Trip report: Tor trainings for the Dutch and Belgian police

In January I did Tor talks for the Dutch regional police, the Dutch national police, and the Belgian national police. Jake and I also did a brief inspirational talk at Bits of Freedom, as well as the closing keynote for the Dutch National Cyber Security Centre's yearly conference.

You may recall that one of my side hobbies lately has been teaching law enforcement about Tor — see my previous entries about teaching the FBI about Tor in 2012 and visiting the Stuttgart detectives in 2008 back when we were discussing data retention in Germany. Before this blog started I also did several Tor talks for the US DoJ, and even one for the Norwegian Kripos.

Now is a good time to talk to the Dutch police, first because they're still smarting from the DigiNotar disaster in 2011, but second because of their 2012 ambitions to legalize breaking into foreign computers when they aren't sure what country they're in. (I say legalize because they already did it!)

Below are some discussion points that made an impression on me.

  • I started the trip with a talk to about 80 people from the Dutch regional police. Apparently each regional police group has basically one cybercrime person, and pretty much all of them came to learn about Tor. These are the people who advise their police groups about how to handle Tor cases, so they're exactly the ones who need to know about services like ExoneraTor. (Afterwards, one of the national police thanked me heartily for teaching the regional police about Tor, since it makes *his* job easier.)
  • One issue that came up repeatedly during the talks: what if a bad guy runs a Tor exit relay to provide plausible deniability when somebody shows up as his door? My first thought is that anybody who runs a Tor exit relay in order to attract *less* attention from the police is crazy: if you want to be ignored, you should use a botnet or whatever to do your bad things, nobody will learn that it's you, end of story. Until we educate every law enforcement person on the planet about Tor, there will always be people who raid every IP address on their suspect list without ever knowing what Tor is. The second point they found interesting was that Tor relays never write any traffic to disk; so if your suspect has bad stuff on his hard drive and says it was because of the Tor relay, he's lying. Of course, disk encryption complicates the situation (which is why, counterintuitively, we recommend *not* using disk encryption on your exit).
  • Did you know that the Dutch police have their own internal anonymity network? They started out using a secret subnet ("nobody knows that it's the Dutch police, until somebody figures out that it is"). Apparently now they do smarter things like grabbing addresses from Dutch ISPs so they can blend in better. But that's still not perfect: if they borrow an IP address for 36 hours, then that's a 36-hour window where if you can recognize any of the traffic as Dutch police, you can link the rest of the traffic to them too. I hear their new generation of client-side software has an option for using Tor; I wonder if that means the Tor Browser Bundle, or just tunnelling the traffic through Tor naked? More details here and here. (Two points for transparency and open standards!)
  • When we met with the US DEA earlier in January, many people there said they use Tor for their job. Most people in the Dutch national police meeting said they used it often. On the other hand, most people in the Dutch regional police meeting said they certainly did not use it, "because that would be inappropriate." We have some more educating left to do.
  • One regional Dutch police woman told us that they know how to check if it's a Tor exit IP, but sometimes they do the raid anyway "to discourage people from helping Tor." I later told that statement to one of the national police, and he was shocked, said that was illegal, and said he'd look into it. Alas, I'm not optimistic that anything will come of it: giving investigators discretion about how to act can be both good and bad.
  • It took me a few hours to get the regional police comfortable enough to discuss, but by the end they were answering each other's questions — which is one of my main goals, since I won't be there later to answer them. The best example was one detective who stood up and explained that in his opinion they are focusing way too much on Tor ("because we can't break it"), while at the same time there are many other crimes they *can* fight, like criminals using file sharing networks, and they're ignoring those. Certainly Tor gets a lot of publicity (last year a Dutch TV show stirred up a media fear frenzy about Tor that resulted in a Dutch Parliament member calling to ban it), but according to this detective there's a lot more crime elsewhere. My response: "Did everybody hear that?" It works best when police hear statements like this from their peers rather than from me.
  • Here's an argument based on discussions with Karen Reilly for responding about child porn and banning Tor. A lot of people think that it's about trading off the good for the bad. On the one hand, you have a girl in Syria who is alive right now because of Tor. On the other hand, you have a girl in America who is harmed by some jerk and the jerk uses Tor. So, how do you balance these two? How do you decide which one is more important, or more 'valuable' to the world? The answer is that it's the wrong question to ask: you aren't actually going to save the girl in America by getting rid of Tor. Whereas getting rid of Tor *would* harm the girl in Syria (along with a wide variety of people and groups around the world).
