Anti-censorship peer-to-peer software, Peekabooty, finally lost its vapourware tag when developers revealed a working version at CodeCon in San Francisco this weekend.
Announced by notorious hacker group the Cult of the Dead Cow (cDc) in mid 2000, as a web browsing and file transfer program capable of "bypassing the nation-wide censorship of the World Wide Web", Peekabooty quickly made it to the vapourware list when it failed to materialise on its scheduled launch date at DefCon 2001.
But a working version demonstrated by its developers at the CodeCon hacker conference in San Francisco over the weekend has revived interest in the project.
"Peekabooty has reached a point where it demands full peer review," said Paul Baranowski, also known as 'Drunken Master' and chief architect of the project.
However, a posting on the cDc website reveals that the Peekabooty project will no longer be nurtured by the hacker group. According to the group, Peekabooty was originally the brainchild of the Hacktivismo group, an international cadre of hackers founded by the cDc's Oxblood Ruffin and an offshoot of the group.
"Hacktivismo's mandate was and is to develop technology in the service of human rights," the group said.
But Baranowski recently chose to dedicate himself full-time to refactoring the codebase and finish implementing the remaining functionality into Peekabooty.
Severing ties with the Hacktivismo group, the organisation said: "Occasionally developers can't find the environment they need to do their best work and now is one such time. Paul will be leaving Hacktivismo and taking on full responsibility for his work and all future development of his software."
However, Peekabooty is still very much "a work in progress," the developers said.
Although technical details are somewhat vague at the moment, it seems that Peekabooty borrows some ideas from peer-to-peer computing systems such as Napster and Morpheus.
When an end-user of the client software requests a page or a file, each packet is routed through multiple nodes, but all end up at the same place. This effectively bypasses any censorship or filtering software and makes the traffic 'invisible'.
Baranowski recently launched a website available at Peek-a-booty.org..
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