wrong uses of freedom.

      "Wrong" as defined by whom?

      The Bush family thinks it is wrong to leak information emberrassing to the family out to the press, and they punish people severely (within their power) when they do so, yet what they do is clearly constitutional.

      Supporters of Clinton felt it was severely wrong to have private, political groups fund and possibly incite lawsuits by private citizens for poltical ends, but clearly that was within the bounds of the constitution.

      I'm not worried about nazi propaganda, I think is a good thing that the normal citizen have access to this information in order to study it.

      Ah. So are you the person who gets to tell us what is "right" and what is "wrong?"

      But pedophilia images and personal information can also be published through this channel with no ways to remove it. My only hope in this case is that these crimes can be pursued by police through other normal way.

      Pedophilia is an illness, and people who act on those feelings are criminals. It was never necessary, nor smart, to subvert the first amendment by making information (child pornography) illegal to possess. Illegal to sell, yes (that falls under the commerce clause), but making the possession of child pornography illegal was a serious mistake.

      Why? Two reasons I can think of off hand

      1) Possession doesn't imply any intent or even desire. Ever get child porno SPAM in your mailbox? How about child porno popups when surfing completely unrelated adult pornography, or perusing newsgroups some looser has spammed with their vile crap? Most people have, and have immediately become guilty under the law for possessing child pornography (it is copied to your machine's memory). Worse still, that crap is cached on people's hard drives, often without their knowledge, for extended periods of time.

      2) Any photographs are by definition evidence of a crime. Instead of banning information, such evidence could be routinely siezed, to be returned to its owner only after the crime (child molestation) has been solved. That would have had the twin benefit of not eroding the 1st amendment and building a strong incentive to squeel on the seller into the entire process.

      The "dark side" of freedom is a red herring. If we are free, we are free to do things others disagree with. The only limits should be when those freedoms reduce the freedoms of others (that was what the founding fathers intended, after all). IN other words, in the case of pedophelia, the crime is the molestation and harm to the child (and the selling of a regulated, in this case banned, product), not the mere possession of the photographs. However, the police can and should seize any such photographic or video evidence, and keep it on hand in a file, until the case is solved and the child raping perpetrators convicted and put in prison. Of course, such evidence couldn't be returned until said perps had exhausted all appeal opportunities .

      A little clear thinking would go a long way toward solving many of the 'problems' that come out of people's misuse of their liberties, without eliminating those liberties altogether. And those downsides which can't be eliminated through intelligent application of the law, within the bounds of the constitution, should be viewed as the price we are obligated to pay for liberty.

      A price, by the way, which is laughably small compared to that which our forfathers paid in establishing and protecting those freedoms in times past.
  • by tunah (530328) <sam&krayup,com> on Monday October 28, 2002 @05:51AM (#4546103) Homepage
    ... but at least it's not an ask slashdot :).

    Has anyone had any luck getting the proxy to bind to interfaces other than loopback? The docs refer to fcp.allowedHosts, fproxy.allowedHosts, and fproxy.bindAddress. I've tried all these, and fcp.bindAddress, in all possible combinations, binding to all interfaces and allowing all hosts. And yet still "telnet 127.0.0.1 8888" works, and telnet "192.168.2.1 8888" fails.

    Without this, I have to run a server on every computer on the network ;-(

    • try mainport.allowedHosts. FProxy and nodeinfo servlets are obsolete, mainport replaces both of them.
    • You're not supposed to bind it to other addresses.
      The point is that everything is proxyed through your local server (on 127.0.0.1); then traffic analysis can't tell the difference between traffic from your node and traffic proxy'd by your node (which communicates with the other servers).

      Yes, ideally in freenet there is a server on every computer in the network. (at the moment due to transient nodes, some/most aren't true servers), but of course, you're not running them, just your one.

      • Okay, I'm running a network at home with a DSL external modem/router/hub. There are 6 computers hooked up to it. 5 are transient workstations, one is a server that is on 24/7. These computers share an external IP.

