Now in Labs: Building Secure, Server-less Messaging With BitTorrent Chat

BitTorrent Chat

This year alone, more than 6 million people have been impacted by data breaches. The right to own your own conversations online: it’s not a given. It should be.

So over at Labs, we’re working on something that could solve for conversation security. BitTorrent Chat applies distributed technology to the idea of IM. Our goal is to ensure that your messages stay yours: private, secure, and free.

BitTorrent Chat is a pre-Alpha experiment in server-less messaging. As we begin discovery, we’re inviting our community in for feedback, ideas, and testing. Want to solve for chat security? Hit us up. We’re accepting applications on Labs. Sign up, and help us build something sick.

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Catherine Meek
Written by: Catherine Meek

Catherine Meek is a Director of Product Management at BitTorrent. For over eight years, she's been focused on helping companies deliver innovative products; from personal security software, to the software that helped NASA go to the moon. Catherine has been a part of the BitTorrent team for two and a half years. When she's not building products, she's adventuring. The last country she visited (her 24th) was Colombia. Her dog is named Macgyver, and he's probably cooler than you.

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  • Anonotron

    Yes, yes, yes! Push this please! Server-less chat is exactly what we need. You should also make it so that files can be sent as private torrents.

    • DaoMingSi

      You can, using bittorrent or bittorrent sync.

    • Hans

      And what about smartphone users? I can see many problems with a P2P on a smartphone (provider blocking to name only big problem).

    • BTSyncer

      You might want to have a look at http://labs.bittorrent.com/experiments/sync.html for serverless sync

  • somebody

    bitmessage?

  • cosku

    will the implementation and/or the protocol be free as in “freedom”?

  • http://bitcoinage.de Levin Keller

    How do you avoid public meta data logging? If you do, what about spam / proof of work? Looks like bitmessage is offering your service already…

  • Petteri

    Nice. Can’t wait for the Linux version!

  • liquid

    I look forward that new functionality. I’m afraid though that you might be insisted to leave back door opened for NSA.

  • Eun

    BitTorrent is NOT serverless.
    Lookup the technique. The protocol needs at least one peer. And who wants to be the one who is permanent online? Its a Server.

    Dont be stupid. Lookup how tcp works. And you will see that there is no way to acomplish true Client to Client as long there is IPv4 nat.

    You will always need DNS, or stun or something similar.

  • Anonymous

    Is this going to be Open Source? There’s not a whole lot of info about this project.

  • http://www.brad-x.com Brad Laue

    Unless this is open source I don’t see how it can be trusted any more than the others. Are chats to be routed via super nodes? Are certificates exchanged between chatters? If so, who is the signing authority? Too many questions.

  • Joe

    That’s fantastic. I posted a detailed request for this in the developer forum about a month ago. Have to wonder if my post had anything to do with this. :D

    http://forum.bittorrent.com/topic/22678-bittorrent-mail-secure-distributed-mailmessaging/

    Hope it’s done right, and that they open-source the protocol and client when they’re done.

  • http://goldbug.sf.net Tom

    Why dont you simply use http://goldbug.sf.net
    It is a secure messenger, open source, and you can use it already for Bit-Torrent Chat.

    • Joe

      I, for one, want a de facto standard for this form of communication, and preferable an open and official protocol standard eventually. It won’t become widespread if it’s a closed system that is dependent on a specific client. I’m hoping this project will lead toward that goal. We’ll have to wait and see.

  • Vamsi

    Hi, I am very new to these things and i wanted to know how i can use this in my daily life. I subscribed to this and i got an .VCF file. Now, do i need to import the certificate to VPN clients and open the website? else is there any other thing through which i can use this?

  • Alan

    Unless it’s completely open source then it absolutely CANNOT be trusted. Is it/will it be?

  • Andry Worther

    This is a good initiative, but why is this better than TOX? It’s open source, supports voice, video and file transfers. http://www.tox.im/

  • Joe

    I read the following in a CNET article:

    “Eventually, the service is expected to work with other instant-messaging accounts … but for now it requires a BitTorrent account.”

    This doesn’t make sense. Why should this type of communication require any type of account? it seems to defeat the whole purpose of anonymity.

    I suggested a similar type of application in the bittorent developer general forum. The idea was to be similar to Sync which uses secrets, only that the secrets would be PKI-based (publib/private-key). No accounts should be necessary (or desirable) for this to work.

    Is the article at CNET wrong, and they made assumptions? Or does the group working on Bittorrent Chat plan to require the use of accounts for communicating using the system?

  • Raymondpogi

    Just create a handshake between user. Once the handshake connection is established between you and the contact (1 or more), messages/data will move between you and the contact, no middle man. If disconnected, your Mobile can check the last sequence, and proceed once connection restored.

    Encrypted data will only stay at the source device/mobile only.

  • anohana

    Any news?