Send in your ideas. Deadline October 1, 2024
Source code :
Theme fund: NGI0 PET
Start: 2019-12
End: 2022-10
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Software engineering
Data and AI

Dat Private Network

Private storage in DAT

The dat private network is a self-hosted server that is easy to deploy on cloud or home infrastructure. Key features include a web-based control panel for administration by non-developers, as well as on-disk encryption. These no-knowledge storage services will ensure backup and high availability of distributed datasets, while also providing trust that unauthorized third-parties won’t have access to content.

By creating a turnkey backup solution, we’ll be able to address two of our users’ most pressing questions about dat: who serves my data when I’m offline, and how do I archive and secure important files? The idea for this module came from the community, and reflects a dire need in the storage space -- no-knowledge backup and sync across devices. A properly-designed backup service will provide solutions to both of these questions, and will do so in a privacy-preserving way.

This deliverable will put resources into bringing this work to a production-ready state, primarily through development towards updates that make use of the latest performance and security updates from the dat ecosystem, such as NOISE support. We plan to maintain the socio-technical infrastructure through an open working group that creates updates for the network as it matures.

Why does this actually matter to end users?

It has been several decades since the first internet connection was made and we still have not solved the issue of free, safe and controlled file sharing. Common channels like email set strict file size limits and leave possibly sensitive data strewn about inboxes and servers. File hosting and sharing services keep users in the dark about what happens to their uploads and do not keep files up for long. Torrent environments are fraught with illegally uploaded or malicious content that may be harmful for users, who have no tools to verify or authenticate anything or anyone.

Users want to share their data with their friends, colleagues, partners or clients, not with some unknown third parties or shady service providers. Instead of relying on someone else's infrastructure, users can build a network themselves to store and share data as peers. Dat is a longstanding community effort to make peer-to-peer (p2p) data sharing accessible, easy and safe. Originally intended for academics, Dat is now used to share websites, music, art, chat programs and other content hosted and provided only by users and data owners themselves. Because the dat protocol distributes data on every peer's computer, it can even work offline or with limited connectivity. And because all distributed data is uniquely identified, peers can verify that files have not been tampered with.

This project aims to make the dat network and technology more accessible for archiving communities. Putting archives on the internet can be a foolproof method to preserve unique material, but only when the archives are securely distributed and data owners keep complete control over the data. The foundation responsible for the dat-technology will develop easy-to-use tools to first encrypt and store archives offline and then distribute the data on a peer-to-peer-network controlled by the archiving community. This way unique data is securely backed-up, always available and trustworthy, because no unauthorized third parties have access. These tools and infrastructure can of course benefit communities everywhere to store and share their unique information on their own terms.

Run by Dat Protocol Foundation

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This project was funded through the NGI0 PET Fund, a fund established by NLnet with financial support from the European Commission's Next Generation Internet programme, under the aegis of DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology under grant agreement No 825310.