Defending Internet Freedom through Decentralization: Back to the Future? | Barabas, Narula, Zuckerman

Chelsea Barabas, Neha Narula, Ethan Zuckerman; Defending Internet Freedom through Decentralization: Back to the Future?;a book?; The Center for Civic Media & The Digital Currency Initiative; MIT Media Lab; 2017; 113 pages.

tl;dr → theoretical; witnessing.  You tell it, you tell the story!  Mentions Bitcoin on page 2; uses the word “hegemon” on page 14.  Offers a cook’s tour of the boosterist community and their projects: Freedom Box, Diaspora, Mastodon, Blockstack, Interplanetary File System (IPFS), Solid, Appcoins, Steemit.

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
    • The Rise of the Centralized Web
    • Risks Posed by the Centralized Web
    • Structural Interventions as a Possible Solution
  • Section II: Federation
    • Freedom Box
    • Diaspora
    • Mastodon
  • Section III: Open Protocols
    • Authentication
    • Blockstack
    • Interoperability
    • IPFS
    • Solid
  • Section IV: Appcoins
    • Steemit
  • Conclusion


  • Wait and see, only time will tell.
    <quote>A precondition for the success of these distributed
    platforms is a shift towards user-controlled data,</quote>
  • Fund the projects (the best-of-breed exemplars, below, and more)
    e.g. Let’s Encrypt.
  • The fascination, gee whiz!; it’s simply phenomenal!
    Use Appcoins

    • circumvent Venture Capital funding.
    • business model: unspecified, but definitely “not advertising”
  • A fool and his money are soon parted:
    • <quote>However, this space also has a lot of potential for scams, and it might be unreasonable to expect users to manage a financial stake in many different networks.</quote>


  • Bitcoin
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • Let’s Encrypt
  • Appcoins
  • Digitial Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
  • File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
  • Gopher
  • Archie
  • Wide Area Information Server (WAIS)
  • John Perry Barlow
    A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace
  • Fred Turner
    ambiguous reference

  • World Wide Web (WWW)
  • Domain Name System (DNS)
  • “lock the web open”, attributed to Brewster Kayle.
  • Peer-to-Peer
  • cypherpunk worldview
  • Diffie-Hellman key exchange
  • Bitcoin
  • ledger
  • accounts
  • Hyper-Text Transport Protocol (HTTP)
  • Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)
  • <quote>Distributed, peer-to-peer protocols like HTTP and SMTP</quote>
    um, what?
  • Millennials
  • Baby Boomers
  • Google competitors
    • Baidu,
    • Yahoo,
    • Microsoft,
    • Yandex.
    • hey … what about DuckDuckGo?
  • Twitter
  • Arab Spring
  • Tunisia
  • Baltimore
  • BitTorrent
  • YouTube
  • WhatsApp
  • software stack
  • surveillance
  • decryption keys
  • Thailand
  • Thai Royal Family
  • “lock



  • Freedom Box
  • Diaspora
  • Mastodon
  • Blockstack
  • Interplanetary File System (IPFS)
  • Solid
  • Appcoins
  • Steemit


  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • WhatsApp
  • YouTube


  • User and developer adoption
  • Security
  • Monetization and incentives


Elaborated in the Introduction

  1. Top-down, Direct Censorship
  2. Something. Couldn’t identify what it was. His second point, and surely they had one…



  • decentralized
  • good old days of unmediated publishing
  • critical safeguard for user privacy
  • mainstream
  • “disrupt” this new class of power elites


  • mega-platform
  • centralized
  • third-party intermediaries
  • marginalized voices
  • for-profit
  • today’s online hegemons.


  • John Perry Barlow, theorist.
  • Philando Castile, executed by police, on live TV.
  • David Chaum, polymath.
  • Fred Turner, Harry and Norman Chandler Professor of Communication
    Department Chair, Stanford University.
  • Frederick Jackson Turner, Wisconsin, Harvard, 1861→1932.
  • Mark Zuckerbirg, CEO, Facebook


There are 201 references, presented inline, as footnotes, in the style of a legal tract.

They are <omitted/> herein.

Previously filled.

Spamness for Thunderbird (requires a folder rebuild)

Spamntess for Thunderbird: (sometimes) Does. Not. Work.  But if it did, it would be great!

Sees to work on some folders, but not on others.  Even with the folder rebuild. But, specifically, it isn’t working with inbox where  it is needed the most (because after inbox you have, by definition, refiled the mail so you pretty much know whether it’s spam or not).


Recall that Thunderbird is consciously uncoupling from Mozilla (long live Thunderbird!).
c.f. Thunderbird Reorganizes at the 2014 Toronto Summit; In Their Blog; 2014-11-25.

