I sent this email to many of my friends to regain confidential private communication. If you want to do the same, feel free to reuse the text-version (be sure to replace the noderef textblock with your own noderef from http://127.0.0.1:8888/friends/myref.txt). This text is also available in Freenet.
About 10% of my friends joined - which is enough to build the darknet and makes it possible for me to speak freely again.
First: The Essence of this text:
I’ve been censoring my emails for years. Not just what I write, but also whom and when.
Freenet allows me to write invisible messages to my friends. Those are messages I do not need to censor. They give me freedom. Surveillance can show that we could write, but not whether, when or what we actually write. If Freenet is used for that, it needs very little resources.
This is how to connect:
- Download and install Freenet from https://freenetproject.org,
- in the automatically opened setup wizard select “only friends”
- Copy the textblock1 you got with my email and paste it into the textfield on http://127.0.0.1:8888/addfriend/
- Then just send me what Freenet shows on the page http://127.0.0.1:8888/friends/myref.txt (attach it to an email or just copy it into the email)
As soon as I add you, too, we are connected. We can then write messages via the friends page (click my name):
- Write message,: http://127.0.0.1:8888/friends/
- Read messages: http://127.0.0.1:8888/alerts/
I’ve been self-censoring what I write by email for years. But over the past year, with ever more details of surveillance being proven as fact and not just conspiracy theory, that became more serious: I no longer see email as safe, and with that, email is lost for me as a medium for personal communication. If I want to talk privately, I don’t use email.
You might have noticed that since then I’ve been writing fewer and fewer non-public emails.
This started impeding my life, when the critical law reporter at groklaw stopped publishing, because the owner did not consider sending information via email as safe anymore. Now I self-censor what I write, to whom I write, and when I write.
There is now no shield from forced exposure.2
But I have one haven left: Instead of writing private stuff by email, I’m communicating more and more via Freenet, especially with darknet contacts: People I know personally. And I’d like to do that with you, too. The reason is that Freenet Darknet messages hide even the information that we have a conversation at all:
I can finally send completely invisible messages.
This gives me the confidentiality back which allows talking freely. Talking without self-censoring every word I write.
And I would like to have that freedom when talking to you online. So I would be very happy if you’d install Freenet and connect to me over Darknet.
To install Freenet, just go to https://freenetproject.org and click the green install-button
Then click through the installer as usual. After that your browser should open and show the Freenet Setup Wizard.
In the wizard, choose "Connect only to friends: (high security)".
For the following questions, just use the default or the option called "normal".
You can always revisit the wizard at http://127.0.0.1:8888/wizard/
Now go to the page “connect to a friend”: http://127.0.0.1:8888/addfriend/
There simply paste the following into the empty text field below the blurp of explanation (note: for this article I replaced the identifying info with X-es. Use your own from http://127.0.0.1:8888/friends/myref.txt):
identity=XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX lastGoodVersion==XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX location==XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX myName=XXXXXXX opennet=XXXXX sigP256=XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX version==XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX ark.number=XXXX ark.pubURI=XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX auth.negTypes=XX ecdsa.P256.pub=XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX physical.udp==XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX End
Just put my name in the description above the “Add” button and leave everything else at default.
Once I copy that text into my own addfriends page, our computers will connect over Freenet.
(no need to babysit Freenet for this: simply let it run when you’re online and as soon as I add you, our Computers will connect over Freenet. Please give me a few days: With the PhD and the two little ones I’m often no longer able to answer email daily, but I see them)
And that’s it. We’re connected. In the rest of this mail, I’ll describe what you can do with Freenet.
Welcome to Freenet, where no one can watch you read!
I hope we will connect soon!
Best wishes, Arne
Once we are connected, you can send me confidential messages by going on the Friends page and clicking my name.
That page lists all the people you are connected to. You can also tick the checkbox for multiple people and then use the drop down list “– Select Action –” and select “Send N2NTM to selected peers”. A N2NTM is a “node to node text message”.
You can see all messages you received on the messages page:
These messages are invisible to the outside.
If you want to send me bigger files, you can upload them from the upload page:
When they finish uploading, just go to the list of Uploads, select the files you want to share with me and click the button “Recommend files to friends”. Then select my name and click the “Recommend” button at the bottom.
List of Uploads: http://127.0.0.1:8888/uploads/
You can also do the same for downloads, so it’s easy to pass on files.
The files you upload are stored encrypted in Freenet and can only be found by people who have the Link to the file. Like a filehoster, but it is encrypted and completely decentralized.
What I show here aren’t all the features of Freenet. Not by a long shot. But it’s enough to provide confidential communication between friends:
I can talk to you without self-censoring every single thought.
If you want to explore further features of Freenet, there are three central features:
Bookmarks are easy. Just go to the main freenet page and click the [Edit] link above the bookmarks. It gets you to the bookmarks editor for changing and sharing bookmarks.
Websites in Freenet are also simple. To get a basic website, just install the ShareWiki plugin, enter text, click publish and once the upload finished, send the URL to your friends by clicking “share” in the list of uploads. With this you can publish in Freenet: Your friends will know that it’s your site, but no one else.
Configure Plugins: http://127.0.0.1:8888/plugins/ The key for sharewiki to add as “Plugin from Freenet”: CHK@aCQTjPQI3uGsahMiTuddwJ51UJypA5Mqg4y0tf1VqXQ,eEkO3uge6IJ1QcrT5KGlJ1R6kEcMhQV4rXfv6NzoL5o,AAMC–8/ShareWiki-b17.jar
(note: ignore the search box on the main page. It’s broken)
Anonymous Discussions are somewhat different from the other features, because they require the Web of Trust, and that is very heavyweight.
If you want to keep the resource consumption of Freenet low, avoid the anonymous discussion platforms.
You will see people recommend it - even me. It is cool, but you should only enable it, if you have a computer which always runs and for which it does not matter when it runs at high load.
If you only want confidential communication with Friends, just avoid the Web of Trust for now. If you stick to the basic features (darknet messages, uploads, downloads bookmarks), Freenet will require few resources and little bandwidth.
For a low-spec computer or a laptop, avoid the Web of Trust and anonymous discussions: They are really cool, but still require lots of resources.
If you value truly anonymous discussions higher than keeping the load on your computer low, or if you have a computer which is always running, have a look at the Freenet Social Networking guide. It shows you how to setup and use the social features of Freenet.
Freenet Social Networking Guide: http://freesocial.draketo.de
Have fun in Freenet!
If Freenet makes your fans run at full speed and your disk cackle, you can fix that with three steps:
Censored version of my textblock (you’ll get an uncensored version by email)
Naturally it would be better to send the freenet addfriend text via encrypted emails with a full chain of trusted signatures. But for the basic goal of confidential communication that is not necessary. We can check sometime later, whether the text we exchanged was changed, so if someone wants to eavesdrop, we can detect that. And we would have proof, which would make for the next great story for political magazines like Panorama - which would help a lot at fighting surveillance on the long term (so it’s unlikely that people who want surveillance will dare to do that). Example: “NSA targets privacy conscious” in german public media documentation. ↩
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