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.

> so are you or are you not blocking them?

By the very design of Tor, the Tor Project cannot possibly "block" anyone using the Tor network on the basis of content.

That is not a bad thing. Many people may want to censor the Daily Stormer, and I can understand why: that group promotes hateful, disgusting, and potentially dangerous views. But please don't condemn Tor for its inability to censor even the most hateful views. Because many governments want to censor, not neonazis or racists, but opposition political parties. Many multinational corporations want to censor bloggers who are trying to call attention to their misdeeds, which in some cases amount to illegal activity. To mention one recent example, Big Soda has tried to censor soda tax activists in Mexico (apparently even going to far as to provide the money to hire NSO Group to target them with sophisticated malware, against which using Tor may provide some defense). And so on and so forth.

Most of the things which some powerful entity somewhere in the world wants to censor are--- unlike Daily Stormer--- actually socially desirable. Providing technical counter-censorship tools does not imply that anyone favors the lowest common denominator among all those views which someone somewhere wishes to suppress. Rather, supporting Tor amounts to an expression of faith in the principle that if they feel free to express their true opinions, the vast majority of the members of any civilized society will want to speak out *against* hateful ideologies, not in favor of them.

From the actions of the US government, many people around the world have no doubt received a poor impression of the USA. The recent grassroots political backlash inside the US suggests the American people are not as inclined towards military violence and promoting political oppression around the world as their government sometimes seems to be, but to the contrary are inclined towards tolerance and working to find peaceful solutions to conflicts at home and abroad.

Just because a philosopher philosophizes a concept doesn't mean their conclusion is true.
Don't fall so easily for the argumentum ad verecundiam, my dear sophist.

Anonymous

August 17, 2017

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Thanks for allowing them to use your services still. It's good you're not censoring them due to their political and social beliefs. I am not a racist but I still think racists should have a right to speak and use services. If we censor them, we're no better than they are.

> Thanks for allowing them to use your services still. It's good you're not censoring them due to their political and social beliefs

Just trying to make sure everyone clearly understands: by the very nature of Tor software, Tor Project cannot prevent anyone from using Tor, and cannot censor anyone's use of Tor based upon content. That's one of the things which makes Tor significantly different from, say, Facebook, which has been getting into so much trouble lately in its (inevitably) troubled attempts to sort out "acceptable" content from "unacceptable" content. Virtually everyone agrees that a few things, like promoting genocide on-line, are unacceptable, but actually attempting to implement a censorship regime, even one which is narrowly focused, always runs into trouble.

Anonymous

August 17, 2017

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I only fear Tor joining other internet powers to start suppressing "politically incorrect" content. Don't ever let that happen.

It's not about "politically correct" These guys cyber stalk, dox, show up at people's houses, harass their very young children, intimidate, and terrorize. They aren't just calling people bad names, and what not. This is not freedom of speech as these giant pussies will have you believe. If you have been paying attention- they incite violence. They literally give 2 dicks about freedom of speech. It's a gd ploy.

Anonymous

August 18, 2017

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Hatred of any kind, cannot be tolerated! All power to those that stand against it! To re-iterate a famous quote (Sir Edmund Burke):

"All it takes for evil to succeed, is for good men/women to do nothing.".

Then stand up and debate them, or seek out and persuade members of their group to change their rhetoric. Silencing a group or a person by categorical imperative is evil too.

Yes. Nazis will always be the exception to the "free speech" rally. They are fucking you in the ass with free speech, and they could give two shits about it. It's their proverbial foot in the door, you twats!!! To recap: When is it bad to ban Nazis?
NEVER. fucking NEVER. See Fucking Himmler, Goebbels and Goering. And either stand up or be known for what you helped spread.

Anonymous

August 18, 2017

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Can you post the Daily Stormer's onion so we can "help" them with some web design? They need some peace or lgbtq banner there.

Tor Project cannot condone or assist in vandalizing or DDOSing a website, even such a hateful one as Daily Stormer.

To repeat, decades of experience (c.f. ACLU and SPLC) have shown that the only *effective* way to ensure that hate groups do not gain or maintain political power in a (more or less) democratic society is not to try to censor their views, but rather to speak out against those views, and to persuade your friends and neighbors to join you in speaking out against hatred and bigotry.

