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Topic: SUMA Award 2014/15 for 'protection against total surveillance' (Read 2874 times) previous topic - next topic
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SUMA Award 2014/15 for 'protection against total surveillance'

11th of February 2015

At this year's congress of SUMA-EV, association for free access to knowledge, the SUMA award was awarded in the venerable Karl-H.-Ditze lecture hall of the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences. The topic of the award, was the surveillance scandal, revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden: 'protection against total surveillance'. From submissions of about 50 projects for the SUMA award 2014/15 the panel of SUMA-EV selected the Freenet Project as the winner. The prize money of 2500€ will be used like regular donations to fund our one paid developer.


If you don't know the Freenet, let me give you an easy briefing:

What is the Freenet ?

The Freenet is an anonymous P2P network, separated from the web, constructed as a decentralized, anonymous data storage: All participants of the Freenet network provide a portion of their storage and bandwidth to the network.
All internal processes use this network; these internal processes are decentralized, completely anonymous and encrypted. Everything that is being uploaded is cut into chunks during the process and then distributed across the network. The chunks are then saved redundantly on thousands of participating computers across the globe.
When being downloaded the chunks are pieced together again into a single file. There is no need for the uploader to stay on the network after upload. Uploads are being kept within the Freenet as long as there is a sufficient demand. Spam resistence is ensured by means of a web of trust. It is possible to use pseudonyms which are recognizable by others. The 'Darknet' mode allows for connections exclusevely with friends. 
The Freenet is designed to allow for anonymous, censorship resistant communications of any kind: it is possible to send e-mails with encrypted content and meta data, the Freenet enables secure peer-to-peer communication and censorship resistant publishing even in a hostile environment; the Freenet provides for anonymity using dependable pseudonyms and enables decentralized publishing without a single-point-of-failure.
The Freenet offers a Darknet-mode providing secure communication among friends: used in this manner it is not even possible to see that the Freenet is being used.
Additionally the Freenet could be seen as one of the last resorts of anonymous filesharing: each and every type of filesharing haven been subject to crackdowns by specialized law enforcement agencies around the world, resulting in law suits for filersharers.
The Freenet does not have such an unfortunate history. Any knowledge of what is being held within the cache of ones own node could plausibly be denied since everything in there is encrypted and dynamically forwarded.
In addition, it is not only possible to anonymously upload files but also websites, to programm anonymously via the Freenet, do micro-blogging like on Twitter, but anonymously, and to discuss anonymously in forums.

Political Significance
In times of global, complete surveillance next to political solutions also technical solutions are needed, in order to win the fight for press of freedom and other basic rights. The Freenet creates the technical background, which is needed for this, because the Freenet makes censorship and surveillance too expensive for enforcing it politically and to unpracticably for enforcing it in practice.
The Freenet enables a journalist in a countrywide newspaper, maintaining a point-of-contact to anonymous sources without requiring lots of infrastructure on the side of the journalist or the source.
The freenet enables a whistleblower in a medium-sized state-contractor, sending documents to a journalist and being available for questions to verify their origin without disclosing the whistleblower’s real identity to the journalist or anyone else. This is priceless, because otherwise it's not possible anymore to report, if there are strong interests against this, as otherwise it would be possible to de-anonymize everyone, who wants to publish
Additionally relying on the Freenet is one of the strongest moves, which the filesharing community can do now facing the increasing, massive attacks against the filesharing community – just think of all those international raids against the filesharing community or the leaked strategy paper how Hollywood plans to act against the filesharing community the next years.
But regarding Freenet the anonymous filesharing aspect is just a side effect of the fight for real freedom of press, because where a filesharer can be sued, a whistleblower can't feel safe, either.

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