This is What a Tor Supporter Looks Like: Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden

In mid-October, the Tor Project had an opportunity to interview Edward Snowden. Below are key excerpts from the conversation.

Tor: What would you say to a non-technical person about why they should support and care about Tor?

ES: Tor is a critical technology, not just in terms of privacy protection, but in defense of our publication right -- our ability to route around censorship and ensure that when people speak their voices can be heard. The design of the Tor system is structured in such a way that even if the US Government wanted to subvert it, it couldn't because it's a decentralized authority. It's a volunteer based network. Nobody's getting paid to run Tor relays -- they're volunteers worldwide. And because of this, it provides a built-in structural defense against abuses and most types of adversaries. Tor provides a level of safety, a level of guarantee, to the confidentiality, and in some cases anonymity of human communications. I think this is an incredible thing because it makes us more human. We are at the greatest peace with ourselves when nobody's watching.

Tor: Can you talk about how the world would be different if Tor did not exist?

ES: Without Tor, the streets of the Internet become like the streets of a very heavily surveilled city. There are surveillance cameras everywhere, and if the adversary simply takes enough time, they can follow the tapes back and see everything you've done. With Tor, we have private spaces and private lives, where we can choose who we want to associate with and how, without the fear of what that is going to look like if it is abused. What the Tor network allows is what's called a mixed routing experience where, due to a voluntary cooperation of peers around the Internet -- around the world, across borders, across jurisdictions -- you get individuals who are able to share traffic in ways that don't require them to be able to read the content of it. So you don't have to trust every participant of the Tor network to know who you are and what you're looking for.

Tor: Did you know that Tor is run by a non-profit organization?

ES: Yes, Tor has been extremely open. Almost everybody who is involved in development has an online presence; they're involved in online engagement. You can drop into the IRC and talk to these people directly and ask them questions, or criticize them (laughs). It's a very open and inclusive community, and I think that's incredibly valuable. They also have a very rich and well-supported mailing list, which is very helpful for people who want to move beyond being a passive user of Tor and actually start being an active participant in expanding the network, in running a relay node from your home, or even starting to experiment with running an exit, which I think is one of the most interesting parts of the Tor experience.

Please join Ed in supporting Tor today.

In fact I fell me oppressed and censored, that's why I'm here. But I seem to have no illusions about the true reasoning behind people's behavior. If Ed were honest he would have a job in an org with no business in surveillance and intelligence. This is my personal opinion.

lol

a neutral job does not exist ...
it is a phantasm.
a human being is so complicated that i do not believe that someone could understand the "real reasoning" hidden behind his/her behavior ...
it is a phantasm.
i guess you are speaking about sincerity or truth or an invisible resistant struggle in an underground unknown place where you could move & live with the help of the sacrifice of the others like in matrix ... and you are using the term "honest" ...
it is a phantasm.

and that is not my personal response/opinion ; eso es.

> If Ed were honest he would have a job in an org with no business in surveillance and intelligence.

So according to you, Freedom of the Press Foundation is a "surveillance and intelligence" business? Seriously?

As to the bare facts, Wikipedia is your friend:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Snowden#Career

o security guard at CASL (on grounds U Maryland College Park, close ties to NSA)

o systems analysis at CIA HQ (iLangley, VA)

o student at a CIA tech school

o sysadmin for CIA under diplomatic cover (in Geneva)

o NSA contract sysadmin via Dell (near Tokyo)

o NSA contract sysadmin via BAH (in Hawaii)

As part of these jobs, he also taught counter-cyberespionage techniques to USG employees.

As to your point... what *is* your point?

> I don't support Edward Snowden.

Yes, we picked up on that.

> 1 He made his way firstly to China and then to Russia. The both are geo-political adversaries of the USA. This looks like an attempt to trade USA secrets.

Only if you are not acquainted with the facts. See for example

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/10/06/snowden_bbc_interview_analysis/
Edward Snowden denies making a deal with the Russian secret service
‘I burnt my life to the ground to work against surveillance’
Patrick McGoohan as The Prisoner in "Fall Out"
John Leyden
6 Oct 2015

> Snowden firmly denied doing a deal with the FSB (the Russian state security agency) in exchange for asylum in Moscow. “I burned my life to the ground to work against surveillance,” said Snowden. Why would I suddenly turn around, because I’m in a different geographical location, and say 'I’m all about surveillance ... that’s what I’d like to do from now on'.”
>
> He admitted FSB officers had quizzed him while he was stuck in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport but denied handing over intelligence. “Everything I had is in the hands of journalists,” Snowden said.

