Beaker is a project from Dat, a "grant-funded, open-source, decentralized data sharing tool." It's a browser that lets you easily create websites using Markdown, or fork any existing website to make it suit your needs, and then share those sites peer-to-peer, without the need for servers in the middle.
Beaker is secure, and allows for private sharing between users — again, without a server — and tracks versions of documents using secure hashes.
Beaker does not require blockchain to accomplish any of this lovely stuff.
On the Web today, with SSL, there is a guarantee that the traffic between your computer and the server is private. As long as you trust the server to not leak your logs, attackers who intercept your network traffic will not be able to read the HTTP traffic exchanged between you and the server. This is a fairly straightforward model as clients only have to trust a single server for some domain.
There is an inherent tradeoff in peer to peer systems of source discovery vs. user privacy. The more sources you contact and ask for some data, the more sources you trust to keep what you asked for private. Our goal is to have Dat be configurable in respect to this tradeoff to allow application developers to meet their own privacy guidelines.
It is up to client programs to make design decisions around which discovery networks they trust. For example if a Dat client decides to use the BitTorrent DHT to discover peers, and they are searching for a publicly shared Dat key (e.g. a key cited publicly in a published scientific paper) with known contents, then because of the privacy design of the BitTorrent DHT it becomes public knowledge what key that client is searching for.
A client could choose to only use discovery networks with certain privacy guarantees. For example a client could only connect to an approved list of sources that they trust, similar to SSL. As long as they trust each source, the encryption built into the Dat network protocol will prevent the Dat key they are looking for from being leaked.
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