Architecture for a GNU INTERNET
The summer of 2013 will remain the moment we finally realized how broken the
Internet was, and how much this had been abused. At first #youbroketheinternet was a
cry of anger, but also a call to code the missing pieces for a new Internet
architecture which doesn't fall to pieces like a house of cards.
If deployed on top of technologies that were not designed for it, end-to-end
encryption has proven to be "damn near unusable," as Edward Snowden himself
put it, let alone forward secure. But there are actually many new tools that
have that feature at their foundation.
Antiquated protocols like DNS, SMTP, XMPP and X.509 leak so-called metadata,
that is the information of who is talking to whom. Also they put user data
on servers out of the reach of their owners.
X.509, the certification system behind HTTPS and S/MIME, is broken and allows most governments and even many companies to run man in the middle attacks on you. The trust chain between the cryptography and the domain names is corrupt. Even if DNSSEC and DANE try to improve the security of DNS, they still expose your interest for certain resources. SMTP is so hopeless, you shouldn't even use it with PGP and XMPP fundamentally has the same problems: as long as all involved servers know all about who is talking to whom, it is already by far too much exposed knowledge — even if the mere encryption of the connection, which again depends on X.509, hasn't been undermined by a man in the middle, which is hard to find out if there is no human intervention and no reporting to the actual users.
This is not the way it has to be. We believe a completely new stack of
Internet protocols is not only feasible, it already exists to a large
extent. It merely needs better attention. Currently 99% of technology
people are focused on improving the above mentioned protocols, even
though they are broken by design… and can only be improved in some
partial aspects. Vastly insufficient compared to what humanity deserves.
This project is for those who want to look into a future of an Internet,
which actually respects constitutional principles.
Yet, nothing of this comes about if we don't provide incentives.
Without incentives, Internet companies find no business model in
protecting fundamental principles of democracy. Whereas universities
have already delivered several decades of excellent research and
working prototypes in this field, but they aren't incentivized to
produce an actually deployable product. Also standards
organizations are powerless if the company that infringes civil
rights the most is the one that will dominate the market.
In practice, competition is at odds with philanthropy.
Currently it takes enthusiasts to fill in the gaps between what
researchers and companies have released and turn it into something
that actually works for the population. We think we need incentives
to polish the protocol stack of a GNU Internet, and by
mean that the involved software needs to be free as in free speech,
and that we need regulation to actually
deploy an upgrade of the Internet to a version that protects its
participants from eavesdropping and social correlation.
A video presentation of the #youbroketheinternet project was given
at the ThinkTwice conference 2014.
For German viewers gibt es die Videoaufzeichnung unserer Projektpräsentation beim Easterhegg 2014.
THE PROJECT MAP
Here's a map of projects working in some architectural layer of a possible GNU Internet. As you can see, none covers all required layers, so there is some work left to be done:
Yellow is for projects in development while green is for those that are available. Red illustrates brands that lose their monopoly condition once the respective layers are fully operational whereas light red indicates faulty technologies that we must replace. See the map page for elaboration on that.
Proposal for LEGISLATION
We started working on a EU law proposal to require
mandatory anonymised, authenticated and end-to-end encrypted
communications in all telephony and computing devices sold after 201x.
Communications shall be anonymous in the sense that third parties are not
entitled to recognize who is talking to whom yet they should be
authenticated to all of the participants of any conversation, thus
cutting out several vectors for so-called „cybercrime” such as
unauthenticated SPAM mail, possibly containing malware or viruses.
Whereas when interacting with companies, people can choose whether
to stay anonymous, assume a pseudonymous identity or authenticate
as a legal person. This provides for a much safer way to do business
over the Internet, saving citizen and especially companies precious
time and money in extra security measures. In particular the failed
concept of the password as an authentication scheme can be abolished
once cryptographic authenticity is implicit in all transactions.
We shall include ways to ensure the correct implementation of such
a regulation and a transition path from the existing unsafe systems.
Be aware that this initiative, as a side effect of reconstructing the
constitutionality of the Internet, resolves aspects of net neutrality,
data protection and data retention all as an inevitable and logical
side effect. We hereby determine the Internet to stop being a product
and starting becoming an existential public infrastructure.
You can examine the current draft in
ODT (free) or
PDF (proprietary) format.
Previous versions are listed here.
The summary of the 30c3 YBTI sessions includes a discussion on the proposal. Video:
The draft has evolved a lot since then, however.
