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

Naslund, Steve SNaslund at medline.com
Tue Dec 4 22:01:46 UTC 2012

If I am a network guy and I sent up a heavily encrypted VPN for use by
worldwide drug cartels, I am pretty sure I am committing a crime.  If I
have knowledge that what I am doing is going to further the commission
of a crime, I am probably committing a crime.  

The service provider that sold me the connection is not at fault here
because they have no way of knowing what I am up to in the normal course
of their business.  I don't know where anyone got the idea that
communications is private from law enforcement with the proper
authorizations.  Your phone can be traced or tapped under the laws of
most countries, the only difference is the level of control.  Even
though we may all view some groups in China, Syria, Sudan, or wherever
as dissidents, their own governments may view them as terrorists and you
will probably get in trouble for helping them.  I would guess (but don't
know) that it is illegal to communicate covertly inside of China.  It is
probably also some sort of crime to circumvent their firewall
protections.  I am not making the right vs wrong case here but be
advised that what might be philanthropic in one country could very well
be a crime in another.

 A lot of the law (and moral decision making in general ) is about
intent.  If the guy was trying to help people protect themselves from
totalitarian regimes and such then he is probably morally and legally
innocent of a crime.  If the guy was building a covert network for what
the police allege, he is guilty.  If he was pirating movies and someone
else was using it for child crimes then he is partial responsible in my
moral opinion.  I am not familiar enough with German law to tell you if
he is legally guilty or not.  

Steven Naslund

-----Original Message-----
From: Brian Johnson [mailto:bjohnson at drtel.com] 
Sent: Tuesday, December 04, 2012 11:32 AM
To: Jordan Michaels; nanog at nanog.org
Subject: RE: William was raided for running a Tor exit node. Please help

I know I'm going to get flamed and excoriated, but here goes....

> 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

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 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'm waiting for the next hot "application" to use a widely known "bad"
port and see what happens. :)

> 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.

Short answer... don't use TOR. It's not a bad thing, but it's not a good
thing either.

- Brian

More information about the NANOG mailing list