  • The day after I did the talk to the regional police, I did a short talk at Bits of Freedom, an EFF-like digital rights nonprofit in Amsterdam. They held a "Boffel" for many of their supporters to show up and socialize. It was a really great crowd — these are smart people who care. It was like a tiny CCC congress. And now that I've been clearly complimentary to them, you'll be able to properly interpret my next statement: many of the Dutch police would have fit in just fine at the Boffel. People came up to me at the NCSC conference days later and said "I liked your talk!" and I genuinely couldn't tell if they meant my talk at the regional police or my talk at Bits of Freedom. There were some exceptions, sure, but most of the Dutch police I talked to have somehow managed to not get ground down by their job and lose track of the civil liberties angle. I wonder what their trick is.
  • Rejo Zenger (from BoF) and two others are working to create a Dutch organization to run fast Tor exit relays, to gather donations and centrally handle abuse complaints — like Zwiebelfreunde in Germany, Nos Oignons in France, DFRI in Sweden, and NoiseTor in the US. That's great! Please help them out however you can.
  • At the NCSC conference, Jake and I did an open Q&A session on the first day, and did the closing keynote (slides) on the second day. Both talks went very well (imagine what would happen if Jake and I practiced any of our talks together before giving them! :). We now have invites to come to all sorts of CERTs around the world; the woman managing the conference is moving to Europol shortly and wants us to come talk there; and one of the heads of NCSC wants us to come back and help the Netherlands with their general direction and strategy. We should try to connect them to local Dutch Tor advocates as much as we can, since after all we have software to write.
  • I'm afraid I missed most of the other talks at the conference (and I missed the alternate conference entirely), but I did see Peter Zinn's well-choreographed talk about what the Dutch national police should be focusing on. His conclusion was that the Netherlands should focus on being the "safest country in the world wrt cybercrime by 2017". I had to restrain myself from yelling out the word externalities! during his talk: if their plan is to convince cybercriminals to go elsewhere, and then the neighboring countries like Belgium become cyber-hives-of-scum-and-villainy, that's not going to end well for anybody.
  • One person in the Belgian FCCU (Federal Computer Crime Unit) suggested during a break in the discussion that maybe Belgium should block all connections from the Tor network *to* any Belgian IP space. By now there's almost no such thing as a new question for me during these talks, but I have to admit that this one took me by surprise. Eventually I produced the right answer: "The Internet community would destroy you. 'Great Firewall of Belgium'? 'Adopt a Belgian dissident'? Nobody would take you seriously again as an alleged democracy." In any case, my friend at RIPE tells me that technically, it's harder than it sounds for Belgium to do this scale of blocking.
  • I got into a discussion with the Belgian police about how they don't regard their Internet filtering as "censorship". In my experience, the way it starts is some legislators decide there's something so horrible on the Internet that it justifies filtering. From there, they delegate to some quasi-governmental organization which comes up with a list (in some totally non-transparent fashion) of verboten URLs. Inevitably, the list contains more types of content than the original reason for setting up the filtering; and inevitably, there's no redress mechanism to get off the list if you shouldn't be on it. The Belgian police assured me that they only filter a small set of URLs, and that each of them is discussed and transparently decided about in a democratic fashion. And then they wouldn't tell me what's on their list.
  • I met a US FBI agent and a US Secret Service agent who are "permanently" stationed with the Dutch national police. They acted just like normal Dutch police, except I guess they're paid by the United States to be Dutch police. Weird world we live in.
  • In each of the three police meetings, somebody suggested an alternate model for Tor where a judge should get to decide whether a given Tor user should be deanonymized. (While in America we don't trust our judges, in Europe they really do.) Putting aside for a moment the technical fact that building in a backdoor would mean that criminals can exploit it too (this argument doesn't work on them), I tried to press on the multi-jurisdictional aspect: we have governments, militaries, and law enforcement from around the world relying on Tor. When I asked the embedded Secret Service guy if he would be ok with the Dutch police having a backdoor to Tor, he said "We like our Dutch colleagues." When I rephrased it to whether he would be ok with the Dutch police knowing what the US police are using Tor for, he paused, smiled, and tactfully said "No comment."
  • Several people at the Dutch cybercrime unit quietly told me they regretted their "break into a Tor hidden service and zero it out" action: it got people upset at them, but more importantly, it *didn't work*. That is, it didn't stop any bad people from doing bad things. Apparently playing whack-a-mole like this doesn't make the criminals go away. And worse, it disrupts the police's other monitoring and infiltration operations.
  • If I wanted to run a hidden service website that had a nation-state adversary, I would a) run a good solid webserver like nginx; b) run it in a VM, in a way that the VM couldn't learn its location — "no looking up its IP", but also more subtle things like "no looking up nameservers", "no looking up reachable wireless access points", etc; and then c) put that VM in a VPS running in a country that hates my adversary. That way even if somebody breaks into the webserver and breaks out of the VM, they're still faced with a frustratingly long bureaucratic step.
  • I took Aaron Gibson and Pepijn Le Heux with me to the Brussels meeting, and took Pepijn again to the Dutch national police meeting. Pepijn is a great guy; I'm hoping to turn him into a Roger replica so he can act as a Dutch Tor resource and so he can help organizations like Bits of Freedom save their country.