Pointless? Hopeless? Or a chance to save democracy?
not the first to say
the Internet has turned into the greatest threat to democracy.
The measures society has to take, to ensure civil rights and
freedom aren't at stake, are likely drastic.
More than most would want to believe.
It probably takes both better technologies and better laws.
On May 6th, 2016, at Berlin's Onionspace, the office space
for projects that intend to fix the Internet, we hosted
a political discussion regarding the use of scalable,
distributed and GNU technologies as a possible way to
recover some bits and pieces of democracy.
Is this all pointless? We invited alert minds to
ask us and the audience some tough questions.
Participants in the discussion were:
Audio/video recording has been made. If the quality is bearable
we will get back to you with something to download and consume.
On the topic of the debate, some interesting material from Christian:
If German isn't exactly your forte, see the publications above.
Thanks to the Onionspace for having us and sharing a nice party with us.
YBTI at the 32c3 Hacker Congress
Before, during and after the Camp 2015
The Chaos Communication Camp
has become an almost inevitable place of exchange and shared evolution every four years.
We held a long list of sessions at the
"We'll Make us a Gnu One" project located by
La Quadrature du Camp.
We also had meetings and hack-on sessions after the camp in Berlin.
One of the outcomes is the port of
GNUnet on OpenWRT
for the purpose of having a libre cryptographic routing system on mesh networks.
Workshop at Opentechsummit 2015
Always driven by convenience and easy solutions, the Internet and
digital networks such as telephony's GSM have evolved into the easiest
platform for a complete surveillance of humankind. This has some
practical aspects when your priority is to hunt down crime, but by
giving the power of omniscience to certain government agencies the
Montesqueuian principle of Separation of Powers has been undermined.
Foundational values for a successful exercise of Democracy, such as the
Secrecy of Correspondence or the Freedom of Assembly, which is
effectively deanonymized and thus abolished by metadata collection,
are impeded. In a situation of continued observation, the Freedom of
Expression suffers by consequence. Even parts of the European
Commission agree, that unregulated technology has positioned us on
a slippery slope leading us into a neo-totalitarian society.
Surprisingly though, this doesn't have to be this way. By combining
advanced technology and insightful legislation, it is up to the
parliaments in power to priorize correctly and choose whether democratic
preconditions are to be valued over law enforcement convenience.
We discussed options for a combined legal and
technological framework that defines a GNU Internet, designed to protect
constitutional principles of democracy, yet allows for targeted
law enforcement within democratic boundaries. As a side effect it should
also provide a more secure way for people to do business over the
Internet and cut out several vectors for "cybercrime."
Videos from the YBTI Sessions at 30c3
Next generation apps
The next generation on privacy and crypto apps all satellite
around public-key based routing. We'll discuss e-mail replacements,
secure telephony and DHT-based storage systems.
- Jacob Appelbaum - Pond, a Tor-based mail system
- Leif Ryge - Tahoe-LAFS, a distributed file system storage
(sorry, no video)
- Simon Levermann - Tox, a peer-to-peer telephony tool
- Bart Polot - Telephony over GNUnet
How can we make our technologies grandpartent compatible and the
exchange of cryptographic keys and shared secrets a natural
- Aleclm (SNAKE) - A friendship handshake evolving the Socialist Millionaire
- vonlynX (secushare) - Usability horror lessons to learn from e-mail, PGP, RetroShare and more
- Jan Borchardt (unhosted) - Open Source Design
- Brennan Novak (mailpile)
Futures of Public-Key based Routing
How can something like onion routing become a basic function of the Internet?
How can end-to-end authenticity be the default?
- Florian Dold - GNUnet's new cryptography
(sorry, no video)
- cjd (cjdns) - The edge of dystopia
- Panel feat. I2P, cjdns, GNUnet and more
Scalability of Distributed Systems
Why is it so hard to do a distributed Twitter that actually works?
- Gabor Toth - secushare multicasting over GNUnet
- Moritz Bartl - Scaling the Tor network
(sorry, no video)
- von lynX - Distributed social networking over Onion Routing
(sorry, no video)
We need more infrastructure that is run independently of nation states or
for-profit corporations. Who owns all the wi-fi gear in our homes? Is it
them or us? How can we as a society operate networks for the common good?
- cjd - cjdns, Hyperboria & the Project Meshnet
- Bart Polot - GNUnet Mesh Networking
- Panel feat. Elektra (BATMAN, Freifunk)
Secure Name Systems
The great shoot out panel of the name resolution titans. Does it make sense to patch the Domain Name System? Which strategy should we pick for a safer new Internet stack? Should we require cryptographic privacy of name resolution?
