Peer-to-Peer Assembly

tl;dr: we bring together developers, service providers, collectives and citizens to further cooperation in the space of peer-to-peer group collaboration.


10 years ago: hard times

10 years ago there was an ad-hoc meeting in Berlin during the art biennial gathering actors of the peer-to-peer messaging and privacy-by-design free software projects. A dozen people from various horizons gathered in different spaces around the city, discussing issues we were all facing at the time. One of the recurring issues faced by all collectives was the difficulty of funding development.

I witnessed dire misery in the privacy community in Berlin and elsewhere with my own eyes. Brilliant people with few or no income barely afloat, trying to cope with an increasingly pressing surveillance system and sometimes well-founded paranoia for those who were working on the most “dangerous” projects. Then the Snowden Apocalypse descended upon us all and we were blessed with lucidity—not paranoia: indeed, a global surveillance system had been at work globally and with an intensity beyond our wildest expectations. We were relieved and thought that the general public would see the pattern of violence that accompanied the rise of the Internet, following the continuous pattern of violence and domination that characterized our ‘civilization’ for so many centuries. Yet, after the Collateral Murder video and the hundreds of thousands of leaks that followed demonstrating the spirit behind the Empire, and its extent, even after the Panama and Pandora papers, not much has changed, and the majority of the people seem to be oblivious about the actual state of the world. The ongoing craze about Ukraine shows that the people need ways of collaborating together without interference from national authorities, may they be local or foreign: when a war[1] breaks, it’s too late to think about reliable communication infrastructure.

P2P research matured

A decade after this impromptu meeting that showed our fragility and determination, the funding issue seems less pressing, as some in the community benefited from cashing in from the indecent Bitcoin boom, while others embraced the Next Generation Internet funding in Europe.

P2P research has matured and long standing software as well, refining their properties, reinforcing their presence, growing their communities; making available the means to resist censorship, share documents and communicate anonymously, in other words: provide the means for out-of-sight networking beyond the reach of prying eyes—and certainly used and abused by uncooperative parties as well.

Yet, we still lack knowledge about other people’s work, and how to bridge collaborations, inspirations, and bring together developers, service providers, collectives and citizens…

The LibreRouter LibreRouter project has designed and produced a high performance multi-radio wireless router targeted at Community Networks needs. Global South reality and that of Latin America in particular has been specially considered in terms of cost and legal viability.

elRepo.io elRepo.io provides the means to create a decentralized repository of culture, organized, resilient, and with a local perspective. Communities will be able to curate, organize and classify content while keeping both data and metadata descentralized ; store content locally and reliably reducing the risk of being censored or taken down ; reduce internet bandwidth needs by exchanging information locally even when internet connectivity is down. Built on top of mature technologies that leverage the capacities of distributed Community Networks, elRepo.io uses libretroshare retroshare as Friend-2-Friend secure decentralized communication backend.

Irdest Irde.st is a research project that aims to create tools for the next internet. These tools allow devices like laptops and smartphones to create dynamic mesh networks over Bluetooth and direct WiFi connections, rather than relying on internet access via a mobile network. This decentralised and open network extends across any irdest-enabled device, so that if two people aren’t close enough to each other for their devices to connect directly, data can be sent via other devices in the middle, without those devices being able to read or change the messages passing through it.

NO CYBER… QUANTUM… BLOCKCHAIN.[2]


  1. Reminder: “war” is a legal term that describes an armed conflict between States. The victims of wars are all the people confronted to State violence, regardless of their origin, including the soldiers fighting it. As such :ps: does not support any “side”, but the one of the people. ↩︎

  2. Quoting Daniel J. Bernstein. ↩︎

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I wanted to tell Sarah (can’t find her mention) that https://www.futura-tropica.network/FuturaTropicaShortPDF.pdf is 404.

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We are real glad we got together during OFFDEM and wish to continue the conversation started there.
Check out the amazing documentation gathered from the P2P assembly, thanks to @cnbcp beautiful energy it might inspire you on how to pursue this conversation: OFFDEM O₂ Peer-to-Peer Assembly - HedgeDoc
This session was a true opening at OFFDEM it allowed for different projects to present themselves and informally exchange about the nuts and bolts of their specific organisation.
Upon re reading the notes I can take away that we gathered a number of projects sharing very similar worldviews but who seldomly have time to exchange about them. Important notions were shared about how P2P is understood, and also issues of relation to different legislation systems, and country/non-country based models of coordination.
It appeared that there is a shared consciousness of infrastructure dependency and very different way to deal with it, Also there is both a desire to speak up and engage physically a neighborhood and multiple people and to spend time in geek safe space discussing technical details.
But the end conclusion is repeated, if you want to build a community, throw out a party!
Please contribute below to help us think of the nexts steps to continue this conversation.

Malgré l’absence marquée des « grands » projets présents il y a 10 ans comme Briar ou GNUnet, ou peut-être grâce à cela, nous avons vécu un moment de discussion intense dont les notes prises sur le vif reflètent largement les enjeux. L’un des éléments marquants était la diversité des prises de parole, parfois techniques, souvent politiques, sur ce qui constitue un besoin en termes d’usage des réseaux pair-à-pair. Nous retiendrons une poignée de choses :

  • documentation – convivialité – transmission – diversité : le quarté gagnant pour une appropriation de la technique par toustes.
  • la nécessité de ne pas « mettre ses œufs dans le même panier » et donc varier l’adoption des FAI[1]
  • nous avons ouvert un forum OFFDEM sur Retroshare pour les personnes intéressées par ce type de débats.

Et comme le rappelle @flo2marsnet , si vous voulez faire communauté, annoncez une fête !

:partying_face:


  1. Par exemple, serait-il concevable de mutualiser les frais d’hébergement afin d’encourager les participant·e·s à utiliser d’autres FAI que Hetzner—le chouchou des « indépendants » ? ↩︎

Can you share the RetroShare OFFDEM forum link? Also better you stay online in the meanwhile so at least a few of us can sync it, subscribe it and spread it too :wink:

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The link is retroshare://forum?name=OFFDEM&id=d3df24e9802fea65c36e319290418c35.
The forum is only accessible to the OFFDEM circle, so we can know who is in and ensure we’re among friends. We may discuss this in the RS forum itself. :slight_smile:

If you’d like to access the forum but are not part of the circle, chime in (either here or privately.)