Monday, June 22, 2009

Now THIS is more like it...

A couple of days ago, I railed against the social networking phenomenon, which tries to seduce every young American into a devil's deal -- Just give up your privacy and you can be one of the cool kids. Fortunately, a counter-phenomenon has arisen: Darknets.

They're not really new. Many of you may know about Tor, which I wish I could say was named after Mr. Johnson even though it wasn't. The next generation of anonymity-preserving darknet is called Veiled, and using it won't require an advanced degree in geekdom:
The HP researchers say Veiled is the same idea, only much simpler: It doesn't require any software to participate, just an HTML 5-based browser. "We've implemented a simple, new darknet in the browser," Wood says. "There are no supporting [software] programs."

Unlike its predecessors, Veiled doesn't require much technical know-how to join, either. "The coolest thing about this is it lowers the barrier to entry to a darknet," Hoffman says. "You could put some very interesting applications on top of it. It could be a way to do secure whistle-blowing, [for example]. When you have something decentralized like this, no one can control or stop it." No one can take it down, either, he adds, all of which makes it more approachable for a wider community of legitimate users.
Nobody is mentioning the elephant in the living room, so I might was well do so. "Will Veiled allow one to do P2P file-sharing freely and safely?" he asked, as everyone suddenly remembered the lady recently fined $18 million for downloading a handful of songs via Kazaa.

(Yes, I know that she was technically nabbed for uploading. And of course, we must never, ever do what she did. I'm just speaking in hypothetical terms.)

1 comment:

Zee said...

One day, I will find someone who can explain the intricacies of uploading vs downloading and allllll of this stuff in a way that I can grasp.

As it is, I only wish I knew what you were saying about all these privacy concerns.

Heh. At least I have it all over those "anonymous" posters because I can manage to click "name" and insert a nym. Sheesh.

There is one aspect to privacy you've not mentioned Joseph. And it's one I'm good at. You can completely identify someone by their writing, grammar and punctuation style. And other stylistic and content concerns. Back in the day, at a writing community I used to annoy the hell out of a writer from Michigan by outing her each time. Super smart, lawyer, good writer. She used to try everything to disguise herself and show up under new names with various new writing styles. (And there were lots of legitimately new writers, so the community was large enough that she should've been able to slip in.) But you know, it's hard to incorporate convincing writing tics, down to misspellings, etc.

Anyway, it was just a knack I had naturally from being obsessive, but I used to have a neighbor who did such text sleuthing for a living (well, that and ghost writing). And there is softwear designed to look for writing patterns. I wonder, since you're such a prolific writer, whether this was a concern of yours as well?

Or, maybe you'd rather not discuss it! ;)