Motivation for anonymity

Motivation for anonymity

There are many reasons to use anonymous P2P technology; most of them are generic to all forms of online anonymity.

P2P users who desire anonymity usually do so as they do not wish to be identified as a publisher (sender), or reader (receiver), of information. Common reasons include:

  • The material or its distribution is illegal or incriminating
  • Material is legal but socially deplored, embarrassing or problematic in the individual’s social world
  • Fear of retribution (against whistleblowers, unofficial leaks, and activists who do not believe in restrictions on information or knowledge)
  • Censorship at the local, organizational, or national level
  • Personal privacy preferences such as preventing tracking or data mining activities

A particularly open view on legal and illegal content is given in The Philosophy Behind Freenet.

Governments are also interested in anonymous P2P technology. The United States Navy funded the original onion routing research that led to the development of the Tor network, which was later funded by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and is now developed by the non-profit organization The Tor Project, Inc.

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