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How Tor Helps Both Dissidents and the Police

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the can-I-join-your-group-I-hate-the-romans dept.

Privacy 122

Al writes "Technology Review has a in-depth article about the anonymous networking software Tor and how it is helping dissidents spread information in oppressive regimes such as Syria, Zimbabwe and Mauritania, and opening up the unfiltered web for users in many more countries. In China, for instance, the computers found in some web cafes are configured to use Tor automatically. Interestingly, some police agencies even use the software to hide their activity from suspects. As filtering becomes ever more common in democratic countries such as the US, perhaps Tor (and similar tools such as I2P), will become even more valuable."

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122 comments

Fags (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27692577)

Fags are the sinful and shouldn't marry.

BE REAL. It's for pirates by a wide mar shit !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27693529)

That's why it exists, to steal all muh shit !!

question (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27692611)

What is the best and safest way to get kiddie porn off of TOR?

Thank you in advance.

Re:question (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27692891)

Treat kiddie porn as probable cause to review a person's life and see if they have molested any children. (Make the investigation public - they already do this now. And, it adds the immediate punishment of ostracization.) Shoot convicted child molesters through the head after one appeal to confirm evidence was not falsified or withheld.

Demand will go down.

No more restrictions or punishments for the 99% of people who are not guilty of the crimes of 1%.

Re:question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27693129)

But what about the Catholic priests? Do you believe that criminal investigations should be allowed to go forward if there is sufficient evidence to charge the person who allegedly committed the crime, even though they can buy off the victim(s)?

Re:question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27694831)

Yes. The difference is criminal vs civil.

Re:question (1)

computational super (740265) | more than 4 years ago | (#27694061)

There's your problem. You can't by definition be censorship resistant and censor at the same time. So unfortunately or not, censorship is an all-or-nothing proposition.

As with most technology (5, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#27692663)

It cuts both ways.

You can use a knife for cooking, mugging or for police action.

But the more problematic criminals are also the ones that are most likely to be aware of this and be careful with what and who they trust.

And the most careful persons in organized crime have sometimes only been relying on trusted messengers that have been doing all their communication. That to avoid wiretaps.

Re:As with most technology (5, Informative)

Reorix (1184073) | more than 4 years ago | (#27693019)

Not only does it cut both ways, but it should. The thing about freedom is that 9 times out of 10 it only becomes clear that an action was that of a "freedom fighter" rather than a "terrorist" in hindsight. This is the reason for the high standards for prior restraint of the press.

I'm not a fan of "sticking it to the man" in general, but when I hear about Tor and similar programs being used for "the wrong purposes" (whether that be organized crime, terrorism, etc), I feel better knowing that the software exists.

The day when no secure methods exist for organized crime to communicate with each other is likely the day when one is guilty until proven innocent. The broad curtailing of freedoms should give us pause every time it comes up; that doesn't seem to necessarily be the case anymore.

Re:As with most technology (5, Informative)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#27693307)

Basic things to remember:

#1 - You should never talk to the cops [youtube.com]. Seriously. This is not about your being a "bad citizen" or something else. It is because what you say to the cops can be used AGAINST you, but not FOR you. It is because while the cops have one job, the prosecutors' job is to get convictions, and the prosecutor is perfectly allowed to take some little snippet out of context, ask the cop "did he say that", and you have no recourse.

#2 - Even the federal government can't tell you how many possible "federal crimes" exist on the books any more. And that's just at the federal level. "Ignorance of the law is no excuse" is one tenet of our justice system which might as well read instead, "fuck the people", because there's no way in hell you could EVER know what the entire body of law (and accompanying precedents, "or in violation of some bullshit treaty the US signed that you didn't get to vote on" clauses, "or in violation of some 'regulation' that Congress didn't vote on but was instead put forth by some unelected government bureaucrats" clauses, etc) says even if you eat, breathed, slept, and shit the stuff for your entire lifetime.

This doesn't mean you should go out of your way to ignore the law. And much of the law is pretty basic (don't park when there's a NO PARKING sign, don't be a dick while driving, etc). Still, you can NEVER be completely sure you're not breaking some law.

Re:As with most technology (4, Insightful)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 4 years ago | (#27693371)

It is impossible to rule innocent men.

Re:As with most technology (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 4 years ago | (#27693733)

What? No, it's trivially easy to rule innocent men.

Lock them up, and remove them from the population.

Problem solved.

Re:As with most technology (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 4 years ago | (#27694817)

Fake evidence.

Make an activity which those men engage in illegal and they will not be innocent.

Or just go the traditional "Do it or we'll stomp you!" route.

Re:As with most technology (5, Funny)

WaXHeLL (452463) | more than 4 years ago | (#27693509)

You should never talk to the cops ... "fuck the people" ... violation of some bullshit treaty the US signed ... shit the stuff ... ignore the law ... be a dick while driving

It's a surprise that you posted that with an account, rather than AC. Now that you've been flagged as a deranged government-hating terrorist, there's plenty of evidence against you now.

