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joebush

Bittorrent Mail - Secure, distributed mail/messaging

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I had what I think is a great idea which I tried to post in the idea bank, but something went seriously wrong. I think the idea is extremely disruptive and has huge implications for privacy, so I wanted to at least post it here in case anyone shares my enthusiasm about it. Essentially it's a BTSync-like, server-free distributed mail application/protocol based on the bittorrent protocol, using public/private keys for encryption.

Here is the description in revised form that I tried to post to the idea bank. I hope it's clear. You can also read a more layman description here: wp.me/poSvv-n

Let me know what you think.

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A BTSync-like application/protocol using public/private keys to facilitate encrypted, text-based communication and file transfer between clients. (Mail with optional attachments)

The client application will create one (or more) public/private key set(s). It will have an contact list that holds public trusted keys received from other users. These serve as email addresses when sending messages to users. (Stores public keys as unique contact identifiers [email addresses] for communication)

The use of several key sets could be used for grouping contacts, or a user could potentially use a separate key set for each contact in their list. Each contact is assigned a default local key set that acts as the 'sender' of a message. (Optionally different sender keys [addresses] when communicating with different contacts)

Sending a message (with or without attachment) will be encrypted to a contact's public key, and signed with the chosen local private key. Recipients' devices are found through DHT, trackers, etc. Once a connection is established, transfers of the message begins.

The client could also function as pseudo real-time chat, showing online status of other clients that have authorized your public key. Only authorized keys will retain an active connection and receive updated status from other contacts.

Private keys on the client can be imported to other devices that a user frequently uses, essentially allowing a user to have identical mail clients on multiple devices (home PC, phone, etc). Mail contents on each device sharing a private key would automatically be synced.

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I had what I think is a great idea which I tried to post in the idea bank, but something went seriously wrong. I think the idea is extremely disruptive and has huge implications for privacy, so I wanted to at least post it here in case anyone shares my enthusiasm about it. Essentially it's a BTSync-like, server-free distributed mail application/protocol based on the bittorrent protocol, using public/private keys for encryption.

Here is the description in revised form that I tried to post to the idea bank. I hope it's clear. You can also read a more layman description here: wp.me/poSvv-n

Let me know what you think.

--------------

A BTSync-like application/protocol using public/private keys to facilitate encrypted, text-based communication and file transfer between clients. (Mail with optional attachments)

The client application will create one (or more) public/private key set(s). It will have an contact list that holds public trusted keys received from other users. These serve as email addresses when sending messages to users. (Stores public keys as unique contact identifiers [email addresses] for communication)

The use of several key sets could be used for grouping contacts, or a user could potentially use a separate key set for each contact in their list. Each contact is assigned a default local key set that acts as the 'sender' of a message. (Optionally different sender keys [addresses] when communicating with different contacts)

Sending a message (with or without attachment) will be encrypted to a contact's public key, and signed with the chosen local private key. Recipients' devices are found through DHT, trackers, etc. Once a connection is established, transfers of the message begins.

The client could also function as pseudo real-time chat, showing online status of other clients that have authorized your public key. Only authorized keys will retain an active connection and receive updated status from other contacts.

Private keys on the client can be imported to other devices that a user frequently uses, essentially allowing a user to have identical mail clients on multiple devices (home PC, phone, etc). Mail contents on each device sharing a private key would automatically be synced.

I think this makes senses as far as key management and message encryption. It still has all the shortcomings of Text, IM and email in that as a sender once the message is on the recipient's device I have lost control, they can cut,paste, forward, etc. using any other mechanism. Look at vaporstream.com and you can see an existing messaging solution for this use case, complete sender control.

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I think this makes senses as far as key management and message encryption. It still has all the shortcomings of Text, IM and email in that as a sender once the message is on the recipient's device I have lost control, they can cut,paste, forward, etc. using any other mechanism. Look at vaporstream.com and you can see an existing messaging solution for this use case, complete sender control.

Any system that will allow true distributed messaging will not allow the user to retain control. As long as there is anonymity and good encryption, this isn't a real problem in my opinion.

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it is already there:

http://bitmail.sf.net

 

based on the same protocol as: http://goldbug.sf.net

I still argue a user can't have a guarantee of control. A client can always be created that won't delete messages.

Thanks for the link. That's interesting. Haven't seen that one before. I guess we'll have to see what happens, but I think there needs to be a completely open de facto standard (and hopefully official, eventually) before this can take off. Once that's in place, anyone can make a client, and this can then be used by the masses for any correspondence purposes that they use email and chat for today.

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Since the original purpose of this thread was to spur the interest and development of BT Chat, the thread is now closed. Any further discussions about features, progress, etc. for BT Chat should be taken to appropriate threads.

 

(I apparently can't close the thread, but we can pretend I did. Maybe a mod can help me out.)

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