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German Police Arrest Admin of Tor Anonymity Server

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the good-guys-never-win dept.

Security 428

An anonymous reader writes "In a recent blog posting, a German operator of a Tor anonymous proxy server revealed that he was arrested by German police officers at the end of July. Showing up at his house at midnight on a Sunday night, police cuffed and arrested him in front of his wife and seized his equipment. In a display of both bitter irony and incompetence, the police did not take or shut-down the Tor server responsible for the traffic they were interested in, which was located in a data center, over 500km away. In the last year, Germany has passed a draconian new anti-security research law and raided seven different data centers to seize Tor servers. While back in 2003, A German court ordered the developers of a different anonymity network to build a back-door into their system."

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428 comments

Typo? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20626843)

should it be from the good guys never win dept.? or am i missing something about the almightiness or Tor?

Re:Typo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20626867)

you got the first post and you wasted it on THAT?!?

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20626931)

It should be the gut guys, since it's German.

Securty vs Freedom (3, Insightful)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#20626857)

People that trade freedom for security shall recieve neither.

Re:Securty vs Freedom (4, Interesting)

m0ns00n (943739) | more than 6 years ago | (#20626891)

Germany is soon becoming a screwed up democracy like the USA. I wonder how far this will go until western rooted terrorism comes on par with middle eastern terrorism. If the western governments continue to assault their people like this, terrorism will only grow in scope and severity. Their war on terror will obviously only generate more of what they are fighting. Too bad the politicians slept in class.

Re:Securty vs Freedom (3, Interesting)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#20626943)

Too true. There comes a time when a government turns on the very people it was designed to nurture, and the results can be disasterous.

Does anyone recall the French Revolution?

Re:Securty vs Freedom (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20626987)

I do.. took us weeks to get it to revolve

Re:Securty vs Freedom (2, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627003)


Good luck to this guy. Tor is very useful in preserving our privacy. Electronic communication has been a massive free party for government and police surveillance as people have been sending their communications around in ways that are as secure as a postcard. Now people are catching on and taking their privacy back and these agencies are reacting with aggression. If they want to snoop on someone then they can go through the traditional channels and not crack down on the anonymity and privacy of all of us, which serves a vital social purpose.

Re:Securty vs Freedom (5, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627083)

Does anyone recall the French Revolution?

Our leaders, both in the EU and the US, paid careful attention to the lessons learned in the French Revolution, namely that as long as you keep your people well fed and entertained, you can do whatever you damn well please. In the French Revolution, the people storming the Bastille had nothing to lose. But our level of comfort is carefully maintained to keep actual violent revolt from ever happening. Even the poor in our countries have too much to lose (thanks to government programs)to risk anything angrier than waving a slogan on a posterboard sign.

Re:Securty vs Freedom (4, Funny)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627391)

They only have the authority that YOU GIVE THEM. You can take that away just as easily. Turn your back on the government that you give authority to and they will go away. I have had the police knock on my door many times in a dispute with my neighbour, I never opened the door. Why? BECAUSE I DID NOT GIVE THE POLICE ANY AUTHORITY OVER ME to come in :) They have no power if I do not give it to them. Easy. Now get your act together, government is made up of people. People only have power of you if you let them. Ignore them, they don't exist.

Re:Securty vs Freedom (5, Insightful)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627437)

You are a brave man.
I gotta warn you, I know of localities where the cops break down doors. If that ever happens in your area, to your door, who are you gonna call? Or do you just plan to break out the ammo?

mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20627427)

That practice is so old it has even a Latin name: panem et circenses, aka bread and circus.

Re:Securty vs Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20627507)

Are there any countries that do have a similar or better level of comfort that isn't being carefully maintained to keep violent revolts from happening?

Re:Securty vs Freedom (2, Insightful)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627415)

Does anyone recall the French Revolution?
Does anyone recall the bloody results from the French Revolution?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reign_of_Terror [wikipedia.org]

Don't sanctify it.

Re:Securty vs Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20627113)

I'm not sure if anyone's thought of this, and it admittedly sounds like paranoia...but the war in Iraq is giving them very valuable practice on subordinating a populace with terrorism. You could say our efforts against terrorism are not being very effective over there, but keep in mind that they'd really have to take away many many freedoms in order for us to give up what we have; there's a reason why most terrorists (not the leaders) are either psychotic or poor. The latter have nothing to lose.

