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EFF Promotes Freenet-like System Tor

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the god-of-tunder dept.

The Internet 379

An anonymous reader writes "The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) just announced that it has become a financial sponsor of Tor, an open-source project to help people 'engage in anonymous communication online.' It sounds like a simpler version of Freenet, e.g. 'a network-within-a-network that protects communication from ... traffic analysis.' Like Freenet, the source-code is freely available and binaries exist for Windows, Linux, etc." Read on for more details.

The submitter continues "It also allows you to install Tor-aware apps, such as an HTTP proxy (for private browsing), or maybe private P2P? Unlike Freenet, it doesn't use massive encryption (as far as I can tell) and relies more on something called onion routing to randomly bounce requests between other Tor proxies, thus obfuscating the IP of the original client. So it allows you to browse regular Internet sites! Maybe it should be considered more of an 'open-source' Anonymizer? But I don't know if it's actually Open Source - you can download the source (and compile it yourself) but I don't know if the developers are letting anyone else touch their code. They are, however, looking for contributors and other forms of help. And, finally, they're hoping people will start running Tor servers!" It's open source, however contributions are handled.

cancel ×

379 comments

EFF makes me happy. (5, Interesting)

The I Shing (700142) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162328)

The EFF is a light in a dark wilderness. How amazing that a group of people so talented, experienced, and dedicated to digital liberty can come together and accomplish so much. Episode #74 [thislife.org] of This American Life [thislife.org] features EFF co-founder John Perry Barlow [eff.org] 's touching account of a romance that blossomed between him and a wonderful woman he met at a convention. (Computer geeks take heed... play this story for a girl you fancy and see if it softens her heart.)

Re:EFF makes me happy. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162535)

(Computer geeks take heed... play this story for a girl you fancy and see if it softens her heart.)

Heart? Soften? I guess you're right... Date a geek and you too may die of heart arrythmia. [eff.org]

FRIST PSOT!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162331)

LOLOLOLOLOOL GAY FAGGOT

If they really want (3, Interesting)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162337)

If they really want to sniff you, what is to stop them from sniffing at that unavoidable first hop?

Re:If they really want (2, Informative)

Gorny (622040) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162372)

There are some trusted nodes which serve as the starting point. You can also add your own trusted nodes if you're sure they're trustworthy.

Re:If they really want (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162435)

It's more than that; the entry nodes don't have to
be trusted. Your communications with them are
encrypted and they know only the next hop in the
circuit -- they do not know the exit node and they
do not know the content of your communication.

Re:If they really want (1)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162488)

If the network were encrypted then you could simply argue that the packet wasn't yours and you were merely forwarding it. But if it's in the plain then they'd be able to see that it didn't come in and infer that it was yours.

Re:If they really want (5, Informative)

weaselp (32626) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162565)

The first node knows your IP and the second node, but not the plain text. The last node knows the second-to-last node,the service you are connecting to, and the plain text unless you do some encryption on the application layer (like https).

It's not entirely unlike Mixmaster, only low latency.

Is this really anonymous? (1)

bigstupid (235378) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162348)

What degree of obfuscation is enough to thwart determined tracking attempts?

not cost effective to track and sue for RIAA et al (2, Interesting)

Cryofan (194126) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162422)

I wonder if this could somehow be a case where it is not cost effective for RIAA/MPAA to track down the sharer of a particular file? I mean, they could do track down at least ONE file-sharer and then sue that person. But is just one person being sued serve as a sufficient deterrent to stop many filesharers?

Right now, there are hundreds or even thousands of file sharers being sued (or being threatened, or getting letters etc). That threat serves as a real deterrent. But if it were too costly for them to detect hundreds of file sharers, the threat posed may not deter many people from sharing files. So, if so, then Tor could be a real plus for file sharers.

Yay! Piracy! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162352)

<sarcasm>
I'm sure this network will be used to share protected speech and not copyrighted binaries.
</sarcasm>

Re:Yay! Piracy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162654)

And in ten years from now, when ONLY this kind of software will protect your freedom to speak, what will you say? We must fight and write our tools now, not wait that we're forbidden to do anything before moving our asses...

AT&T Crowds (3, Informative)

grub (11606) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162354)

If it's not encrypting and just passing packets around then it sounds like the AT&T research Crowds proxy they were distributing a while ago. (it used to live at this page [att.com] but I see it's gone now.)

Re:AT&T Crowds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162391)

Tor does encrypt hops and the encryption uses
keys negotiated between the user and each hop
(much like the anonymous remailer networks).

