This is an attempt to describe Freenet, an adaptive peer-to-peer network application that permits the publication, replication, and retrieval of data while protecting the anonymity of both authors and readers. Freenet operates as a network of identical nodes that collectively pool their storage space to store data files and cooperate to route requests to the most likely physical location of data. No broadcast search or centralized location index is employed.
Files are referred to in a location-independent manner, and are dynamically replicated in locations near requestors and deleted from locations where there is no interest. It is infeasible to discover the true origin or destination of a file passing through the network and difficult for a node operator to determine or be held responsible for the actual physical contents of his own node.
Freenet is being developed as a distributed information storage and retrieval system designed to address these concerns of privacy and availability. The system operates as a location-independent distributed file system across many individual computers that allow files to be inserted, stored, and requested anonymously.