You say "you aren't actually going to save the girl in America by getting rid of Tor. Whereas getting rid of Tor *would* harm the girl in Syria (along with a wide variety of people and groups around the world)."?

Can you explain that? What do you mean by "save"?

One major reason for child porn being illegal is the idea that its distribution, in itself, harms the victims, independent of the original molestation. First you get molested (bad), then everybody sees it (also, independently, bad). And, yes, the victims know about the distribution. They know at least in the abstract, and apparently sometimes in very specific cases. In fact, apparently US law enforcement is required to actively NOTIFY the (grown?) victims of every incident that gets discovered (presumably whether the victims want to hear it or not).

So distribution is a big part of what people are trying to get rid of with child porn. And Tor increases distribution. I can't see any question about that.

If you browse the hidden service directories, they're loaded with sites that claim to be child porn, and I expect that almost all of them really are. That creates a very easy way to get the material with minimal risk of being caught. Those sites provide a center for child porn producers and consumers to find each other... and keeps them from "finding" each other more thoroughly than some of them might prefer.

I, for one, would have no idea where else to find child porn, at least not without trolling for hours to get a few stray pictures (and leaving lots of footprints, at least unless I again used Tor), or spending ages building "trust relationships" with people who might very well be the police. Whereas Tor provides easy access to a whole bunch of sites that offer volume, reasonably safely, with little time invested.

Tor may increase production of child porn, too. It may not increase the raw amount of child molestation, but, again, producing a record of that molestation is part of what people are worried about. Tor gives potential producers a community to encourage them and offer "hints and tips" on how to produce it without getting caught. It gives them a direct incentive, too, because they have a place to trade what they produce to get more.

I am a big Tor supporter, but I'm not big on self-delusion or on misleading others. Tor absolutely increases the amount of child porn out there, and there are absolutely people out there who will tell you that they, personally, are victimized by specific instances of that.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/27/magazine/how-much-can-restitution-help-victims-of-child-pornography.html?pagewanted=all

Yeah. I wasn't sure if I should include that point and risk derailing the rest of the discussion. Here it goes I guess.

My goal in that point was to show that the scales are really tipped in the wrong direction right now: good people are getting harmed in all sorts of ways, and bad people are doing great on the Internet. You're absolutely right that there are downsides to Tor, but taking Tor (by itself) away from the world is going to tip the scales even more in the wrong direction. And it's nonsensical to talk about taking *all* anonymity away from the Internet: the bad people already have too many ways to stay hidden:
https://www.torproject.org/docs/faq-abuse#WhatAboutCriminals

One of the unfortunate points about Tor, and especially Tor hidden services, is that for many of the great use cases, nobody learns about them (and that's exactly the point). Tor has hundreds of thousands of daily users these days. Tor hidden services are harder to use and slower than they should be, which skews usage towards people who care more. Several people have told me about the great and creative ways they use hidden services, and we documented a few of them on
https://blog.torproject.org/blog/using-tor-good.

I had a great discussion recently with an abuse survivor who uses Tor to reach support abuse forums safely.

See also https://www.torproject.org/docs/faq-abuse#AbuseOpinion

And with that, I think I should cut this thread off before it draws in the trolls and devours the rest of the blog post. Happy to debate the topic in person with you.

Your discussion has very interesting parallels to the "gun control" "conversation."

