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The Katzenpost free software project started off as part of the Panoramix project (https://panoramix-project.eu/) which is a EU academic grant project to research and develop mix networks. This grant project officially ended as of February 1st and we therefore are continuing our efforts with other sources of funding.
Our mission is to research, develop and promote mix networks, a kind of anonymous communications network. We believe that for certain use cases such as chat and asynchronous messaging applications, mix networks are far more appropriate than Tor because the threat model is vastly more powerful and can resist global adversaries.
The Katzenpost mix network was designed in collaboration with some of the best academic researchers in the world and takes much of it's inspiration from "The Loopix Anonymity System" which was published at Usenix 2017: https://www.usenix.org/node/203839
All our source code and design specification documents are publicly available on our github profile. We are committed to keeping our code and designs open source and freely available. We have some very specific development tasks ahead of us at this time. In the future when we are ready we hope to collaborate with other software projects to integrate our mixnet transport protocols into their software to increase privacy preserving properties.
The so called "secure messaging" applications are not actually secure at all because they leak metadata. Their claim of security only covers confidentiality of messages sent as well as post compromise security in the case of modern cryptographic ratchet schemes. These communication systems do not attempt to reduce metadata leaked and furthermore they are using only one security domain which is operated by their respective company. We posit that the "secure messaging" problem has not yet been solved. We are working towards a solution that will both protect confidentiality as well as reduce metadata leakage. Our goal is not necessarily to create user facing applications but rather to create network protocol libraries. When we are ready we would like to collaborate with other groups who create using facing communication applications so that we can effectively leverage our expertise to reduce the metadata leakage.