[p2p-hackers] NYT on "Internet in a Suitcase" for dissidents

Julian Cain julian at junglecat.org
Mon Jun 13 23:42:14 EDT 2011

On Jun 13, 2011, at 8:38 PM, Jan Brittenson <bson at rockgarden.net> wrote:

> On Jun 12, 2011, at 5:26 PM, David Barrett wrote:
>> For example, assuming we already had some sort of mesh network 
>> capability (via wifi or bluetooth or whatever), perhaps have nodes 
>> synchronize their clocks such that they only agree to send/receive 
>> according to some psuedorandom intervals?  Even more interesting if it 
>> combined GPS such that the broadcast periods could be derived from 
>> actual physical location.  So two nodes that have never communicated but 
>> know some shared secret (eg, a password) could check their positions and 
>> figure out "I don't know if anybody is around me, but if there *is*, 
>> they'll be online for 60s at 5:23pm."
> I think all you need is something that can be turned on at specific times, to get a message
> out.  Then shut it off.   People will have their phones on, then all of a sudden they get service, a
> text message or two, after which the service promptly drops again.  A station only needs to be
> on long enough to get the message out.  

... and to receive the acknowledgement regarding said message.

> A small portable unit could be in a car or on a roof,
> or it could sit next to your table in a bag as you sit and drink or eat.  Or while you walk down the
> street.  I don't think broadcasts need to be scheduled; simply turn it on when you have
> something to forward.
> So it's about creating a simple, cheap, lightweight station that can look like a 'real' mobile
> network, allowing phones to connect and that can send text messages.  To distribute a message
> to a large number of people you'd have a topology where operators receive messages like
> anyone else and propagate it.  It doesn't seem anything terribly complicated is needed, or
> even desirable.
> I think the main challenge is how to prevent a regime from hijacking the network.  This will
> probably require an organized structure with isolation, redundancy, a revocation protocol,
> and careful safeguarding at the top.  

The number of dissident operated devices need only outweigh a "regime" in order to protect the network. The same rules apply to most overlay networks.

> For instance, if operator A propagates messages from
> B or C, then B or C might be redundant.  If C0 is compromised C1 is activates, and starts by
> notifying A of the compromise.  (C2 is then activated if C1 is compromised.)  Some sort of
> cryptographic protection is probably necessary to prevent regimes from simply creating their
> own stations.
> But I think security is a pretty minor point - just getting messages out while making everyone
> aware of the possibility of compromise is probably good enough.
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