You might think of Tor as a somewhat more mature
system along the lines of Crowds. Tor's
bibliography cites the Crowds work (among other
things) favorably.

This actually works.... (5, Interesting)

Ajmuller (88594) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162360)

Unlike freenet, which I have tried to use for years and never got it to work properly, this actually works. Five minutes after I installed TOR i'm actually surfing the internet, anonymously, at decent speeds. Unlike freenet, i'm not stuck in a chatroom while someone tells me... Just wait 4-5 days for your node to associate with the network....
TOR is great, go EFF, making me proud to be a member!!!!

Re:This actually works.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162470)

Actually, Ajmuller (acct 88594), we know exactly who you are. Does your mom know you visit those kind of sites?

Re:This actually works.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162512)

Heh. My mom always despairs of my conservatism. At my age, she was "enjoying group sex (lots of), and plentiful marijuana". No, I don't know how she manages to pronounce parentheses like that. Yes, I do have to point out that back in her day, group sex didn't lead to HIV or antibiotic resistant syphilis quite so readily.

But hey, I'm in europe.

Re:This actually works.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162807)

"Heh. My mom always despairs of my conservatism. At my age, she was "enjoying group sex (lots of), and plentiful marijuana". No, I don't know how she manages to pronounce parentheses like that. Yes, I do have to point out that back in her day, group sex didn't lead to HIV or antibiotic resistant syphilis quite so readily."

Anonymous Coward, I AM your father

Re:This actually works.... (1)

verbatim_verbose (411803) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162586)

It's true, Tor does work well. The thing is - Freenet works well too. But Freenet is it's OWN network - not a gateway to browse the standard WWW. The two have almost nothing to do with each other.

Re:This actually works.... (4, Informative)

Ajmuller (88594) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162721)

Actually, Tor does have an internal network. They are called hidden service URLS, they are URLs that work only on the tor network, though they are not distributed content the way freenet is.
A Hidden Service URL looks something like this:
http://6sxoyfb3h2nvok2d.onion/
And, obviously, only functions when the TOR daemon intercepts your web browsers requests...
The very cool thing about TOR is that it not only can forward HTTP but also any other arbitrary protocol... You can even forward SSH traffic if you are among the uber paranoid elite.

Apples and oranges (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162726)

Freenet has a way to go, but it is a very ambitious project.

For example, consider this: Freenet is designed to support millions of unreliable peers. Last time I checked, Tor uses a centralised list of peers which is manually edited by Tor's developers.

This is not to say that Freenet is better than Tor, they have different goals. They may sound similar based on a one sentence explanation, but as soon as you scratch the surface you see that they don't have much in common beyond that.

Like Freenet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162367)

Well Freenet HAS NEVER WORKED
A fork of Freenet has been popular in Japan.
But the Freenet project itself has been a huge failure.
Thankgod some other people are working on creating something that might actually work.

no no no no (1)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162768)

It's a completely different system.

Tor allows you to access existing internet resources anonymously.

Freenet allows you to PUBLISH and access resources anonymously - if it works.

Call me at 0.5.0.0 or so (0, Troll)

CmdrTaco (troll) (578383) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162382)

I have a little policy against using any software that is version 0.0.anything.

But... (0, Redundant)

ultrabot (200914) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162383)

...is it good for distributing binary content that might be in violation of copyright laws of some countries?

Re:But... (0, Offtopic)

koreaman (835838) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162556)

OT:

Cool, another dvorak user!

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162605)

LUNIX is unhackable!

Re:But... (1)

ultrabot (200914) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162781)

Cool, another dvorak user!

...

The Anti-1337 Manifesto [umanwizard.com]


Yeah, dvorak absolutely pwns ;-).

Re:But... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162568)

Now that the EFF has become firmly pro-piracy (and therefore politically irrelevant), you can assume so.

Solutions are simple. (2, Interesting)

robyannetta (820243) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162385)

Disclaimer: IANAL!

I, for one, do not use peer-to-peer file sharing for any reason. However the answer to secure peer-to-peer file sharing is so simple it's right in front of our noses.

First, encrypt the file you want to send with GPG, make the decrypting password "1" or "A" or something that simple. If "any one else" decrypts the file and prosecutes you for it, you can get off by using the DMCA. That's right, the DMCA works for people too.