Bottom line? If you put a frog in cold water and slowly increase the temperature to a boil, the frog won't move. There's now experience on how to effectively silence any rebellious frogs.

There's also the small fact that terrorists can obtain AK-47s for less than a good handgun in the US. They get supplies from other nations. How would this work in the US? Assuming the military goes along with it, I don't think there'd be much we could do...

Re:Securty vs Freedom (1)

sholden (12227) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627239)

There's also the flip side, that US soldiers get to see how effective terrorist tactics are against an better trained and equipped force, and bring that knowledge and experience back home with them: http://www.counterpunch.org/lind12062006.html [counterpunch.org]

Re:Securty vs Freedom (1)

nightgeometry (661444) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627409)

Kinda off-topic, and whilst the saying is a good one, if you put frogs in cold water and slowly heat, they will jump out before they boil.

Frog boiling [snopes.com] according to Victor H. Hutchison [ou.edu] the George Lynn Cross Research Professor Emeritus of Zoology.

Re:Securty vs Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20627253)

What class was that? What steps would you take to prevent terrorist acts such as bombings, gunnings-down, etc?

Re:Securty vs Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20627345)

"Too bad the politicians slept in class."

On the contrary, they were wide awake.

Who do you think benefits from a totalitarian state? The politicians. The leaders.

Sure, a lot of them are idiots, but on the whole they know that they're not in the job to help the citizens -- they're in the job to help themselves. Ubiquitous surveillance, in vogue now with the War on Terror, is exactly what they want. The populace under their thumbs is what they desire.

Most of them don't even see anything wrong with that. They often believe that they know better, and that they'll do the best job if they're free of red-tape restrictions.

They aren't dumb, and they aren't intentionally evil, but you could say the same of most oppressors through history.

Re:Securty vs Freedom (2, Insightful)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627145)

Generally, we have no politicians with a degree in IT, but all useless subjects like politics, art, history etc. and these people are the ones pulling the technology strings of government (and hence your country). Many politicians don't even know how to send an e-mail!!!

Politicians only believe in headline grabbing nonsense like we must crack down on internet porn, without understanding what they are saying and complexities. It helps that the masses are equally as thick so don't see right through the politicians, so they can say what they like.

Re:Securty vs Freedom (1)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627633)

Actually, politicians respond to "someone should make a law about that", or "someone should do something about that".

The masses generally scream that "why doesn't someone do something about it"... whenever something is printed in a newspaper.

Most people with IT degrees aren't very "social" and rarely run for office, if ever.

Old Memes vs. Karma (2)

erlehmann (1045500) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627229)

People that trade old memes for karma shall receive neither.

Re:Securty vs Freedom (0, Redundant)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627293)

Problem is the people trading it aren't the people receiving the consequences.

Misquoting Benjamin Franklin (5, Interesting)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627503)

People that trade freedom for security shall recieve neither.

The actual quote, which you failed to attribute, is by Benjamin Franklin and reads:

They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.

Note the adjectives "essential" and "temporary". To earn the "Insightful" moderations, which the clueless mods have given you already anyway, you must demonstrate, that the given-up liberty is essential, and that the gained security is only temporary.

Can you? I don't think so...

do it, do it nowwwwww (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20626861)

ya!

gestapo (1, Interesting)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20626875)

The gestapo is alive and well although less outright evil then before. Germany has some very restrictive laws especially related to speech. I wonder if it's an over reaction to the WWII and the Nazi's or if it's a remnant of that type of mindset. The belief that force is appropriate to fight ideas.

Re:gestapo (2, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627119)

Yup, the Nazis are very close to the surface in Germany. They are a real and continuous threat. Hitler actually won his elections...

Re:gestapo (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20627355)

> Hitler actually won his elections

Actually he manipulated and rigged the elections. Thank god that sort of thing never happens today...

Re:gestapo (4, Funny)

justin12345 (846440) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627339)

Congratulations! You were the first to Godwin the thread! Here are your lovely prizes...

Oh great, another nimrod spouting 'Godwin's Law.' (1, Troll)

alfs boner (963844) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627573)

I really, really hope you get cancer.

Re:gestapo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20627433)

Oh good, the Nazis are back. A quick question: In the Family Guy episode where Brian and Stewey travel across Europe, what does the german tour guide spout as he throws up the nazi salute?