Re:As with most technology (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#27699361)

Fortunately, he wasn't cautioned before making this statement of personal opinion, and therefore it can't be used against him in a criminal case.

By the way, WTF does "shit the stuff" mean?

Re:As with most technology (3, Funny)

DCstewieG (824956) | more than 4 years ago | (#27693675)

don't be a dick while driving

Unfortunately this isn't law.

Re:As with most technology (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#27693747)

Usually it is. Its often called "aggressive driving" - laws about it are rarely enforced because its a lot easier to write tickets for speeders that trigger a radar gun to beep above a certain threshold than it is to actively monitor driver behaviour.

Re:As with most technology (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#27694615)

Also Known As/Peripherally Related To:

- Driving too fast for conditions (supposed to override "speed limits" with a "sanity check" - for example, if the cop sees you doing 75 MPH but it's icy/snowy/rain-slick roads, he can charge you with this, but it's entirely subjective)
- "Reckless Endangerment"
- "Reckless Driving" (as opposed to Wreckless Driving, which we much prefer).
- Failure to Yield Right-Of-Way
- Following Too Close

what do you mean? (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#27693831)

do you mean if you witness a crime you shouldn't report it?

please clarify your position, because "stop snitching" only guarantees your community is going to become a criminally infested hell, complete with brutal and corrupt police

Re:what do you mean? (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#27693955)

If you do choose to report it, be sure to report it in an anonymous manner. The reporter will be the first suspect, and the easiest mark for a conviction.

you honestly believe that? (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#27694069)

did your parents lock you in basement, and occasionally throw tablescraps down the stairs?

what dystopian asocial reality do you think this advice serves?

let's put it this way: say you are 100% correct in your assessment. then we agree that this reality is wrong, and needs to be corrected. then the question is, how do we correct it? and the answer is, citizens begin to hold the police accountable for their actions, so a regular and normal human sense of respnsibility and accountability can be upheld again

in this manner, we begin to realize that your attitude only serves to perpetuate and extend the evil police habits you despise

you're a victim, a codependent. stop using your retarded rationalizations as a crutch and start expecting some accountability and responsibility from your police, and you'll actually get it

which you mostly do get already, assuming you live a western democracy

where do you get this bullshit? hollywood movies? do you live in an egyptian or a brazilian favella?

most probably, you are some posturing upper middle class suburban poser

Re:you honestly believe that? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27697919)

It seems your reality doesn't co-exist with the parents', or mine. "Posturing upper middle class suburban poser"? Are there such people like that left in Amerika? I haven't seen many middle-class for a while.

You might be surprised to find that feelings of oppression by law enforcement are common in people that aren't rich enough to drive a Lexus, or related to the local polital families. I've personally been on the receiving end of a police raid without a warrant, and held almost a week without charges being filed. That was in Dallas, Texas. I moved from there to smaller towns and found that the "quality" of the legal system was fairly constant. In Wichita, Kansas I learned that noone got away with murder ... except the city cops. So many people died in custody that they didn't even bother reporting it in the news if the family couldn't raise enough of a public outcry. Investigations always found the police or guards either innocent, or "under-trained". Small towns in Missouri, California, Oklahoma, and Tennessee aren't any better. I've talked with men that resigned their seat on the judges bench because they couldn't stand the institutionalized corruption any more.

You might want to see how the poorer people (a rapidly growing demographic) are treated by the cops, then you might re-think who serves whom. You think people join the police force to serve the public? Maybe at first, but eventually you wind up with a force full of bullies with badges. They are the enforcers for the local lawyers, judges, and city councilmen, sometimes a church pastor or local businessman gets in on the action.

It's just like the mob, but they have "the law" on their side. I've actually known drug dealers that kept their word, and had a higher level of self-respect and personal honor than members of the local police force. The dealer wouldn't lie to you unless he caught you lying to him, first. The police are given a blank check to lie to "suspects" (anybody), but make it a serious crime for anyone to (even inadvertantly) lie to them.

And yes, I am posting AC because I've no desire to be made into an example. I've seen enough of those, thankyou.

Re:what do you mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27694143)

do you mean if you witness a crime you shouldn't report it?

Depends.

If you want to go to jail for the crime you witnessed, sure go ahead and blindly report it.
If you have solid legal proof you could not have been the one that committed the crime, then go ahead and report it, but be prepared to take time off work to go to court to prove your innocence to them.

If you can't legally prove it could not have been you, and you wish to remain out of jail, then reporting the crime is not the option you want.

