Briar: A Secure News and Discussion System

The Briar project is building secure communication tools to enable journalists, activists and civil society groups to communicate safely without fear of government interference. Our open source mobile and desktop apps will provide a secure, easy-to-use alternative to email, blogs and message boards, where users can exchange private messages with their contacts, create their own blogs and message boards, and subscribe to blogs and boards their contacts have shared.

Behind the scenes, Briar uses an innovative peer-to-peer architecture to combat censorship and surveillance. Instead of routing data through central servers that could be monitored, blocked or attacked, Briar transfers data directly between the users' devices, with the latest changes synchronized between contacts whenever a data connection is available. There's no central point where a blog post or discussion can be censored or deleted. By sharing the app with people they trust, users without any specialist technical knowledge will be able to create their own robust, autonomous communication networks.

If Internet access is cut off, Briar can use other channels to keep the information flowing: data can be synchronized using Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, dialup modems, and even USB memory sticks. All data is encrypted in transit and in storage, regardless of the channel by which it travels.

Briar's blogs and message boards are intended to function as a "virtual public sphere": a safe space for disseminating and debating news, sharing files, or organising political projects. Our goal is to allow people in closed societies to communicate freely and fearlessly with one another, and with friends and relatives abroad.

We're currently working on a prototype of the Briar software and we'd love you to get involved! Please see the links below for more information.

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