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Brave Adds Direct Peer to Peer Capablities to Browser


Localism Fan
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I am sure that a lot more needs to be done, but a lot of it could not get done until this happened. Read all about it

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Larry Sanger
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Sounds exciting! But what can you do with it (for example)?

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zxq9
 zxq9
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@admin They have added an IPFS client into the browser, so you can browse static files that are stored on IPFS as well as normal HTTP URLs.

You can: Create static websites that are harder to censor within IPFS.

You cannot: Write web applications or anything that involves active actions taken by a server (because there isn't one).

This is why Kumar and I have gone to the trouble of giving a point-by-point response to your blog post about what is required for a truly decentralized network application. I'm a distributed systems engineer. I know this area very well.

Prediction: Someone will start hosting illegal content on IPFS that Brave users will see and some will share, and the whole project will get canned because of a moral panic long before any interesting innovation around it pops up. The alternative is that Brave itself starts maintaining a shared ban list of banned URLs -- a mechanism for the exact same censorship problem that this addition was designed to combat. It is also likely that people who don't understand IPFS are going to get themselves in trouble with illegal content, as IPFS is not an anonymizer like Tor or Freenet.

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BladeMcCool
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@zxq9 i wonder if the IPFS in brave browser can publish an IPNS record that the rest of the internet can resolve. I also wonder if i can use the crypto.subtle api to generate my own RSA keys and then make that IPFS in the brave browser use them. Could be good.

 

Also because of how IPFS works, if someone started hosting illegal content on the IPFS it would be being served up by their PC that is also running the brave browser, so standard law enforcement tools would be able to deal with it. Other users would not be affected unless they started pinning the evil content too, in which case they are making their own beds to lie in. I dont see how it would be the responsibility of Brave what their users do with software.

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zxq9
 zxq9
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@blademccool I did not say it is the responsibility of Brave. What I said was peer distribution models of data that are persistent forever (IPFS can be used this way, whether or not the original uploader remains online) or persistent by popularity (the way Freenode works) open the door to broad distribution of illicit or otherwise socially reprehensible content (which we already see happening quite broadly with Freenet and Tor, and now IPFS) in a way that cannot be traced back to the original uploader if they upload the content into the system using only trusted peers to proxy the insertion. After they go offline the content is still available, just broken in chunks. IPFS does not try to provide an anonymity guarantee, but you can effect this yourself as a user by inserting, changing your node ID, and re-entering the network.

Note again that I am NOT saying this is Brave's responsibility. It isn't. My point is that a classic "tragedy of the commons" is inevitable, and once IPFS and/or Brave become socially associated with nasty content the majority of users will avoid Brave just like they avoid Tor and Freenet. Freedom and free speech advocates are on the fringe. To get anywhere with a distributed system you really have to have buy-in and network effect across Mainstreet.

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zxq9
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The most interesting use of this would be to use it as a CDN for static content to reduce load on webservers.

There are two problems with this, though:

  1. That is already largely a solved problem
  2. It would be slower than existing solutions

I find it likely that people will start trying to host illegal content on it and there will be a moral panic that either shuts the project down or causes a censorship mechanism to be invented within IPFS (the very problem this was intended to solve).

While a step in the right direction, IPFS does not provide enough features to write an actual application.

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tuupola
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IPFS is not a good place to host illegal content since it is not anonymous. At least in theory, it is possible to find which peer and which ip address has any particular content pinned.

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zxq9
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@tuupola Correct. This does not mean that end-users fully understand the situation, though.

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whatusername
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Although there has been some criticism, Brave is definitely heading in the right direction. It's good to have a privacy oriented competitor to Firefox.

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zxq9
 zxq9
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@whatusername Yes. It is certainly a step in the right direction, it just isn't anywhere near enough to base a distributed application on.

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whatusername
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@zxq9 Of course, I just like that they've integrated Tor and are working on the fingerprinting resistance. Despite some controversies, I hope it can be a viable alternative to Firefox one day.

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zxq9
 zxq9
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@whatusername Brave is a pretty good browser already from what I hear. I haven't used it myself but I'll probably give it a try soon. Really, for most of the stuff I do on the web Konqueror is actually sufficient -- I'm just too lazy to install extra stuff on every computer I use.

Never underestimate the power of end-user laziness!

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atmchuck
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@zxq9 I've heard it said that lazy people make good programmers.

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