        Does this mean I have to run slow transient servers on every node rather than just running off the proxy for the internal server?

        My network is closed and trusted, I don't see any privacy issue in distinguishing between computers (or not).

    • The docs refer to fcp.allowedHosts, fproxy.allowedHosts, and fproxy.bindAddress.



      The docs are out of date. The "fproxy" service was renamed to "mainport" about a month ago.




      mainport.port=8888
      mainport.bindAddress=*
      main port.allowedHosts=127.0.0.1,209.142.155.49,192 .168.2.1,192.168.2.2,192.168.2.4,192.168.2.20
      mai nport.params.servlet.1.params.tempDir=/home/fre enet/tmp/


      Also note that "nodeinfo" is gone. It got merged with fproxy into mainport. For more details, please read The Freenet Wiki FAQ [sourceforge.net].

  • by mrright (301778) <rudi AT lambda-computing DOT com> on Monday October 28, 2002 @06:16AM (#4546163) Homepage
    Why don't you do the same if you care about free speech? Freenet is already used by the chinese opposition. Some european countries like france, greece and germany already censor the internet, so freenet is also important for western "democracies".

    Some day soon something like freenet will be nessecary even in the US if you want to say something critical about bush or ashcroft without getting on some list of potential terrorists.

    regards,

    mrright
  • okay (Score:2, Funny)

    by khuber (5664)
    I think someone is storing something on my node. Well, you know what I mean. I am receiving data.

    What do you think it is? Beautiful artwork? Lovely poetry? pics of the goatse guy?

    -Kevin

  • DistribNet (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kevina (14659) on Monday October 28, 2002 @07:06AM (#4546244) Homepage
    Freenet is nice but it has some fundamental limitations. One of the biggest ones that it is all about the here and now. That is in freenet really popular documents are available quickly, not so popular ones may be available, and un-popular documents will just fall off the network. Freenet is nothing but a large cache and there is no real way to provide permanent storage of data. Freenet is also, in my view, overly concerned with anonymity, to the point where it hurts performance.

    My network, DistribNet attempts to address these issues and more. It has been a while since I have worked on it but I plan on putting some serious effort into it in the next couple of months. You an check it out at DistribNet.sf.net [sourceforge.net].

  • by jonadab (583620) on Monday October 28, 2002 @07:53AM (#4546398) Homepage Journal
    The problem with freenet is that its ideology gets in the way of any
    practical use anyone might want to put it to. You can agree with the
    ideology all you like, but fundamentally freenet is so concerned about
    providing free anonymous speech that in practice what it's going to
    provide is the ability to shout in the forest where nobody hears.

    I'll explain. Because they want everything to be anonymous, they
    made sure content gets spread across all nodes (flooding) and can
    not be (easily) traced to the given originating node. Consequently,
    there's no reliable addressing mechanism. You cannot, therefore,
    create content and make it available at a certain address all the
    time. All you can do is create the content and watch it get mixed
    with all the other content.

    Survivable? Sure, if you mean by that that as long as people run
    nodes they'll be sharing _something_, but if you want a particular
    piece of content to remain available, the only way to ensure that
    is to keep injecting it again and again and again -- like the way
    spammers use email. Otherwise, it goes through each node once,
    in the midst of whatever other content is being injected, and soon
    is gone. That model is _anything but_ survivable in practice.

    Sure, it may work now, when everyone running a freenet node is
    genuinely concerned about free speech and wants the system to work,
    but if it ever catches on, it will rapidly devolve into a shouting
    match, where injecting your content only a few times will ensure no
    one can find it in the sea of _stuff_ that gets repeatedly injected.
  • by duffbeer703 (177751) on Monday October 28, 2002 @07:59AM (#4546426)
    By allowing child pornography to circulate over it.

    As I understand it, freesites proliferate based on usage; the more people who look at something, the more widely it gets distributed.

    The main "portal" freesite contain several links to kiddie porn, and thus supports the distribution of it.

