Chapter 11. Publius

Marc Waldman, Lorrie Faith Cranor, and Avi Rubin, AT&T Labs-Research

Publius is a web-based publishing system that resists censorship and tampering. A file published with Publius is replicated across many servers, making it very hard for any individual or organized group to destroy the document. Distributing the document also provides resistance to so-called distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, which have been used in highly publicized incidents to make a resource unavailable. Another key feature of Publius is that it allows an individual to publish a document without providing information that links the document to any particular computer. Therefore, the publisher of a document can remain anonymous.

Publius has been designed with ease of access for end users in mind. HTML pages, images, or any other type of file can be published with the system. Documents published with Publius can be read with a standard web browser in combination with an HTTP proxy that can run locally or remotely. Files published with Publius are assigned a URL that can be entered into a web browser or embedded in a hyperlink.

The current architecture of the World Wide Web does not lend itself easily to censorship-resistant, anonymous publication. Published documents have a URL that can be traced back to a specific Internet host and usually a specific file owner. However, there are many reasons why someone might wish to publish something anonymously. Among the nobler of these reasons ...

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