Freenet is a platform for censorship-resistant communication and publishing. It is deed 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. Freenet is also very efficient in how it deals with information, adaptively replicating content in response to demand.
For more information, see What is Freenet? Freenet is a self-contained network, while Tor allows accessing the web anonymously, as well as using "hidden services" anonymous web servers. Freenet is not a proxy: You cannot connect to services like Google or Facebook using Freenet.
However, Freenet has websites, filesharing, forums, chat, microblogging, etc, all anonymous and hosted within Freenet. Freenet is a distributed datastore, so once content is ed to Freenet, it will remain on Freenet forever, as long as it remains popular, without fear of censorship or denial of service attacks, and without needing to run your own web server and keep it online constantly. The other big difference is that Freenet has the "darknet" or Friend to Friend mode, where your Freenet node software on your computer only connects to the Freenet nodes run by your friends, i.
This makes blocking Freenet, e. However, most people currently use Freenet in "opennet" mode that is, connecting automatically to whoever the network ass, rather than connecting only to their friends.
This is much less secure than using Freenet in "darknet" mode, and is relatively easy to block, as it does have some central servers "seed nodes". Freenet has many unsolved problems, and is still experimental.
Our objective for Freenet is to build a global friend-to-friend darknet, which would be extremely difficult to block, and would provide very strong anonymity and censorship resistance. This will require further work on Freenet, on usability, speed and security, but above all it is a techno-social experiment: Will people know enough friends who are willing to use Freenet to make such an anonymous friend-to-friend network possible?
This is why Freenet supports "opennet" mode: to let people try it out before they ask their friends to connect. Tor is a little less experimental, and arguably is an easier problem; it may provide better anonymity today, provided freenet chat community it isn't blocked, and of course, Tor lets you access the internet as a whole, whereas on Freenet you can only access Freenet content. However if you can use a large enough darknet, Freenet already provides an interesting level of censorship resistance, DoS resistance and anonymity. Using the internet "anonymously" is not necessarily easy: Connecting to Facebook through Tor doesn't prevent Facebook from knowing pretty much everything about you, and connecting to your non-HTTPS webmail through Tor may mean the person running the proxy "exit node" can steal your webmail password.
Freenet is a separate network, which does things differently, because there are no central servers. But the advantage is there is no single server which can be compelled to hand over your private communications or which can be shut down. There are still risks, for example, talking about your home town or internet provider on an anonymous forum, or downloading files which Freenet can't make safe such as PDFs or word processor documents Freenet will warn you about this.
Freenet chat rooms
Also, for web content in particular, it may be easier to it to Freenet than set up a hidden server on Tor; you don't need to keep your node online for your content to be available, you don't need to figure out how to configure it safely, and most important, if you go away your site will still be available. Unfortunately most people use Freenet in opennet mode currently. The big question is can we build a global friend-to-friend darknet? us and find out! PS for an example of how dependant Tor is on centralised hidden services, see this bust.
Half the hidden services on Tor were using a single hosting service, whose owner has now been arrested. While we don't approve of these sites, it does illustrate the point: A centralised network is a vulnerable network. Unfortunately, decentralised networks are hard, but in the long run they are more secure. Freenet grew out of a de for an anonymous publication system created by Ian Clarke while a student at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
Since then many other people have contributed towards making Ian's proposal a reality. Cryptographic ing of information allows people to prove authorship, this technique is frequently used to authenticate authorship of s. Moreover, you can actually information while remaining anonymous, thus having an anonymous persona. You can prove that you wrote different pieces of information on Freenet, without revealing your identity.
In this way you can build up an anonymous reputation for reliability.
You aren't really donating in the sense that you lose the disk space and the bandwidth; but you aren't really sharing either at least not the same way as with filesharing programs. It is more like pitching in to the common Freenet resource pool. Do you get to do that anonymously? Freenet is deed with anonymity in mind, performance comes second.
If you are happy with what you are getting then no. But if you want more you should consider donating more and running your node as close to 24x7 as possible, and you should ask your friends to do the same. Your experience will definitely get better, but for a really great improvement we need more people to start thinking like you.
Bandwidth counts more than diskspace. We don't currently know of any prosecutions for merely using Freenet.