Anonymous

August 18, 2017

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>[...] and points on the (legitimate, non-Nazi) political spectrum

Who imbued you with the power to decide what is and isn't a legitimate political opinion?

I agree with the position of Tor and their entire blog post, except this. Nazism might be an evil and horrible political opinion, but it should be recognized as a political opinion.

Anonymous

August 18, 2017

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Anything good can be used for evil. It's the people who are using it who decide which one they want. Just as with the 1st Amendment your right to speech also means other's with evil intentions also have that right. The problem occurs when you censor the things you disagree with and in doing so become just as evil as those you sought to silence.

Anonymous

August 18, 2017

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"The core principle of Tor, "onion routing", was developed in the mid-1990s by United States Naval Research Laboratory employees, mathematician Paul Syverson and computer scientists Michael G. Reed and David Goldschlag, with the purpose of protecting U.S. intelligence communications online."

> Well tor is dead now ...

It would be a tedious undertaking indeed to attempt to collect all the many many times someone has said that in a comment in this blog.

The Tor community is under a dire existential *political* threat (e.g. from FBI) as well as under constant technical threat (e.g. from NSA), but it is certainly not dead yet, and if freedom is to live, it is essential that the enemies of Tor not be able to kill it, whether by means poltical or technical.

Anonymous

August 18, 2017

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Why did you have to say anything? Why do you feel under pressure to respond to day-to-day US politics?

Anonymous

August 18, 2017

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I lost family in the Holocaust. Modern neo-Nazi groups hate me for my background.

You have to understand the history of extremist groups in order to avoid becoming exactly like them. Virtue signalling on political trends does not instill confidence that TOR ensures neutrality. Just be neutral, don't get involved in telling people what to do or think.

Nazi groups are vile (overall, not just because they hate me particularly for being Jewish), then everyone should be able to see that, and no censorship or 'hate speech' thought-control should be necessary. The problem solves itself. However, the 'OMG NAZI's' people are the same ones comfortable with Communism, and Communists were also anti-Semitic and killed millions. Both of them are unwanted, and if you favor/persecute only one of the extremes then don't be surprised if the other extreme gets more powerful as a result (again, see history of ww2 and rise of extremist movements).

All these comments asking for TOR to censor is like watching one group considered criminals depending on the viewpoint/jurisdiction moralize about how some other group are totally criminals because of a different viewpoint/jurisdiction. TOR users are persecuted/harassed in many places, don't forget that when moralizing.

Anonymous

August 18, 2017

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My concern is more focused on my neighbours.

Is it really possible for Putin to ban - techno-wise - the usage of tor in Russia and China? It's all very well to get the legislation rubber-stamped by the Duma and whatever passes for the Chinese parliament - which meets once annually for only about two weeks.

The goods news is, of course, that Putin obviously hasn't 'cracked' the onion route and this means that the shentlemen at NSA are also in the same position.

LEA are able to focus only on excessive bandwidth and power consumption as guides to nefarious activities. Such clues allow them to apply for a tappingwarrant on the isp's servers - I forget the acronym used - so, to me, tor network usage is still very, very safe.

Venturing outside of the tor network is, of course, totally unsafe. Never forget it!

Bur getting back to China and Russia - oops! I guess that's a question I shouldn't be asking on a public forum. I don't want to educate/alert their respective dictators.

Three loud cheers for the onion route...

Anonymous

August 18, 2017

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"What about the child pornographers, drug dealers and human trafficking?"

Think hard about that question asked above and understand thus that only neo-nazis, supremacists - of whatever ilk - racists, etc. etc. will indulge in those drug, human-trafficking and pedophile activities.

And using tor to do so means that they're removing themselves from the regular internet thereby self-limiting the quantity/volume of their potential audience.

Better yet, any movement of such ideologues to the tor network is, in fact, a deliberate act of self-censorship.

All democrats, whether conservative or liberal, abhor and shun such criminal activities.

Nationalists, hiding under the umbrella of democracy, corruptly see such criminal activities as legitimate commercial activities.

