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Social media may be the key to post and get updates about your friends and the world in general as it happens.? But what if you are one of those who want the perks of social media but still want to remain as private as possible?? Especially now that people are made aware that the National Security Agency is watching internet traffic and social networks, thanks to whistle blower Edward Snowden.
Try Twister, a decentralized social network much like Twitter.
The brain child of Miguel Freitas, Twister users can post public updates but is shielded to prevent other users from knowing if you are online, what your IP address is and protects your direct and private messages through encryption.
Admittedly, Freitas knows how important social media is, especially during political unrest.? When massive protests in Brazil broke out in June, Freitas was among those who followed the news on Twitter.? ?Brazilian media is highly concentrated.? I have been able to read news that a lot of friends never heard about, Freitas said in an interview with Wired.
However, Freitas is still uncomfortable with the thought that all the news and information is in the hands of only one company.? ?As much as I like using Twitter for news reading, the possibility of a single entity being able to control this important flux of information made no sense to me,? Freitas added.
Using code from bitcoin and BitTorrent protocol, Freitas and his collaborator, Lucas Leal, came up with an application that is not controlled by a central authority but works through peer-to-peer technology.
?Twister is a microblogging peer-to-peer platform, that is, it is a distributed system like BitTorrent or similar file sharing technologies.? Being completely decentralized means that no one is able to shut it down, as there is no single point to attack.? The system is also designed so it cannot be censored, freedom of speech cannot be taken from you.? And because the cryptography is employed end-to-end, no entity is able to spy on your communications,? Freitas said on Twister?s FAQs.
Bitcoin is not used per se but its protocol is used to verify users and to ensure that there would be no dual registrations.? Since there is no money involved, the incentive for users is that they can send promoted messages if they verify a user.? Promoted messages can be availed not only of companies selling products but also organizations that want to promote their cause.
The BitTorrent protocol works by distributing the number of posts through the network quickly, thus, without the need for a central server.
However, Freitas also pointed out that if someone is already following your internet traffic, it can also track your Twister account.? In such case, the additional use of Tor Project?s anonymity software is recommended by Freitas.
Twister currently runs on Android, Linux and OSX.