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Peek-A-Booty raises a few eyebrows at CodeCon

This has been out for a few days, so I thought I'd post some info. Slashdot has a rather good discussion on this topic...

Peek-A-Booty is designed to let surfers access sites blocked by government restrictions, and is essentially, a distributed proxy network. It uses a peer-to-peer model, masking the identity of each node. So the user can route around censorship that blocks citizens' access to specific IP addresses, because the censor doesn't know they're going there.

If you're a Peek-A-Booty node, you might be doing it on their behalf. So the software isn't itself a browser, but simply requires the user to use localhost in the proxy field of their preferred browser.

Peek-A-Booty nodes send out standard SSL traffic, so the censorware can't distinguish the request from any other secure electronic transaction: the authors describe this as a form of steganography.

Peek-A-Booty uses random forwarding based on probability - no one knows where the connection originated except the originator - and eschews time to live packets. For security, there's no attempt at initial discovery - you'll get sent details of a node by word of mouth, or from some other secure source. Baranowski and deVilla expect that citizens groups (NGOs) will become trusted servers.

After quite a long time in design and development (since July 2000), Peeb-A-Booty was shown at CodeCon 2002 this past Sunday to an appreciative audience who provided the authors with lots of great feedback.

The demo (v0.75 running on Windows XP) showed off the web-based configuration management tool and the centerpiece, the Peekabear screen saver. Which is very cute.

Joey deVilla (one of the authors) says that the code is pretty standard Unix code (on the wxWindows environment), so a Linux and even a Mac OS X port should be trivial. But Windows is on most desktops, and for Peek-A-Booty to work effectively - like SETI - it needs participating nodes, so that's where the numbers are.

And here's where YOU can help. The pair of developers (Paul Baranowski and Joey deVilla, from Peek-A-Booty) are accepting help in the form of coding help and funding...

News source: The Register - Censor-buster Peek-A-Booty goes public

Additional News source: The Register - Peek-A-Booty - The First Screenshots (ah how cute, those bears... Ed!)

View: Peek-A-Booty web site, and read the CodeCon 2002 Report (With PowerPoint and HTML presentation)

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