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posted by takyon on Sunday April 05 2015, @01:01AM   Printer-friendly
from the centralized-decentralization dept.

Strike is a new BitTorrent search engine with a clean, no-ads interface and an "AI bot" presenting the results, which combines public torrent indexing with DHT scraping. As explained to TorrentFreak by the developer Andrew Sampson himself:

"DHT basically is a second P2P protocol aiming to replace trackers. It stores pairs of info hashes and updates the swarm if it receives announce messages. When it comes to DHT every [torrent] client is announcing themselves as being present. Because of this I'm able to scrape millions of torrents in a decentralized manner; not having to rely on trackers themselves," the dev told TF.

Unfortunately, the search engine has come under attack from multiple vectors, including a flood of DMCA notices and a DDoS attack. The situation went downhill from there, forcing the site to change hosting providers at least three times.

The developer says that the majority of complaints against his site were filed by anti-piracy company Entura International. Sampson says he tried to explain that his site carries no content and no torrents but simply extracts these from DHT upon user request but the company wasn't particularly interested.

In response to the DMCA issues, Sampson says he has now taken things a step further. During the past few days the dev took the decision to stop storing any data whatsoever on Strike's servers "except for search phrases for learning purposes."

This presents an intriguing situation. Aside from some disk caching, Sampson says that Strike now operates purely on demand. When a user types in a search the site pulls the results from its usual sources and presents them in the browser window. When that browser is closed the data effectively disappears, meaning that there is nothing for anti-piracy companies to take down because it's already gone.

I haven't used the site myself yet, but it sounds like a great project and I'd hate to see it disappear.

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  • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Sunday April 05 2015, @10:10PM

    by cafebabe (894) on Sunday April 05 2015, @10:10PM (#166789) Journal

    You are asking for completely anonymous sources of information which are trustworthy. This is hard and may be impossible. If they are completely anonymous then any party can create any number of them and/or be as anti-social as they like. (See the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory for further details.) Meanwhile, trust is significantly easier to establish if both parties are known to each other.

    In summary, it may be the case that complete trust and complete anonymity are mutually exclusive.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 06 2015, @06:20AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 06 2015, @06:20AM (#166860)
    You don't have to have complete anonymity and complete trust. In theory you can keep your "real world" identity hidden while still posting/sending messages that are unforgeable (using digital signatures or similar).

    So after a while, more people could choose to trust you despite not knowing or caring what your "real world" name is.

    In the P2P scene there are a fair number of famous names/brands that aren't their real world names, and people flock to their torrents/seeds.

    So create a way for message senders/submitters to sign stuff, a way to group senders by the messages they are sending and a way to whitelist and blacklist. Then after a while the **AA bunch might have to actually seed real stuff from time to time if they want to build a good enough rep ;).
  • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Monday April 06 2015, @02:04PM

    by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {}> on Monday April 06 2015, @02:04PM (#166972) Homepage
    Is a public key anonymous enough? If you trust something signed by the matching private key in the past, which is your own personal judgement call, then when you see other things signed by that same key do you not trust it more than something of completely unknown heritage even if you still know nothing about the signer?
    Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by urza9814 on Monday April 06 2015, @04:25PM

    by urza9814 (3954) on Monday April 06 2015, @04:25PM (#167027) Journal

    Web of Trust or something along those lines. Freenet managed to solve this problem many years ago.