Sources close to Russian intelligence have confirmed to reporters that they "got nothing" from Snowden.

More specifically, Snowden has said that he kept the documents on removable drives and gave these to Greenwald in Hong Kong. Later they made their way to The Guardian's offices in NYC. He specifically said that he never put any of them on any of his four laptops. The purpose of having four laptops was to have four different computers to use different software to perform different functions.

Snowden is an expert in defeating Chinese cyber-espionage, in fact before he defected to the People he taught USG operatives how to protect their computers when traveling abroad. He has stated that he used his knowledge to ensure that it would be very difficult or even impossible for an intelligence agency to surreptitiously decrypt the media.

> 2 If he really had wanted to inform the society he would have disclosed everything immediately, not the time the info got obsolete.

Many of the documents disclosed dragnet surveillance programs which were very active at the time of the leaks, including Prism, the dragnet collection of all calls made to or from nations such as the Bahamas, etc, etc. Some of the documents were dated April 2013, just two months before the leaks in June 2013.

Factually inaccurate smears won't get you very far in torspace.

Richard Rashke recently reviewed the demonization of Snowden by the enemies of freedom in Salon:

http://www.salon.com
Publicity hound, coward, liar: Whistleblowers are inevitably demonized by their enemies — Edward Snowden is no exception
Richard Rashke
13 Dec 2015

> The most powerful gun in the damage-control arsenal isn’t truth. It is demonization—a vicious assault on the character of the whistleblower in order to destroy credibility and distract from the message. The damage controller’s bag of tricks is as old as Machiavelli.

Last summer, Greenwald debunked a smear by the Sunday Times--- and recalled some relevant details from the Vietnam War era USG smears of another whistle-blower, Daniel Ellsberg:

https://theintercept.com/2015/06/14/sunday-times-report-snowden-files-j…
The Sunday Times’ Snowden Story is Journalism at its Worst — and Filled with Falsehoods
Glenn Greenwald
14 Jun 2015

> In the early 1970s, Nixon officials such as John Ehrlichman and Henry Kissinger planted accusations in the U.S. media that Daniel Ellsberg had secretly given the Pentagon Papers and other key documents to the Soviet Union; everyone now knows this was a lie, but at the time, American journalists repeated it constantly, helping to smear Ellsberg. That’s why Ellsberg has constantly defended Snowden and Chelsea Manning from the start: because the same tactics were used to smear him.

And Greenwald has explained another striking parallel:

https://theintercept.com/2015/04/07/political-rhetoric-us-never-changes…
Political Smears in U.S. Never Change: the NYT’s 1967 Attack on MLK’s Anti-War Speech
Glenn Greenwald
7 Apr 2015

> The script for smearing never changes — it stays constant over five decades and through the establishments of both parties — and it’s one of the reasons Ellsberg so closely identifies with Snowden and has become one of his most vocal defenders.
>
> A reader this morning pointed me to one of the most illustrative examples of this dynamic: an April 1967 New York Times editorial harshly chastising Martin Luther King for his anti-war activism. That editorial was published three days after King’s speech on the Vietnam War at the Riverside Church in New York City, which, as I have written about many times, was one of the most powerful (and radical) indictments of American militarism delivered in the 20th century

In the decades since Ellsberg's career was ruined and MLK was assassinated (questions about the role of an undercover FBI agent who was present on the balcony when King was killed still linger), both men have been widely honored.

Fortunately, Snowden hasn't endured decades before winning major awards: EPIC's "Champion of Freedom" award , the Sam Adams Prize, etc, etc. He's even garnered some grudging praise from top level spooks, and I don't mean just previous NSA whistleblowers. After returning from his secret visit to North Korea, DNI Dennis Clapper reluctantly admitted that Snowden leaks have had a positive effect: "I think it's clear that some of the conversations that this has generated, some of the debate, actually probably needed to happen. It's unfortunate they didn't happen some time ago, but if there's a good side to [the leaks], that's it."

