The Underground Internet (Darknet) from Sept.15, 2003 Business Week.
Direct Connect (DC) is a service for swapping music and other digital files. DC's free software lets individuals set up a password-protected, members-only network that relays music and movies among a closed group of people.
Darknets are gated communities that run on the Internet but are open only to those who belong to the private network. People who want to build a darknet will start by installing on their computers specialized software and then they will form a group, swap passwords or digital keys so their computers can communicate with each other. The data shuttling between computers often are encrypted.
Freenet's emphasis is on anonymity through technology, not trust. Freenet organizes a bucket brigade of computers that dedicate a portion of their hard drives to encrypted data and only talk to their nearest neighbor on the network. When a request for some bit of information is made, each computer queries its neighbor to determine if it has that information. If not, the request is passed to another neighbor that the first computer doesn't know about.