Ah Europe, progressive land of freedom (-1, Troll)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 6 years ago | (#20626889)

Come on, Eurotrolls, what do you have to say now?

Re:Ah Europe, progressive land of freedom (1)

ShaneThePain (929627) | more than 6 years ago | (#20626911)

You'll be modded flamebait or troll. But you are right.
Manifest Destiny, brother.

Re:Ah Europe, progressive land of freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20626969)

Ahh, the irony of the slashtards, that the parent poster was modded down for stating the blindingly obvious.

Re:Ah Europe, progressive land of freedom (5, Insightful)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 6 years ago | (#20626995)

> Come on, Eurotrolls, what do you have to say now?

Four words:

No Software Patents (yet).

Re:Ah Europe, progressive land of freedom (-1, Troll)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627045)

So you're still free to steal the ideas of others. A wonderful exchange.

Re:Ah Europe, progressive land of freedom (3, Funny)

JamesRose (1062530) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627037)

Iraq? :{P

Re:Ah Europe, progressive land of freedom (1)

bumby (589283) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627041)

All I have to say is that we are going downwards, and I don't like it a bit.
In fact, I'll probably move away from here (sweden) asap.

Re:Ah Europe, progressive land of freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20627137)

Er... you are moving away from Sweden, aren't you? It's about the worst of the quasi-North Korean European states.

Re:Ah Europe, progressive land of freedom (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627165)

In fact, I'll probably move away from here (sweden) asap.

To where?
Aside from a private island, a lot of people look at Sweden as the Holy Grail....a western Mecca. If even the Swedes are looking to move out, where is there left to go?

Re:Ah Europe, progressive land of freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20627439)

"Aside from a private island, a lot of people look at Sweden as the Holy Grail....a western Mecca."

Would these people happen to live in or have a lot of contact with Sweden?

Trust me, there's lots of people thinking of other European countries than their own as a western Mecca - in reality, I don't think there are any Meccas for us around. I wonder what will happen when it becomes clear to most of them.

Re:Ah Europe, progressive land of freedom (1)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627697)

Cheers mate, 3 friends of mine from Sweden are no longer "swedish citizens"... they've repatriated to places where the total state theft... ahem... "taxation" is a bit less than 100% :)

I still had to sit back and contemplate how an entire population would take what happened in Sweden sitting down. Insane taxes, socialized everything, prohibited self defense, despite gang and racist violence towards white, blonde swedish girls... very worrisome that a Nordic population would so utterly surrender themselves to what is clear aggression, both by incomers and their own government.

Is it truly as bad as my friends have told me or is it the panacea of socialist heaven? (One of them moved to London, England and said it was an "improvement", and that really worried me.)

As one of those former Swedes said to me after moving out here... "we're tall, we're blonde, but stop thinking we're vikings". Too bad, I kinda liked the idea of her in chainmail and sallet. :P

Re:Ah Europe, progressive land of freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20627091)

What do you expect from the Nazi Nation? Maybe the tor guy was a jew ...

Re:Ah Europe, progressive land of freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20627125)

Germany is a Zionist Occupied Government. The Jew hates your freedom more than the nazis were ever alleged to have.

silly germany (3, Interesting)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#20626899)

Do they not realize that the vast majority of people who use that software do not live under their laws and thus make the law utterly useless either way? of course they do, it isn't about actually solving problems, it's about looking like your trying to solve problems. it works in every country.

Re:silly germany (3, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627075)

it works in every country.

Except in those countries which offer their people no accountability or transparency from the outset, and consequently have no need to rationalize their self-serving behavior to said people. I don't presently live in one of those places, but as things are going, I will end up in one of those places by simply staying where I am. There's something very wrong going on here.

Whatever this is, it's not just the United States that is affected. A number of nations are going down this road ... I don't know if fear of terrorism is an adequate explanation. I agree, it's being used as a template for justifying all kinds of authoritarian activities, but there's a lot of high-level multinational power mongering going on and we're not privy to the details.

The excessive desire for power (is there a medical term for it? Megalomania perhaps?) needs to be something for which politicians are regularly checked (much like high-end call-girls are regularly tested for disease), with not having it a prerequisite for holding public office.

