Send in your ideas. Deadline October 1, 2024
Theme fund: NGI0 PET
Start: 2020-04
End: 2022-10

Kiwi IRC

Self-hosted web IRC environment

Kiwi IRC is an open messaging platform that any online organisation or community can use. We do not believe that any community should be locked into a single vendor for their communication tools as this restricts how the community grows and develops - the community itself should dictate how they develop over time. Working with other open source projects in the IRC world, we are expanding the generally available privacy tools and making them usable for mainstream use. This will see tools such as end-to-end encryption and mobile applications being brought to users taking advantage of open messaging, improving the privacy of millions of existing IRC users and pushing for open platforms.

Why does this actually matter to end users?

One of the things people enjoy the most about the internet, is that it enables them to talk to others remotely almost without limit. Internet allows anyone connected to keep closely connected with friends and family, and help their kids solve a math problem while they are at work. People collaborate with their colleagues from the couch of their living room, the cafe where they enjoy lunch or on their cell phone on the bus to the gym. Businesses can easily service their customers where this is most convenient to them, without having to travel themselves. This is so convenient, that some businesses have already moved entirely online. Internet communication has become the nerve center of whole neighbourhoods, where people watch over the possessions of their neighbours while these are away for work or leisure.

However, users have a hard time to understand how privacy is impacted if they use the wrong technology. Because internet works almost everywhere, the natural privacy protection of the walls of a house, a school or an office is gone. Unlike the traditional phone companies, many of the large technology providers run their business not on delivering an honest service but on secretly eavesdropping on their users and selling information to others. It is mostly not about what you say, so it is relatively easy for providers to allow some form of privacy by encrypting messages. The more interesting parts are who talks to whom, when, and where they are in the real world while they meet on the internet. if you want to be reachable across the internet, you have to constantly let the communication provider follow you wherever you go. This makes the private and professional lives of citizens an open book to companies that with the help of AI and other technologies make billions from selling 'hidden data' normal people are completely unaware of even exists. And of course in societies that are not so democratic, this type of information is critical to bring down opposition and stifle human rights.

End-to-end encryption has become more commonplace with major online messaging and communication tools. Internet Relay Chat, better known as IRC, is one of the oldest technologies that facilitates online chat and this project aims to make this tried and tested protocol more secure by adding end-to-end encryption. By making sure the new features are compliant with IRC standards, millions of users around the world will benefit from this extra layer of security that IRC-programs and projects can easily integrate as well.

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

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.

This project is archived. Due to circumstances, the project as planned did not take place. This page is left as a placeholder, for transparency reasons and to perhaps inspire others to take up this work.