Calls: Send in your ideas. Deadline October 1st, 2022.

Earthstar (Encryption, Safety, and Local Sync)

Improve security, encryption and sync capabilities in Earthstar CRDT

Storing and collaborating digital data is an essential part of every day computing, from photo-sharing amongst family members, to document co-authoring between colleagues. Earthstar is a tool for building undiscoverable, offline-first shared data storage. Users decide which devices their data are stored on, what the infrastructure of their network looks like, the shape of their data, and how they can interact with it. The proposed project adds a number of useful features, notably end-to-end encryption (including metadata), P2P discovery in local networks and efficient data synchronisation.

Why does this actually matter to end users?

Storing and collaborating digital data is an essential part of every day computing, from photo-sharing amongst family members, to document co-authoring between colleagues.

Almost all systems we use require us to trust corporations who pry into our data, sell on our personal details and add or remove functionality on a whim -- not always in the interest of users. In extreme cases, these companies can go out of business or be acquired and closed down, causing total data loss.

It is clear that this situation is untenable and must change. Many proposed solutions include pushing data onto blockchains. While blockchains might add a degree of data resilience, they also have significant implications. On a blockchain, data can never be edited or deleted and is visible to everyone. The nature of blockchains themselves reduce users to powerless nodes in a network without trust.

Earthstar is a tool for building undiscoverable, offline-first shared data storage. Users decide which devices their data are stored on, what the infrastructure of their network looks like, the shape of their data, and how they can interact with it.

Earthstar is powerful and flexible. It can be used by friends building a chatroom, researchers without internet access in the field, archivists seeking a resilient way to store data, and anyone else whose data and collaboration needs can no longer be served by the existing status quo.

Logo NLnet: abstract logo of four people seen from above Logo NGI Assure: letterlogo shaped like a tag

This project was funded through the NGI Assure 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 957073. Applications are still open, you can apply today.

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Please check out NLnet's theme funds, such as NGI Assure and NGI Zero Entrust.

Want to help but no money to spend? Help us by protecting open source and its users.

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