Under the DMCA, the sender and receiver are the only two authorized to decrypt that file. If "any one else" decrypts it, even though they know the password, they are guilty of violating the DMCA. Now, from what I understand about the law, without a warrant to decrypt your encrypted file, it's not admissable in court because a law was broken to retrieve the file contents. No court likes "bad" cops, it's bad PR for judges.

Current peer-to-peer technologies that are wide open are sufficient to carry "secure" information. Expending the extra energy to encrypt the file before it's sent is the problem. People need to stop being lazy.

"If technology is plausible, we acheive it. Now pull the lever and 'beer me'."

Re:Solutions are simple. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162404)

Can you really sue someone for violating the DMCA when they decrypt content that is not yours?

Re:Solutions are simple. (2, Insightful)

airConditionedGypsy (703864) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162434)

You have to be careful. What if the receiver is a member of the RIAA? Under your scheme, they are authorized to download from you and decrypt...

Nice idea, but tough in practice.

Re:Solutions are simple. (5, Informative)

pclminion (145572) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162518)

IANAL either. This doesn't work.

The DMCA prohibits circumventing a protection on a copyrighted work. Encryption only qualifies as a "protection device" if the person doing the encryption is the holder of the copyright. You can't "protect" what you do not own.

I don't know if the DMCA contains precisely this language, but it's certainly the way it would be interpretted in court.

I'm more interested in the case of using encryption to protect a computer virus. Since the author of the virus actually is the owner of the copyright on the viral code, then the encryption should qualify as a copyright protection device under the DMCA. Law enforcement officials who decrypt the virus to reverse engineer it would be in violation of the DMCA.

Re:Solutions are simple. (1)

airConditionedGypsy (703864) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162540)

Since the author of the virus actually is the owner of the copyright on the viral code, then the encryption should qualify as a copyright protection device under the DMCA

That's an interesting thought. I'd imagine at some point the virus would have to decrypt itself and then could be legally captured by some piece of monitoring software. An interesting technical challenge resulting from a "creative" use of the law.

Re:Solutions are simple. (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162523)

won't work, DMCA only applies to encrypting stuff that you own.

Re:Solutions are simple. (1)

C64 (130005) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162590)


I, for one, do not use peer-to-peer file sharing for any reason. However the answer to secure peer-to-peer file sharing is so simple it's right in front of our noses.
[...]
Under the DMCA, the sender and receiver are the only two authorized to decrypt that file. If "any one else" decrypts it, even though they know the password, they are guilty of violating the DMCA.
The problem is not so trivially solved. Remember - folks looking to prosecute filesharers are perfectly capable of joining a P2P network. Once they're in the network, the can examine any file they want just like any other member of the network - they can be "receivers" too, after all.

Re:Solutions are simple. (1)

Abm0raz (668337) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162593)

IANAL, either, but there is a flaw in your sceme: protectionary laws (for the most part) do not apply to illegal activities. The same way you can't call the cops cause your distributor took your drugs but didn't pay.

I believe under the DMCA (again, not a lawyer) there is clause allowing for checking of owned material. The **AA would just have to get a writ (warrant, subpeona ... whatever) to allow them to open the file to check if it contained files owned by them that they believe were being transferred illegally.

-Ab

Re:Solutions are simple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162760)

Just sign it digitally.

How does this differ from a regular anon proxy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162388)

This exactly seem revolutionary. Are there some features not covered in the whitepage that aren't currently available to "power" users today? Or is this simply an idiot proof proxy tool?

Re:How does this differ from a regular anon proxy? (1)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162800)

Well the anonymous proxy knows all. It knows your IP address, what you are connecting to, and what you are sending.

No one node in the tor system knows all of this.

Spammers (5, Interesting)

bm17 (834529) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162392)

Two questions come immediately to mind:

1) Can spam be sent through Tor?

2) Can spammers collect data by running a Tor server of their own?

I checked the site's FAQ but couldn't find answers there.

Re:Spammers (5, Informative)

miope (727503) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162627)

Look the documentation [eff.org]

2. Decide what exit policy you want. By default your server allows access to many popular services, but we restrict some (such as port 25) due to abuse potential. You might want an exit policy that is either less restrictive or more restrictive; edit your torrc appropriately. If you choose a particularly open exit policy, you might want to make sure your upstream or ISP is ok with that choice.
the faq responds your second question [noreply.org]
6.1. Can exit nodes eavesdrop on communications? Isn't that bad? Yes, the guy running the exit node can read the bytes that come out there. Our first answer is "then use end-to-end encryption such as SSL", which is great but not always practical. (The corollary to this answer is that if you are worried about somebody intercepting your traffic and you're *not* using end-to-end encryption at the application layer, then something has already gone wrong and you shouldn't be thinking that Tor is the problem.) Our second answer is that in a future release, we plan to have Tor clients recognize when the destination is co-located with a Tor server, and exit from that Tor server. So for example, people using Tor to get to the EFF website would automatically exit from the EFF Tor server (assuming it's nearby in network geography), thus getting *better* encryption and authentication properties than just browsing there the normal way. But this has a variety of technical problems we need to overcome first (the main one being "how does the Tor client learn which servers are associated with which websites in a decentralized yet non-gamable way?"). Stay tuned.