Responsible statistical research seems to converge and agree that guns are used in self-defense to deter crime about 800,000 times a year. Yet, like good cause usage on Tor, those incidences are not widely recorded, covered or reported unless some rapist or home invader is actually shot dead while committing a crime (at which point, the criminal is recorded as a 'victim,' perversely increasing the gun homicide count decried in the media).

I suppose that people that tend to trust government will tend to oppose Tor and favor "gun control." But Tor has an edge because journalists will more easily connect with Tor, understanding how and why their colleagues use it. That should make for more balanced reporting. Tor will also escape the strong gender bias present in the gun discussion.

"And it's nonsensical to talk about taking *all* anonymity away from the Internet: the bad people already have too many ways to stay hidden:" This is also a parallel from gun control; some on the left favor confiscation, which takes guns away from good guys trying to defend themselves but leaves them in the hands of bad guys that obtain and use them illegally as a matter of practice.

Agreed. For a more interesting slant, consider a world where guns can be copied instantaneously and for free, and where guns can cross borders without anybody being able to notice or stop it.

"Tor absolutely increases the amount of child porn out there, and there are absolutely people out there who will tell you that they, personally, are victimized by specific instances of that."

Sexual abuse of children is such a reprehensible crime that it's very difficult to argue against any means in attempting to defeat it. However, I'm not at all convinced that Tor increases the amount of child porn in the world. You say that you aren't aware of means of distribution other than Tor, but you need to be before you can defend such a statement as the one above. The fact is that there are many, many other methods that are being used every day. These include Bit torrent services, file sharing services, Usenet, VPNs and many others. Tor is getting a lot of attention because no one has yet found a way to defeat it, but our society hasn't come close to controlling child pornography distributed via other means--where we have means of identifying offenders. I doubt if putting a back door in Tor would make much of an overall, or net difference in control of these criminals.

Even so, a back door in Tor would likely ruin it for most of the very good things being done with it. How long do you think it would be before, for example, China had access to a built-in Tor vulnerability? Not long!

Our society is understandably afraid of child pornographers, terrorists, illegal drug cartels and many others doing evil in the world. Politicians are clearly aware of this and frequently use the knowledge to their advantage. But if we give up all our rights as individuals in our zeal to contain the problem what will we have left? What kind of world will be leaving to our children?

Assaults on the Bill of Rights have already gone too far, and projects like Tor may soon be precious as a rare vestige of ideals our country once held in highest esteem.

There are places in the world where government officials, including ones from "reputable" western governments (can there ever be a reputable govt worker, while this field attracts otherwise unemployable sociopaths with the desire to tell others what to do), and other people in positions of power meet to engage in pedophile orgies. The same people would like to shut down the tor network because their opponents and dissidents use it against them, and to circumvent their surveillance and censorship.

There are brothels which cater to child porn lovers, and their clients come from various high places and don't need to worry about being caught, this is a world wide problem. In Russia cops are corrupt and turn the blind eye while lining their pockets with bribe money. I suppose the US isn't much better if you're willing to look deep. Prostitution is illegal in the US as are drugs yet you won't have a problem finding either. If you're a politician and willing to play the game without attacking the system that you're benefiting from you can get away with almost anything.

I hope widespread encryption and tools like the Tor browser become as familiar to people as mum and apple pie. Certainly, the existence of Tor won't increase or decrease the number of evil people in the world. It's a tool as good or as bad as the person using it.

As stated in the original piece, the wrong question is being asked. Human behaviour, like a Force of the Universe is unstoppable. A state of entropy is just not achievable, and when has prohibition ever worked? It's certainly a conversation worth having only if it allows us to move on.
Just imagine if only 1/10 of the resources used by the USA on it's war on drugs was shifted to education, just then imagine that state hospitals then freely provided drug distribution, and then linked that victim into a system that educated, counseled and didn't judge.
Most Criminologists accept a lot of deviant behaviour so outside of social norms, has well and truly planted its seed before the behaviour manifests (4 - 7yrs of age). In my option, our tax dollars would be better used empowering current victims on how to live it, educate our social services on stopping the seed being planted. And that means, even how much it may pain us, or create fear or guilt in society, a light needs to be shined into these dark corners, not to close the door, wipe our hands and turn our collective back on the problem.
Just look at Scotland Yards Counter Terrorists Branches motto, stolen from a judge at sentencing "Well we can now ring the bell, blow out the candle and close the book on this ghastly matter" that was about 200 years ago.
I laud the work Tor are doing, keep fighting the good fight, most law enforcers are well intentioned just a bit uneducated, or afraid of change.

