OneSwarm Turns P2P into F2F

New friend-to-friend (F2F) data sharing application allows users complete control over how data is shared, with the public, with friends, with some friends but not others, and so forth.

Some of the same researchers at the University of Washington that brought us BitTyrant have now developed a new privacy preserving file-sharing client called OneSwarm. It’s based on BitTorrent (and backwards compatible), but includes some new features like search, friend to friend data sharing (F2F), permissions, and a web UI with real time audio/video transcoding and remote access to name a few.

“Although widely used, currently popular P2P networks expose the sharing behavior of their users to monitoring by third parties,” reads OneSwarm’s technical report. “To curb the indiscriminate sharing that enables this, we have built OneSwarm, a friend-to-friend file sharing client that restricts direct data sharing to trusted friends with verifiable persistent identities. Associating persistent names with peers gives users explicit control over their privacy by defining sharing permissions at the granularity of data objects and friends.”

What OneSwarm does in a nutshell is basically allow users to establish networks of friends or contacts with which to share data. It allows users to then specifically fine-tune which data is shared with whom.

Instead of sharing data indiscriminately, data shared with OneSwarm can be made public, it can be shared with friends, shared with some friends but not others, and so forth.

OneSwarm even goes a step further by using source address rewriting to protect user privacy. Instead of always transmitting data directly from sender to receiver (immediately identifying both), OneSwarm may forward data through multiple intermediaries, obscuring the identity of both sender and receiver.

To note, OneSwarm DOES NOT protect user privacy when part of a BitTorrent swarm outside your friend-to-friend network.

Its interface is web browser based and supports real-time playback of many audio and video formats for in-browser playback, eliminating the need for casual users to master a new application’s interface or search for custom media codecs.

Clients and source are available for Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows.


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