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[GNUnet-developers] Re: [Freedombox-discuss] The message from Tahrir Squ

From: Michael Blizek
Subject: [GNUnet-developers] Re: [Freedombox-discuss] The message from Tahrir Square
Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2011 08:15:23 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.20 (2009-06-14)


I have found this email on the freedombox mailing list and guessed that you
might be interested. Do you think GNUnet can be "bent" to do something like


P.S.: Everybody, please use group reply for this thread

On 19:16 Sat 19 Feb     , Mike Johnson wrote:
> Hello All,
> I am a college student with limited background in any open source or
> professional projects.  I have mostly just tinkered with programs on my
> laptop in my free time while in school.
> I wanted to take a moment to throw my two cents because I think this
> idea above all others should be the core focus of this project.
> Primarily protecting the free flow of information between the
> FreedomBoxes, and secondary protecting its flow from a low bandwidth
> area to a high one.
> If the network is in a state like Egypt's was, or like Lybia's is today
> the FreedomBox network can have no single exploitable weakness or
> dependency.  As the designers of this network we must assume that if a
> flaw exists it will be exploited.  I think that this is a far more
> ambitious design challenge than some may realize.
> Even with a wireless mesh network, we can't assume that it will be
> structured ideally.  If one area of the network connects to another in
> too few nodes all that's required to cut off access to an area is that
> they start jamming the Wifi in that one spot.  What if that one spot
> cuts off an entire city?  Worse, we cannot assume that a state such as
> this has not been watching the network for months to see who has
> FreedomBoxes and has been locating weaknesses and choke points in
> advance so that when the time comes to throw the kill switch it is done
> quickly and effectively.  If we fail at this design challenge the end
> user will not know if there is anything they can do to fix it.  They
> will not know that the only thing they may need to do to restore access
> is move one person's Box 50m to the left so it won't be jammed.  All
> that they will know is that we promised them internet access when when
> the going got tough and that they don't have it.
> We also have to assume that this oppressive state has read all of our
> code any knows about any bugs if there are any, knows about any exploits
> in the OS, has read all of our documentation, has read all of these
> emails, has mapped the network on any and all physical layers the box
> may operate, and that they posses the money, influence, or manpower to
> execute an attack on our network.  The success or failure of this
> project will not be judged on how good the UI looks or how well his Box
> runs one piece of software over another, it will be judged by its
> ability to provide bandwidth when the most oppressive state imaginable
> is executing a coordinated attack on the network.  The FreedomBox must
> be secure as well as dynamic.
> In my opinion the box needs to be a chimera of network interfaces,
> having software to operate over as many physical media as possible, be
> it Wifi, Ethernet, HAM radio, Satellite,  Dial up, whatever is possible.
>  It also needs to handle nodes being physically attacked or virtually
> attacked.  It will probably also need to prioritize content because
> Citizen A might be trying to send a warning Tweet to his friends about
> how the oppressive state has begun massacring people while Citizen B
> might be trying to watch a video of a cat on youTube and the only link
> between Citizen A and Twitter is a single Wireless b card on a laptop on
> the other side of the city that is a decade old.
> One might argue that he should have sent the message on whatever
> FreedomBox messaging system that would have allowed his friends to get
> the message, but we can't assume that Citizen A can differentiate
> between "The Internet" that gives him Twitter and "The Internet" that is
> our FreedomBox network.
> Now, I'm not trying to be negative.  I think that we can build this and
> I am very willing to devote time and effort with the little experience I
> have to such a project.  I just wanted everyone to step back a moment
> and think about the scale of protecting the free flow of information.
> We must always have this oppressive state in mind as we design these
> Boxes and what it is that we are promising to the people as developers.
>  Not to be grim, but it could be a matter of life and death for hundreds
> of people if Citizen A's warning never makes it.
> I know C and Java (probably not applicable on such small hardware) and
> will work on whatever is needed.  But I will be balancing work and
> school at the same time.
> Best Regards to All,
> Mike Johnson
> On 02/19/2011 03:51 PM, address@hidden wrote:
> > I think those of us old enough to remember UUCP will be aware of the
> > merits of store-and-forward protocols. Obviously, if you have a
> > reliable live Internet link you'll use that, but as we've seen in
> > places like Bahrain and Libya this week, or Egypt last, continuous,
> > reliable live Internet links are not things that people whose freedom
> > is under threat can rely on. So a system of opportunistic
> > store-and-forward proxies which allow a node to get a message to a
> > node just a little bit closer to the Internet, which can get
> > information out even when links are partial, patchy and discontinuous,
> > should I think be part of the FreedomBox concept.
> > 
> > UUCP itself exists as a package in Debian stable. It can run over TCP
> > with SSL, but does not need to. However, UUCP addressing depends on a
> > known path from node to node. But in situations where Internet
> > communication has been cut by an oppressive state, known paths to the
> > public Internet will not be available; a message must necessarily be
> > broadcast opportunistically to any node which may subsequently get a
> > better connection. I don't know of any existing stable package which
> > will do this, although Freenet developers have certainly discussed the
> > problem.
> > 
> > But if FreedomBox is to be anything more than a toy for geeks in safe
> > and stable Western democracies, this is a problem we need to address.
> > 
> > 
> _______________________________________________
> Freedombox-discuss mailing list
> address@hidden

programing a layer 3+4 network protocol for mesh networks

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