HOWTO – Create your own yum repository

Not that hard really … hardly worth a notice


Sketch for populating the repository … (you get the idea)

$ sudo yum install -y createrepo
$ mkdir /someplace
$ cp *.rpm /someplace
$ cd /somplace
$ createrepo

It’s that last step of createrepo that creates the published index of the repository

Describe the repository … (you get the idea, Fedora 25 is as-yet fictitions)

$ cat /etc/yum.repos.d/areas-fedora.repo
name = /areas/fedora, Fedora 25, all
baseurl = file:///areas/fedora/25/repo
enabled = 1
gpgcheck = 1
gpgkey = file:///areas/fedora/25/repo/pki
sslverify = 0
cost = 1



Fedora Documentation [Fedora 21]

Red Hat Documentation [RHEL6]

Preventing Western Digital SmartWare Virtual CD from automounting in your desktop

Why do this?  When the CD-ROM function is burned into the very firmware of the disk unit …  That’s when.  Very pesky. You crack the case on one of those things and it’s not really a sata disk inside, the pins are all different.  Which means it does different things than a disk.  <spooky>Different things.</spooky>

Preventing Western Digital SmartWare Virtual CD from automounting in your desktop; in /etc/fstab

/dev/sr1 none udf rw,noauto 0 0

Via: Linux Living: Enjoy your WD My Book 1TB Drive: No more WD SmartWare icon in Ubuntu! » circa 2010-01-14.

<quote>As I mentioned in my last post, I recently picked up a Western Digital My Book Essential 1 TB external hard drive. Although it doesn’t as yet display the same problems that my Simpletech hard drive wa….</quote>

Via: backfill


accept_ra=2 | Linux, IPv6, router advertisements and forwarding

Andy; Linux, IPv6, router advertisements and forwarding; In His Blog; 2011-09-05.


You want forwarding and you want SLAAC.  You may be on a backrev kernel.


Firstly, if you have a kernel version of 2.6.37 or higher then your answer is to set accept_ra to “2″. From ip-sysctl.txt:

accept_ra – BOOLEAN

Accept Router Advertisements; autoconfigure using them.

Possible values are:

  • 0 Do not accept Router Advertisements.
  • 1 Accept Router Advertisements if forwarding is disabled.
  • 2 Overrule forwarding behaviour. Accept Router Advertisements even if forwarding is enabled.

Functional default:

  • enabled if local forwarding is disabled.
  • disabled if local forwarding is enabled.

This appears to be a type of boolean that [e] wasn’t previously familiar with – one that has three different values.
If you don’t have kernel version 2.6.37 though, like say, everyone running the current Debian stable (2.6.32), this will not work. Helpfully, it also doesn’t give you any sort of error when you set accept_ra to “2″. It just sets it and continues silently ignoring router advertisements.

Bjørn Mork posted about a workaround for earlier kernels.

MinimaLT: Minimal-Latency Networking Through Better Security | Petullo, Zhang, Solworth, Bernstein, Lange

W. Michael Petullo, Xu Zhang, Jon A. Solworth, Daniel J. Bernstein, Tamja Lange; MinimaLT: Minimal-Latency Networking Through Better Security; In Some Conference; 2013; 13 pages.


Minimal Latency Tunneling (MinimaLT) is a new network protocol that provides ubiquitous encryption for maximal confi dentiality, including protecting packet headers. MinimaLT provides server and user authentication, extensive Denial-of-Service protections, and IP mobility while approaching perfect forward secrecy. We describe the protocol, demonstrate its performance relative to TLS and unencrypted TCP/IP, and analyze its protections, including its resilience against DoS attacks. By exploiting the properties of its cryptographic protections, MinimaLT is able to eliminate three-way handshakes and thus create connections faster than unencrypted TCP/IP.


  • <quote>We plan to soon release Ethos and our Linux MinimaLT implementation as open source software.</quote>




Just scanned the paper quickly trying to figure out the alignment with tcpcrypt. It feels like there’s only room for one of these in the Big Wide World Of Tomorrow — winner take all. The paper says:

Like MinimaLT, tcpcrypt investigated ubiquitous encryption, but it maintains backwards compatibility with TCP/IP. Tcpcrypt provides hooks that applications may use to provide authentication services and determine whether a channel is encrypted. MinimaLT’s approach is different; it is clean-slate and eases host assurance by moving authentication and encryption services to the system layer.

This group seems further behind on reproducing the result at a 2nd lab; a public reference implementation.

We plan to soon release Ethos and our Linux MinimaLT implementation as open source software.

Marc Brevard Contributes to the Windows Kernel. Windows Is Slower Than Other Operating Systems. Here Is Why. | Some Anonymous Dude, Mark Brevard

Via: Marc Brevard; “I Contribute to the Windows Kernel. We Are Slower Than Other Operating Systems. Here Is Why.”; In  His Blog; 2013-05-10.
Teaser: he cut & pasts from a discussion on Hacker News that has since been deleted.