Tragically, there are no recordings of this excellent panel.
There is a biased summary in the summary video below.
- Haya Shulman (DNSSEC/DANE)
- Dan J. Bernstein (DNSCurve)
- Levin Keller (Namecoin)
- Christian Grothoff (GNS, the GNU Name System)
Additional in-depth presentations
- Aleclm - Snake: a privacy-aware social service providing anonymity of data at rest
- Forthy - net2o reinvents the Internet: Secure, reliable, fast and lightweight
(sorry, no video)
- infinity0 - Terraforming Arrakis: development practice recommendations for a long-term architecture of a new Internet
(sorry, no video)
From safer use of cryptography over kernel magic to reproducible compilation
of to a vision of a full security redesign of the OS.
- Jon Solworth - EthOS: an Operating System to make it far easier to write applications that withstand attack
- Tanja Lange & Dan J Bernstein - NaCl: a Networking and Cryptography library improving security, usability and speed
- Lunar - Reproducible Compilation: Challenges of building a deterministic Debian.
Roughly same talk as presented at FOSDEM (webm)
- Julian Kirsch - Knock: a Linux kernel patch for operating stealthy TCP servers
(see also below for the more recent "Knocking down the Hacienda" presentation).
If the hardware we are running our systems on is intrinsically insecure,
we may be building a fortress on top of a house of cards. What is
required on the lowest levels to obtain reasonable endpoint security?
Very interesting panel featuring illustre guests:
- Rop Gonggrijp (Founder of xs4all.nl)
- Dominik (Byterazor)
- Bunnie & Xobs (novena laptop)
- Karsten Becker (PSHDL on FPGAs)
- Peter Stuge (coreboot)
- Dan & vonlynX (youbroketheinternet)
Summary of the 30c3 YBTI Sessions
Summary + discussion on the legislation proposal
for obligatory obfuscated and end-to-end encrypted communication:
Best Practices for Crypto
We have published our revised version of the comparison report
on Options for a Secure Mail System
originally written by Elijah Sparrow of the LEAP project. It discusses
plenty of legacy protocols and legacy-oriented proposals such as
LEAP itself and why very unfortunately they are unlikely to solve
the issues at stake.
Then again you may find Best
Practice Recommendations for Crypto Tools much more interesting
as it spans all use cases and is more to the point.
Video: Knocking down the HACIENDA
"Knocking down the HACIENDA,"
the talk from the GNU Hackers Meeting 2014
that caused some mayhem for making the GCHQ HACIENDA
program generally known to the public.
The talk details how the five eyes agencies have been
collaborating to systematically obtain control over computers
on the entire planet, and how the new TCP Stealth technology
developed by the presenter provides obstacles to the massive
GNU Internet technologies should support this new advanced
TCP port knocking technique.
Workshop for a GNU CONSENSUS
On the week-end of August 24-25, 2013, we gathered at
Berlin's CCC headquarters to develop a rough
on what the criteria should be for a GNU internet and to
prepare for the upcoming sessions at 30C3.
Video: Talks for a GNU INTERNET
This is the video
from the talks given in Berlin on August 1st.
Over 100.000 people have watched it already — so should you.
The talks are in English, even though the welcoming words are in German.
Christian Grothoff's talk summarized the recent revelations about PRISM
and their implications for non-American citizens, industries and
governments. It then presented technical solutions towards a secure
and fully decentralized future Internet, which would address key challenges
for self-determined life created by the world-wide police state.
Interesting details on this:
- A new cryptographic method for a privacy-capable DNS/DNSSEC placement, called GADS (it was later renamed into GNS as in GNU Naming System).
- A faster and smarter extensible messaging syntax than XML and JSON, called PSYC.
- A strategy for distributed and liberated Internet search, called RegEx.
Carlo von lynX gave a presentation on how secushare intends to provide
messaging and Facebook-like functionality on top of GNUnet. Keywords:
- Scalability thanks to a new multicast pubsub layer for P2P;
- Social graph vs. Onion routing;
- Unsafety of your own server in an XKeyscore world.
Richard Stallman and Jacob Appelbaum reminded the audience of the
relevance of free software, free hardware and the pervasive use of
cryptography and responded to questions.
Denis and Torsten spoke introductory and closing words.
This event was kindly hosted by the Piratenpartei Berlin.