It does not matter how many times people say "But you are innocent until proven guilty!" because it is not nor ever has been true sadly.

what a moron (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#27694243)

let us imagine for a moment you live in a world where the police are completely reponsible and accountable. how are they supposed to successfully keep YOUR community free of crime with a citizen so mindlessly hostile to their basic function?

your entire mentality ensures your community is a crime infested hellhole. enjoy it. you created it. no, not the police, the police serve you, they are your servants. you use them to keep your community crime free. if you instead you imagine them to be mindless jail-stuffing goons you must avoid at all cost, you get nothing but criminals walking away scott free from crime. i hope you don't live near me, because your mentality enables crime

now let's imagine that the police do fall short of good accountability and responsibility. how do you bring them up a notch? and the answer is, citizens begin to hold the police accountable for their actions, so a regular and normal human sense of respnsibility and accountability can be upheld again

in this manner, we begin to realize that your attitude only serves to perpetuate and extend the evil police habits you despise

you're a codependent. you create your own victimhood. stop using your retarded rationalizations as a crutch and start expecting some accountability and responsibility from your police, and you'll actually get it. start with the assumption they are corrupt, and you will get a community chock-a-block with criminals, since you have guaranteed they go unpunished since you won't cooperate with their removal. start with the assumption they aren't corrupt, and when the polcie do fall short, bring it to the attention fo the press, the judiciary, and you get justice if you live a just society

did your parents lock you in basement, and occasionally throw tablescraps down the stairs? what dystopian asocial reality do you think your low iq advice serves? assuming you live a western democracy, you can fix your police. really, moron

where do you get your bullshit attitude? hollywood movies? do you live in an egyptian or a brazilian favella?

most probably, you are some posturing upper middle class suburban poser

Re:what a moron (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27697617)

how are they supposed to successfully keep YOUR community free of crime...

Police aren't supposed to keep a community crime-free. That's not even in their job description. Their job is to clean up the mess afterward, including rounding up any possible suspects and performing a full investigation.

A proper police force doesn't prevent crime; it never has and never will. It discourages the more cowardly criminal minds from acting out, and makes most of society feel both safer and more constricted.

No right-minded citizen should rely on a police officer to protect him or her, nor does snitching on one another benefit anyone other than the state prosecution lawyers. If an officer needs eye witness testimony (arguably the weakest, least accurate form of evidence introduced in a case), s/he'll ask you for it later - there's no need to volunteer.

As for reducing crime, the methods to that end are redacting useless laws and arming the law-abiding members of the citizenry. The single greatest deterrent to crime is the likelihood of an armed victim - just ask any criminal.

Re:what a moron (1)

ion.simon.c (1183967) | more than 4 years ago | (#27698905)

Police aren't supposed to keep a community crime-free. That's not even in their job description. Their job is to clean up the mess afterward...

This is spot on. SCOTUS recognises that a police force has a limited amount of resources at its disposal. They have ruled that the police forces of this nation are under *no* obligation to either protect citizens from or prevent crime.

Re:what a moron (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 4 years ago | (#27697783)

let us imagine for a moment you live in a world where the police are completely reponsible and accountable. how are they supposed to successfully keep YOUR community free of crime with a citizen so mindlessly hostile to their basic function?

Then you live in a magical hippie fairyland and don't need to worry about crime in the fist place.

Re:what do you mean? (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 4 years ago | (#27694885)

NOTE: It is a crime in some cases NOT to report things to the police.

IE. If you find a dead body and you don't report it and it is later found they start with good evidence to convict you. This also applies to lesser crimes.

Re:what do you mean? (1)

ion.simon.c (1183967) | more than 4 years ago | (#27698877)

...because "stop snitching" only guarantees your community is going to become a criminally infested hell, complete with brutal and corrupt police

Unless, of course, that brutal and corrupt police force employs equally corrupt "snitches" who fabricate evidence to be used against innocent men.

Stopping this behaviour is the true objective of most of those who say "stop snitching". :)

Re:As with most technology (1)

zolltron (863074) | more than 4 years ago | (#27694381)

I watched the video, and it provides a compelling argument assuming that you're interested in only one thing: not going to jail. And while that is a pretty big thing that we all care about, we often usually care about other things as well.

For instance, if I'm not a serial killer but the police think I am, I would certainly want to talk to the police even if doing so increased my risk of going to jail by a small percent chance because I have a larger interest in helping the police find the guilty party. And lets be clear, the lawyer on video provides some scenarios about how talking to the police could hurt you, but he provides no statistics or any evidence whatsoever about how likely those things are to occur.

Re:As with most technology (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 4 years ago | (#27694521)

Honestly, you just need to take an intro to policing course from a friendly sociology department to get that the likelihood is all too high.

(Yeah, yeah, I'm not providing any stats, either, but I don't think I could provide anything that'd convince you anyway, so I'm merely pointing to experts whom you might accept and inviting you to do your own research rather than believing some random nick on the internets.)

Re:As with most technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27697679)

Obviously you didn't watch part two, which is where an interrogation specialist steps up to the podium and opens up with "Everything he said was true".

The police do not need your help to catch a suspect; they most likely do not want your help, but they'll try their damnedest to get anything on you they can, assuming that you are guilty of something because you're there. Remember, "innocent until to proven guilty" only really applies in court (and not even there all that well).

Re:As with most technology (4, Insightful)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 4 years ago | (#27694785)

I believe "Ignorance of the law is no excuse" to be a just tenet but it must also have before it that "Absence of the law may be in some cases."