Re:Spammers (1)

bm17 (834529) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162662)

But since no one is sending SMTP traffic there won't be any email addresses to harvest. Thanks! I hope they add that bit about no port 25 to the FAQ.

Re:Spammers (1)

rainman_bc (735332) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162646)

Uhm, I don't think you can use a proxy server to send spam AFAIK.

Re:Spammers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162683)

I haven't anything but here's my guess:
1) The product is for anonymous commmunications. The spammers would need to have your TOR address. (See #2)
2) They probably could collect your TOR info with a modified TOR server. Spammers won't bother for this TOR network unless it becomes popular. The US Big Bro..er.. Homeland Security dept., however, is probably working on this as we speak.

The worst thing is that neither hole can be plugged otherwise it will severely limit the random-router feature that it is based on.

Funded by DARPA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162405)

The site says it's partially funded by DARPA. Keep that in mind ... It might be backdoored so as to spy on bloodthirsty terrorists.

Is that in England? (2, Funny)

worst_name_ever (633374) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162409)

System Tor... I think that's in Devonshire, right?

Anonymity is a good thing? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162414)

Are you sure all this anonymity is a good thing with all the terrorism and unpatriotic sentiment floating around?

Besides, getting rid of anonymity would help with the spam crap.

In fact, I don't see anything positive in anonymity.

Re:Anonymity is a good thing? (4, Funny)

VistaBoy (570995) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162450)

In fact, I don't see anything positive in anonymity.

by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 22, @04:11PM

You are the god of irony and paradox.

Mod Parent Up (1)

KarmaOverDogma (681451) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162527)

That one is both Funny and Insighful.

Re:Anonymity is a good thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162623)

OTOH, maybe he just doesn't like soul-sucking registrations, like I imagine most of us ACs. I've really got better things to do with my time and bandwidth than to register at EVERY FROGGING PLACE I want to make a snarky comment like this one against people who invite such comments, like yourself.

Re:Anonymity is a good thing? (1)

VistaBoy (570995) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162824)

Heh. You obviously have enough bandwidth and time to make that holier-than-thou post about how you don't submit to "soul-sucking registrations." I'd say you have enough bandwidth and time to make a registration.

Re:Anonymity is a good thing? (1)

DirtyLiar (796951) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162614)

Are you sure all this anonymity is a good thing with all the terrorism and unpatriotic sentiment floating around?
Besides, getting rid of anonymity would help with the spam crap.
In fact, I don't see anything positive in anonymity.

That's right, 'cause only criminals fear a police state!
I bet you have a webcam, don't you?

Yeah, right (2, Funny)

Anonymous Crowhead (577505) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162419)

And wait for my traffic to pass through some hippy's 386 running linux? I sure hope this requires some minimum hardware and bandwith to allow participation.

finally an alternative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162459)

I love Freenet, but it's a mess of a program using a rickety network. Long live Tor!

Whups, so much for that idea. (5, Informative)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162466)

From the design documents [eff.org] :

Based in part on our restrictive default exit policy (we reject SMTP requests) and our low profile, we have had no abuse issues since the network was deployed in October 2003. Our slow growth rate gives us time to add features, resolve bugs, and get a feel for what users actually want from an anonymity system. Even though having more users would bolster our anonymity sets, we are not eager to attract the Kazaa or warez communities-we feel that we must build a reputation for privacy, human rights, research, and other socially laudable activities.

Well, so much for that. *badaboom*

Double dipping (4, Insightful)

el borak (263323) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162475)

Tor was initially designed and developed as part of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory's Onion Routing program with support from ONR and DARPA.
Gotta love this. Paid for by my tax dollars, then I also get to pay for the NSA to develop improved snooping technology to crack it. Still, good to know at least some of my tax dollars was well spent for a change.

