Anonymity Archives

What Wikileaks Should Have Done

As most of you are probably aware the ultimate whistleblower site, wikileaks, has once again been in the news quite a bit because it has published thousands of documents, messages and so on that have proven to be a major source of embarrassment to not only the US government but to several other governments around the world.

As a result, not only is it’s top guy up to his eyeballs in legal trouble of all kinds, the site itself has been under attack in a big way.  There’s several governments and mega-corporations pushing hard, doing their best to get the site taken down, even going so far as to remove DNS entries that make it work.

In response there’s a whole bunch of people working to mirror the site in several different places to keep it online.  This is all fine and dandy and will no doubt work to varying degrees depending on jurisdiction but there’s one option that they have apparently decided not to consider.

One of the first places to mirror the data that they have been releasing ought to have been Freenet Classic Opennet (FCon).


Because the primary reason for the existence of FCon in the first place is to provide a means to publish and obtain information on the Internet without fear of censorship.

You see, FCon isn’t just another run of the mill P2P file sharing system like Kazaa, Limewire, or Bittorrent.  Data inserted into FCon becomes part of an encrypted, distributed data store.  Additionally, because the data store is encrypted, node operators cannot be expected to know the contents of their node’s data store.  Nor do they have any ability to edit or censor that content.

Once something is inserted into the network it continues to be available even after the node that inserted it goes off-line.  For example, there are websites that were inserted into the network as long ago as 2001 that can still be retrieved today even though the original authors have long since left the network.

The reason that I think Wikileaks should make use of FCon is because once the information they wish to publish is inserted, they can ask other FCon users to republish that information on the conventional internet.  Thus the information still comes out while at the same time it’s in a position where it literally cannot be taken down or deleted.

In fact, once something is inserted into the FCon network, even the act of requesting it to see if it’s there will actually cause the network to propagate that data to more nodes, thus increasing the chances that it will still be available years later.

I’m not saying that wikileaks should use FCon exclusively but it IS something that they should add to their toolbox.  I should also say that the title of this post isn’t necessarily the end of he situation.  Wikileaks still has the option to download freenet (FCon), set up a node (or six, or a few dozen) and start inserting stuff that they don’t want taken down.

Technorati Tags: encryption, whistleblower, censor proof, anonymous publishing, safe anonymous publishing, cannot takedown, censorship, cannot censor, freenet, censor proof publishing, encrypted data store, prevent takedown, distributed data store, wikileaks, anonymous publishing, freenet 0.5, takedown

Matterhorn Remailer Back Up

I recently posted about the Matterhorn remailer being down.  This morning I found an announcement in alt.privacy.anon-server that it’s been restored to normal operation.

It does however, have a new mixmaster key.  The best way to get the new key is to send an email to remailer AT rip DOT ax DOT lt with the subject line: remailer-key

Technorati Tags: mixmaster, type 2, anonymity, remailer, cypherpunk, anonymous email, type 1, anonymous

Matterhorn Remailer Down

I just ran across a post on alt.privacy.anon-server from yesterday announcing that the Matterhorn anonymous remailer is down, apparently due to a hard drive failure.  Since the operator is out of the country it’s likely to be months before it’s restored to operation.

What I thought was a completely non-thought out answer to that post was somebody suggesting that they just give instructions to somebody with physical access to the machine it runs on so that they could get it going again.

Obviously this is a bad idea.  Why?  Because a remailer is a security application and the only way that it can STAY that way is if ONLY the operator has the passphrases needed to access the machine and the PGP keys for the remailer program itself.  Having anyone else do anything with it means giving those passphrases to them in order for them to be able to do it.  It’s right up there with sharing your personal PGP/GnuPG key passphrase.  You just don’t do it… ever.

Why can’t people see really obvious things like this?

Technorati Tags: security, remailer, pgp, anonymous, passphrase, encryption

Drudge Report Anon Tips Not Anon

I just saw something on the alt.privacy newsgroup that has managed to confirm once again that most people don’t have a clue when it comes to protecting their anonymity.

The writer was talking about how they had tested a “tips” box near the bottom of the page that has the heading: “SEND NEWS TIPS TO DRUDGE [ANONYMITY GUARANTEED]”.

They put TESTING ANONYMITY in the box and hit send while running a packet sniffer sniffer to see what was transmitted.  The result was, of course, quite predictable and included their IP address as the point of origin for the data along with the time and other information such as user-agent strings & standard http headers.

Here’s what they apparently didn’t get.  The only anonymity that something like this can EVER give is their promise not to reveal information from their server logs unless required by a court order, national security letter or big beefy guys with black suits and rubber hoses & brass knuckles.  That level of anonymity will keep you from ending up on a direct mail marketing list but will it protect your identity?  Never.

If you want to protect your identity on ANY website, the thing to do is use an actual privacy tool such as the TOR browser bundle which, if it is used properly, gives you high degree of privacy.  Oh the form will still send all the same information but that information will belong to the TOR node your traffic exited from instead of yours, making you VERY hard to track down.

Technorati Tags: drudge report, anonymity, anonymous browsing, anonymous tips

Sad Day For Net Users In NZ As Goverment Internet Filter Goes Live

According to an article on Scoop Independent News New Zealand has joined the ranks of nations with really aggressive, secret internet filters operated by the government.

Apparently two NZ ISPs, Maxnet and Watchdog, have already implemented the filter and three more, Telstra Clear, Telecom and Vodafone have stated that they will be implementing it.  Only three ISPs, Orcon, Slingshot and Natcom have said that they will not be using it.

Another blow to freedom of speech on the internet as net filtering by governments becomes more and more prevalent.  First China, North Korea and Iran, recently Australia and now New Zealand.

The US government has recently spoken out against government filtering of the internet, with Secretary of State Hilary Clinton saying that “Those who disrupt the free flow of information in our society, or any other, pose a threat to our economy, our government and our civil society.” She then said that the US is committed to helping people to circumvent government internet filtering.

One can only hope that this isn’t just more of the same meaningless hollow drivel that the currently way too liberal US government is famous for and that it will lead to some real support of technologies that are designed to prevent internet censorship such as TOR, Freenet and Anonymous Remailers.

Technorati Tags: censorship, remailers, tor, freenet, internet filter, new zealand

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