Current P2P networks are designed around providing a number of discrete files – this ISO, that audio file, the other piece of video. However, what would happen if a P2P system could distribute both data and updates to that data, in a way which let you obtain the updates in a timely fashion, and be certain the updates were provided by the provider of the original file?
- Spam blacklist providers have terrible trouble with DOS attacks from spammers. You could distribute the blacklists over this system, removing the central vulnerable point and providing anonymity of network location for the anti-spammers.
- Browser users would appreciate access to databases of phishing URLs, but don’t want to send every URL they visit to a third party or regularly download large lists. The lists could be distributed and updated by P2P, maintaining anonymity of access.
P2P systems have proved adept at distributing content that people don’t want distributed. The obvious example is the illegal copyright infringement which takes place when popular music and movies are shared. So why not use the same system to distribute content that the bad guys don’t want distributed?
Although I have only a limited understanding of current P2P technology, I suspect some fairly deep underlying principles would need to change. For example, you’d need to be able to identify content independently of its hash. You’d also need to be able to sign content, and link pieces of content together in a defined order, based on both being signed by the same key. There are a lot of technical issues here. But it would still be very cool…