... and also sponsored by .mil? (3, Interesting)

skabb (115949) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162482)

Seems like a great system, but I just cant understand this statement: "Currently, Tor development is supported by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Tor was initially designed and developed as part of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory's Onion Routing program with support from ONR [navy.mil] and DARPA [darpa.mil] ."

*Puts on tinfoil-hat* isn't the guys at *.mil making their jobs harder by doing this? anonymous "terrorists" communicating freely without any traces, or do they already have this covered in the system? a honeypot?

Re:... and also sponsored by .mil? (1)

bm17 (834529) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162576)

Maybe they can classify it as a munition and ban its export.

Spies need anonymity too... (5, Interesting)

Jim McCoy (3961) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162719)

As someone who has watched, helped with, and discussed various anonymous networks from Pipenet through Onion routing and Tor I can give you the quick summary for why NRL was interested in anonymous browsing (because when they first came out with the Onion network stuff it really was a surprise.)

Sometimes, government agencies would prefer it if web queries did not show up in the server's logs as coming from a .mil or .gov site.

Just knowing what someone is reading or researching is a good source of intel, some government agencies see more benefit to this than the downside of potential terrorist uses.*

Jim

* anyway, if you work for a big governement agency you have the resources to treat these sorts of networks like a big black box and link up the endpoints. This is a fatal flaw to _all_ real-time anonymous networks. A big attacker can treat all of the fancy games you play in the middle of network as noise and just link up "message X went into dark network at time T and a message close to the size of message X came out of the network at time T +1, followed by a similarly linkable message going back the other way..."

Just one slight problem with the name.... (2, Interesting)

farrellj (563) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162519)

TOR Books [tor.com] , one of the largest publishers of Science Fiction and Fantasy in North America *might* have some problem with this...Methinks that I should let David Hartwell know...and the wonderful people at EFF...

ttyl
Farrell

Re:Just one slight problem with the name.... (1)

el borak (263323) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162538)

No worries. We'll just let the real Tor [lethargiclad.com] handle the dispute.

Re:Just one slight problem with the name.... (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162560)

I doubt it [reference.com] . Have they started letting people trademark simple words now?

Even if "TOR Books" was trademarked, it's not in the same industry or even sector as the Tor sharing system, so trademark protection wouldn't apply anyway.

Re:Just one slight problem with the name.... (1)

el borak (263323) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162644)

Have they started letting people trademark simple words now?
Yes. [oracle.com]

Re:Just one slight problem with the name.... (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162771)

When did they not allow you to trademark simple words? Might come as a surprise to companies like Apple, Catepillar, Dell, Ford, Hallmark, etc. You are quite correct on the other part. Trademarks only apply to the industry they are registered in.

Re:Just one slight problem with the name.... (1)

lederhosen (612610) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162617)

Tor is a common name in scandinavia, and a somewhat stupid but strong god.

Onion Routing != FreeNet (5, Interesting)

pridkett (2666) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162528)

Just a quick FYI, TOR is an onion routing system, meaning that the data is passed between TOR proxies until it reaches it's destination. This means that eventually you still need to fetch the data from a server, which means that the server can still be put under attack or taken down.

FreeNet is much more robust as you inject content and then it is stored in many nodes. Thus, it can't be taken down. Furthemore, in FreeNet different parts of the data are obtained from different sources, preventing more work that could be done with traffic analysis.

To say that TOR is like FreeNet is to seriously discount the features of FreeNet. TOR is a system for running Onion proxies. FreeNet is a completely anonymized hosting and content distribution system.

Re:Onion Routing != FreeNet (1)

adturner (6453) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162810)

One interesting thing that tor provides for "hidden services" so you can publish/host content, but without giving up your location. The nice thing about this is that you can run any tcp service such as a web or irc server, not just static content.

Is is in Java? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162534)

Freenet is unusable for me because of its java nature (for ideological reasons - it is absurd to require something as vehemently antifree as Java for freenet).

What is Tor implemented in?

This is an honest question, not a troll.

No, I can't "check out the link" - because it's just been /.ed.

Re:Is is in Java? (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162667)

The devil is in the details huh?

Java may not be free enough for your liking, but Freenet offers the promise of a much more substantive freedom.

I can understand your principled opposition, but Freenet is a good idea.

LK

Re:Is is in Java? (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162749)

Freenet may offer promises, but last I heard, all it was good for was pr0n, and I can get that on the regular internet.

Re:Is is in Java? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162720)

It's written in C and you only have 120 files, very small program to read and study :)

So if this routes through Onion servers... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162546)

... it must be intended primarily for satirical content.

