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The emergence of broadband for the masses had laid the groundwork for information and data sharing. The most common types of information sharing networks in use today usually fall into two categories, darknets and intranets. Each has their merits and disadvantages. This paper will examine both types of networks.

Darknets are currently a popular topic in the media. Napster (in its original form), Gnutella, Kazaa, and others have all been labeled as darknets. In its most simple definition a darknet is a collection of networks and other technologies that enable people to illegally share copyrighted digital files with little or no fear of detection . While the definition fits, as we will see later the word "illegally" is not always case.

Darknet software is made to enable small groups of trusted individuals to quickly set up and take down secure networks on the infrastructure of the public Internet. Corporations are using darknets to communicate and share information with partners in a channel more secure than their corporate intranets

The term darknet was originally coined by Microsoft employees, Peter Biddle, Paul England, Marcus Peinado, and Bryan Willman in their paper called "The Darknet and the Future of Content Distribution". In their paper they argue that the darknet "genie" has been let out of the bottle and darknets are now a fact of life. While indeed that may be the case. They fail to see the benefits of darknets and focus only on the DRM and copyright infringement aspect.

Darknets have many valuable uses. Data on darknets is encrypted and thus are more secure and offer more privacy than an intranet. This makes darknets appealing not only to the music pirates, but corporations wishing to share confidential data with outside partners.

Soldiers in Tikrit, set up a darknet to share information concerning road conditions and medical supplies with non-governmental agencies in New York and Geneva . Likewise, researchers at...
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