- How long will the employed cryptography last?
- All of the platforms are apparently migrating to a healthy variant of elliptic curve crypto (ECC), so that is likely to be fine for years. Even if a way to break it is discovered, it will be an extra effort to decrypt anything, so it is a good idea to hide your private messages in a large body of cover traffic. The aim of #youbroketheinternet is to impede mass surveillance, not targeted operations, therefore this type of architecture is sufficient from our point of view. If you need more security, the safest choice is to not use the Internet or to not use a computing device.
- Can I trust private cloud technology?
- That is currently a gamble. As a rule of thumb, the cheaper the hosting, the easier for governments and other attackers to have automated access to server memory and cryptographic keys. Location of the servers may be of relevance. Manufacturer also. Hiding the services behind Tor, I2P or other technologies may be helpful. In all cases servers tend to become honeypots, so we recommend technologies that do not depend upon them. See also Nick Szabo on the general subject of trusting third parties. The recommendations he gives are the kind of distributed technologies we are promoting.
- How scalable should messaging systems be?
- For asynchronous one-on-one communications it may not be essential. Pond is an architecture that should work fine if you limit the number of people you use it with. As soon as you expect to have a buddy list indicating the online presence of your friends in order to have a synchronous chat, that's when scalability strikes. If you also consider mailing lists or microblogging as use cases, then it is a big factor. In that case the question is, why deploy a not so scalable messaging technology if there is hope we will be able to provide a scalable one? And does it really make sense these days to deploy a messaging technology that isn't integrated into a social networking experience?
- Now that asymmetry is no longer a requirement in modern DSL technology, does it make sense to push for its reduction?
- Absolutely yes. The less we depend on relay nodes, the better a GNU Internet works.
- Why GNU and not new?
- GNU stands for the civic freedoms provided by free software.
Richard Stallman explains it nicely in the video mentioned above.
The privacy requirements that we have for the new Internet
cannot be guaranteed by non-free software. And since we also
depend on relay nodes not operated by ourselves, Affero GPL is best.
- Does the GNU Internet need a custom software license?
- We currently recommend the Affero GPL, because of all the good reasons Mr Stallman explained to you. In particular we expect that companies would try to offer gatewaying services once these technologies become more popular, so it is important that these services, at least legally, cannot be running rogue versions of the software that disrespect their user's rights. A harsher free software license than AGPL may be a good idea, but it may require revisiting also the definition of "open source."
- Why is this website not protecting privacy by using HTTPS?
- 1. Because this website should be hosted on an onion rather than insecure HTTPS, 2. because you need to make sure you are accessing the web anonymously much more than we can protect you by deploying HTTPS and 3. because we are tired of managing dozens of certificate expirations to satisfy the whim of the broken X.509 standard.
- Do you also work on actual code?
- Some of us are involved with secushare, but we try out all sorts of XKEYSCORE-resistant technology. You may find our Gentoo overlay at git://cheettyiapsyciew.onion/youbroketheinternet-overlay useful, unless you already moved on to GuixSD.
WE'RE NOT ALONE
Back in 2013, just after the Snowden leaks, we seemed to be
the only crazy people to ask for these things.. a systematic
overhaul of the Internet.. an immediate upgrade from merely
encrypted communications to metadata-protective communications.
Our idea that servers aren't a safe place for such data was
considered radical, even just after the new findings, but to
us it was clear there was not another day to lose. In the
meantime more political projects promoting these technologies
have sprung up with very similar objectives, not counting the
software projects themselves, which started heading in the
right direction already a decade before. So let us recommend
you also inspect
the mesh networking oriented sister of YBTI and the
project (also known as e2einit).
GET IN TOUCH
Bitmessage is an interim alternative solution to
electronic mail with its strengths and weaknesses, but it is likely to
protect your metadata from showing that you contacted us - which
PGP cannot do.
Please contact us via Bitmessage to BM-NB7xa9gEpmJgYp9PVnEdACiZcGmmEJcY.
We run BM discussion lists on YBTI, legislation and other topics, but we can
only invite you into them if you contact us first.
It is obviously not ideal that you got the address from an unencrypted
website, so you may want to reassure its authenticity in the chat.
If you're already using Tor software
you can meet us in our chatroom via our onion service:
Otherwise, here are more traditional means:
We hope our chat service to be reasonably safe, but there's still a
risk that your interest in us is exposed, or even the contents of
the chat ends up in the wrong hands.
We may occasionally make public announcements in the unsafe Internet: