[messaging] fyi: metadata-eliminating tor-based chat program: Ricochet

Mike Hearn mike at plan99.net
Sun Sep 21 13:08:21 PDT 2014

There's no particular reason you need Tor hidden services for this. Any
server that implements a mail queue type protocol, doesn't keep logs and
accepts connections via Tor would satisfy the desire to avoid leaving any
metadata trails. After all, the core assumption behind hidden services
being hidden is that Tor nodes do not keep logs that could be correlated
together to reveal the underlying circuits. Nothing stops you having the
same assumption for a separate network of chat relay servers.

W.R.T. minor details of implementation, the build instructions look
somewhat fiendish. If I were to implement such a thing, I'd probably do it
the same way we're doing Lighthouse:  Java 8 makes it easy to build native
installers/packages based off a unified codebase with nice, highly usable
animated UI's and there's a pure Java Tor client that is also quite easy to
bundle and use. No need to run a local copy of Tor itself and fiddle around
with SOCKS and the like. I've implemented an auto update framework that
supports threshold signed updates, amongst other things, so I think it's a
quite ideal platform for developing decentralised / end to end crypto
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