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4 June 1999

Date: Fri, 4 Jun 1999 00:38:21 -0400
Subject: Freedom Beta
To: <>

I got my hands on a copy of the Freedom Beta from Zero-Knowledge.    Here
are my first impressions,

1) Ease of use

The easy of use when compared to _ANY_ other remailer of Nymserver out there
is incredible.   It took me around 90 seconds to create my nym, with 3 reply
blocks and start creating anonymous web, IRC routes.

At the same time I think they need to get some help with usability, since I
had to hunt for some of the features and some of the interface decisions are
not that intuitive.   (i.e. I couldn't find the e-mail address for my nym
right away, I had to look in a preference setting.    When I setup custom
routing preferences I have to switch to regular user and then back to my nym
to have it take effect - little things, but things that I think are
important if they are going to get 10 million people using it).

Overall, I'm REALLY impressed with the way they've packaged so much crypto
and security in a really simple interface.

At the same time, as a crypto geek, I'd like to be able to see more of
things like my key fingerprints; more details about key lengths (Both for my
nym and the servers that I choose to use).   I hope they don't keep the
interface so dumb that I can't ever get access to these things.

2) Speed

I am actually pretty impressed with the speed.   I'm using an ISDN dialup
connection and with a three hop route (Going to of all places Quebec :) I
was getting good speed.    I noticed a little slow down with the way
graphics were coming into my browser, but in general the throughput and
performance was completely acceptable.  (10kbps vs. 11.5 without Freedom on
a sustained download)

The whole idea that I can select my IP address and all of a sudden I had an
IP number in Quebec, or Texas or Viriginia was very fucking cool.    I can't
wait until they have all their ISPs up and running and I can choose anywhere
in the world to 'be'.

There goes national borders :)

3) Security

There is a big warning saying that I can't do any really _FUN_ things yet
since the client hasn't passed a security review by Counterpane & Ian
Goldberg yet.    It's cool they are being open with that, but I still wish
they were open source.

Maybe if we call send them e-mail to <> asking for
open source code - I understand from comments that Ian Goldberg has made
that they are planning on releasing the source code once they can make sure
that the anonymous network has critical mass and doesn't get split (ala BSD
variants) - but I don't think this is a good enough reason.

I personally won't use the software for anything other than general
conversations until they do a wider audit or open the source code (Although
if I had to pick only two people I trusted to review source code, it would
be Counterpane and Ian Goldberg - but more is always good).    At the same
time I've sent my ISP 4 e-mails telling them to join the Freedom network and
am going to be organizing a group of users at my ISP to make sure that we
have a local Freedom node.   Hopefully we can get some sort of commitment
from Zero-Knowledge about the number of Freedom nodes that need to be
deployed before they open source - at least then we get to know if they are

I also ran a packet sniffer on my Windows box running Freedom and noticed
that the connection to the first node is not being padded.    (There is a
constant stream of packets leaving my machine, but they are not running at a
set speed.    I understand from the release notes that this is not a secure
version and there are still security improvements being made with regards to
the routing so I'm waiting on this one.)


I don't know how many people they gave this beta to, but my guess is if they
fix some of the UI issues and get the security signed off by Bruce and Ian,
we will have a WHOLE new way to play online and people like Jim Bell and
Toto would be able to be back playing with us :)

PS - I'm not Detweiler- but just wait 'till he sees this software.