Is there an index somewhere where countries are rated by a conflation of criminal and nationalistic activities. I bet we all could accurately guess which nations would be at the head of such a list, yes?

Any social scientists reading me here? It's not only climate changes which must urgently be reversed!

Yes, such democrats might establish institutions to rehabilitate such criminals in much the same way they also provide institutions to aid refugees.

Thanks for your indulgence...

Anonymous

August 18, 2017

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Thank you and best wishes.

Anonymous

August 18, 2017

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This post was unnecessary. This is how everything has gotten politicized and out of control today. Every company/organization/group must publicize their "belief". For most it is a PR piece. If you have a personal opinion on this subject the shout it out and attribute it to yourself. Shouting it out as the TOR organization just drops you in the same bucket as all of the other corporations who spew out their PR. TOR should be above this.

Anonymous

August 18, 2017

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While I think The Tor Project took a huge risk by expressing their collective and official opinion on this matter ie: making this the voice of the project, I think it is a testament to their integrity as an organization that DESPITE this "Official Opinion", they will not censor their network in any way. Kind of like how if a certain administration personally feels a certain whistle blower from 2013 is a "dirty leaker" and should be pursued for treason, it should still uphold the integrity of the nation it stands for and allow Due Process. Like I said, this was a risky statement. But a great example of integrity.

Anonymous

August 19, 2017

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So Tor is modern technology but it has Nazis on it? How do they use it? I didnt think they had the internet in their time...

Anonymous

August 19, 2017

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Why are so much people speaking about censorship in this context. If I am not willing to serve Nazis it is in no way censorship. Censorship historically is the activities governments undertook to stop unwanted (most times emancipatory movements). And this is what freedom of speech is about. But freedom of speech in no way forces me as an individual or any company to serve my services to and nazis. So yea in the case of tor there is sadly no way to stop them by Technic at least not with tor itself. But that's hopefully an unwanted side effect.

And hey, if some idiot is talking shit on your birthday you also kick him out and you won't complain about censorship.

Anonymous

August 19, 2017

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"and points on the (legitimate, non-Nazi) political spectrum"

What about communists? The second most widespread form of terrorism after Islamic terrorism is Communist terrorism. Communist regimes killed way more people than fascist regimes ever did, and on top of that collapsed every single country they ever took over. Is the far left also non legitimate, or is it just the far right?

Nice deflection, address the issue by pointing out questions about other groups. If I may suggest, do a search on 'critical thinking skills' and learn the basics. I mean it sincerely. If more people did learn critical thinking skills our debates would be more constructive and informative, even for difficult and personal issues and topics.

Anonymous

August 19, 2017

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We live in a reverse McCarthy era nowadays.
Everyone expressing even remotely right-wing ideas is being prosecuted as 'Hateful Nazi'. Meanwhile 'progressive' left-wing extremists are free to spread moral terror under the veil of 'tolerance' and 'social justice'. But their tolerance quickly comes to an end when someone opposes their worldview and they respond with the very hatred they claim to fight.

People seem to have forgotten that attributes like 'right' or 'wrong', 'evil' or 'good' are mere opinions in the eye of the beholder and not static absolutes. A society permanently needs to renegotiate its values. The path to extremism begins where you criminalize your opponents instead of debating them.

is it an usa blog ?
like an american movement reserved for the losers of the last election ?
calumny, rancor, hate ...
if yes it should be better to allow tor & its onions only on the u.s territory ... no one else understands the sens of this article except the author who was payed for posted it ... weak argument without impact & outside of the reality.

Anonymous

August 19, 2017

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I support Tor's decision 100% on this issue. Tor has been double-edged sword since day one. It's not ideal but its existence is essential. For those who are attacking Tor on this, please provide or suggest a better way to insure the freedom of expression, otherwise you are just a punch of cowards who criticize at no cost. The true fairness is here yet you all are pretending to be blind.

Anonymous

August 19, 2017

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I guess I know the reason for the disclaimer, but why would Tor even need to make a statement reviling white supremacists? Don't the vast majority of sane people revile them too as a matter of course? Should that not go without saying? A lot worse goes on here then saying racist thing. I distrust any ideology that requires me to protest my innocence, when I was never guilty.