In other words the government must put forward the laws of the land for free and make them available for the public otherwise the public is not being ignorant but instead the law is being absent.

If I make a law and never tell the people whom will be governed by it then it is as just to enforce that law as if the law were never made.

Re:As with most technology (2, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#27695055)

And if ascertaining what the law says requires a full-time research staff just to answer SIMPLE questions?

Re:As with most technology (1)

ion.simon.c (1183967) | more than 4 years ago | (#27698907)

This is why we need to pass a law requiring all citizens to keep a lawyer on retainer at all times. It's the only way to make certain that our rights are respected.

Re:As with most technology (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 4 years ago | (#27696693)

Prossor: But you did see the notice, didn't you?
Arthur Dent: Oh, yes. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign outside the door saying "Beware of the Leopard." Ever thought of going into advertising?

Re:As with most technology (2, Interesting)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#27693379)

But the more problematic criminals are also the ones that are most likely to be aware of this and be careful with what and who they trust.

I'd rather have problematic criminals than problematic government/corporate censorship, and anyway the two are never mutually exclusive. Government filtering the internet doesn't seem to be getting rid of all child porn. What's the point then of censorship if the stuff they mean to censor is still out there?

Re:As with most technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27693677)

How do you know it's even out there at all? Have you ever independently confirmed it?

Re:As with most technology (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#27693877)

How do you know it's even out there at all?

If it's not out there, then why do I occasionally hear of people getting arrested for it?

Re:As with most technology (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#27699399)

Censorship / prohibition never works, it just makes people work harder for what they want.

Unless they start censoring the 24-hour shower-cam on Big Brother, the great unwashed couldn't give a hoot.

Re:As with most technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27695603)

http://d01.megashares.com/dl/7597a5f/www.pmp.dhp.virginia.gov.samples.zip [megashares.com] http://d01.megashares.com/dl/d813076/www.pmp.dhp.virginia.gov.zip [megashares.com] What the fuck man! Ive gotten this anonymous fucking email 3 god damn times with this shit in it. I didn't want it the first time why the FUCK would I want it the third time?! I dont know who the FUCK sent me this shit or why theyre trying to set me up with this shit but fuck that! is this supposed to be funny? i'LL show you funny, let's see how funny this is when your shit gets fucking PLASTERED all over the internet. Then try to fuck with me. man i got my own shit to deal with you fuckin prick. so i just got 2 things left to say a) whoever is doing this to me go fuck yourself b) if your reading this well this is your fucking problem now too, enFUCKINGjoy

Dissidents? (0, Flamebait)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#27692757)

Or Patriots? I thought only terrorists needed to hide their conversations?

Re:Dissidents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27693165)

I thought only terrorists needed to hide their conversations?

Well, them and Dick Cheney

Re:Dissidents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27693513)

I thought only terrorists needed to hide their conversations?

Well, them and Dick Cheney

That's redundant.

Where is it common in the US?? (2, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 4 years ago | (#27692803)

"As filtering becomes ever more common in democratic countries such as the US, perhaps Tor (and similar tools such as I2P), will become even more valuable.""

Ok, where and when in the US did filtering become 'common'??

I'm hearing about it becoming common in other western countries...and am afraid it will happen here, but, I'm not aware of it being common here?

Re:Where is it common in the US?? (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#27692973)

Well, it says "more" common, thus allowing for the possibilty of it being common, currently. But for one, there's the IWF's blacklist, ISPs shaping and throttling traffic is filtering by a slightly broader definition, schools block whatever content they feel like, etc etc.

Agree or disagree with any of the preceeding examples, they're all examples of filtering.

Re:Where is it common in the US?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27692999)

You've obviously never used the Web from a non-personal hot spot or a corporate environment. Many, but not all, of which, are filtered.

Re:Where is it common in the US?? (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 4 years ago | (#27694905)

And rightly so, for the most part. After all the people doing the filtering are the people paying for it.

Re:Where is it common in the US?? (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#27693123)

"As filtering becomes ever more common in democratic countries such as the US, perhaps Tor (and similar tools such as I2P), will become even more valuable.""

Ok, where and when in the US did filtering become 'common'??

I'm hearing about it becoming common in other western countries...and am afraid it will happen here, but, I'm not aware of it being common here?

Well, nobody claimed that it actually was common in the US, only that it was becoming ever more common. And it is.

Most schools filter web access. Many libraries do as well. Some employers filter web access. Some ISPs are filtering/interfering with BitTorrent.

And it seems like every other week there's a story on here about how somebody wants to pass a new law to protect the children by filtering something.

Re:Where is it common in the US?? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 4 years ago | (#27694413)

"Most schools filter web access. Many libraries do as well. Some employers filter web access. "

Well, that's different.

When I read a headline like above, I'm thinking national filtering and control by the government, not by generally 'private' entities. Businesses internal and publically offered hotspots are free to serve or deny as they please, it is their network. Schools, while being generally a public funded entity, is a special case due to it housing children, and being responsible for what they view and access.