Fascinating and thorough report, many thanks and good luck for your ongoing initiative

I think the good guys/bad guys argument in the context of Tor is hopelessly naive. It will always take the discussion down pointless and emotional rat holes. Bad guys will always benefit from many good things in society -- roads, hospitals, schools, police and emergency services for example. They'll eat at your restaurants. They'll run your corporations. They'll sell drugs and porn using the same cash and credit services that you use to buy icecream and Disney movies. That doesn't mean we condemn or prohibit all those things merely because in serving the greater good for society at large, they also happen to serve society's less savory members.

Welcome to humanity. Get over it.

People rightly despise child porn, crime, etc, and wish it wasn't present on things like Tor. But in a way, its presence can present some good... the chance that someone, or some project, somewhere will identify something in it that leads to the source. If people didn't feel free to publish, or the medium wasn't present, those chances would not exist, while the underlying agents always will.

Aren't mandatory ISP data retention and law enforcement international cooperation effective enough at tracking Tor criminals without disrupting the anonymity of "good" users ?
I've always thought data retention directives were meant for law enforcement investigating complex cases ?

AFAIK data retention in the Netherlands is limited to email headers and when someone was connected to the internet. But this is could be outdated by now

It may be worth noting that the Dutch national police has also open
sourced part of the software they created for the realization of an
other alternative anonymity infrastructure . The DynrLite-II project
is available (in 3 separate repositories) from the DNPA github page:

https://github.com/DNPA.

DynrLite-II is a policy based routing solution with a web-front-end and
custom policy based DNS proxy that allows members of different teams
of investigators to choose a router (static/DSL/cable/isdn/VPN/Tor/whatever)
as second hop router for Internet access. Routers can be shared between teams or dedicated to specific teams and the user can see the sharing status of the
available routers.

For LE organisations DynrLite-II and Tor might it seems be partially complementary
technologies for helping these organisation with their privacy needs.

Interesting. Thanks!

Im not a pedo but I've checked out many of the gay/male CP .onion links out of curiosity and 99% of the stuff on there is either not CP or is vintage era stuff.

The only stuff that is recent (created in the last 10 years) is webcam footage of young teenage guys wanking off. Sometimes they show their butts or play with dildos, but that is rare.

Overall TOR has been a major disappointment to me and my friends on 4chan.

You would thinK if gay rapists/pedophiles were regularly using TOR they would be uploading some good stuff but all of the stuff I've seen is boring and not worth downloading. I've yet to see one video that depicts gay rape, violent, or forced action. I'm guessing it's because 90% of rapists/pedos are straight and don't prefer boys?

I also went on a quest to find footage after reading about the Franklin Case, but I've yet to find any video of sex slave Johnny Gosch or sex slave Paul Bonacci getting it on with politicians. I've also yet to see one Bohemian Grove sex ritual video! WTF..where is the good stuff?

Seriously...why is TOR such a major disappointment? There is really no good stuff that can't be seen on the regular internetz that is on Tor! Which is why I got rid of it....

Err... this is a JOKE, right?

Well, I hurt myself laughing at it, anyway.

And I believe they use this terrible diabolic "the b-r-o-w-s-e-r" ... sure it is, oh may god, Microsoft IE. Hey, Microsoft are you ready to be punished?

The child porn argument is always given as a trump card in favor of censorship, but it doesn't address several major issues:

(1) Several independent studies have found that the MAJORITY of "child pornography" does not show anything inherently abusive. Most are simple nudes, more explicit examples generally do not show coercion. In a famous pamphlet on the subject, then FBI agent Ken Lanning posed the question: Why are the children in child pornography so often smiling and laughing?

(2) For all our cultural surety of the inherent harmfulness of adult-child sexual interactions, no one has ever been able to explain the mechanism of that harm - or even been able to make a good suggestion. (Not including obvious physical harm, of course - but that is rare.)

(3) Rind et al, which was later replicated, found no evidence of psychological harm in cases of consensual adult-child sex which were never reported to the authorities.

