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Retool delays hackers' free-speech app
From: InfoSec News <isn () c4i org>
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2001 03:17:22 -0500 (CDT)


By Robert Lemos
ZDNet News 
June 27, 2001 5:07 PM PT
An ambitious attempt by an international coalition of hackers to
create a file-sharing program that can defeat censorship has gone back
to the drawing board, the project's leader said Wednesday.  Known as
"Peekabooty"--and previously as Project X--the program could allow
dissidents in authoritarian countries to speak out online by hiding
the identity of its users.

While the program was expected to be released at Def Con, the
well-known hacker to-do, the group has decided to solve some sticky
technical problems first.

"I have decided to delay the release in the interests of end-user
safety," the project's leader, a hacker known as "Oxblood Ruffian,"
said in an e-mail Wednesday. "Although I am very pleased with what
we've accomplished to date, it would be irresponsible to release the
software in its current state."
Part of a group of hackers and performance artists known as the Cult
of the Dead Cow, or cDc, Ruffian announced the project last July at
another pro-hacker convention, Hacking on Planet Earth 2000, in New
York City. The group is best known for releasing a program to remotely
control PCs--called, in their up-front style, Back Orifice--to
thousands of hackers worldwide.

Peekabooty combines the Internet's distributed file-sharing
abilities--similar to those made famous by Napster--with technology to
hide the source of data traveling around the network.

The problem with the software at present, Oxblood said, is that it
doesn't operate as stealthily as the nearly two-dozen programmers
working on the project would like.

"This is not an insurmountable problem," he said in the e-mail. "We've
rejigged our design, and I've recruited a team of network programmers
to deal with this issue. We shall continue development and testing
until I'm satisfied the software is sufficiently discreet."

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