But, as far as public use of ISP provided connectivity, it is pretty much free of filtering...at least so far. I know there are those that would try to impose it....

The govt. never saw this 'internet' thing coming, and I'll bet they wish to hell they could have at the beginning, so as to control it better. Let's hope they are NOT successful at doing so retroactively.

Re:Where is it common in the US?? (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 4 years ago | (#27693135)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_packet_inspection#United_States [wikipedia.org]

United States
Main article: NSA warrantless surveillance controversy
The NSA, with cooperation from AT&T has used Deep Packet Inspection technology to make internet traffic surveillance, sorting and forwarding more intelligent. The DPI is used to find which packets are carrying e-mail or a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone call.[16] Traffic associated with AT&T's Common Backbone was "split" between two fibers, dividing the signal so that 50 percent of the signal strength went to each output fiber. One of the output fibers was diverted to a secure room; the other carried communications on to AT&T's switching equipment. The secure room contained Narus traffic analyzers and logic servers; Narus states that such devices are capable of real-time data collection (recording data for consideration) and capture at 10 gigabits per second. Certain traffic was selected and sent over a dedicated line to a "central location" for analysis. According to Marcus's affidavit, the diverted traffic "represented all, or substantially all, of AT&T's peering traffic in the San Francisco Bay area," and thus, "the designers of the ... configuration made no attempt, in terms of location or position of the fiber split, to exclude data sources comprised primarily of domestic data."[17] Narus's Semantic Traffic Analyzer software which runs on IBM or Dell Linux servers, using DPI technology, sorts through IP traffic at 10Gbit/s to pick out specific messages based on a targeted e-mail address, IP address or, in the case of VOIP, phone number.[18] President George W. Bush and Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales have asserted that they believe the president has the authority to order secret intercepts of telephone and e-mail exchanges between people inside the United States and their contacts abroad without obtaining a FISA warrant.[19]

Re:Where is it common in the US?? (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#27693843)

That is spying. You'll clearly see in the post you responded to and TFS the term "filtering", which requires that you also block access to particular content.

Re:Where is it common in the US?? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#27693145)

I don't think it's talking about the government filtering it, yet, but censorship, whether it's government or corporate, is still bullshit.

Re:Where is it common in the US?? (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 4 years ago | (#27694983)

Depends on the context.

It isn't bullshit to block, as an example, myspace and other http traffic for say a POS computer because that computer is dedicated for a single use and should never be used for those sites.

It isn't bullshit to block pornographic sites in a public school system.

However it quickly becomes bullshit when the system uses a third party's blanket block list without checking at all on the third-parties ability to pick out such sites. Really what should be done in public school systems is that the systems should compile a list of sites to block as they are encountered from MONITORING the student's activities(which is perfectly valid as the computers are not the students and teachers/parents should be looking over their shoulders), and ideally a reason should be given for each site/area blocked and there should be a method to appeal the block.

its typical pantywaist hysteria (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#27693347)

iran, egypt, cuba, china: everything you do is spied upon. if you say something against the party or the religion, you are brutally punished

western democracies: right wing politicians put forth timid legislation weakly attempting to curtail something everyone agrees is truly evil, like child pornography. opponents vociferously shout the retarded legislation down

these are somehow equivalent scenarios in some people's minds. as if the mere existence of idiot social conservatives in western countries is equivalent to them being in absolute power, as they are in other parts of the world where real censorship exists

the irony of course is that the vociferous opposition that so many of the west enjoy, like right here on slashdot, is grounds for being imprisoned in real censorship countries. well, if we are the equivalent of such truly censorsing countires, why aren't you in jail? why do you feel so free to call whatever politician you dislike a complete asshole?

when and if you have real reason to fear calling obama a poopy head or gw bush a moron, then we have arrived at equivalent censorship status quos. until such time, stop being a hysterical twit and show the slightest bit of intellectual honesty and admit some places have it a hell of whole lot worse off than western countries in terms of freedom of expression

and when i say "hell of a lot worse" i know for some of you this is grounds to continuing criticizing the west on this issue. as if it is more important to somehow pursue impossible to achieve perfection in the west than it is important to fight truly egregious conditions elsewhere

Re:its typical pantywaist hysteria (1)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 4 years ago | (#27694999)

"timidly put forth" uhm...I don't think that first word means what you think it means both sides foam at the mouth.

i'm just sick (2, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#27695165)

of idiots hyperfocused on western domestic "crimes" while the taliban takes over nuclear pakistan

but of course, this is no reason to focus your criticisms outside the west, right? because what goes on in pakistan is after all totally the west's fault

(smacks forehead)

Re:its typical pantywaist hysteria (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27697821)

You're absolutely right. We shouldn't complain about censorship until our ability to complain about censorship is censored.

Re:Where is it common in the US?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27693661)

in the US and everywhere like such as

Re:Where is it common in the US?? (1)

jhylkema (545853) | more than 4 years ago | (#27694835)

"As filtering becomes ever more common in democratic countries such as the US, perhaps Tor (and similar tools such as I2P), will become even more valuable.""

