[p2p-hackers] darknet ~= (blacknet, f2f net)

zooko at zooko.com zooko at zooko.com
Tue Nov 29 06:03:13 PST 2005

It's a shame that the distinct concepts of "friend-to-friend net" [1] and
"blacknet" [2, 3, 4, 5] are being munged together in the media under the

The word "darknet" was coined, as far as I know, by Biddle, England, Peinado,
Willman [6].  Last time I read their paper, it appeared to me to describe a
system like Tim May's Blacknet -- an anonymous, secure, decentralized network
which is used to transfer information illegally.  It didn't mention anything
about using friend-to-friend techniques to build such a network.

However, the media seems to have started using the word "Darknet" to mean a
friend-to-friend net and/or a blacknet [7, 8], thus simultaneously making it
harder for people to think about blacknets which are based on other than
friend-to-friend architectures and making it harder for people to think about
friend-to-friend networks which are used for other than illegal information

I place some of the blame for this development on the Freenet folks, who may
the first to promulgate this munging, and if they aren't the first they're
certainly the most effective.

Of course, courting controversy in the mass media is part of the Freenet
strategy, and I'm not saying it's a bad strategy.

But oh well.  It is too late to change media usage, and it isn't a good idea
maintain technical jargon which is related to but subtly different from media
terminology, so how about us technical folks, when we wish to denote a
network-used-for-illegal-information-trading, use the original term
and when we wish to denote a network-built-on-friend-to-friend, use
"friend-to-friend net" or "f2f", and when we wish to refer to both of them
together or to confuse visiting reporters, we use "darknet".



[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friend-to-friend
[2] http://www.privacyexchange.org/iss/confpro/cfpuntraceable.html
[3] http://www.ussrback.com/crypto/misc/blacknet.html
[4] http://www-personal.umich.edu/~ludlow/worries.txt
[5] http://cypherpunks.venona.com/date/1993/08/msg00538.html
[6] http://www.bearcave.com/misl/misl_tech/msdrm/darknet.htm
[7] http://www.darknet.com/
[8] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darknet
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