OneSwarm: Free/open Bittorrent client that hides your IP and facilitates private Bittorrent swarms

TorrentFreak reviews OneSwarm, a "privacy-aware Bittorrent client," that was produced by researchers at U Washington, who've published the sourcecode on Github. OneSwarm makes it easy to create private Bittorrent swarms and also allows you to download from traditional Bittorrent swarms while obscuring your IP address by passing it through a series of proxies.

Perhaps not coincidentally the same research group is also behind the "privacy preserving" BitTorrent client OneSwarm, currently developed by Tomas Isdal and Michael Piatek, two PhD students at the University of Washington.

Unlike other regular BitTorrent clients, OneSwarm allows users to share files only with a selected group of friends. While regular and public BitTorrent downloads are also supported, the privacy settings allow users to obscure the source of a transfer by sending it through multiple intermediaries.

"Virtually everyone on the Internet is a content producer, but today we only have one model for sharing: sign over the rights to your work to a website, with the hope that it will respect your privacy," researcher Michael Piatek told TorrentFreak commenting on the importance of privacy on BitTorrent.

"OneSwarm is an attempt to provide an alternative. Our view is that private data sharing is an essential service in free and open societies," he added.

OneSwarm: The Privacy Aware BitTorrent Client



  1. So, adding an Email to your info will make it more anonymous?
    Also, if one friend defects, all the friends can be endangered…

  2. The first of the two links at the bottom of the article is to the article itself. Thanks, I’m already there.

  3. So users’ tracker IP won’t match their session IP, and won’t appear to belong to a seedbox service? Sounds like you are trying to get your readers banned from all of their private torrent sites.

  4. Sounds like much of the concepts were pulled from Nullsoft’s Waste release from 2004. A little easier to use, with a nice GUI, but the same encrypted friend-based P2P network..

  5. Someone please correct me if I’ve misunderstood this, but it looks to me like the anonymity is provided by passing your data connection through a trusted friend. In other words, if you’re transferring a file of X bytes, and there are N friends and friends-of-friends in the chain, N*X bytes will have to moved across the internet. That makes this an incredibly wasteful protocol that won’t scale: people with lots of friends will have their connections saturated as they forward data for others. On a LAN, this might merely be slow; on the real internet as it works for most Americans, the caps are going to be a major problem.

  6. So the added anonymization only works on private friend-swarms? Not useless, but not as useful as the lead-in had made me think.

  7. on the real internet as it works for most Americans, the caps are going to be a major problem

    Move to a country where people believe in a free internet. I don’t have caps, bandwidth charges, or throttling. Seriously – if your country is failing to deliver, leave. There are plenty of other places in the world that would be happy to have you.

  8. “if your country is failing to deliver, leave”
    What a cowardly comment. If everybody thought that way no country would ever develop past rural agriculture and feudal lords.
    Someone is supposed to walk away from family, friends, their language,etc, for an… internet connection???
    And of course ‘belief’ in free internet is one thing, cost effectively and safely constructing it is another.

  9. Doesn’t appear to be quite ready for prime time – the ubuntu install failed on Natty, the source build neglected to mention that “ant-contrib” was a requirement, it hangs forever getting friends from gtalk if you have the google authenticator stuff on, and the error log is an ever growing scroll of java stack traces.

    On the lighter side – it *is* getting a torrent, so it’s not all bad. Just rough around the edges.

    — Biggles

  10. How is the sender anonymous if you’re browsing their list of shared videos in order to start the transfer? Or is the sender only anonymous in the public, internet searches?

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