Ok, where and when in the US did filtering become 'common'??

A better question is, when did the U.S. become a democratic country?

Fine Line (2)

torvik (1518775) | more than 4 years ago | (#27692915)

I'm starting to see less and less of a difference between the police and the criminals.

Re:Fine Line (4, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#27694039)

As long as the police arrest more people for having Cannabis than they do all violent crimes combined [stopthedrugwar.org], they ARE the criminals. The police victimize more people than they protect. It's that simple.

Tor and I2P are slow, but.. (1)

crizpiz (960300) | more than 4 years ago | (#27692945)

I would really like projects like Tor, and I2P to get more support. Even the United States has problems with net filtering and network shaping. The more the telcos and government try to regulate the internet, the more people will turn to projects like these. Like trying to firmly grasp water in your hands.

Re:Tor and I2P are slow, but.. (1)

colonelxc (1467119) | more than 4 years ago | (#27693555)

What I want to know is how much would it take to have a noticeable improvement in usability in I2P or Tor. Would a dozen new high bandwidth exit nodes make an impact? a hundred? Does it more depend on the user's internet speed? As it stands right now, you have to REALLY need anonymity before you're willing to submit to the performance hits, which only makes it more likely that criminals will be using it, instead of regular people. If it is an exit node issue, I'm all for donating monthly to help run some "Tor Sponsored" exit nodes.

Great article but (5, Interesting)

island_earth (468577) | more than 4 years ago | (#27693101)

I'd like to see a discussion of the legal ramifications of letting your system be used as a Tor relay. Suppose I volunteer some of my home network capacity to Tor.

Putting aside the fact that it's probably a violation of my broadband provider's agreement to share my connection in this way, what if someone uses Tor for kiddie porn and happens to make the final connection to the police honeypot (so to speak) from my IP address?

If anyone can point to a good discussion of this, it would be great. I'd like to let my system be a relay for Tor, but the risk seems large.

Re:Great article but (3, Insightful)

Reorix (1184073) | more than 4 years ago | (#27693323)

I recall slashdot discussing this previously in terms of Freenet, although it's probably not a full discussion of legal ramifications (since everyone here says IANAL compulsively). You'll find it here [slashdot.org].

As far as I can tell, much like any legal issue, most of what you'll find as far as legal discussion is mainly a lot of "Well, such-and-such may or may not apply here. Please consult your lawyer."

As if we all just have consitutional (if you're in the US) lawyers on retainer. I wish people would just give some advice, even though it will not be authoritative.

For some specific dissembling on this topic, you can also see freenet's legal FAQ [freenetproject.org].

Re:Great article but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27693399)

what if someone uses Tor for kiddie porn and happens to make the final connection to the police honeypot (so to speak) from my IP address?

Then you're fsck'd.

Luckily Tor can be configured as a client, relay or exit node.
The last option should only be enabled for those with either good lawyers or residents of countries with sane thought-crime laws.

Re:Great article but (5, Informative)

SimplePaul (807846) | more than 4 years ago | (#27693629)

As I understand it, you are pretty safe. It's not *you* accessing the content.

The Tor guys recommend you have a web server on the machine which says "This is a Tor relay", presumably so that anyone who finds your machine during an investigation will know what is going on.

Two experiences of running a tor exit relay. One good, one less good:-

http://blog.torproject.org/blog/five-years-exit-node-operator [torproject.org]

http://calumog.wordpress.com/2009/03/18/why-you-need-balls-of-steel-to-operate-a-tor-exit-node/#comment-2 [wordpress.com]

Re:Great article but (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#27693943)

You're probably fine just for running the node. But you better be damn sure everything else in your life is squeaky clean for when the cops come knocking.

Tor is good for P2P (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27693149)

I've recently resorted to using P2P again to download TV shows which will never be released on DVD, ostensibly due to soundtrack/royalty issues. Some of them HAVE been released with butchered soundtracks, which is stupid. Some of the shows are from the 70s and the copyrights ought to have expired a couple of years ago but sadly because of lobbyists' hands filling congress's pockets, it's not the case any more.

So, to get what the media producers refuse to sell, I download - and my downloads are near-untrackable thanks to tor.

I would seed. Really I would, however, the MPAA and RIAA are too fucking sue-happy to acknowledge that the only reason I have turned to P2P is because in many cases the product is not otherwise available, and in other cases, the "legitimate" product offering is of inferior quality.

I also plan to download the original, unmolested version of E.T. if I can find a Laser-Disc rip. I refuse to purchase the politically-correct DVD release where guns have been replaced with walkie-talkies and where elliot probably doesn't call his brother penis-breath, and where they're not dressed up as arab terrorists.

Newsflash (3, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#27693177)

Policemen eat food, and so do criminals! In a shocking discovery today we learned that a completely ambivalent object such as food could be used for good and for evil. Some fringe elements speculate that food in fact has no innate bias towards good or evil, and in fact does not exert any influence over the person that uses it apart from keeping them alive. But we all know that since it's rumored that TERRORISTS (tm) have been known to occasionally eat, food is obviously evil and should be banned. The fact that law enforcement officers have been spotted eating once in a while (especially in the vicinity of doughnut shops) should not allow us to forget about this lurking evil we call food. In fact, the world would be a better place if it were banned entirely.

