freenote: video chat over Tor network

tor_compJacob Applebaum is a well-known name among internet privacy advocates. It’s no surprise to see a Tor network based audio/video streaming application from him. The tool, named freenote, uses gstreamer as the multimedia framework. It respects your privacy, security, anonymity and liberty.

The working principle is simple – open a local video display showing a camera feed, to stream to a remote video share server as well as to provide a Tor Hidden service where a remote user may stream video in a purely peer to peer fashion without a third party. In addition to the remote OGG video stream on a Tor Hidden Service and a remote shoutcast server for audio, a local copy of the video is also stored in free format.


To install freenote on Ubuntu:

$ sudo apt-get install tor torsocks gstreamer0.10-plugins-good gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly gstreamer0.10-plugins-base gstreamer0.10-plugins-base-apps gstreamer0.10-pulseaudio gstreamer0.10-x gstreamer0.10-alsa gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg gstreamer0.10-tools gstreamer0.10-doc
$ git clone


Server configuration

The tool is pre-configured to stream a 640×480 video with a text overlay using a common Logitech HD USB camera.

Add the following to your Tor configuration file (torrc file in the Tor installation directory),

HiddenServiceDir /var/lib/tor/hidden_service_video_streamer/
HiddenServicePort 80

After reconfiguring, share the hostname from /var/lib/tor/hidden_service_video_streamer/hostname.

Run the script:

$ ./

Client configuration

You can directly watch the stream using Tor Browser using the onion URL. For example:


Optionally, use clvc to watch the stream:

$ cvlc tcp://ylq7gsof3t3wrdkz.onion

To use MPlayer or netcat:

$ usewithtor nc ylq7gsof3t3wrdkz.onion 80| mplayer -cache 32 -

Webpage: freenote

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