Re:silly germany (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627681)

The excessive desire for power (is there a medical term for it? Megalomania perhaps?) needs to be something for which politicians are regularly checked (much like high-end call-girls are regularly tested for disease), with not having it a prerequisite for holding public office.
Dunno what country you live in, but the only countries which I know about that have mandatory health checks for prostitutes only apply them to the mid-level - the ones who work in brothels. Every one else at the bottom (streetwalkers) and the top (call girls) are either completely unregulated or outright illegal.

The only time a call girl gets checked is when she wants to be checked. Which really isn't a good model for regulating politicians.

Re:silly germany (2)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627201)

Do they not realize that the vast majority of people who use that software do not live under their laws?

If the users aren't German, then the users can be ignored. The geek seems to favor local authority only when it is convenient.

500km? (4, Funny)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#20626901)

That puts the server in another country I guess. Anyhoo, it sounds like is time to escape Honecker and the Stasi and jump the wall... Uhh, what?

Re:500km? (1)

linuxIsLife (1044762) | more than 6 years ago | (#20626981)

you mean firewall ?

yep, the firewall (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20627209)

yep, probably the berlin firewall. Too bad the firemen had to put it to sleep. Burned too many people you see... The environmentalists threw a titty fit saying it was causing global warming. Now they got a polar bear to lure nature into sending cold winters. They think nature doesn't know geography. And the yearly fest meant to scare the winter away has been banned. Anyone found wearing a costume will be thrown to the polar bear. A sacrifice to mother nature. Maybe then she'll forgive us...

Jesus what have I been smoking?

Re:yep, the firewall (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20627271)

as someone who lives in germany, I find your post very sensible and on the spot.

Suggestion (5, Funny)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 6 years ago | (#20626903)

I propose to suspend Godwin's law for this article, because it will be really difficult to have a debate of any depth.

Re:Suggestion (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20626939)

Only a Nazi would suggest that.

Let's just get it out of the way... (1)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627001)

NAZIS! NAZIS! NAZIS!

Ok, now that we can all move on with a more in-depth discussion.

A little perspective for everyone thinking that (5, Insightful)

patio11 (857072) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627039)

He was arrested. He will now go into extended negotiations with a prosecutor, during the entirety of which he will have a lawyer present. If the negotiations don't go favorably for him, he will have a fair trial. He will probably be convicted of it, which is an occupational hazard of doing things which the government has illegalized. After being convicted, he will be given a first-time-offender wrist-slap, probably a few months of probation and a stern warning not to do it again. Perhaps he will spend a few months of not-terribly-rigorous time in jail -- I'd bet against it but I'm not German. He'll lose quite a bit of money to attourney fees, less whatever the Tor community raises for his defense (I'm not optimistic), and probably have some equipment seized.

You know what doesn't happen?

He doesn't get summarily executed.
His wife doesn't get raped at gunpoint.
His child doesn't get burned in an oven.

People throw around the word fascist to describe any policy they don't like (that core observation is the heart of Godwin's law). Excepting the geographical accident that places both of them in Germany, there is NOTHING analagous between Nazism and the actions of the government in this case. If you want to convince people of the rightness of deploying a Tor network, keep a cool head and do not use any goose-stepping analogies, because they will brand you as a perspectiveless fanatic who is not to be taken seriously.

you make it all sound so reasonable (5, Insightful)

Scudsucker (17617) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627151)

But I don't see any reasonableness in prosecuting an inherently reasonable law. Like that (black) high school student who had the book thrown at him for having sex with his (white) girlfriend because she was a couple years younger than him and broke an asinine law in Georgia [go.com] .

People throw around the word fascist to describe any policy they don't like (that core observation is the heart of Godwin's law). Excepting the geographical accident that places both of them in Germany, there is NOTHING analagous between Nazism and the actions of the government in this case.

So what? Was Mussolini German?

German gov hasn't outlawed anonymity (yet) (5, Informative)

erlehmann (1045500) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627217)

He will probably be convicted [...], which is an occupational hazard of doing things which the government has illegalized.
as i pointed out, the thing he did isn't a crime. [slashdot.org]

the point is, that this is either
a) police stupidity
b) scare tactics

i'd safely bet on the latter.

Re:A little perspective for everyone thinking that (2, Insightful)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627361)

Excepting the geographical accident that places both of them in Germany, there is NOTHING analagous between Nazism and the actions of the government in this case.

Except, of course, for the fact that the Nazis made something illegal that was perfectly legal in the rest of the sane world.