Warning! If you are sarcasm impaired, the above paragraph may cause you to become angry. Breathe slowly and try to relax. If you cannot relax after a few minutes, you might need professional help. Sarcasm may be the lowest form of wit, but it is wit nonetheless.

NSA tor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27693205)

The NSA has been known to operate a few Tor nodes.

Tor snooping is ubiquitous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27693207)

Tor is a neat idea, but you may rest assured that a broad cross-section of malicious organizations and curious agencies are running Tor nodes (especially exit nodes) for the express purpose of traffic analysis and eavesdropping.

Re:Tor snooping is ubiquitous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27694571)

Anyone who thinks Tor is some kind of magical technology that provides complete end to end encryption and anonymity is too stupid to even use it. The only thing Tor claims to be able to do is obfuscate your ip address from the exit node and the site you are using. Period. Anyone running an exit node can at their convenience pick through every bit of unencrypted data coming out of it. If people are stupid enough to send personally identifying information through a Tor exit node thinking it is somehow magically hidden because it just finished a trip through the onion routed wonderland is an idiot and deserves to get busted if they are doing anything illegal. Get this through your head, would-be dissidents, Tor is good for anonymously doing things that you would have been anonymously doing anyway. The threat to anonymity on the net is any site, and thus the authorities can trace you back using your ip. With Tor, this is no longer the case without some really expensive data mining, multiple exit node running, etc. hard to do shit.

So, to sum it up, Tor is great for what is great for. Do it wrong and expect to get busted.

Substitute Effect (1)

Demonantis (1340557) | more than 4 years ago | (#27693253)

I know Tor and many other services that make your traffic anonymous require more bandwidth then normal network traffic. I find it interesting because one of the really pushes for packet inspection is to reduce bandwidth consumption.

Is TOR really make web surfing anonymous? (3, Interesting)

ogrisel (1168023) | more than 4 years ago | (#27693269)

I always wondered whether it is not possible to attack TOR with statistical analysis provided you can dedicate significant resources to it. Suppose you are a big brother-style government agency with many computers and bandwith pipes dedicated to your goals. Could you not register a significant amounts of output and intermediate nodes (like say 10% of all nodes) that are specially improved to cooperatively log output HTTP traffic along with various web services session cookies, headers and originating IP addresses in a centralized DB and then use statistical analysis to identify the candidate source IP addresses of suspicious HTTP traffic?

Re:Is TOR really make web surfing anonymous? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27693483)

Exit nodes can easily sniff everything you transmit across the unencrypted web. That's why you don't use it for anything requiring secrets.

If you're worried about it, use the darknet:

http://eqt5g4fuenphqinx.onion/

Re:Is TOR really make web surfing anonymous? (3, Interesting)

ogrisel (1168023) | more than 4 years ago | (#27693603)

So it is actually dangerous to market TOR to non tech savy people who do not systematically check that they are surfing only on https websites or orther encrypted protocols. I guess you can harvest a great amount of passwords and other sensitive data by sniffing the http traffic of a single exit node.

Re:Is TOR really make web surfing anonymous? (3, Informative)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 4 years ago | (#27693803)

Yup. It's been done (google "Dan Egerstad") and you can be pretty sure it's being done.

Re:Is TOR really make web surfing anonymous? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27693813)

Correct. The exit nodes doing this are opening themselves up to legal liability. But that means nothing in practice.

They can sniff passwords and other private information from people who don't really understand how Tor works.

Law enforcement agencies can monitor for fools who are doing illegal communications and leak identifying clues in their messages.

Tor is great, but it's not magic. You are still using a proxy. Even though the intermediaries cannot see, the final server has to.

Website providers that care about anonymity should run Tor on their servers and provide a .onion tunnel to their regular websites.

They don't have to be exit nodes, they will just allow direct encrypted access to their site. It's like SSL, but beefier and easier.

Re:Is TOR really make web surfing anonymous? (2, Insightful)

srollyson (1184197) | more than 4 years ago | (#27694005)

Yes, this is a weakness. Hopefully multiple alphabet soup agencies from different countries will get this idea and end up competing with each other. An arms race of diminishing returns to get a bigger chunk of the Tor network just means we'll have plenty of free Tor bandwidth on the gov't dime.

Protip: You can edit the Tor config or source code to pick geographically diverse nodes yourself.

Re:Is TOR really make web surfing anonymous? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27694313)

I do not understand how this works... The article says, I need to contact the TOR website to get a set of relaying nodes. But if my oppressing regime blocks traffic to the TOR website, how am I going to get to the second step?

Re:Is TOR really make web surfing anonymous? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27696145)

TOR is insecure because the relays forward packets in the same order as received, with no remixing. This reduces lag but also makes every node vulnerable to easy, accurate traffic analysis.

