Answers to “I can't use Freenet”

Short answers to questions from a message in the anonymous Freenet Message System:

Ultra-short answer: Go to and run the installer. It’s fast and easy.

Now onward to the message:

psst@GdwO… wrote :

ArneBab@-jtT… wrote : Yes. And that’s one of the reasons why we need Freenet: to wrestle back control over our communication channel.

Good luck getting people to use it though.

Yes, that’s something we need to fix. And there’s a lot we can do for that. It’s just a lot of boring work.

Let’s go through your points and see which we could fix:

I can't use Freenet. It's illegal! It isn't? How do you know?

It’s created by a registered tax-exempt charity1, how can it be illegal?

I don't want people to think I'm some kind of paranoid nutjob.

Maybe we should add some quotes from the Guardian on the frontpage, and maybe also quote the CNN news about Freenet as a counterpoint?

»You don't need to be talking to a terror suspect to have your communications data analysed by the NSA. The agency is allowed to travel "three hops" from its targets — who could be people who talk to people who talk to people who talk to you. Facebook, where the typical user has 190 friends, shows how three degrees of separation gets you to a network bigger than the population of Colorado. How many people are three "hops" from you?« — The Guardian in NSA files decoded, 2013.

»There is now no shield from forced exposure. . . The foundation of Groklaw is over. . . the Internet is over« – Groklaw, Forced Exposure (2013-08-20)

»This is the most visible line in the sand for people: Can they see my dick?« — »When your junk was passed by Gmail (to a foreign server), the NSA caught a copy of that.« — John Oliver and Edward Snowden in Last Week Tonight: Government Surveillance, 2015, quoted by engadget in Snowden shows John Oliver how the NSA can see your dick pics.

»there is no central server and no one knows who's using it so it can not be shut down … where there is a message it is likely to find a medium.« — CNN about Freenet, 2005-12-19.

Why don't you grow up, and just accept that you have to be ruled by authority? It's just the way the world works!

Democracy without free press is meaningless. Let’s quote some presidents on this.

»The liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom in a state: it ought not, therefore, to be restrained in this commonwealth.« — John Adams, 1780, second president of the USA.

»When people talk of the Freedom of Writing, Speaking, or thinking, I cannot choose but laugh. No such thing ever existed. No such thing now exists; but I hope it will exist. But it must be hundreds of years after you and I shall write and speak no more.« — John Adams Letter to Thomas Jefferson (15 July 1817)

»No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press.« — Thomas Jefferson, third president of the USA, in a letter to Judge John Tyler (June 28, 1804)

»Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.« — Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. James Currie (28 January 1786) Lipscomb & Bergh 18:ii.

»What makes it possible for a totalitarian or any other dictatorship to rule is that people are not informed; how can you have an opinion if you are not informed?« — Hannah Arendt, 1974

»And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment — the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution — … to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.« — John F. Kennedy, 35th president of the united state, Address before the American Newspaper Publishers Association (27 April 1961)

»Without general elections, without freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, without the free battle of opinions, life in every public institution withers away, becomes a caricature of itself, and bureaucracy rises as the only deciding factor.« — Rosa Luxemburg, Reported in Paul Froelich, Die Russische Revolution (1940).

»A popular Government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy, or perhaps both.« — James Madison, fourth president of the USA, in a letter to W.T. Barry (1822-08-04).

»A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy.« — Nelson Mandela on freedom of expression, At the international press institute congress (14 February 1994).

»we believe that when governments censor or control information, that ultimately that undermines not only the society, but it leads to eventual encroachments on individual rights as well.« — Barack Obama, 44th president of the USA, in Rangoon, Burma on November 14, 2014

»If in other lands the press and books and literature of all kinds are censored, we must redouble our efforts here to keep them free.« — Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of the USA, Address to the National Education Association (30 June 1938).

»The liberty of the press is no greater and no less than the liberty of every subject of the Queen.« — Lord Russell of Killowen, Reg. v. Gray (1900), L. R. 2 Q. B. D. 40.

… and many more by Wikiquote: Freedom of the press.

There's no need for Freenet, because nothing is wrong, otherwise my daily commute in my gas guzzler and my TV would be bad, and I like those!

You don’t have to change your life to use Freenet. You do harm yourself quite a bit if you let others control your communication, though. They might make you think your life is bad.

Get a life, you neckbeard.

Let’s play some games on Freenet. We need more fun and life here, that’s true.

Why are you being so distrustful and negative? What are you hiding?

Did you see what they did to Edward Snowden?

If I use it, then I'm helping terrorists blow us up!

If you let terrorists listen in on your communication, you help them scout out their targets!

It's slow!

Let’s not advertise sending movies. Chat over Freenet is nice (FLIP/FLIRCP).

I have to install two programs?

Need to recover flircp and enable it by default. Also advertise node-to-node textmessages (friend-to-friend talk).

Same for Sharesite and Darknet Chat.

I'm not good with computers!

Freenet is easier to install than Starcraft!

im confuse can i install without thinking loll??? I don't care enough to bother.

Yes you can. Most times it actually works.

My computer says it's a dangerous virus!

Need to get fred whitelisted in more anti-virus databases… the new C# based installer should help.

I'm not a hacker!

I don’t break into computers either. And I don’t want others to publish what I tell you in private.

Is there an app for my iPhone?

There is something for your Android: -

Can't you just send me the files on Skype?

Sure, but I won’t send anything I wouldn’t also send to the local newspaper. Microsoft has been shown to actually try to use login links sent over skype.

I don't have time for this I have to go to work.

Just try again a few weeks or months later.

Short term solutions (stuff which should take less than 6 months to deploy):


  • put more prominently on front page that Freenet Project Inc. is a registered charity.
  • quote the guardian or so about the importance of secure communication.
  • quote a US president and the UN secretary on the importance of free speech for democracy.
  • quote Edward Snowden.
  • quote someone on the importance of secure communication to fight terrorists.
  • make the download page look easy. Maybe a big button instead of a text-link?
  • link the icicle app on the webpage. With an image.
  • promote the use of node-to-node messages in friend-to-friend mode.
  • ask people every few months to try to invite their friends again. Hey, how about sending another note to your friends today?

Using Freenet

  • get more positive, friendly content on Freenet.
  • play fun games over Freenet.

Freenet development

  • recover flircp. Make flircp and Darknet Chat official. Activated by default.
  • polish the user interface. A lot.


Go to and run the installer. Send your friends there, too. It’s fast and easy. And gives you a confidential communication channel.

Originally published on random_babcom: my in-Freenet single-page blog.

  1. The Freenet Project Inc is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, with the mission "to assist in developing and disseminating technological solutions to further the open and democratic distribution of information". It is registered under EIN 95-4864038. 

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