Vuvuzela is a messaging system that protects the privacy of message contents and message metadata. Users communicating through Vuvuzela do not reveal who they are talking to, even in the presence of powerful nation-state adversaries. Vuvuzela is the first system that provides strong metadata privacy while scaling to millions of users. Previous systems that hide metadata using Tor (such as Pond) are prone to traffic analysis attacks. Systems that encrypt metadata using techniques like DC-nets and PIR don’t scale beyond thousands of users.

Vuvuzela uses efficient cryptography (NaCl) to hide as much metadata as possible and adds noise to metadata that can’t be encrypted efficiently. This approach provides less privacy than encrypting all of the metadata, but it enables Vuvuzela to support millions of users. Nonetheless, Vuvuzela adds enough noise to thwart adversaries like the NSA and guarantees differential privacy for users’ metadata.



Follow these steps to run the Vuvuzela system locally using the provided sample configs.

1. Install Vuvuzela (assuming GOPATH=~/go, requires Go 1.4 or later):

$ go get

2. Start the last Vuvuzela server:

vuvuzela-server -conf confs/local-last.conf

3. Start the middle server (in a new shell):

$ vuvuzela-server -conf confs/local-middle.conf

4. Start the first server (in a new shell):

$ vuvuzela-server -conf confs/local-first.conf

5. Start the entry server (in a new shell):

$ vuvuzela-entry-server -wait 1s

6. Run the Vuvuzela client:

$ vuvuzela-client -conf confs/alice.conf

The client supports these commands:

  • /dial <user> to dial another user
  • /talk <user> to start a conversation
  • /talk <yourself> to end a conversation

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