Cool. (1)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162549)

Where can I get some EFF grant money?

Re:Cool. (1)

DirtyLiar (796951) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162655)

I got 2c for ya. Where do you want it?

Sounds pretty good to me (2, Funny)

caluml (551744) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162557)

Freenet - but not in Java?! Sign me up. Keep that nasty java off my system. GRSec and PaX don't like it and keep killing it off anyway.

pros and cons (-1, Troll)

mslinux (570958) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162566)

I'm all about privacy on line and initially, this sounded like a good idea to me. But then I thought about the religious terrorists of the world. You know, the ones who fly planes into buildings and blow up abortion clinics... kill children in schools in Russia, etc.

Fanatical religious terrorists of all kinds (Christian, Muslim, Jewish... but mostly Muslims) will take advantage of technology like this and I don't think I want to assist them in carry out their evil deeds against the normal people of the world.

Re:pros and cons (2, Insightful)

DeathFlame (839265) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162641)

Then where do we draw the line between "Omg, technology for terrorists" and real useful software? What about instant messanger systems?

Does AIM and MSN user = Terroist?

No.

But they can very easily use such software can they not?

What about Planes? Maybe we should stop using planes.. I mean terrorists can use them to fly into our buildings.

Why are you drawing the line at this piece of software? Where should this line be? The further it goes into our freedoms...

The normal people being the ones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162687)

The normal people being the ones killing and torturing people in Palestine, Iraq, Chechnya, Guantanamo Bay?

Re:pros and cons (1)

my_haz (840523) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162773)

Solving a problem between communicating cells being terrorist or otherwise is a much simpler task then gereral p2p. There is a level of "speak easy" that just doesn't exist in the general p2p world when talking about these small communities. Don't let this kind of consideration turn you off to privacy if for not anything else but that it is what the terrorists want.

Re:pros and cons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162797)

I trust you will immediately give up any and all vehicles that you own. Obviously, to drive a car is to condone the very technology that makes the terrorists' car bombs possible.

Be a patriot -- boycott Ford!

Right... (5, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162579)

Let me get this straight. As a TOR node, my computer will request information from regular web sites unencrypted. This means that when someone requests e.g. child porn on the network, and my node is chosen to retrieve it, my IP will be the one logged?

You are in for a world of hurt if you run a TOR node. Since you are perfectly aware of all plain HTTP requests your node makes, you are likely to stand trial for contributory copyright infringement, import/export/distribution of child porn, conspiracy to [whatever] and so on. Since I assume by default it doesn't log anything to give you someone to blame it on, they pin it on you.

I would honestly never run a TOR node. If I did, I would firewall it to only allow connections to other TOR nodes, i.e. be a pure leech on the network. Anything else is to expose yourself for a wide range of legal disasters. Freenet had this right. You must not know what you are transmitting. This idea is fundamentally flawed and I'm amazed that the EFF would support it.

And beyond that, from the brief techincal discussion, you have a single point of failure in the directory server. Gather a small botnet, compromise the server and present the botnet as the routing nodes. You control all the keys, you decrypt everything. Or just a simple DDoS attack, so you don't find any nodes to route through. Overall, I'm not impressed.

Kjella

Re:Right... (1)

DeathFlame (839265) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162664)

What about ISP's? There routers and switchs and lines are used for distribution of copyright material and child porn. Yet they are not held liable. Why would someone running this program that mereley routes traffic through it, be held liable?

Because they're not common carriers. (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162741)

ISPs have clear access logs as to what subscriber held what IP when, should the police come knocking. You do not. If all TOR nodes keep a record over what URLs were requested from (uplink), you would continue up to the originator and the entire point of TOR will disappear. In addition, there are common carrier exceptions in the law which would not apply to you.

Kjella

NAT all traffic? (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162588)

What about a network (possibly implemented in VPNs), where all packets are NAT'd by each node. Anyone viewing the traffic would never know if the request originated on that host, or if it was a host 10 hops away. (Apart from the TTL, which could be randomised between 200 and 255 anyway).
Obviously, this would still break things that don't play well with NAT.

not ready for prime time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162597)

Disclaimer: I'm using windows 2000, not linux.

