News

Hackers donate 90% of profit to charity 2019/06/13

NGI Zero awarded two EC research and innovation actions 2018/12/01

EC publishes study on Next Generation Internet 2025 2018/10/05

Bob Goudriaan successor of Marc Gauw 2017/10/12

NLnet Labs' Jaap Akkerhuis inducted in Internet Hall of Fame 2017/09/19

 

Minedive

[Minedive]

The minedive project is building several components: first, minedive is a browser extension aiming to allow users to search the web while preserving their anonymity and privacy. The second is an open source reference implementation of its rendez-vous server. minedive instances connect each-other (via WebRTC data channels) forming a two layered P2P network. The lower layer (L1) provides routing, the upper layer (L2) provides anonymous and encrypted communication among peers acting as a MIX network. This architecture guarantees that peers which know your IP address (L1) do not know search data for (L2) and vice-versa. A central (websocket) rendez-vous server is needed to find and connect with L1 peers, and to exchange keys with L2 peers, but no search goes through it. We are running a default server which can be overridden by users who want to run their own (using our reference implementation or a custom one). Users can also set the extension to pick peers from a given community (identified by an opaque tag). Currently all requests are satisfied by letting L2 peers return results from the 1st page of mainstream search engines (as they see it, in an attempt to escape the search bubble). While this will stay as a fallback, we plan to implement web crawling on peers, doing keyword extraction from URLs in local bookmarks and history and ranking with open algorithms, being transparent with users about which techniques are used and open to suggestions.

Why does this actually matter to end users?

Search and discovery are some of the most important and essential use cases of the internet. When you are in school and need to give a presentation or write a paper, when you are looking for a job, trying to promote your business or finding relevant commercial or public services you need, most of the time you will turn to the internet and more importantly the search bar in your browser to find answers. Searching information and making sure your name, company or idea can be discovered is crucial for users, but they actually have little control over this. Search engines decide what results you see, how your website can be discovered and what information is logged about your searches. And because many fundamental internet technologies were not designed with security or privacy in mind, it is quite simple to identify you online (and difficult to shield off what you do, search for and lookup). What filters and algorithms search technology apply usually remain opaque for users. They can only follow the rules laid out for them, instead of deciding on their own what, where and how to find the information they are looking for.

Most people would be quite surprised and very uncomfortable if every time they visited a library, someone walks behind them to write down their name, precisely time how long they look at a certain row of books and note what titles they take with them. All this data however is registered by most commercial search engines. This project helps users protect their online privacy when they look up information online by mixing up all kinds of very personal data (not just your search terms, but what computer you use, where you live, etcetera) in such a way that it becomes next to impossible to uniquely identify you. This prevents search engines and platforms from taking your personal data and building very personal profiles to sell you ads and unnecessarily 'personalize' what search results you get to see and what remains hidden from you. Users can simply install this technology as an extension to their browser and search the way they are used to.

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

This project was funded through the Discovery_Fund 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 825322. Applications are still open, you can apply today.

Calls

Send in your ideas.
Deadline December 1st, 2019.

 

 
Last update: 2019/05/15