Following the latest legal actions against the Peer-to-Peer networks or their users, filed by the music industry, it seemed that the future of these file-sharing systems was pretty dark. However, it seems that there are people for whom this concept is more than just a means of obtaining various media contents, turning into a real philosophy of life.
Thus, an Irish programmer announced at a computer security conference last week that he is developing a new peer-to-peer file trading system that would be virtually invisible to the prying eyes of government and corporations, according to MTV.com.
Promoting the idea of a "darknet," free-speech advocate Ian Clarke,
28, said he's developing a new version of his Freenet file-sharing system that will make it easier to trade digital information anonymously, in a bid to combat censorship and political repression - but not to necessarily violate copyrights - according to a report by The New York Times.
Clarke's new software, which he plans to release in a few months, differs from current open P2P networks, instead using a closed system that requires new users to be trusted by an existing member to enter into their "web of trust," keeping out those they don't know.
Though the new software will allow users to trade any kind of digital information they want securely, Clarke insists that his real goal is to help political dissidents in countries where computer networks are monitored by the government. He does admittedly dislike copyright laws and believes that his technology could create a world in which all information is freely exchanged.
However, Clarke isn't the only one looking to create closed P2P networks.
Thus, Computer-security researcher Ross Anderson is working with scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on a new P2P network that will also be unveiled in a few months. Like Clarke's, it is designed to resist censorship and allow for secure exchanges safe from monitoring.
Like the earlier P2P craze unleashed by the original version of Napster more than six years ago, darknets will likely be with us for a while, according to J. D. Lasica, author of "Darknet: Hollywood's War Against the Digital Generation."
"Serious file traders have been gravitating toward them," he told the Times. "There is just this culture of freedom that people feel they're entitled to, and they don't want anyone looking over their shoulders."