LK

Re:A little perspective for everyone thinking that (1)

GNT (319794) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627369)

You know what doesn't happen? He doesn't get summarily executed. His wife doesn't get raped at gunpoint. His child doesn't get burned in an oven.
Slippery slope. Right now that doesn't happen. What about in 5 years? What happened IS fascist. It's the first step in all-out fascism. Those who refuse to learn from history...

Re:A little perspective for everyone thinking that (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627419)

You appreciate that the phrase "slippery slope" is an abbreviation of the phrase "slippery slope fallacy", right? And you know what a fallacy is? A line of reasoning that is not correct.

No it isn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20627481)

Refer to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] (in lieu of any basic text on the finer points of debate and rhetoric. It CAN be fallacious, but need not be.

First They Came for the Jews (2, Interesting)

GoatRavisher (779902) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627449)

First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me. -- Pastor Martin Niemöller

Re:A little perspective for everyone thinking that (1)

xtal (49134) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627687)


Excepting the geographical accident that places both of them in Germany, there is NOTHING analagous between Nazism and the actions of the government in this case.


Perhaps if more people spoke up sooner, the camps might not have happened. The rise of the third reich did not happen overnight.

Re:Suggestion (2, Interesting)

jc42 (318812) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627363)

I propose to suspend Godwin's law for this article, ...

Heh; good suggestion.

In high school, I took a couple years of German from a teacher who was born here in the US, of German immigrant parents. She taught us a lot of German proverbs, and one of the first (also the title of a well-known folk song) was "die Gedanken sind frei" [wikipedia.org] , or "[my/our] Thoughts are Free". Her point was that the sort of repression recently imposed by the Nazis wasn't at all an aberration in German-speaking society; it was really just an extreme case of something with a long history in that society and many others. The proverb (and song) long predate the Nazis, and make the point that the authorities may be able to punish you for what you do or say, but they can't control your thoughts. She commented that she had often heard older Germans (in Germany and the US) muttering this phrase or quietly humming the final line of the song when some political big-wig said or did something that threatened citizens freedoms. She made it clear that this was often as appropriate in the US as in other countries.

It was sorta fun being taught such quiet resistance in German. Some of us did understand that, contrary to all the propaganda telling us how free we were, her job could well be in danger if certain people in the local government understood what she was teaching her students.

(Another lesson explained why that "die" in the proverb isn't best translated literally to English as "the", and why a pronoun is a better translation in such cases. It's a subtlety that the above wikipedia page gets wrong. It's sorta like why, when Kennedy declared "Ich bin ein Berliner", he was actually telling the audience that he was a jelly-filled doughnut. ;-)

Why not suspend Godwin indefinite? (1)

wimmi (263136) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627479)

Since governements and corporate organisations all over de world are "cracking down" on people for all sorts of economical, ideological and behavioral docrines nowadays, it sure seem to boil down back to the Nazi regime during the 1930's era.
Godwin's Law appears to ridicule and downplay the comparison with, and fear of returning to, that time. It makes social-political discussions impossible, since you cannot seem to bring up the Worst Case examples anymore.

As my Grandparents said about WWII: "This will happen Never Again!". I, for one will always question any fascist law or corporate intimidation and point out Nazi (or emperial) parallels where appropriate.

Godwin's Law should be put againt the wall!

Kind of makes sense. (1, Troll)

irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) | more than 6 years ago | (#20626965)

So you have illegal traffic coming from your machine and intentionally can't point out who it came from, and you chose to do this willingly. How are you not liable for that traffic? It would be different if this was just a hosting provider who provided service in good faith that someone took advantage of, this is someone running something INTENTIONALLY untrackable.

If you don't think he should be held accountable for the traffic from his machine, whats to stop anyone from running tor and then either directly or through tor doing any illegal activity?

You could argue most digital crimes shouldnt be crimes at all (and I'd agree), but thats a different argument entirely

Re:Kind of makes sense. (4, Funny)

chris_eineke (634570) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627051)

So you have illegal traffic coming from your machine
Well, that's not entirely true. He doesn't know if it's 'illegal traffic' or not. Might as well be a Chinese citizen trying to read an American blog about democ.,,, HAHAAHA, I'm sorry. I couldn't write this a straight face. :-P

Re:Kind of makes sense. (5, Interesting)

Watson Ladd (955755) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627057)

The US Navy uses Tor to talk to intelligence sources. Chinese dissidents use it to send uncensored news to the west. And criminals can just use botnets. Criminals already have anonymity, it's the rest of us that Tor is designed for.

