The Tor Project Defends the Human Rights Racists Oppose

 

We've heard that the hate-spewing website Daily Stormer has moved to a Tor onion service.

We are disgusted, angered, and appalled by everything these racists stand for and do. We feel this way any time the Tor network and software are used for vile purposes. But we can't build free and open source tools that protect journalists, human rights activists, and ordinary people around the world if we also control who uses those tools. Tor is designed to defend human rights and privacy by preventing anyone from censoring things, even us. 

Ironically, the Tor software has been designed and written by a diverse team including people of many religions, races, gender identities, sexual orientations, and points on the (legitimate, non-Nazi) political spectrum. We are everything they claim to despise. And we work every day to defend the human rights they oppose. 

They feel powerful by spewing hate, whining, bullying, and promoting violence against others. But together, we are more powerful. 

Tor stands against racism and bigotry wherever and whenever such hatred rears its ugly head. It is our work to provide everyone with the best possible security and privacy tools so human dignity and freedom can be promoted all over the world.

nyc_feb15

August 17, 2017

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What about the child pornographers, drug dealers and human trafficking? Seems these take a sideline for virtue signaling against the evil nazis.

Knowing the contents of the Tor Network range from random blog to everything mentioned above. Why call out a buch Nazis and their blog in particular? Why not just let them run whatever they want without dragging more attention to them? I mean, there's no such thing as bad publicity and honestly why keep putting them on the spotlight?

Better the onionspace make them fall into obscurity, as they fall out of the reach of search engines worldwide, instead of being on the open web and enjoying Google and other search engines indexing and driving traffic to their sites.

I don't think the blogpost was even warranted.
If the developers have any ability to censor anyone using the software, it would be possible to be compelled to.

I understand that this is news right now, but I thought the inability to censor went without saying.

Ones mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter. How about we refrain from calling them pieces of shit and instead focus on condemning and critically disproving their ideology if we find it faulty.
And I'm talking in general, too may people accept this b/w notion of the world where you are told who they are (bad guys) without thinking critically about their motivations, background or ideology at all.
It makes a lot more sense to me to point out their logical fallacies than te label them and ignore/censor them.

That's too much work. I don't have time to think for myself. I want someone else to think for me so much that I'll pay them to do it. Now I just have to go about figuring out what's worth paying for. B

Well said! . "oo may people accept this b/w notion of the world where you are told who they are (bad guys) without thinking critically about their motivations, background or ideology" And since we are the one picking who is the "bad guy" we wrongly assumed that we are the "good guy". And the problem remain and the business behind as well.

The fact that some people use hammers to inflict blunt force trauma on the heads of people they don't like is not a good reason to stop making hammers. Hammers have many legitimate uses. To be sure on balance Tor is probably used more frequently for publicly undesirable outcomes than hammers are. In Tor's favor, there are plenty of substitutes for hammers (rocks, for example) while there are few if any substitutes for Tor. So you would have to convince me that Tor has no meaningful legitimate public use before I'd stop supporting Tor.

Tor is nothing more than software; the Tor Project does not provide hosting for any .onion TLD sites.
If one manages to get a Hidden Service to reveal its IP address, then contact the provider behind that IP and give your evidence to them.
Same if you manage to unmask the new Daily Stormer website.
FBI can unmask a hidden service without direct compromise, like in the Silk Road case; criminals often have bad opsec.

I do not condone racism. Freedom of the Internet does extend to even those assholes. While I continue to condemn racism and those who actively live that lifestyle, it is still their right of free speech. Any small "whittling away" from anyone's right to the Internet simply empower's the criminals in Congress to restrict our lives even more. As for the pedophiles and human trafficking etc, if you see it, and you know that laws are being broken, harm to ANYONE, report it to your local authorities!

nyc_feb15

August 17, 2017

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For those looking for the tl;dr: key sentence:

"Tor is designed to defend human rights and privacy by preventing anyone from censoring things, even us. "

Bravo.

What Tor says here is extremely important. I commend CloudFlare for the actions they took recently, and also for the honesty in why they did it. However, I think Tor's approach is the correct one.