Also, the German supreme court has found that not securing your wifi properly makes you responsible for other people's downlo over it; this might or might not be extended to prohibiting anonymous peer to peer filesharing such as Freenet. There have also been attempts to force peer to peer systems to provide wiretapping capabilities in the USA, and there are worrying developments in the UK that might result in it being blocked, but not being made illegal per se. As far as we know none of these things - apart from the first two - have passed. Many of these are arguable either way depending on how broadly the legislation is applied and will have to be decided in caselaw.
The law can be an ass sometimes. If you need legal advice, talk to a lawyer. Also read the next section especially if you are in China; blocking the protocol may suggest the authorities don't like us! The Chinese national firewall Golden Shield has blocked our website for many years, and was observed in to block the 0.
This suggests China doesn't like us, so be careful if you run Freenet in China. Some other countries e. France are known to be hostile to peer to peer, and may eventually force ISPs to block freenet chat community to peer networks but right now Freenet works fine in France and we have many French users! Technically, Freenet 0. Freenet supports a darknet mode i. Note that many mobile internet providers block all peer to peer networks along with other content, and many corporate or academic networks may block Freenet but even if they don't, see you shouldn't run Freenet at work for non-work purposes!
There has been discussion in the US and UK of legislation to require backdoors and presumably blocking of anything that can't be backdoored. This is unlikely to pass, especially in the US, where similar laws have been proposed periodically and are probably unconstitutional.
However, even if the government came to us and demanded a back door, we would be legally unable to secretly distribute a trojan'ed build, because Freenet is open source, numerous people have contributed code to it, so legally we have to give you the source code, including that for any government mandated back doors - which wouldn't be secret for long! If this happened it is likely that Freenet Project Incorporatedthe non-profit organisation that runs this website and handles donations, would shut down, but the Freenet network itself would live on just fine, the only difference being not being able to pay full time developers as easily.
See net neutrality and the EFF or equivalent organisations in your country for the freenet chat community of all this and how you can stop such laws. This is related to "Is Freenet legal? We have done everything we can to make it extremely difficult for any sane legal system to justify punishing someone for running a Freenet node, and there is little precedent for such action in today's developed countries. Many legal systems recognize the importance of freedom of speech, which is Freenet's core goal.
Having said that, there is risk in doing anything that your government might not agree with; you should make an informed decision as to whether to take that risk.
Furthermore, your ISP or hosting provider may have a problem with Freenet. At least one French hosting provider has been known to ban Freenet along with Tor and others from their servers; please read your terms and conditions to make sure you are allowed to run Freenet.
And of course running it at work could get you into trouble too, unless it's for work purposes! There are some excellent thoughts on this subject on the Philosophy. Specific copyright-related laws may be a problem, please read Is Freenet legal?
While most people wish that child pornography and terrorism did not exist, humanity should not be deprived of freenet chat community freedom to communicate just because of how a very small of people might use that freedom. This is a problem that sadly any censorship-resistance tool faces. If the capacity to remove content existed, it might only be used to remove things one finds offensive, but it could be used to remove anything. From a technological point of view one cannot have censorship-resistance with exceptions.
Freenet is merely a tool that by itself doesn't do anything to promote offensive content. How people choose to use the tool is their sole responsibility. As a communication medium, Freenet cannot be considered responsible for what people use it for — just like Internet Service Providers, telecoms, or postal services cannot be held responsible for their users either. Note that files are encrypted and split into pieces. They are not stored on your machine in their entirety. Your instance of Freenet will likely have very few encrypted pieces of a given file, if any.
These pieces cannot be used as parts of the file they were made from without additional information. Reassembling a file requires knowing both what pieces to use and the key to decrypt them, neither of which is included with each piece. The Freenet Project has notified the US authorities that it will be exporting crypto. As long as your country doesn't prohibit the use of encryption you are fine.
Further, there is now an exception in the export laws for software doing exactly what Freenet does!
However, Oracle limits the encryption strength available on the JVM that runs Freenet; you should install the Unlimited Strength Policy Files for Java if possible to improve performance. Freenet will however work even without this, by using its built-in encryption code. Yes, in fact even without the anonymity feature Freenet is very useful because of the unique way it handles content distribution and information load. In simple terms that means you can publish a website without worrying about how big the site will be and without having to put someone else's ad banners on it.
While it is unlikely that freesites will ever load faster than regular websites, they do adapt to sudden surges of visitors better which often happen when relatively unknown sites get linked to from a big siteand reasonable download speeds for big files are feasible too. Just don't expect very low latency.