WinMX: Install, run, use the slick GUI, get speedy transfers.
KaZaA Lite: Install, run, use the slick GUI, get speedy transfers.
eMule: Install, run, use the slick GUI, get speedy transfers.
DC++: Install, run, use the slick GUI, get speedy transfers.
Gnucleus: Install, run, use the slick GUI, get speedy transfers.
Freenet: Install, run, suffer through the web-based GUI, and groan as it gobbles up all your memory and CPU time while taking ages to load a page.
Tor: Install, run, stare at a console window that says

Dec 22 13:17:21.875 [notice] tor_init(): Tor v0.0.9.1. This is experimental software. Do not rely on it for strong anonymity.
Dec 22 13:17:26.859 [notice] circuit_send_next_onion_skin(): Tor has successfully opened a circuit. Looks like it's working.

Inexcusable. Next!

Misconceptions about Tor (from Chris @ EFF) (5, Informative)

innerFire (1016) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162598)

Hi there! I'm Chris Palmer from EFF. I am working with the Tor developers, so I know a bit about it. I'll try to clear up some questions and misconceptions people seem to have.

1. Spam? Well, spammers already have much better tools than Tor. Namely, botnets. The Tor network currently doesn't support the kind of bandwidth usage spammers can chew up. By their willingness to break the law, spammers and criminals already have good tools to hide their network origin. Tor doesn't really help them. Plus, the default Tor exit policy is to block port 25.

2. Free/open source? Yes, three-clause BSD. EFF would not financially support a non-free/open source project!

3. Do you have to trust the nodes? You have to trust the entry node and the exit node. The entry node can be on your own computer, which I highly advise people to do. It's easy to install on all platforms, so that shouldn't be a hurdle. As far as trusting the exit node: Yes, the exit node can see the plaintext of your communications. That is why you should always use end-to-end encryption, anyway! Remember, all normal Internet routers in your route can read your traffic; Tor is actually BETTER because traffic is strongly encrypted (AES, multiple times) while inside the Tor network.

So, you actually have to trust Tor a bit less than regular Internet routes.

Use encryption. :)

4. Is it like Freenet/Crowds/Anonymizer? Yes, and no. It is like somewhat like those systems in goals, but the design is different. For example, unlike Freenet, Tor helps you talk to the real Internet. Unlike Anonymizer, Tor uses a whole network of proxies, not a single proxy; and the proxies are generic SOCKS proxies, not specifically HTTP.

5. Version number is too low. Is this alpha software? Roger and Nick are very modest. :) Tor works. It is stable, many bugs have been fixed, and the protocol is moderately stable. Tor does not crash randomly or eat all your memory. What's in flux is bigger picture items, such as "How can we reduce our dependency on the central directory server" and "Wouldn't a GUI configuration tool be nifty?"

6. Is there a backdoor? Well, you tell me. The source code is open. Is there a backdoor in other free software you like?

7. Minimum bandwidth requirement? For exit and middleman nodes, yes, you should have a reasonable pipe and a stable machine. "Reasonable" pipe can mean a good DSL connection. Crappy nodes can degrade the network for those poor saps whose circuit goes through one. That is why the directory server operators won't list your server unless it meets basic stability and bandwidth requirements.

Re:Misconceptions about Tor (from Chris @ EFF) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162802)

Sorry to sound like a fourth-grader, but you guys rock!

Freenet is a tremendous disappointment (1)

zymano (581466) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162613)

I looked on there for music and movies and the only thing i could see was 'Kill Bill'.

There is no reasonble way to search freenet.

Try Frost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162678)

See here [sf.net] .

Scalability (2, Informative)

Sanity (1431) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162630)

I think the general problem with this kind of architecture is that it dodges the hard issue - which is how new peers get integrated into the network, and how do you ensure their reliability.

In Tor's case there is a centralised global list of all peers which must be added to manually by Tor's developers. This is fine with a small number of users, for which Tor clearly works well, but isn't practical when dealing with large numbers of users.

Freenet, for all its faults, is designed to deal with potentially millions of unreliable peers. It is its ability to do this that makes it such an ambitious project, and makes any comparision between it and Tor a situation of apples and oranges.

trouble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162636)

Alice visits Bob's childporn server which the FBI is monitoring. If you are the last encyrpted hop and you fetch the childporn they have your IP and you are in trouble.

But but but (3, Funny)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162638)

Terrorists might use this! Won't someone please think of the children? If my government can't hear what my neighbor is saying, how do I know he isn't planning on killing me in my sleep?

I mean, why do you even need something like this? If you don't have anything to hide, there shouldn't be a problem with your internet chats being monitored.