Despite the atrocities we witnessed the past weekend, and the hateful rhetoric spewed by sites like the Daily Stormer, I am overwhelmed by the numbers that rise and stand against them. I don't believe that non-censorship is tolerance, but even the opposite. By not censoring these people, you are proving that you not only believe in freedom of speech, but that you also haven't lost hope in your brothers and sisters around the world to stand against it in all other forms.

Yes indeed. Many thanks to steph for the post and for allison's comments above!

It is very important that the Tor community do everything possible (media outreach, official Tor Project posts here) to prevent our anti-democratic enemies from taking advantage of this kind of news item to unfairly demonize our community.

In this instance, the decision of DailyStormer's former webhost, CloudFlare, to shut down their hateful website has been very widely reported by all three US networks and around the world. This action may have led Daily Stormer to try to self-host using an onion service. I completely agree that this rumor (fact?) required an immediate response from the Tor Project, and I also agree that the right way to try to respond to negative developments allegedly involving Tor is to stress the critical role that the Tor network plays in protecting human rights activists and journalists worldwide. And can play in protecting opposition politicians, bloggers, employees in sensitive jobs (telecoms, power plants, and yes, police) and other groups which so many stories over the past few years have shown are targeted by a rapidly increasing array of cyberwar operations sponsored by various governments.

One example I like to cite: Mexican media rarely reports on drug cartel shootings because of the likelihood of reprisals (journalists who wrote stories about the mayhem have often been kidnapped, tortured and murdered by the cartels). But some brave bloggers have tried to fill this gap in the news, using Tor to protect themselves from murderous reprisals. Pro-democracy activists in such places as Hong Kong and Russia also use Tor to communicate. In the US, prompted by numerous revelations of social media spying by USG fusion centers, social justice movements are also beginning to adopt Tor in order to protect their members.

I like the analogy between the Tor network and the US road network. In the early days of the 20th century, after early adopters of the horseless buggy included some rural bank robbers, US police chiefs published serious-minded editorials calling for criminalizing automobiles. Needless to say, that didn't happen. And needless to say, US police departments were not in fact left eating the dust of fast cars driven by criminals; they simply bought their own fast cars and found that the automobile was not simply a "crime-enabling vehicle" but had many other uses, very few of which involved criminal activity.

In the just same way, the Tor network can be and will be used by all manner of people, including criminals and hate groups. But just as the number of cars on US highways which are being used as getaway vehicles by criminals represents a tiny fraction of the total traffic, we should expect that the number of users of the Tor network who are using Tor to commit crimes, or to promote hateful ideologies, is very small.

I would go further and suggest that as the financial services industry, and ecommerce generally, begin to adopt Tor hidden services and blockchain technology, it will become clear that far from enabling crimes, the Tor network offers enormous advantages for protecting ordinary consumers from becoming the victim of a financial crime. And onion services appear to offer enormous security advantages for many socially beneficial activities, such as journalism.

Tor talks about not censoring people but our comments have to be approved by administrator before they are published to me that's censorship. Isn't that kind of hypocritical.

nyc_feb15

August 17, 2017

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Yay! dailystormer will provide covert traffic for other HSes! /s

To be serious, I don't think they would stand, without a CDN or something a la OnionBalance their (onion) site will be easily DDoSed. In fact I couldn't access it when they first launched it, so big win for the good human beings and I hope the DDoSes keep up until they loose their relevance.

nyc_feb15

August 17, 2017

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Haha neo-Nazis and supremacists on your Twitter post are now pissed off at Tor yet the Dailystormer must rely on it for not getting kicked off. What a bunch of hypocrites

The main alternatives are I2P, Freenet, and Zeronet; of these, I2P is the easiest to use and to host a sizable site on (Zeronet has a built-in 10MB limit per site, because of the distributed nature of hosting, not just routing).

nyc_feb15

August 17, 2017

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I believe in human rights and I am against racism, but I am still glad that those racists and what they do can be protected by Tor, in the same way that everyone else can be. I don't support them in any way, but this shows me that Tor works and it's a great tool for all of the humanity, because it can protect our right to free speech. It's shame that some people use it to do evil, but every time I see such case, I am still very glad that it exists, because it gives us freedom. Even if our beliefs are different and even when there are people, who want to stop us from sharing them, we can still do it safely, because of tools like Tor.

