Hackerspace Retroshare Backbone

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Hackerspace Retroshare Backbone
Why Retroshare (http://retroshare.sourceforge.net) is a decentralised, friend-to-friend social network. High-uptime, locally-trusting nodes based in hackerspaces could help bootstrap an efficient inter-'space encrypted network even beginners can use.
Where Nexus Cork
Who Various!
More Info http://retroshare.sourceforge.net/
Tags anonymous, crypto, encryption, privacy, anarchism, decentralise, freedom, communication, social, network, interhackerspace, global, discussion

What is Retroshare?[edit]

Retroshare offers a social network with file-sharing built-in, designed on a Friend to Friend routing model that allows long-range communication through relationships of mutual trust. It's a clever model, which allows more granular trust and sharing for advanced or obsessive users. It's also one of the friendliest and easiest open cryptographic applications available; once inside the network, adding new friends can be as simple as clicking on them in a map or chatroom.

Retroshare allows a sort of email which only delivers when both nodes are online (synchronous), a more useful "forums" feature, explicitly shared or anonymously searched file-sharing, blog-like "channels" with optional auto-download of attached files from subscribed channels, real-time chat lobbies and direct group chat, and more using plugins. It's based on GnuPG and OpenSSL and is actively developed.

Why a Hackerspace Backbone?[edit]

However, Retroshare has a problem; it's entirely P2P, so there are times when a download (or a discussion in a chatroom, or delivery of a long-range email, or similar), which is progressing through a friends' connection from a third-party, may be cut-off when that friend goes offline. This is called "churn", and it's a problem for all P2P networks but moreso for Retroshare where only trusted friends are used for routing.

To help solve this and encourage greater use and adoption of Retroshare, I propose that hackerspaces each host a high-uptime "hackerspace node", through which all local members can connect to the broader retroshare network. All hackerspace nodes can connect to other hackerspaces and global key-nodes, so that a message sent from Nexus Cork to NoiseBridge can route along the hackerspace "backbone" even if members in either space share no friends (yet).

In addition, hackerspace nodes aid in peer discovery and therefore allow hackerspace members to locate other hackers around the world, and learn more about and from one another.

Finally, although Retroshare is hardly fascism-proof, in an age of sprawling GCHQ/FRA/NSA surveillance, moving more communications to at least moderately more secure platforms than Email, Facebook and Twitter is a welcome move for everyone. Encrypt all the things!

How to Get Involved?[edit]

Simple! Set up Retroshare on a computer in your local 'space, preferably one connected long-term to the internet. Then, download Nexus Cork's certificate file from: http://bayfiles.net/file/160Hd/R3qDQT/Nexus_Biohazard.rsc (sha512 hash: 296c69ab343d36b32273d9738b37d3335fa33a05483f63a7b9c481dcf13097a47453bf04c69f083c8cb28ab1967ee61ae9e64358268ff9099322893758ba7e02 Nexus_Biohazard.rsc)

Then, go to the "Add a Friend Wizard" item on the left pane, select "You get a certificate file from a friend". In this dialogue, you can export your own certificate file: please do so, and *post it somewhere or email it to a nexus member*! In the same pane, you can then import the above certificate you've downloaded (and hopefully verified).

To connect, Nexus or whomever you're connecting to *must also import your certificate*. Once connected to someone, introductions within the network are far easier than the above process. Your first Hackerspace 'connection' can introduce you to others easily. To let us know about your new 'space, and to attach your certificate, please email Cathal using cathalgarvey@cathalgarvey.me or poke him on twitter: "@onetruecathal".

Looking forward to connecting! ~Cathal

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