Firstly, you are right that to provide meaningful anonymity Freenet needs to 
have a lot more nodes.

Secondly, there *are* freenet users from oppressive regimes. But I accept that 
they are few in number, despite us having an (anonymously contributed) 
chinese translation of the UI (we don't have a Farsi translation, if you can 
make one then please contact us). The Freenet website itself is blocked in 
China and probably other places, which must be a problem... but also, Freenet 
itself is far from having reached our goals for speed, security, and 
usability. However, it *is* an improvement on many of the alternatives.

Controversial is not bad. Illegal may not even be bad, depending on the law 
and where you are. "Filesharing" has come to mean "copyright infringement". 
Copyright infringement is ILLEGAL and not something the Freenet Project can 
endorse, focus on, or market Freenet as a means for. However it is important 
to make Freenet work well for "everyday people" - in particular for people 
who are not "technologists". Some of these may be in China, Iran etc - it's a 
fair bet that most of them are not experts in cryptography! Some of them may 
value their privacy, may want to discuss controversial matters, avoid 
becoming "fair game", or speak out against those who are more powerful than 
they are, whether government, corporate, cult or whatever. Examples which 
have been posted to Freenet include:
- Pictures of the suppressed Tibet protests.
- Leaked source code and memos from Diebold about their allegedly insecure 
voting machines.
- Leaked emails from MediaDefender about their campaign to poison regular p2p 
- Material on the Church of Scientology and its use of copyright and libel 
laws, and less respectable tactics, to silence its critics.

(Did I just score myself a lawsuit? At least Diebold eventually gave up on 
chasing the leaks...)

I accept that the above are generally available through the regular web at the 
moment. However this may not always be the case, and it is certainly not the 
case in those countries with overt political filtering of the web. Even in 
the "free" world, there is infrastructure for censorship. Whether it stops at 
blocking child porn and soon terrorist advocacy, or goes on to cover other 
categories, remains to be seen ... Copyrighted material will very likely be 
blocked in the not too distant future, else what is the point of killing p2p 
if it can just move offshore (admittedly at a performance cost)? There have 
been sites blocked other than child porn and terrorism in a number of 
European countries already, it's likely only to get worse IMHO. (It's 
interesting that what is allowed in the offline world is frequently blocked 
in the online world ... do you see the libraries being stripped of content 
that *might* one day be deemed to be child porn??)

We have done a lot of work on making Freenet work transparently through 
firewalls. More work may be needed, but it is a vast improvement on 0.5. 
Right now the user interface is far from friendly, but this is something 
which we are aware of and hopefully will be able to address in the reasonably 
near future. A big part of the problem is the lack of an integrated easy to 
use forums system in the web interface; this is being addressed. Installation 
is not particularly problematic but could be improved and will be improved.

"The latest pirated music" is illegal by definition. We do not support piracy. 
Piracy is in my opinion as a private individual short-sighted, unfair and 
parasitic (however some of the means proposed and sometimes implemented to 
prevent piracy are even worse). IMHO action by governments to eliminate 
Freenet (and essentially all other unrestricted peer to peer systems) is 
inevitable, and primarily *because of copyright*. I see very little evidence 
of the Ivory Tower mentality that you refer to on Freenet 0.7: the 3 indexes 
we link to from the homepage are free of child porn, and in general sites are 
categorised, described and have meaningful titles. Although in some cases you 
will need to know some jargon to decode those titles. Forums are likewise 
generally classified, although their names will often use acronyms; they will 
often have a descriptive text even then.

Classification in the sense of labelling sites in categories within an index 
is something which we encourage, because it makes it easier to find data. We 
do not directly support it within the search function yet, but it is 
widespread on the index sites. On the other hand, any sort of filtering 
system will be impractical and for us to provide it by default would have to 
block ALL illegal content including copyrighted materials. Our criteria for 
index sites are simply to link to the indexes which best enable users to find 
what they are looking for. We do not take any editorial input here. We 
removed one index site, Another Index, which did not have adequate 
categories, did not have descriptions at all in many cases, and had sites in 
wrong categories. In particlar it had a child porn site in the Indexes 
category, without any form of labelling or warning apart from the title which 
is only understandable by those who know the jargon. We would not have 
removed it for linking to child porn, any more than we would an index for 
linking to hate speech or copyrighted materials: We removed it because it was 
not usable for a new user trying to locate content on some topic, because it 
was misleading.
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