Get Help Running Your Relay From Our New Advocate

Hello Tor Blog!
 
My name is Colin Childs, and I go by Phoul on IRC. I have been the support and translation coordinator at the Tor Project for a number of years. I am also a founding director of a TorServers partner named Coldhak which runs high capacity Tor exit relays in Canada
 
Thousands of relays make up the roots of the Tor network, and the volunteers who run them are indispensable, donating their time, infrastructure, and technical know-how to help millions of people around the world, including activists and journalists, communicate privately and securely. 
 
Over the years, the Tor team saw there was a need for greater support of the relay operator community and heard concerns about how to better meet their needs. So recently, my role within the Tor Project has changed; I am now the new Tor Relay Advocate. My job will be improving the health and happiness of the relay operator community, expanding the community, and helping improve bonds between operators.
 
What I'll be starting with:
 
1. Open a #tor-relays IRC channel on irc.oftc.net. (This is now open, everyone should join!)
2. Reach out to relay operator groups / individuals to introduce myself and solicit feedback (started last week - please get in touch if you haven't heard from me!).
3. Plan a relay operators meet-up at PETS in July (follow this blog and the tor-relay mailing list for details).
4. Form a team of trusted technical and legal volunteers able to help operators around the world.
5. Organize a larger "relay operator summit" event dedicated to relay operators.
6. Work with operators to resolve issues impacting the health of the network (DNS diversity, End of life releases in use, etc..)
7. Bring back Tor Weather, a tool for monitoring the health of the network.
 
What else would you like to see? I am here to help you, so please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly (either by email, or on IRC [Phoul]) with any feedback, concerns, or questions. If you are interested in joining the operator community yourself, please see our recent blog post introducing the Tor Relay Guide. I also strongly encourage you to join the tor-relays mailing list and the #tor-relays IRC channel on irc.oftc.net.
 
I am extremely excited to work closer with the operator community moving forward! Keep an eye on this blog -- I'll be highlighting some of the great work from our relay operator community. This community is a crucial part of the network, and I look forward to improving the health of the operator community and helping it grow. 
Anonymous

May 24, 2018

Permalink

Could you explain to relay operators that 0.2.9 is not recommended, and they should use it only if they can't upgrade?

Anonymous

May 24, 2018

Permalink

I should think the use of 1.1.1.1 would be more encouraged as the use of google's DNS is more widely used. I remember seeing a discussion about this some time ago.

Anonymous

May 24, 2018

Permalink

Torbutton: Unexpected error on new identity: [Exception... "Component returned failure code: 0x80520010 (NS_ERROR_FILE_NO_DEVICE_SPACE) [nsIPrefService.savePrefFile]" nsresult: "0x80520010 (NS_ERROR_FILE_NO_DEVICE_SPACE)" location: "JS frame :: chrome://torbutton/content/torbutton.js :: torbutton_do_new_identity :: line 1215" data: no]

Anonymous

May 25, 2018

Permalink

+1

Anonymous

May 25, 2018

Permalink

Glad TP is doing more to help newbie relay operators join the fight against censorship and repression of political dissidents around the world (c.f. Egypt for example).

Years ago EFF offered an ISO for burning an SD card for using a Raspberry Pi as a censorship-detection device, but they quickly stopped updating it. I hope TP can ask them to consider rolling it out again before the 11 Jun demise of Net Neutrality. Further, in the past few weeks, many major US news sites have once again been blocking Tor outright. I hope this is temporary but it comes at a time when reading reliable news is more important than ever for US dissidents.

There is also the issue of suspicious PKI certificates for aclu.org and blog.torproject.org (and probably other sites as well). Can anyone else confirm that they are seeing the same thing I am seeing? The certificates are not owned and presumably not controlled by the organizations whose contents they supposedly "authenticate", and the same certs "authenticate" both this blog, ACSME union sites, and various political campaign sites. Such tricks cannot bode well, and the odd mix of political sites of very obvious current interest to spooks certainly suggests that this issue is worth looking into, IMHO.

I hope TP will offer an official response.

I can confirm the certificate issue, what I'm seeing is the blog being authenticated by a certificate issued to: 5667908084563968-fe2.pantheonsite.io

Anonymous

May 25, 2018

Permalink

Yeah, please tell me Colin how to launch legit tor relay in Russian Federation to not repeat the fate of that Dmitry from Russia?

Anonymous

May 26, 2018

Permalink

I have a big problem with setting up a relay. I dont use Linux but I try to use it to set up my relay. The biggest problem for me is when something dont work, to follow the guide then something dont happen. I dont know why it dont work so I have to use another computer to search the Net for the answer, sometimes take me 3-4 hours to find it, then go back and try again, over and over again. What is missing from the guide/s is something like: if step A dont happen, maybe try this small step next because maybe this is what is wrong. Or, if you see this message "......." then you have to make sure these things are in place because sometimes its just a small thing to click but if you dont know it then you dont know what to looking for.
I loved Vidalia because it's the easiest setup, just download and set a few buttons then start! Perfect for me but now is dead I think. Why is there no Linux-Vidalia program for folks like me? One time it take me the whole weekend to fix, yes 39 hours! I go round and round in circles when it would be about 2 hours for Linux folks. Sheeesh.

Anonymous

May 28, 2018

Permalink

I'm a newbie here and just trying to figure it out. I have been hacked and two people are using my phone number. They were able to put thier fake names into Walgreens wher I get my scripts. Any help would be appreciated as to what to do. Also.. can I change this name and should I change my phone number? I actually know who's doing it and real name and address. Thanks and hoping to figure all of this TOR out. RUBY DEE is new name. What do I do??

Hi, Phoebe, this is the blog for Tor Project, a non-profit which produces privacy-protecting software. I don't know why you thought TP could solve your problem with what sounds like "medical identify theft" involving prescriptions filled at Walgreens (the US drugstore chain) but I can guess why you might be feeling confused and frustrated: if you contacted local police or FBI you already know that FBI could give a flying f-k about ordinary citizens who become the victim of this kind of crime (I think their official policy is that they can't be bother to investigate cybertheft unless at least one million dollars was expropriated.)

However, you might just have a chance of getting European police to help you. The reason is that the new landmark EU data protection laws just came into effect a week or so ago, and if even if you do not live in Europe these may protect you because Walgreens (an American pharmaceutical) has been absorbed into a Dutch multinational. This means that Walgreens is subject to EU law, not US law. That's good news for you because the EU takes consumer data protection seriously, while the USG takes very much the opposite attitude. EU cops are much more likely to force Walgreens to solve the problem of an ordinary citizen than US cops.

As a first step, I suggest that you complain in writing to Walgreens, giving as much specific information as possible. Next, try to find a lawyer who can help you file a criminal complaint with the appropriate EU authorities. You might also try contacting groups like EFF.org to tell your story.

This is a very "cutting edge" suggestion, so it might not work or be hard to accomplish, but I hope it helps.

Anonymous

June 06, 2018

Permalink

According to current relays' stats, it's now clear that giving longer support promises for 0.2.5 was a bad idea. What are you going to do to phase out old tor versions?

Anonymous

June 11, 2018

Permalink

Hi Colin, any chance we can use Tor project’s or EFF’s visibility to push the FBI to clarify its stance on exit nodes? Many of us would like to support a good cause but we don’t want to risk our lives in the process.

Join the discussion...

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

1 + 13 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.