The above video shows a jumpstyle dance event in my local town of Gothenburg that took place in July this year. Not only does the dance look like a lot of fun, it also has some interesting resemblances to the cipherstep dance moves of the darknets. Let me explain!
Jumpstyle dance seems to follow protocols of hopping. There are simple instructions for how to jump in different configurations, and the jumping (or rather in German ”jumpen”) can then be moved across the locations of the city with ease. For example, in the Gothenburg case, which claims to be the ”first Swedish jumpstyle meetup”, we see clips from the main shopping mall Nordstan, the old harbour of Röda Sten, the park Slottskogen and the city centre of Brunnsparken. Jumpstyle utilizes portable soundsystems, and seems to be on the move, occupying the city by tactical maneouvres.
The basic protocol is described by Wikipedia as:
* The dance can be started with two small jumps that match the beat or stomping the left foot twice, to the beat.
* The dancer places his right foot to the front, and his left foot to the back.
* The dancer’s feet then switch positions.
* The dancer kicks his right leg forward twice. His foot would be at the same height as his knee.
* The dancer would then kick his left leg.
* The dancer then swings his left leg backwards. Similar to the original step, the foot would be level with the knee.
* The left leg would be put on the ground, behind the dancer.
* The dancer then swings his right leg back, knee level, to prepare for the initial first step.
* The dancer would repeat this.
There are also plenty of video tutorials showing five basic steps. A good advice is to remove sensitive furniture from you apartment before trying this at home.
Now, lets take a look at the so called tunnel hops of your advanced darknet software, which very much resembles the protocol of jumpstyle:
The image shows the settings for an i2p-tunnel. A ciphertunnel. This particular one leads from my computer to the irc.telecomix.i2p chat server. To go there the dark way, I have to jump. First my computer needs to execute a protocol-based encryption algorithm, then it forms a vector. Since there is no way of telling where the chat server is located physically, this is the strength of the darknets, it has to hop until it gets received by the inbound tunnel. So, it is like the video below, first you hop forwards, then backwards.
My data jumps two steps in the direction of the chat server, then I turn backwards and the server will take over my feet. I do not know how many more steps I have, because beyond this point I am not the one in charge anymore. Gently the destination tells me how to hop while looking back. And there I land. My little packets of encrypted data reach the destination, only to be pushed back towards me. I don’t know where the server is, and I do not want to know. The server does not know where I am. We only dance because we share little secret keys!
This particular video begins with three dancers following a basic protocol in the first instance, then hopping to a new destination, where inbound hops secures a new location, another territory:
As well as in the jumpstyle dance you may make random variations in your cryptographic router. Difference creates strength. The hops may be varied, made longer or shorter, multiple or singular. You go random paths along the intertubes. This makes the dark networks near-invisible when tunneled inside the vanilla internet. Jumpstyle, however, has a different purpose, aiming for visibility in the boring European streets, disrupting the everyday robot-like behaviour of humans on their way to work, or whatever.
To jump the networks solves the problem of burrowing paranoia. Nothing catches you in flight, your ciphers are constantly on the move. You do not ever stop dancing the cipherstep.
As far as the whole of networks go, we can never see it from above. Your vision is the vision of your position. The router is a large scale hub, mine looks like this:
Three hundred peers constantly push traffic through my node. They are caught in flight, only to put one foot in my apartment, then jumping to the next router in the network. They only stay for milliseconds, except for those who actually have me as their destination. These ones are able to safely fetch data off my computer. Maybe I run a web server, a chat server or I send encrypted e-mails. Nobody knows, and nobody should know.
So, lets do it like Scooter does. We jump all over the world, in the streets and in the interconnected tubes of the internet. It’s a lot of fun, I can promise!