Rangzen (Rangzen)

Yahel Ben David and Eric Brewer

USG - Department of State

Enabled by a generous grant from the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL), as part of their Internet Freedom Initiative, we embark on an exciting journey to help citizens of oppressive regimes circumvent government-imposed communication blackouts. The solutions we develop will enable free communication, independent of government or corporate-controlled infrastructure, while providing strong anonymity guarantees. These are the core guiding principles: - Infrastructure Independent: A mobile mesh that scales to millions of users, without compromising their safety. - Trustworthy: Leverages social connections to resist attack and infiltration. - Private: Provides strong anonymity guarantees to users to preserve their privacy. To better understand the challenge and our approach – here’s a short introduction At the core of this work, is our recent study – Rangzen, on which we’ll build the remaining elements for a widely deployable solution. Some of these elements pose fascinating research challenges, while others call for skillful integration of existing solutions. Our core team of developers is housed in Berkeley’s computer science department (EECS), amidst graduate students and faculty, at the CITRIS headquarters, to drive the research agenda and incorporate cutting-edge studies through a collaborative process. We have recently deployed a beta version that is being rigorously tested, peer reviewed and experimented with by students and the general public, leading to bug fixes and feature enhancement in successive releases. The first version of the app is intended to study the peer-to-peer transfer of data in mobile scenarios. Our work is freely available as open-source encouraging peer review and transparency. We work in tight collaboration with the TIER group and the Data and Democracy Initiative (DDI). * Rangzen is the Tibetan word for Freedom/Liberty/Independence.