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

Brian Johnson bjohnson at drtel.com
Tue Dec 4 21:48:17 UTC 2012


- Brian J.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Naslund, Steve [mailto:SNaslund at medline.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, December 04, 2012 3:44 PM
> To: nanog at nanog.org
> Subject: RE: William was raided for running a Tor exit node. Please help if
> Here is something else to consider :
> Why will just about any ISP shut down a customer with an open mail
> relay?  It allows anonymous access to anyone trying to send an email,
> right.  So why would this not be considered just as "free speech" as the
> Tor server.  The reason I believe is because we as an industry decided
> that spam was a "bad thing" before it even became illegal.   In the case
> of Tor, it largely enables anonymous transfer of data (like copyrighted
> bit torrent traffic) including some content that is blatently illegal to
> even possess.    As a community we have been a lot less decisive about
> that subject.
> Before we chastise the legal process being used by the government just
> consider everything we do as service providers under the guise of
> "acceptable use" which has just about no basis in the law.  Most
> "acceptable use" violations are basically doing stuff we don't like.
> As far as the Internet just being a tool, I agree but there are and
> always have been laws to govern the use of tools whether we are talking
> about telephones, guns, postal system, or any other tool.   Conducting
> the alleged business over the telephone would be a crime just as sending
> it through the postal system.  If you were encrypting voice calls for
> the sole purpose of avoiding a legal wiretap I think the law might have
> a problem with that.  If you were to provide that service to someone
> like a kidnapper or the mafia, I bet you are going to have some tough
> questions thrown at you.
> As I see it, here are the possible reasons this individual set up this
> Tor network :
> 1.  This man is truly the saint of the Internet privacy community and he
> spent his own hard earned money to set up a bunch of off shore Tor
> servers for the benefit of mankind.  Why he needs exit nodes in the
> United States and Poland I am not sure about.  Is the German government
> cracking down a lot on dissident traffic coming out of servers in his
> own country?  He must not be able to pay his own legal expenses because
> he is too busy building servers for the good of humanity.
> 2.  This guy was using Tor for whatever personal reasons.  Could be that
> there were not enough exit nodes to get the kind of performance he
> wanted.  Maybe he was downloading / uploading various content, legal or
> illegal and was serious enough about it that he set up exit nodes in
> multiple countries.  That might explain the ton of storage he had at his
> residence.  Maybe he has a big recipe collection, pirated movie
> collection, or unspeakable content the police are looking at now.  The
> content will say if he is innocent or guilty.  Maybe he was using it for
> one thing and others were using it for something else.  In that case, my
> thoughts are if you swim with sharks you might get bit.
> 3.  Maybe this guy was running a Tor network as a paid service for
> others not wanting to get caught doing whatever they were doing.   Could
> be a lucrative business for an enterprising system admin I suppose.  You
> would not want to set up these servers at your own workplace right, and
> maybe you have customers in multiple countries.  Who might want a covert
> communications network?  Drug cartels, media pirates, intelligence
> agencies, terrorists, illegal child porn producers, whoever does not
> want to get caught communicating.  Maybe even downtrodden dissidents
> but
> they likely don't have a lot of money.  He is going to need your money
> to defend himself because the government will gets suspicious if he
> shows up with another safe deposit box of cash and his customer
> certainly can't be contacted to help.
> I see these possible outcomes :
> 1. The guy has nothing on his home computers or the Tor server that
> point to a crime and he gets his stuff back.  Inconvenient no doubt but
> he won't need that legal defense fund.
> 2.  Maybe this guy is as serious about his home gear as his network
> privacy.  Maybe everything at home is deep encrypted.  Unlikely it will
> be secure enough but maybe the government has its suspicions but cannot
> make the case and they drop it.
> 2. The guy has tons of illegal content on his home storage stuff and
> gets nailed for it.  That legal defense fund is going to be paying the
> SPA, RIAA, or whoever else is going to sue him.  If it what the police
> allege then he is going away for quite awhile.
> 3. The guy is innocent but gets found guilty because "the man" just does
> not like Tor.   Your legal defense fund probably won't help much because
> if "the man" wants him locked up with no evidence then your defense
> probably won't help a lot.  You will be better off selling "Free Mother
> Tor-esa" T-shirt to try to get him sprung.
> I might be a cynic but I am just not thinking it is #1 on these lists.
> Steven Naslund
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Valdis.Kletnieks at vt.edu [mailto:Valdis.Kletnieks at vt.edu]
> Sent: Tuesday, December 04, 2012 1:36 PM
> To: Brian Johnson
> Cc: nanog at nanog.org
> Subject: Re: William was raided for running a Tor exit node. Please help
> if
> On Tue, 04 Dec 2012 17:32:01 +0000, Brian Johnson said:
> > This is a misleading statement. ISP's (Common carriers) do not provide
> > a knowingly illegal offering, ... TOR  exit/entrance nodes provide
> only the former.
> This is also a misleading statement.  Explain the difference between a
> consumer ISP selling you a cable Internet plan knowing that NN% of the
> traffic will be data with questionable copyright status, and
> 1 of of 5 or so will be a botted box doing other illegal stuff, and a
> TOR node providing transit knowing that NN% will be similarly
> questionable etc etc etc.
> In other words, if TOR exit nodes provide a "knowingly illegal
> offering", then Comcast is doing exactly the same thing...
> (Also, feel free to cite actual statute or case law that says TOR is by
> *definition* or finding of fact, a "knowingly illegal offering" in and
> of itself - distinct from what uses the user thereof may do with it.
> Absent that, it's not  a "knowingly illegal offering" the same way that
> some sites have ended up in court for contributory copyright
> infringement.)

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