If a TOR node is connected to a datacenter with a DCS 1000 (a.k.a. Carnivore) installation, i.e. all U.S. telco/cable subscribers, 100% traffic analysis should be expected.

If the TOR network is anything like the Mixmaster network for anonymous mail, a large number of the relays are operated by "unknown parties" in the U.S., often with deceptive international cctld domain names - you have to traceroute to know for sure.

So it is safe to assume that any TOR session /may/ be traced from source to destination by U.S. intel. Between that, and likely leaks of partially identfiying information via browser cookies and the like, TOR is at best a "medium security" anonymizing protocol. The Cypherpunk community has been aware of this from day one, and U.S. Naval Intelligence, which created TOR, released it to the public in the /hope/ that less than perfect spies & criminals would trust it too far.

The good news: Using information gained by TOR traffic analysis in court would disclose the monitoring program and negate its effectiveness. So while information gained by analyzing TOR traffic could be used against you in many ways, it will not in and of itself convict you of anything.

Re:Is TOR really make web surfing anonymous? (1)

base3 (539820) | more than 4 years ago | (#27696973)

So while information gained by analyzing TOR traffic could be used against you in many ways, it will not in and of itself convict you of anything.

That's a good point about TOR-based evidence not being used to prosecute someone for thoughtcrime for fear of revealing sources and methods, but once "they" know who you are, they can find some non-TOR acquired basis for suspicion and use that to get a warrant for conventional lawful intercept surveillance. So really, if you're doing anything "they're" interested, TOR can be used to get you without "them" having to reveal sources and methods in open court.

Re:Is TOR really make web surfing anonymous? (1)

RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) | more than 4 years ago | (#27697513)

I always wondered whether it is not possible to attack TOR with statistical analysis provided you can dedicate significant resources to it.

Yes, it can be. And with far fewer nodes than you think [colorado.edu].

Re:Is TOR really make web surfing anonymous? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27699119)

But the abstract seems to assume 3 to 6 malicious nodes to compromise an experimental network of 60 servers. That's quite a big fraction, seems to me.
Even then, they say only a "substantial fraction" or traffic is compromised. I didn't read further to know how substantial substantial is.

Democratic... (2, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#27694199)

As filtering becomes ever more common in democratic countries such as the US [...]

I'm wondering for a long time, if you really still can call the US and many other (eg European) states "democratic".

I mean, has the choice between two variants of the same shit still the right to call itself this?

I'm very lucky, that things like Tor, and research around it, still exist. It might soon be our only chance of freeing ourselves from a regime of total control.

Tor is a terrible program (0)

zifr (1467429) | more than 4 years ago | (#27694707)

Tor is far overrated. I'm surprised it has any notoriety. Last time I used it, which was a few months ago for a research project, it was quite easy to set your self up as an exit router and capture clear text information for mail, telnet, ftp, etc. It only protects to the extent of the knowledge of the user (like most systems/programs/features). Frankly if your not encrypted end to end and only using IP addresses I would avoid it completely. The added latency of around 19 seconds for just google.com to load from the word go makes it suck even more, however that is not a Tor issue directly, that is from people loading down the network with p2p traffic. In summary, use only if encrypted end to end and no DNS is utilized, to protect yourself....and order a latte, because your going to be there a while. Don't believe me? Look at some of the research the Uni of Colorado and Washington have done. Mine was based on their great work.

Re:Tor is a terrible program (1)

zifr (1467429) | more than 4 years ago | (#27694745)

Sorry, should have said it is terrible as a protocol and program.

Re:Tor is a terrible program (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27698857)

Tor concerns itself with anonymity, not privacy. I think it does that pretty well.

Re:Tor is a terrible program (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27696955)

I agree, Tor is absolutely useless.

I used to use it in Thailand to bypass the heavy filtering of websites there. First, it took hours to figure out how to set it up properly. Then when I finally got it working, I got about 200bps network speed. Considering a 56k phone modem would give me 8x that speed, it'd take ages to load anything at all!

Oh and Tor is illegal to use there, so just having it on my PC would subject me to indefinite prison. Hence I post anonymously.

Privacy is the next killer app (3, Insightful)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 4 years ago | (#27694843)

I have thought for some time that privacy is the next killer app. The person who solves the privacy problem will make a stack of money.

Also a good tool for malware research (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#27699137)

When you're a small company, you have limited resources. You can't easily build a vast network to come from different IPs every other second so a "smart" infector doesn't give you another sample to play with when you already came a moment ago.

TOR solves this by offering you a new IP every couple seconds. As a neat side effect, it means that anyone coming through that same TOR exit node won't be infected because the infector thinks its deed has already been done.

When you're talking with people, it's sometimes not too beneficial if they trace back and notice that your IP belongs to a very similar subnet as some company that pissed them off by nullifying their latest trojan before it got out.

TOR solves this too.

The alternative would cost a fair lot of money. And is anything but a surefire way to avoid the wrath of those whose business you disturb.

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