idealized content network properties (Re: [p2p-hackers] darknet)

Adam Back adam at
Fri Dec 2 05:35:16 PST 2005

I think an ideal www2 network should:

1. have any content searchable by anyone (the contents are public)
2. make it hard to determine who the author of content is
3. make it hard for people other than the author to remove content
4. make it hard for people to observe what other people are downloading
5. make it hard for anyone to change content (new version and
navigating by version should be the way to "change")

It seems to me that this network can provide any of these subset
classifications trivially.

removing 1 makes a eg "friend-to-friend" network -- that just means
you encrypt the searchable tags and content with a shared key.

removing 2 you just sign the content.

and so forth.

(Making it hard for people other than the author to remove content
technically probably involves things like redundancy, transience of
service, opaque content to its current server location, indirection

(The author also should be able to arrange that he himself can't
remove the content, by intentionally discarding whatever keys give him
the technical means to remove or change the content).

> As a side-point, I think it is somewhat pejorative to say that any
> technology is "designed" for illegal usage, just because it conceals
> user activity and therefore may be capable of illegal usage.  There
> are many legal reasons why people might wish to preserve their
> anonymity and privacy.

Yeah.  I think my feature set at the top should be the default/base
set of properties exhibited by the www2 (next gen web).  Any voluntary
restrictions on these should be entered into by policy.  Say content X
is illegal in jurisdiction Y, then Y should publish a blacklist
identifying content X and the legal system in jurisdiction Y should if
it chooses make it illegal to not consult the blacklist.  I mean
illegality is not even consistent, there are things which are legally
required in Y that are illegal in Z.  There is and can be no globally
acceptable policy, so we must robustly technologically prevent global

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