Much of the important work done by members of the Public Lab community involves sharing images and other data: a kite mapping session generates lots of images to be shared with those who are interested in the results; we use sensors to collect data that we'd like to distribute to those who are interested in helping us to analyze and interpret it; we record and share narrative accounts of the environmental concerns we have.
Today, you can choose among various ways of sharing digital files:
- USB stick / flash drive
- email attachments
- uploading a file to a server, and then sharing the link to that file (e.g., Dropbox)
- peer-to-peer filesharing networks (e.g., BitTorrent)
- encoding the file in light pulses emitted by bioluminescent algae appropriately perturbed 
- telepathy 
Most of us are familiar with #'s 1, 2, and 3 ... and most of us are probably happy with those options. Why would we chose #4 -- peer-to-peer networks?
I didn't really know, until I started to dig into it today. I'm still new to the topic, but I found some nice explanations for why peer-to-peer file sharing represents a really important advance in digital filesharing, especially for the sort of work that is done at Public Lab:
From what I can discern, the main advantages are:
- enhanced security and privacy
- limited dependence on external services that might go away / start charging a fee
- the file size is limited only by the capacity of your local storage
And when I have time, I'll try to distill those reasons out into a wiki or an edit to this research note. Meanwhile, I'd love it if anyone with opinions / info on peer-to-peer networking could add comments to this note.
 possible-but-hard. Aside: did you know you can grow your own, at home?