Re:Kind of makes sense. (1)

irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627487)

And the Internet was designed for intelligence sharing and military use. Does that mean I'm not wasting my weekend playing WoW and downloading porn?

Intent on design != only use, or even most common use (see: napster)

BUT german laws say (5, Interesting)

erlehmann (1045500) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627071)

that someone who is merely routing data is not liable in any form.

for example, "Teledienstgesetz" (translate this as: Telecommunications Act) says

TDG 9
(1) Diensteanbieter sind für fremde Informationen, die sie in einem Kommunikationsnetz übermitteln oder zu denen sie den Zugang zur Nutzung vermitteln, nicht verantwortlich, sofern sie

      1. die Übermittlung nicht veranlasst,
      2. den Adressaten der übermittelten Informationen nicht ausgewählt und
      3. die übermittelten Informationen nicht ausgewählt oder verändert haben.
which boils down to to:

telecommunications providers arent liable for other ppls information, if they
1. didn't initiate the connection,
2. didn't choose the recipients and
3. didn't choose or change the information.

Re:BUT german laws say (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627543)

so if they have a law that doesn't help them catch criminals, and they make a new law that contradicts an existing law so they can proceed, which takes precedence?

Re:Kind of makes sense. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20627073)

If you don't think he should be held accountable for the traffic from his machine, whats to stop anyone from running tor and then either directly or through tor doing any illegal activity?

Nothing. The people running Tor servers believe that the potential for illegal activity is vastly outweighed by the need for anonymous unhindered free speech. Crime is bad, oppression is worse. Capisce?

Re:Kind of makes sense. (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627177)

OK, s'pose you are living in a town on a small lot and you have two neighbours that just moved in from the countryside and they insist on chatting politics while leaning on the fence facing each other accross your property (You see that in small towns!) Are you responsible for their hate speech?

Re:Kind of makes sense. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20627643)

Another analogy: Suppose someone comes over to you and gives you an envelope and says "oh, you're heading over to the warehouse today, right? Can you give this to Bob?"

You decide to honor the request, because you're a nice person.

Are you liable for the contents of the envelope? Does it matter whether or not the people you are doing the favor for are friends, acquaintances, or strangers?

TOR is just a collection of people helping each other be anonymous. The fact that some people exploit those favors for criminal ends is basically irrelevant.

Re:Kind of makes sense. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20627179)

"So you have illegal traffic coming from your machine and intentionally can't point out who it came from, and you chose to do this willingly. How are you not liable for that traffic?"

Same way that the postman isn't liable for delivering stuff that he doesn't know the source or legality of?

(the communication channel being a public service and all that...)

Re:Kind of makes sense. (2, Interesting)

v1 (525388) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627521)

Simply because a few people abuse a fredom does not justify outlawing it.

That's like the idiots that don't want stores to sell crowbars because some burglers use them to break into houses. Common sense here says my right to buy a crowbar without obtaining a permit from the government is not a fredom that should be revoked simply because some people abuse it. If you don't like them using a crowbar to pry open your front door, find another way to deal with them. Don't revoke a right from me.

This is just a government's typical reaction to a situation where something is happening that they don't like, and they can't come up with an effective yet reasonable way to stop it, so they take draconian measures to make it stop, regardless of the fredoms that get trampled upon. Most of the rights abuses we see nowadays can be tracked back to this thought process.

Laws like this follow closely with "the end justifies the means" line of thinking. The end (alone) never justifies the means. If every reason you have for passing a law can be reduced to that one pilar, you are making a bad law.

Re:Kind of makes sense. (2, Insightful)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627561)

It would be different if this was just a hosting provider who provided service in good faith that someone took advantage of, this is someone running something INTENTIONALLY untrackable.

Built into that statement is the implicit assumption that law enforcement has an inherent right to track any Internet traffic back to its source, and that any intermediate service providers have the obligation to build their systems in such a way that this tracking is possible. Essentially you are saying that no one has the right to anonymous speech.