(4) Other research has found that physical abuse, verbal abuse, physical neglect and emotional neglect are ALL more harmful than sexual abuse, and that adding sexual abuse to any combination of the others actually REDUCES the harmful effects. Admittedly, this is probably an artifact of combining consensual and non-consensual sex into the same category, but it does demonstrate the absurdity of doing so and the positive effects of loving sexual relationships even for children.

(5) Pedophiles HATE child abusers, probably even more than teleiophiles. The more people know about cases of real abuse, the more likely someone will find a way to alert the authorities. Making those images illegal means it is less likely that the right people will see them and find a way to intervene.

Also, don't forget about the naivete of the word "criminal" itself. The assassins attempting to kill Hitler were criminals. Abolitionists freeing slaves in the US were criminals.

There are many laws today that would be deemed similar, depending on who you ask. And inevitably, more such laws will be passed. Generally, those affected by such laws are minorities for which the majority has not yet classified as a minority worthy of any rights.

Your "criminal" today is your hero tomorrow.

Do we want Hitler to be able to "de-anonymize" his would-be assassins?

Following this reasoning, there is little reason to help the police with anything in regards to tor.

Simply because something is "illegal" certainly doesn't mean it is wrong--as history later decides, it may even be morally the right thing to do.

"Your "criminal" today is your hero tomorrow."

Right on! Take Jake Appelbaum for example, or Julian Assange, or Kim Schmitz.. (you name them). Most in the general public now assume these must be criminals too, due to the bad journalism and copy-paste hype newsmedia out there.

Very interesting discussion here. If you want to control communication use the "child-porn-thingy". Who can be against protecting children? Well at least the children themself! Sex and children go together even if you dont want to notice. Look at the amount of Webcam movies produced by kids. Thjere is no need to have any adult being involved. They do it as WE did it as kids. We had no computer so we went to the next shed and played "show me yours I show you mine".

And sex with children is as old as mankind. Sex must be learned. We may talk about how to do so and about some rules but at least it WILL take place.

Everything else is not logical.

I find several of the contributions here naive or bizarre in extremis - ranging from talk of 'good guys' and 'bad guys' (the staple of cowboy movies - where we tell the difference by the color of their hats) to a pedophile seeking to justify his harmful perversion by reference to 'evidence'. Still, it's all very educational. And I wonder if the Dutch embed their secret service people in the US.

Child porn doesn't hurt the kids [citation needed]

I'm try trying to be pedantic, but I would rephrase the following when speaking to the police:

"The second point they found interesting was that Tor relays never write any traffic to disk; so if your suspect has bad stuff on his hard drive and says it was because of the Tor relay, he's lying."

It's plausible that since the suspect is unaware that his exit isn't caching content to disk, he simply has the wrong idea about the source of the content. He's not necessarily lying.

I don't see why Tor traffic cannot be swapped out to disk anyway. Is it all mlocked?

Aah... The Belgian Police and the FCCU... Their stupidity never seizes to amaze me. Most, if not all, of their URL blocks are DNS based. Don't use Belgian DNS servers and you'll be fine.

The conversations here range from informative to creepy in a matter of two sentences that completely disarm one another.
Children having sex with children WITHOUT the coercion of an adult presence isn't necessarily bad but it isn't necessarily good, either.
This would also depend on the age to which we are referring to children as "children".
Either way, any involvement of an adult in the children's sexual practices or behaviors is absolutely wrong and never o.k. Period.
No matter how you pedophiles and child abusers try to swing the subject, the fact stands that any involvement of an adult in the sexual practices of children is WRONG.

MOVING ON.. as that is not entirely what this post was even about.

I don't believe that it would be safe nor wise to put a back door on Tor.
As it is, having the exit node controlled by a random Tor volunteer is a little shaky and not necessarily the safest thing in the world.
Adding a back door is just asking for trouble and inviting hackers to try their luck at making their way into Tor user's systems.
There really isn't much that can be done to make Tor only available and used by safe users.
Somehow, no matter what we do, the bad guys always get a leak about the good sources.