BTW, click here [reference.com]

one more to the list (1)

my_haz (840523) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162647)

We Have Freenet, MUTE, iip, WASTE, Ants etc, etc. What they are lacking is a base. This lack of base is do to certain unavoidable (or leaste very difficult to avoid) constraints of the problem
In order to have a useful p2p network it must be realitivly fast and easy to navigate. In order for the network to be anymous and safe from centralized attacks, it must be decentralized. Unfortunetly Anonymous and fast download seem to be indirectly proportional. Decentralization requires that packets bounce all over the network which results in lower download speeds. Centralization however fast, will result in it being easy for some one or some group to target the center and easily bring the whole community down. People are not going to use a system which is too slow to be useful.
Solving the anymouse p2p problem is very difficult to do when you wish to have realitively reasonable download rates and not too much house keeping in the way of covering your tracks. To think of an analogy; consider haveing a town with three types of people, Reds, Blacks and Whites. The objective is for the Blacks to figure a way to send mail to each other in some way that the Blacks will not know what they are sending or where it came from
Reds own what Blacks are mailing. So Blacks want to hide from Reds and Reds want to find out who the Blacks are. Every Black can easily know who is another Black. Yet every Red must assume that every other person that they talk to or mail through is a Black. Whites are a noise factor and distract both Black's and Red's. Blacks, ultimately, are trying to behave as much like Whites as possible while still being able to send information that the Blacks would not have them send.
Tors meathod of solving this problem (i.e. being a protocol for the Blacks to send mail) is to have everyone who is Black act exactly like a Black and nothing like a White while allowing any Red to hide easily in the community of the Blacks. Tracfic anaylisis may be more difficult but it will be easyer for the Reds to determine which trafic to monitor.
The whole problem is interesting to think about and any solution that I can think of would require that the complexity of determing who is Black would grow NP in the number of Blacks while the the levels of indirection of any packet would grow linerially or else the network would be too slow to be of much more use then a chat protocol and for that I guess we have iip.
At any rate I look forward to seeing what the Hacker community can do to bring the idea of an anonymous internet to life.

Fro5t pist (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162653)

comment on Freenet (1)

MikeCapone (693319) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162681)

The Freenet concept is great and Ian Clarke must be applauded, but it really needs an implementation that is more user-friendly and lower latency before it can become really popular.

I know that there are a lot of technical problems that keep these things from happening right now, but I have hope that they'll figure out something before it is impossible to have any real privacy on the net.

Works well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162711)

I'm impressed. After only a couple minutes, this is working perfectly! One more vote that, yes, this works.

Could it have the reverse-effect? (1)

MoogMan (442253) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162722)

It seems to me that Tor (and possibly all onion-type concepts, although I dont know a huge amount about them as a whole) actually increases the footprint of any given request/response by increasing the amount of hops taken from source to destination. Could it be that it increases anonymity of a connection but also potentially decreases the privacy instead? Couple this with payload analysis (HTTP packets having obvious information about destination at least) and you have a powerful tracking mechanism

Firefox extension? (4, Interesting)

multiOSfreak (551711) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162795)

Somebody quick! Make a FireFox extension that adds a button to the toolbar that says "Switch to TOR mode" or something to that effect.

It would be nice if TOR were easy to turn on and off within a given browser or other http-aware client. I can't see need the for use TOR 100% of the time, especially since there is a performance hit. And it seems like it would be a pain in the ass to have to reconfigure the browser's proxy settings each time you want to use TOR for browsing/downloading.

I'd take a crack at it myself, but I'm no code monkey. I'm a documentation nerd. If anybody wants to develop this, let me know and I'll do the docs and help files.

Smilin is all the anonymity I need. (2, Interesting)

Smilin (840286) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162815)

Look, you don't know who I am. I'm anonymous. I don't really want you knowing who I am because some of you are freaks (no offense). It works and it's all I really need.

Is this REAL anonymity? Not really. If I come on here and say I'm going to kill George Bush they'll find out who I am in a heartbeat. I don't really have a problem with that. Basically the only people who are not anonymous are criminals. This is simply because in the vast sea of people on the internet who really gives a crap who "Smilin" is unless he does something wrong. You don't like it? Don't pirate software and don't threaten dubya!

I WANT criminals to be tracked down by IP and prosecuted. It's just difficult enough to find out who someone is to stop most freaks (like you guys, no offense) but not difficult enough that law enforcement can't do it when they need to. I would rather things stay in this false illusion of anonymity state. Thank you very much.

P.S. For you secret service guys who just read this: No worries. You can all basically just go take naps anyway. No one is going to kill dubya while he has Cheney next in line for assasination insurance.
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