Send in your ideas. Deadline June 1, 2024
Theme fund: Internet Hardening Fund
Start: 2017-06
End: 2019-05

Pretty Easy Privacy

At scale simulation over GNUnet with different realistic user behavior scenarios

The “Emulation over GNUnet for large user numbers and diferent realistic user behavior scenarios plus tuning“ serves as a preparation and prerequisite for the integration of GNUnet into p≡p‘s encryption app-solutions to obfuscate not only content but also metadata of written digital communications. p≡p wants to protect not just the contents of communications, but also its metadata (who communicates with whom, from who etc.) to allow for anonymous communications. p≡p has the goal, to have GNUnet (one of the official GNU projects) integrated in its core technology as the “holy grail” to fully restore privacy by technical means and to bridge people from classical means of communications (email, existing chat protocols) towards the fully decentralized GNUnet peer-to-peer network. With the simulation of GNUnet's behavior for large user numbers and different realistic user behavior scenarios we want to test and improve its stability and scalability.

GNUnet protects metadata by tunneling text messages on identity- as well as account-level. GNUnet is a framework for secure peer-to-peer (P2P) networking, which is censorship-resistant, provides end-to-end encryption and is able to not just protect contents, but also metadata, thus anonymizing who’s communicating with whom and finally restoring full privacy. GNUnet's functioning doesn’t rely on any central infrastructure. It allows to bypass classic communication channels like email, if both peers have GNUnet.

So far there is no information if GNUnet is reliable for large numbers of users. The integration into p≡p will be the first real-world mass-deployment of GNUnet. In order to facilitate a scalable configuration or adaption of GNUnet in p≡p, we thus want to build a simulation of user behavior for p≡p over GNUnet. We will model which shares of written digital communication can be expected on which devices and how GNUnet behaves for these data traffics. The simulation will be done for different user numbers (e.g. 1k, 10k, 100k, 1mio) as well as for various user behavior scenarios and net structures (e.g. preconditions for net neutrality/censorship by governments etc.). Scientific groundwork and expertise (e.g. “Large Scale Distributed Evaluation of Peer-To-Peer Protocols”, Sree Harsha Totakura, 2013) as well as close contact with the GNUnet team is at hand. This simulation will gain crucial insights for GNUnet deployments in real world situations being of major importance for related FOSS projects far beyond the integration into p≡p, so secure communication over a free Internet can be achieved.

Run by PEP

Logo NLnet: abstract logo of four people seen from above Logo Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy

This project was funded through the Internet Hardening Fund, a fund established by NLnet with financial support from the Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.