Keep up the good work guys.

I'd put it like this:

While it is inevitable that in order to project their business, providers such as Facebook, Google, and assorted webhosts will attempt to respond to demands that they censor objectionable content, it should be clear that global society cannot censor its way out of the problem posed by resurgent fascist/racist/terrorist movements in the US, EU, and other areas.

The only *effective* way to prevent hateful political movements from gaining control of national politics is to create and nurture peaceful political movements. The only *effective* way to respond to pro-hate speech on-line is by uniting with other supporters of civil liberties in order to create an overwhelming chorus of anti-hate speech on-line.

Speaking out against hate groups is not a complete solution to the growing societal stresses caused by overpopulation, climate change, and environmental collapse, but it is an essential part of the solution.

Given the magnitude of the problems which currently face humanity, it is appropriate to put our collective energy into actions which are effective, such as speaking up for civil rights and democratic values, rather than actions have proven to be ineffective, such as attempts to simply censor problematic speech.

nyc_feb15

August 17, 2017

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Can the tor project please go back to being neutral and not have any opinions other than on privacy & security? Instead of using words like appalled and disgusted, stick to something like "we will defend their right to free speech even if we, as an organization and individuals, do not share the same world view." That simple.

Not have a position on Nazis and violent White Nationalists? This is hardly a simple Left vs Right situation. Though it seems the US right-wing has drifted toward the indefensible position.

I see your point, but I have to agree with Tor Project here.

TP is under very severe political threat from opponents (such as FBI) which are constantly seeking to demonize the entire Tor community with disinformation, such as "memes" which attempt to falsely suggest that we are all pornographers, human traffickers, or neonazis [sic], when in fact almost none of us are any of those things.

There is currently a huge grassroots political backlash in the US against the resurgence of hateful ideologies, and that is a very good thing for American society. But few of these highly concerned citizens who are speaking out against hatred and bigotry know very much about Tor and how it can be and is intended to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. And our enemies have rushed to try to exploit widely reported news items which (they claim) involve Tor in some way to paint a misleading and very negative picture of our entire community. If Tor Project did not attempt to vigorously correct misstatements and negative "spin", our enemies could very possibly achieve their goal of persuading the US Congress to simply outlaw Tor outright, which would be a terribly dangerous development for millions of member of pro-democracy and social justice movements all over the world, not to mention for millions of Americans who rely on Tor to project themselves and their families.

I would add that some things are so horrid and dangerous that every well intentioned citizen must oppose them. E.g. state-sponsored mayhem, oppression of journalism, neonazi street violence.

nyc_feb15

August 17, 2017

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I'm really glad you guys get the importance of the big picture here. Dailystormer.wang today, VICE the next, and TYT etc soon there after. We might hate the hate that is Anglin's product but first amendment protection is only tested at the extreme fringes. If we don't extend this positive human right to everyone then we don't actually believe in the first amendment at all. By the way, even if his perspective is not legitimate, Anglin is not a Nazi - read his article called "why I don't identify as a national socialist" or something like that if you are interested as to why this is true. Lots of love to everyone reading this.

nyc_feb15

August 17, 2017

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Nazis are the canary in the coal mine. Wherever you find Nazis you have free speech. Where they have been purged, you have censorship.

I think Tor's position is the correct one. Rather than trying to police traffic, which would completely destroy their credibility, they trust ordinary people not to be swayed by idiots, fools and tyrants.

"I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion. "
-- Thomas Jefferson

"Nazis are the canary in the coal mine. Wherever you find Nazis you have free speech. Where they have been purged, you have censorship."

Yeah, wherever you find Nazis you have free speech. I remember Nazi Germany, bastion of free speech. Duh.

So by that logic you had free speech in nazi germany?
I'd go with "Freedom is always the freedom of the one who thinks differently" (Rosa Luxemburg).
And there's a lot of ways to think differently. Nazis and Fascists have been in power way to often to consider them a good canary.