Tor is great for privacy and helpful for those of us that want to be able to browse the web anonymously without having all those millions of Govt's and or corporations tracking our every move and building a profile on us.
Anonymity is celebrated in such instances as Govt meetings, Presidential elections, Presidential meetings and decisions, and even in the Popes elections process. So why is it that the people aren't allowed this same right of privacy and anonymity?
In my opinion, the Govt insists on knowing our every move to ensure we do not rise up against it. They want to be able to establish a secure foothold in a way of defeating any uprisings that might occur before they have the chance to do so.
Which if you think about it, is absolutely ridiculous since we are the ones that put these arrogant politicians in the positions that they are in. We should be able to swiftly remove them with just the same amount of right as we had to put them there.
Sadly, our control over our society is limited. But our anonymity and right to privacy should not be. Not all of the people wanting anonymity are out to defeat the Govt or browse child pornography. Many of us just want to retain our privacy and anonymity while not having a profile built up around our browsing or even accidental browsing.

I would make one small request in regards to any changes being done to Tor, which would be; to make it less easy for the exit node volunteer to browse through whatever information passes from them to the outlet.
I'm not sure how this would be managed or dealt with, but I have found that to be the main complaint and or discomfort of many Tor users/past users.
A friend of mine was a big advocate of Tor when it first began, but as Tor grew so too did the negative aspects of it. People get uncomfortable knowing that anyone that controls an exit node server could peruse through their private bits of information, and not only that, but phishing for passwords as well.

Don't get me wrong, I love Tor. But that is one thing that I would like to see worked on/advanced further upon.

If the exit node volunteer is able "to browse through whatever information passes from them to the outlet", then what is to prevent any "adversary" from signing up as an exit node & thereby monitor these bits of information? Governments, for example, have access to virtually unlimited resources, and are able to mount such surveillance initiatives. Is TOR really secure?

"Is Tor really secure" is too vague a question, alas.

Governments do indeed have lots of resources, and they already wiretap large swaths of the Internet. That threatens Tor's anonymity -- but without Tor you're even more screwed.

You might like https://svn.torproject.org/svn/projects/articles/circumvention-features.html#7

many citations provided here: www.libertus.net/censor/resources/statistics-laundering.html

I have strong feelings regarding child pornography laws. I do not think that it should be illegal for people to view or probably even distribute child pornography. Of course, production is an entirely different matter. The idea that viewing an image of a victim causes the victim in the image to be victimized again seems very absurd and magical to me. People also apply this logic only to pictures of child sexual abuse, not non-sexual child abuse, not pictures of the holocaust, pictures of being being held hostage, people beaten up, etc. Stop thinking with your emotions and put the blame where it belongs, with the person who abused the child to make the image in the first place.

Another argument that I hear is that people who view child pornography are all child molesters. Empirical evidence proves this to be incorrect. Much as with the war on drugs, you can find two sets of statistics. Government statistics put the figure at something like 80% of people arrested with child pornography have molested a child. Independent research has shown the figure to be closer to be 16%. There have also been demonstrations showing that the government came to their numbers in dishonest ways, for example in one study the studied subjects were arrested for solicitation of a minor prostitute and then found to have child pornography. Of course people who have solicited underage prostitutes are going to have a very high rate of having molested children, it is dishonest though to use this set of people for a study that determines the 'hands on' offense rate of people who possess child porn.

Another argument that I hear is that consumers of child pornography create a market for it and it is this demand that drives production. This may have somewhat been the case at one point in time, but today it is simply not true. The financial market for child pornography today is essentially non-existent, it is distributed freely and openly on P2P networks, and none of the producers or distributors are keeping track of demand and translating that into supply. The market argument against child pornography possession decriminalization is not only baseless, it has essentially been disproved.

Another argument that I hear is that viewing child pornography leads people to desire to molest children, and then they carry out the fantasy. This is actually the exact opposite of what has been scientifically proven. What has been proven is that child pornography acts as an alternative to child molestation for those who are attracted to children. All serious researchers on the matter admit that using child pornography for masturbation lowers a pedophiles probability of molesting a child. Additionally, contrary to popular belief, pedophiles account for only a small segment of the child pornography using population.

Personally I am not a pedophile by the medical definition of the term, but I can sympathize with them because I have my own issues. Ever since I was young I have had deviant sexuality. Rape has always been one of my primary fantasies, for example. Despite this I have never raped anybody, I have never been in the slightest sexually aggressive with anyone at all. I have seen rape images and been turned on by them, and I know that this is something wrong with me. I would not have that fantasy if I had a choice, it is a natural thing for me and just the way I am. I know to never act on this and I never have and I know that I never will, so I do not consider myself to be bad for a desire that naturally arises in me. I cannot blame pedophiles for their attractions, I cannot blame them even for looking at child pornography, it is what attracts them and I simply fail to see that they are causing a victim by merely possessing the images they do. If I was logically convinced that they cause a victim by looking at the images they look at, I would hold it against them, but nobody has been able to convince me and I perceive everybody as arguing from an emotional rather than a logical standpoint. I think if legal adult porn was illegal that normal people would still seek it out, it is a natural desire to seek out things that are sexually stimulating, and unless those things victimize others I see no harm in it.

