Publius (AT&T freenet knockoff)

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From: Kris Ganjam (
Date: Fri Jun 30 2000 - 19:27:14 PDT

Here is another attempt at a distributed, anonymous, secure publishing
system aimed to keep your porn and subversive literature available and
intact. Hopefully AT&T won't pull this plug on this like AOL did for


"There's always historically been a fear of new technologies," Rubin said.
"When cars were introduced, there were fears that they would help bad guys
get away."

"Our system consists of publishers who post Publius content to the web,
servers who host random-looking content, and retrievers who browse Publius
content on the web. At present the system supports any static content such
as HTML pages, images, and other files such as postscript, pdf, etc.
Javascript also works. We assume that there is a static, system-wide list of
available servers. Publius content is encrypted by the publisher and spread
over some of the web servers. In our current system, the set of servers is
static. The publisher takes the key, K that is used to encrypt the file and
splits it into n shares, such that any k of them can reproduce the original
K, but k-1 give no hints as to the key. Each server receives the encrypted
Publius content and one of the shares. At this point, the server has no idea
what it is hosting -- it simply stores some random looking data. To browse
content, a retriever must get the encrypted Publius content from some server
and k of the shares. Mechanisms are in place to detect if the content has
been tampered with. The publishing process produces a special URL that is
used to recover the data and the shares. The published content is
cryptographically tied to the URL, so that any modification to the content
or the URL results in the retriever being unable to find the information, or
a failed verification. In addition to the publishing mechanism, we provide a
way for publishers (and nobody else) to update or delete their Publius
content. Publius also provides a way to publish several files at once and to
publish mutually hyperlinked material."

This is not to be confused with (an anonymous remailer)

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