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Author Topic: Piggybacking a social media system to bootstap a F2F darknet  (Read 1066 times)
Nefario
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March 29, 2011, 05:51:35 AM
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I was thinking of using social media sites and general chat systems to bootstrap a F2F darknet.

One of the problems with Tor or I2P (and bitcoin) is that they must contact a central source in order to be able to connect to the network(they need to get the IP of another network node). Once connected a list of other network nodes can be given.

It is often these centralised components that are targeted and blocked first, the next targets are the entry nodes to the network(as is the case with Tor bridge nodes in China and Iran).

So my I have 2 ideas

1) Piggyback the social media sites in these countries to bootstrap.
Use services like QQ or RenRen(Chinese Facebook) to post node information such as ip address, allowing you to connect to that node. Once you have your connection you can run whatever encrypted services you like between nodes. It also means that it will instantly become a F2F network. Allowing users to converse in total privacy, and removing one method the government use spy on their citizens.

One problem with this that I see is how to post such information without the government being able to filter such messages and then kick the users off? It is assumed that they use baysian filtering so how could we get around this?

2)A distributed forum-Grapevine
Forums are popular in China, and often can be a source of activism, which is why they are so heavily moderated and censored by the government. I am thinking of a distributed forum.
Combining ideas from Usenet, bitcoin(hashing, Proof of work),git and some other technologies. Everytime you connect to a node you download the latest posts to the forum, anyone that connects to you will download the latest you have. Any post you make is automatically forwarded to other nodes you're connected to.

Each post will require a certain amount of hashing, a POW to prevent spammers from overloading the system. New user id's will also require a POW to prevent new id's from being created en-mass by spammers. Users will also be able to hide posts by users they don't like, that is posts from those users are not downloaded from their peer nodes.

The whole system could update in the same manner, so there is no central update site. Downloading the latest changes from their peers, signed by the developer.

Of course all communication between peers would be encrypted, and the system itself could be stored in an encrypted directory.

Combine this distributed forum with the piggyback system and you have a distributed, encrypted, censor-proof, social media system.

This could also be used for Facebook or twitter.

Comments?Ideas? Holes in my logic or problems with the idea?
Feedback on this would be most welcome, I don't want to waste my time on something unworkable.

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March 29, 2011, 09:39:10 AM
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I have been placing some thought and effort into this topic also.

The BtcFn (Bitcoin on Freenet) project was my first effort to allow Bitcoin to be run on a darknet.  https://www.bitcoin.org/smf/index.php?topic=2312.0

Freenet is designed to be a scalable darknet.   Shocked

Overall social networking is how anything is ever done. However face to face communication is the most effective, as it is best to trust your real life friends.

One off NP-Hard.
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March 29, 2011, 10:51:18 AM
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I have been placing some thought and effort into this topic also.

The BtcFn (Bitcoin on Freenet) project was my first effort to allow Bitcoin to be run on a darknet.  https://www.bitcoin.org/smf/index.php?topic=2312.0

Freenet is designed to be a scalable darknet.   Shocked

Overall social networking is how anything is ever done. However face to face communication is the most effective, as it is best to trust your real life friends.

The problem with Freenet is that it's not really a darknet, but an anonymous datastore. And freenet suffers from the same bootstrapping problems as Tor or I2P, it just handles it differently.

Instead of having a centralised server with a list of active nodes to contact (as in Tor and I2P, which as a result make the whole process relatively user friendly) Freenet actually requires the user to go out and find the ip addresses of an active node themselves. How do they do this? By finding some Freenet users on a forum somewhere and asking them.

It's certainly censorship resistant, as I've managed to get it while being here in China and to connect. And there is stuff on there that would get most people in most countries arrested for viewing (think child porn). But despite these nasty things being on the freenet network it's not really been targeted, or maybe it has but it's just so good at what it does that I've never noticed.

I want to make it so difficult for authorities to separate darknet traffic from legitimate traffic that they would have render their networks almost useless to block it.

To date most of the systems have been aimed at allowing Chinese or Iranians to connect to the west, but simply robbing them of the ability to monitor their citizens everyday communications would have a much greater effect. Without the state being able to put out the flames of indignation (with censorship) that spring up online quite frequently we might see a lot more anti-government activity.

I mean during the riots in XingJiang the state turned off all communications for the whole area for months, phones, mobiles, internet, everything. Just to quell unrest. Imagine it having to do this all over the country on a regular basis. The government as it stands would last for long, and much change for the better would be forced. Either that or another violent confrontation with civilians.

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March 29, 2011, 11:17:59 AM
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I want to make it so difficult for authorities to separate darknet traffic from legitimate traffic that they would have render their networks almost useless to block it.

I've had this idea of Outernet in my head. Basically a whole new network that has nothing to do with Internet or our current ip4 address space.

So a IP route from A -> Z could first go through the internet for hops A-H, then jump out to Outernet and take a few hops there and later return to back to the Internet and continue from it's way towards node Z.

The Outernet could be protocol/hardware agnostic. It could use something like WIFI/WIMAX/hobbyist radio frequencies to operate.

Will need to think about this more, sorry for any bad terms - I'm not a networking guy.
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March 29, 2011, 11:25:06 AM
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You're basically describing a wireless mesh network, where we build our own subnet. Yes it's a good idea but it takes more resources  than just programming, there is hardware and electricity cost.

I think one of the problems with these networks(outernet you say) is that it's kind of like an island, people can pretty much do anything they want on it but can't get off. Although you could have out-proxies, but in a country like China they had better not be allowing exit traffic in-country or you would be found out real quick.

But yeah, a secret outernet than can be accessed from various entry nodes would add a higher level of redundancy for certain services.

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