I also am attracted to people under the age of 18, definitely not prepubescents though. This is another problem that I have with child pornography laws, they include pictures of those who are 14, 15, 16, 17, years old. In most of the USA it is legal for people of any age to have sex with anyone who is 16 years or older, yet in all of the USA it is illegal to have a picture of naked person under the age of 18. This is clearly senseless. I also strongly believe that a large percentage of males are attracted to people under the age of 18, in fact I am convinced this must be the case as full sexual maturity is reached in females on average at the age of fourteen. There is nothing more mature than fully sexually matured, and if most men are attracted to sexually matured females there is no distinguishing between some who are 14 and some who are 18. In much of the world the age of consent is even lower than 16, for example in Spain the age of consent is 13, so you can sleep with a 13 year old but better not take a picture of a topless 13 year old! Can anyone who thinks with logic and not emotion really say that this makes sense?

I could go on and on as well, about how sexting charges turn teenagers into sex offenders, about how child porn laws turn cartoons and books into illegal pornography. I could talk about how the media is brainwashing people by using the words child pornography possessor and child molester as if they are synonymous, or how they call all people who merely possess child pornography child pornographers. I could shake my finger at the government and say tsk tsk for how they are putting out false statistics and lying to the people, and make the claim that they are doing these things to continue funding the mutli billion dollar a year anti child pornography industry, which focuses very largely on the possessors as the producers are much rarer. I could write a book about why the child pornography laws on the books today are fucked up, but I don't want to write a book here. I just want to encourage people to think with logic and not with their emotions, and to understand that a person is not made good or bad based off of what they look at but rather based of what they do. Looking at a picture of a bank robbery does not make you bad, robbing a bank is what makes you bad. I am amazed that otherwise rational people could ever be confused about this.

Another great government statistic on the percentage of child porn possessors who have had sex with an underage child, is based on a study where the child porn possessor was asked if they had ever in their lives had sex with someone under the age of 18. That means they include people who have slept with their 16 year old girl friends when they were 16 themselves, into the statistic of the percentage of child pornography possessors who have slept with underage people! How is that not simply dishonest!

also I apologize for my spelling mistakes , I am sure it is obvious I did not proof read my previous post.

Man. I started reading this to get a deeper insight into the proponents of tor, and why/how they continue to spread the word that anonymous access must be protected. I have my own convictions, but it's important to me to know that the people behind projects like tor are involved for the right reasons.

Thank you all for being enlightened, intelligent human beings. I don't think I've seen a more rational debate regarding anonymity or gun control, really anywhere.

If the Internet is the future of our species, the ubiquity of thought, then truly tor and its spirit are the uncloggable arteries of human expression.

Bless you.

The age of consent being raised to eighteen was (and is) a tool used by Progressives to retard the natural maturation of citizens- thus making them more easily swayed by the same tactics parents use to control their toddlers- fear and reward.
No other creature on this planet retards the natural maturation of their young, and why should they?
People today bash on Mohammed for taking a child bride, but in his day this was perfectly natural, as it was for the Jews during the time of the Exodus. In fact, the only reference in the Bible to an age of consent is in Leviticus, where God told Moses that the age where a girl enters womanhood is when she starts menstruating.
The age of consent laws in this country (USA) were derived to enforce child labor laws, and to keep children within the public school systems for a uniform number of years- again, a way to keep our young irresponsible and carefree long enough to ensure that when they reached that "magic" age they would have no idea what to do with it.
There is a TOO young-and biologically and as a society we all know where that point lies- but to strip the civil liberties of an eighteen year old "man" for the rest of his life because sparks flew between him and a seventeen year old "girl" at a house party is pure idiocy.
Have you taken a look at our "free" country lately? Don't all the laws, regulations,ordinances, taxes, and law enforcement agencies seem to contradict with the words "free" and "liberty"?
Yes, we need Tor- without backdoors.

Syndicate content Syndicate content