William was raided for running a Tor exit node. Please help if

Brian Johnson bjohnson at drtel.com
Tue Dec 4 21:36:19 UTC 2012

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Owen DeLong [mailto:owen at delong.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, December 04, 2012 2:22 PM
> To: Brian Johnson
> Cc: Jordan Michaels; nanog at nanog.org
> Subject: Re: William was raided for running a Tor exit node. Please help if
> On Dec 4, 2012, at 09:32 , Brian Johnson <bjohnson at drtel.com> wrote:
> > I know I'm going to get flamed and excoriated, but here goes....
> >
> > <snip>
> >> case evolves in and out of court. Are Tor exit-node operators going to
> >> be given the same rights as ISP's who's networks are used for illegal
> >> purposes? I would hope so, but it doesn't seem like that has happened in
> >> this case, so I am very interested to hear how the situation pans out.
> >
> > This is a misleading statement. ISP's (Common carriers) do not provide a
> knowingly illegal offering, AND they do provide the PHYSICAL infrastructure
> for packets to be passed and interconnected to other PHYSICAL networks.
> TOR exit/entrance nodes provide only the former. The lack of providing a
> physical infrastructure is crucial. Also, most ISP's (US specifically) are required
> by Law (under subpoena) to provide details to law enforcement.
> >
> I strongly disagree with you.
> TOR exit nodes provide a vital physical infrastructure to free speech
> advocates who live in jurisdictions where strong forces are aligned against
> free speech. I'm sure most TOR exit node operators would happily provide all
> the details they have if presented with an appropriate subpoena.

TOR is not vital. It is political. I view this not as an issue of morals or political action. It is an issue of a technical nature. A TOR is a way to hide who you are. If I am hiding who you are from someone else and there is a law broken, who do you go after?

> > I really hate this idea of privacy on the Internet. If you really think you have
> the "right" to use the public infrastructure (to whatever extent you want to
> label the Internet as such) and be completely anonymous, I have a bridge to
> sell you. Network operators may treat your packets to whatever level of
> scrutiny that they may find necessary to determine if they want to pass your
> packets, keeping in mind that good operators want the Internet to work.
> >
> I really cherish this idea of privacy on the internet. It's a strong tool for
> enabling democracy and freedom of speech.
> First, the internet hasn't been "public infrastructure" for a very long time. It's
> a loose collection of privately owned networks with very few pieces still
> owned by government institutions. I don't think anyone has asserted a
> "right" to use that infrastructure, but, I certainly value that there are people
> who choose to provide it. I think society benefits from having such
> infrastructure available.
> I like free speech. I like that there are people making free speech possible in
> places where it is strongly discouraged. While I think it is a shame that child
> pornographers and other nefarious users are able to abuse this
> infrastructure to the detriment of society, the reality is that it is like any other
> tool. It has beneficial uses and harmful uses. Going after the tool is
> counterproductive and harmful.

This is ridiculous. Owen you damn well know that if you send packets from a source, that source can be tracked back. Add a subpoena, privacy hereby destroyed. Other countries are generally less protective of the citizen than the US and as such... what was your argument again. Oh yeah. I'll be hiding behind my packets. ;P

> > I'm waiting for the next hot "application" to use a widely known "bad" port
> and see what happens. :)
> What's a "bad" port? 80? 443? 25? 587? Most of the malware these days uses
> one or more of those.

Point given. I got off topic here.
> >
> >>
> >> It is extremely relevant to the Internet community and to free speech in
> >> general.
> >
> > I'm actually in agreement that law enforcement may have overstepped
> here if the only reason was the TOR exit point, but having a TOR exit point to
> me, seems to be condoning the actions/statements/packets used through
> the exit point. You are knowingly hiding information that your local
> government may require you to disclose.
> Having a TOR exit point is making an effort to provide a service. It doesn't
> condone the nefarious uses of the service any more than running an ISP
> condones running a warez site that happens to get transit services from said
> ISP.
> Running a TOR exit node isn't hiding any information. It's simply not collecting
> the information in the first place. You can't hide information you never had.

And supplying the Sudafed to the kiddies to use for runny noses is not condoning use for crystal meth.

> >
> > Short answer... don't use TOR. It's not a bad thing, but it's not a good thing
> either.
> I strongly disagree. TOR is a tool. It's a very good thing in its ability to enable
> democratization of communications and freedom of speech. It also has some
> nefarious uses. Guess what... So do hammers. I don't see anyone calling for a
> ban on the sale of hammers or encouraging carpenters to stop using them.
Once again, this is a political reason not a technical reason. I'm sorry for your political situation.

- Brian

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