Like any technology, however, the anonymizing power of Tor can be used for both good or evil. It can be used by whistle-blowers to expose government corruption, and it can be used by pedophiles to distribute kiddy porn. It can be used by Chinese dissidents to criticize their government, and it can be used by terrorists to disseminate instructions on manufacture of explosive devices. So the question is, do we punish those who provide the technology because it can be used for evil? Evidently the German government has decided the answer is "yes". It's hard to argue for one side or the other because I think it comes down to personal values. I value free speech including anonymous speech, but I grew up in the American culture. Thomas Paine distributed his widely influential document Common Sense anonymously and it is possible the American Revolution would have ended differently had he not done so. One does wonder if highly oppressive regimes like the Nazis would have been able to hold power so long if the citizens had easy access to anonymous speech.

I think the value of services like Tor outweigh the disadvantages, so I do hope the German policy is not emulated by other countries.

Chilling effect (5, Interesting)

jc42 (318812) | more than 6 years ago | (#20626971)

We can now easily predict that the German government will soon find it difficult to hire people with an admitted knowledge of computer security topics. If you were German, would you admit to such knowledge to an official questioner?

Sorta like how the US government has been complaining about the difficulty of hiring Arabic translators, despite the statistics from a few years back saying that there were several million US residence who were fluent in Arabic. (And, contrary to the jokes going around, they aren't all gay. ;-)

It's commonly known as "shooting yourself in the foot".

Re:Chilling effect (1)

sco08y (615665) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627235)

Sorta like how the US government has been complaining about the difficulty of hiring Arabic translators, despite the statistics from a few years back saying that there were several million US residence who were fluent in Arabic.

Try 600,000, by the last census. I've worked with Arabic linguists before. The problem in recruiting is that the pay isn't all that great, the job is incredibly boring and has no career advancement. You basically have to be smart, but not too smart (or you'll already have a better paying job) and be able to get top secret clearance, which involves the government going through your affairs for the past 7 years. (Maybe that's for secret, I forget...) Also, I've spoken to guys trying to pass the test in Chinese and Portugese. It's not just a matter of being fluent in the language, you have to be fairly knowledgeable of the grammar of it. You know how most English speakers don't know what an adverb is? That's a problem in other countries, too.

Re:Chilling effect (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627699)

Try 600,000 [US Arabic speakers], by the last census.

Such numbers are notoriously variable, as they depend on your definition. Here's an interesting article on the general topic [ignatius.edu] . They mention that different studies differ by around a factor of two for the number of "speakers" of English, Spanish and Hindi. I've read a number of similar discussions that mention such problems as whether children are counted (probably not if you're counting voters or looking to hire translators) or whether there's any sort of social or political stigma to knowledge of a language (as often happens with minority languages).

But your other points are quite relevant. Translation is a difficult job at best, and doesn't usually pay what it's worth. When you add in social stigmas and official repression, it's not at all surprising that government agencies might have problems hiring translators for an "enemy" language. Even when there are people capable of doing the job (perhaps with a bit of training), they often have good reasons to not want to get involved.

Nazis? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20627049)

As a result of Jews humiliating Germany and it's people post WW2, it's funny to label this story as "Nazi" because these draconian aka JEWISH laws are the result of Jewish influence on Germany. You cannot even display a swastika flag in your front yard like a person would normally display whatever flag of their choosing. In the Southern US, some people might choose to display a Confederate flag, a "Don't Tread On Me" flag which was a flag of a state during the confederacy (I believe it was Virginia), or some other "politically incorrect" flag belonging to a group.

I believe you should reedit the story to add "Jewish" as a category for this story.

Re:Nazis? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20627157)

Preach on, brother.

Udo Vogit for fuhrer!

Re:Nazis? (2, Informative)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627191)

Ahem, you really need to learn your history.

The "Dont Tread on Me" flag, aka the Gadsden flag, was a flag bourne in the American Revolution, not the Civil War. The Rattlesake, before the Bald Eagle, was the symbol of the United States itself.

How can we take your anti-semitic comments in any kind of serious manner when you do not even know the history of the very symbol of the American Revolution, no, the core values of the United States itself?

Bully I say, Bully!

EXCUSE ME (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20627443)

Little criticism of Israel is NOT Anti-semitic.

WE have been living in JEwish supremacy oppression for so long. They control everything. It's time to fight back!

HEIL HITLER! SIEG HEIL!

Re:Nazis? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20627619)

You do realize that Jews are not the only semitic people? Your comment could be contrived as being anti-Arab, as well as several other population groups.