    I would love to run a machine or two as a freenet node, but am afraid that supporting that filth and subjecting myself to 20+ years in prision because I cannot control the cache on my computer is not acceptable.

    And before you say "it anonymous, nobody can see your encrypted cache"... I call bullshit. There are plenty of bugs out there, and I'm sure that governments have found flaws in encryption algorithms that the public doesn't know about.
    • By allowing child pornography to circulate over it.
      Unfortunately it would be impossible to build functionality into Freenet to prevent distribution of child pornography without subverting the entire purpose of the Freenet architecture.
      As I understand it, freesites proliferate based on usage; the more people who look at something, the more widely it gets distributed.

      The main "portal" freesite contain several links to kiddie porn, and thus supports the distribution of it.

      No, those who click on those links support distribution of the freesites they are visiting. If I tell you that child pornography is available in Belgium, and you go to Belgium to look at that child pornography, who is at fault - me or you?
  • by Rayban (13436) on Monday October 28, 2002 @09:55AM (#4547374) Homepage
    The freenet fund paid for a month of full-time development. This was enough to take it from a relatively unstable 0.4 to a nearly rock-solid 0.5. I think this is a great example of putting together some donations and giving them to someone who can spend eight hours a day looking at the code.

    I think this is similar in some ways to the street performer protocol.
  • for what?! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lavahead (81116) on Monday October 28, 2002 @02:12PM (#4549714)
    It's pretty bothersome to read comments that play out like the following:
    -- BEGIN SUMMARY --
    FreeNet can give anyone great anonymity.
    FreeNet can give anyone a safe public forum.
    FreeNet can help groups dodge oppressive governments/corporations.
    Wow! FreeNet is great!
    Oh wait. Did you say it might have child pornography? BAN/REGULATE/CENSOR IT.
    -- END SUMMARY --
    I can't believe people will use child pornography as a measuring stick for free speech. Does the magnitude of the problem even register here?

    Pros: allows individuals, groups, and (god help us & china) even nations to retain their pursuit of knowledge without allowing iron-fisted governments to control their opinions and votes through censorship, misinformation, and isolation.
    Cons: Allows a few deviants to propagate photo documentation of child abuse that hardly any normal person is interested in anyway.

    Do these even compare? Does anyone here really want to overthrow this network because a small minority of established pedophiles have a new, very slow, and somewhat complicated way to get their jollies?
    Speculation that it will be used to distribute nuclear bomb blueprints, etc, is just speculation. There's no evidence that this has been done on freenet, nor is there any good reason to believe these things couldn't be printed, put in a briefcase and walked over to the interested party.
    As long as information flow becomes more automated and regulated through computers, and as long as this software does what it claims to do, the need for freenet will rise. Don't even think this should be thrown away to pretend we're sticking it to child pornographers.
  • Ban it All (Score:4, Funny)

    by Henry V .009 (518000) on Monday October 28, 2002 @05:35PM (#4551579) Journal
    I have just calculated the bandwidth of a stationwagon full of CD's filled with child pornography. I propose that ban the U.S. interstate. And Volkswagon.
  • by karlm (158591) on Monday October 28, 2002 @10:31PM (#4553175) Homepage
    Today has been a huge stress test. It's 3 a.m. for poor Matt and he's still coding, making code tweaks from everythign he's learned today. Freenet has some problems if a huge percentage of the nodes pop on and off the network, because freenet nodes actually learn over time which neighbors to ask for which infrmation. A given node routes things very inneficiently when it first comes on line. Within the past few minutes they released freenet 0.5.0.1 with improved laod balancing code, please update when you read this... it will help everyone. (Yes,they know the README still sys 0.5 instead of 0.5.0.1. Give Matt a break.. It's been a long long long day for him.)

    I'd guess there will be some much improved builds comming out within the next couple of weeks as they learn more about today's stress test.

    In other news, supposedly the great firewall of China started filtering out http packets with "freenet" in them today. (Source is questionable.)

What is mind? No matter. What is matter? Never mind. -- Thomas Hewitt Key, 1799-1875

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