About this project
Privly - the Solution to Privacy on the Internet
We are Computer Science PhD candidates with an idea we are calling Privly-- a general solution to privacy across the web. In short, Privly allows you to seamlessly view and post encrypted content on any website. Read our story in The Atlantic.
How does this work
Privly extends your browser to look for specially formatted links that point to your private data. When Privly finds the special links, it places the linked content onto the page you are viewing. No one between you and the person posting the content can read the content.
With Privly, you can:
- Maintain control of your content wherever you post it
- Delete emails after you send them (no more send regret)
- Share content across social networks, email, blogs, and forums using the same privacy settings
- Prevent governments from shutting down free speech
- Prevent companies from selling and scanning your most private communications
- Have easy use of modern encryption technologies
Does this really work?
Yes. This works for any html-based site, most of the time without needing any customization to the extension. We have the Proof of Concept Browser Extensions to prove it. https://priv.ly/posts/69
Why are we building it?
We love gmail, Facebook, Twitter, and every other communication medium, but we hate handing over rights to our most personal and important communications. Privly is our solution for people who want to use the newest social networks, but still care about privacy. We also want to protect free-speech from regimes that are trying to limit the internet.
Who are we
We are a group of Computer Scientists at Oregon State University. Our research is in machine learning and software engineering, but Privly is our passion project, not our research. Without donations we have to work on the project only on nights and weekends.
Jesse Hostetler (No linkedIn account, he is a Machine Learning researcher)
Read more about the Privly people.
How Far Along is the Project?
We have implemented viewing and posting capabilities for Firefox, but do not have an encryption library in place to ensure complete privacy and security. If we meet our fundraising goal, we will build an open source encryption library for Privly-type extensions. If we beat our fundraising goal, then we will be able to pull a few more items off the roadmap
Why do we need money?
Every donation to Privly serves as a validation of the Privly concept and brings the attention of open source developers. The Privly team is not big enough to build extensions for every platform on the market, but we can facilitate a community of Privly applications. Our fundraising goal will allow us to take a break from graduate school so we can focus on developing encryption libraries for use in a community of applications. In short, a donation means we publish an encryption library for everyone to use, and encourages the formation of a developer community.
Our Promise: Privly will remain an open source project dedicated to making privacy easy and automatic, anywhere on the internet.
Want more info? Check out https://priv.ly. We have public prototypes for Firefox and Chrome.
Follow us at @privly Twitter
Want get Privly updates via email? Sign up here!
Encryption Details (50% Technical)
The first step in any security application is peer review. Since our Kickstarter launch, we have been in communication with security specialists and privacy advocates from around the world. And we passed! The greatest concerns revolve around Privly operating content servers and identity networks, but the Privly server is an optional component of the privacy network, and is one we intend to retire as we move to distributed hosting. The one challenge we have to work out is how we ensure the privacy of people browsing the web.
We will enforce identity at the cryptographic level, and facilitate the distribution of keys through any network a person wants to share with. The Privly servers can provide access control, but this is generally a bad idea security wise. The goal is and will be to develop functionality that doesn't rely on any particular service. The browser will house most functionality, and in many cases will not need to interface with Priv.ly servers.
Alpha and Beta refer to release versions in software development. An Alpha version is usually when testing and rolling the system out to the general public begins. In our case we are only going to admit people to the Alpha version if they are contributing to Privly's development or Kickstarter. Users of the Alpha and Beta versions often have sway in how the system develops, so this is also your chance to request features. You can also hand out exclusive invites to friends on many backing levels so you can try out functionality like encrypted Facebook chats!
Checkout this video on the topic: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/229630898/protect-your-content-anywhere-on-the-web-privly/posts/195771
We plan on implementing several encryption models. Each model has its own benefits. On one side, we can put cipher text on the URL and point to the standard PGP key servers. This will likely be free (since Privly servers don't need to be involved) but it doesn't give you the benefits of controlling the content host (like changeability, share-ability, and destructibility). Hosting content like Privly's is likely costly since the network demand is similar to Twitter, so we will pass these hosting costs onto the user.
Basic encryption system = free
Advanced encryption and privacy controls = paid
Kickstarter uses Amazon payments for pledges. If you want to give completely anonymously, we can set something up through BitCoin.
Privly is a protocol, not a social network. We are big fans of the Diaspora effort because it allows you to control your own social graph. Privly will free Diaspora content from the privacy conscious community, and allow Diaspora users to cross-post to other sites without giving those sites access to the content. Privly will make content indifferent to where it is posted, so you can live in whichever social network you like: post once, post everywhere. If you are active in the Diaspora community, please contact us and we'll see how we can potentially use Diaspora nodes to host content.
Privly developers can be found on IRC in the #privly IRC channel on irc.freenode.net
We have a pending application to freenode, but the queue is evidently very long.
(See "Will this be a Paid Service?") A Forever Account holder gets a paid account Forever (as long as Privly is around). We don't have a pricing model in place due to how many unknowns there are in hosting, but we are going to target a $50 credit per month.
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