Didn't we just get a Microsoft forced upgrade?? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20627059)

"We know this because the JAP operators immediately warned users that their IP traffic might be going straight to Big Brother, right? Wrong. After taking the service down for a few days with the explanation that the interruption was "due to a hardware failure", the operators then required users to install an "upgraded version" (ie. a back-doored version) of the app to continue using the service."

So JAP was ordered to put a backdoor in their program and they forced an upgrade on everyone. Didn't we just get a forced secret upgrade from Microsoft?

HELLO, has anyone dissembled that upgrade?

First Amendment! (3, Funny)

Nimey (114278) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627087)

But... but... doesn't he have any First Amendment rights?
[/merkin]

But to go to ha-ha-only-serious land, our laws seem to extend to other countries anyway. When it suits us.

HA! Denmark upped the ante (4, Informative)

Splab (574204) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627175)

yesterday when the powers that be introduced the logging act. All data connections, emails and phone calls has to be logged and kept on record for at least a year. Beat that!

in the long run, germany will be better (1)

erlehmann (1045500) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627287)

in building a police state. it will be a democracy and you will have political parties, but also everyone will be labeled a criminal. and every dissident will be labeled a "dangerous" criminal.

as i (and some others) see this, everything is part of a puzzle:
data retention, camera surveillance, the federal trojan, spying w/o court order, criminalizing "hacker tools" etc.
the goal is to build a repressive society to somehow grant "stability" in a period of multinational crisis (which probably means shutting down critiques at will). hint: which large asian nation likes "stability" , too ?

RIP Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20627435)

Born in the USA, 1969
Killed in Europe, 2007

Sieg Heil. Enjoy your wurstels.

Re:HA! Denmark upped the ante (2, Informative)

Arkan (24212) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627477)

Easy: 2 years of retention in France for any internet connection. And the ISP are the one footing the bill for processing power/storage/whatever it takes to comply.

--
Arkan

Scare tactic. (5, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627289)

People are making a big deal out of supposed incompetence of the German police in that they didn't even get the actual Tor server. Who cares? That's irrelevant. This is not about taking down a single Tor node. This is about sending a message ... run one of these and you are at risk, and when we decide to confiscate your property we're not going to be too careful about what we take. They probably figure that will be enough to keep a bunch of nerds in line.

I predict (1)

erlehmann (1045500) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627315)

it probably won't be enough.

Fire that lawmaker (2, Interesting)

jonfr (888673) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627313)

However wrote that securty "law" sould be fired and never allowed to write anything close to a rules or laws. This laws are ofcourse only going to make Germany the favorite spot for virus makers, since securtie flaws dont get fixed.

Happy new computer virus infected Germany!

(Or rather, to hell with it.)

In soviet Germany... (1)

ShakaZ (1002825) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627407)

piracy is OK, privacy NOT

... nazis, gestapo (tagging beta) (3, Insightful)

mi (197448) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627455)

In a recent blog posting, a German operator of a Tor anonymous proxy server revealed that he was arrested by German police officers at the end of July.

Had it really been the Nazi's Gestapo, he would not be posting anything in September...

Zonk et al. really need to glue a nicely printed and framed quote of the Godwin's Law [jargon.net] on their beds' footboards, to make it the first thing they see waking up...

Godwin's Law /prov./ [Usenet] "As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one." There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress.

Trusted Computing can help (4, Funny)

SiliconEntity (448450) | more than 6 years ago | (#20627513)

Tor users should run Trusted Computers. This is a technology that lets remote observers check the software configuration of the system they are connecting to. Most people think it is only for DRM but actually it has many privacy-protecting uses. If a Tor system were a TC, remote Tor clients could check that the Tor server was not logging connections, running a version of Tor with a back door, or doing other things to infringe privacy. Then if you were asked by a court why you didn't add features to your Tor software to log users and such, you could explain that if you did so, remote clients would be able to tell (due to Trusted Computing features) and so they would refuse to connect to your system and refuse to use it. Likewise if you were ordered to run a backdoored version of Tor it would not be effective, because people could see what you were doing.

Ironically, Trusted Computing, hated by the larger Internet community, can actually play an important part in protecting privacy. It is unfortunate that uninformed opposition has slowed the adoption of this potentially very useful and helpful technology. I am working hard to advance Trusted Computing and I can't wait for the day when I can run transparent servers which remote clients will be able to validate and trust. Someday I expect that all Tor servers, anonymous remailers and other privacy protecting technologies will run on Trusted Computers.
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