Freenet anonymity: Best case and Worst case

As the i2p people say, anynomity is no boolean. Freenet allows you to take it a good deal further than i2p or tor, though. If you do it right.

  • Worst case: If all of Apple would want to find you, because you declared that you would post the videos of the new iDing - and already sent them your videos as teaser before starting to upload them from an Apple computer (and that just after they lost their beloved dictator), you might be in problems if you use Opennet. You are about as safe as with tor or i2p.

  • Best case: If a local politician would want to find you, after you uploaded proof that he takes bribes, and you uploaded the files to a new safe key (SSK) and used Freenet in Darknet-mode with connections only to friends who would rather die than let someone take over their computer, there’s no way in hell, you’d get found due to Freenet (the file data could betray you, or they could find you by other means, but Freenet won’t be your weak spot).

Naturally real life is somewhere in-between.

Things which improve anonymity a lot in the best case:

  • Don’t let others know the data you are going to upload before the upload finished (would allow some attacks).
  • Use only Darknet with trusted friends (Darknet means that you connect only to people you know personally. For that it is necessary to know other people who use Freenet).
  • Upload small files, so the time in which you are actively uploading is short.

Implied are:

  • Use an OS without trojans. So no Windows. (Note: Linux can be hacked, too, but it is far less likely to already have been compromised)
  • Use no Apple devices. You don’t control them yourself and can’t know what they have under the hood. (You are compromised from the time you buy them)
  • If you use Android, flash it yourself to give it an OS you control (Freenet is not yet available for Android. as of 2021, Freenet is available on Android via freenet-mobile/app).
  • Know your friends.

Important questions to ask:

  • Who would want to find you?
  • How much would they invest to find you?
  • Do they already try to monitor Freenet? (in that case uploading files with known content would be dangerous)
  • Do they already know you personally? If yes and if they might have already compromised your computer or internet connection, you can’t upload anything anonymously anywhere. In that case, never let stuff get onto your computer in the first place. Let someone else upload it, who is not monitored (yet).
  • Can they eavesdrop on your internet connection? Then they might guess that you use Freenet from the amount of encrypted communication you do and might want to bug your computer just in case you want to use Freenet against them some day. If you think they might have bugged your computer, the notes in the previous point apply.

See the Security Summary (mostly possible attacks) in the freenet wiki for details.

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