[ISN] Retool delays hackers' free-speech app

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Thu Jun 28 2001 - 01:17:22 PDT

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    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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