And just look back at some of the incredibly silly things which US spooks were saying days after the first leaks appeared:

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Edward-Snowden-Beware-How-by-the-web-1…
Edward Snowden Beware: How Spooks Smear Whistleblowers
Steve Weissman, Reader Supported News
12 Jun 2013

> "China could be behind NSA leaks," screams the Newsmax headline on [former CIA agent Robert] Baer. "On the face of it, it looks like it's under some sort of Chinese control," Baer said... "We'll never get him from China. There's not a chance. He'll disappear there," says Baer. "He won't be able to go anywhere else"

Here is another debunking of USG anti-Snowden propaganda:

http://www.thenation.com/article/seven-myths-about-edward-snowden-nsa-w…
Seven Myths About Edward Snowden, NSA Whistleblower
A handy myth-stripping guide to NSA surveillance and its whistleblower.
Chase Madar
24 Jun 2013

Snowden already explained why the information he gathered is being released in small pieces... if he released everything at the beginning then there would have been much attention on his revelations only for a small time... and then everyone would have forgotten Snowdens' leaks... Releasing information from time to time, in small pieces, is a good way of keeping the attention level high on NSA & Co crimes.

One of the tactics which has always been employed by the enemies of the People is to demonize anyone who strikes a blow for freedom.

Richard Rashke recently reviewed the ongoing demonization of Snowden by USG officials and USIC media operatives in Salon:

http://www.salon.com/2015/12/13/publicity_hound_coward_liar_whistleblow…
Publicity hound, coward, liar: Whistleblowers are inevitably demonized by their enemies — Edward Snowden is no exception
Richard Rashke
13 Dec 2015

> The most powerful gun in the damage-control arsenal isn’t truth. It is demonization—a vicious assault on the character of the whistleblower in order to destroy credibility and distract from the message. The damage controller’s bag of tricks is as old as Machiavelli.

Last summer, Greenwald debunked a smear by the Sunday Times--- and recalled some relevant details from the Vietnam War era USG smears of another whistle-blower, Daniel Ellsberg:

https://theintercept.com/2015/06/14/sunday-times-report-snowden-files-j…
The Sunday Times’ Snowden Story is Journalism at its Worst — and Filled with Falsehoods
Glenn Greenwald
14 Jun 2015

> In the early 1970s, Nixon officials such as John Ehrlichman and Henry Kissinger planted accusations in the U.S. media that Daniel Ellsberg had secretly given the Pentagon Papers and other key documents to the Soviet Union; everyone now knows this was a lie, but at the time, American journalists repeated it constantly, helping to smear Ellsberg. That’s why Ellsberg has constantly defended Snowden and Chelsea Manning from the start: because the same tactics were used to smear him.

And Greenwald has explained another striking parallel:

https://theintercept.com/2015/04/07/political-rhetoric-us-never-changes…
Political Smears in U.S. Never Change: the NYT’s 1967 Attack on MLK’s Anti-War Speech
Glenn Greenwald
7 Apr 2015

> The script for smearing never changes — it stays constant over five decades and through the establishments of both parties — and it’s one of the reasons Ellsberg so closely identifies with Snowden and has become one of his most vocal defenders.
>
> A reader this morning pointed me to one of the most illustrative examples of this dynamic: an April 1967 New York Times editorial harshly chastising Martin Luther King for his anti-war activism. That editorial was published three days after King’s speech on the Vietnam War at the Riverside Church in New York City, which, as I have written about many times, was one of the most powerful (and radical) indictments of American militarism delivered in the 20th century

In the decades since Ellsberg's career was ruined and MLK was assassinated (questions about the role of an undercover FBI agent who was present on the balcony when King was killed still linger), both men have been widely honored.

Fortunately, Snowden hasn't endured decades before winning major awards: EPIC's "Champion of Freedom" award , the Sam Adams Prize, etc, etc. He's even garnered some grudging praise from top level spooks, and I don't mean just previous NSA whistleblowers. After returning from his secret visit to North Korea, DNI Dennis Clapper reluctantly admitted that Snowden leaks have had a positive effect: "I think it's clear that some of the conversations that this has generated, some of the debate, actually probably needed to happen. It's unfortunate they didn't happen some time ago, but if there's a good side to [the leaks], that's it."

And just look back at some of the incredibly silly things which US spooks were saying days after the first leaks appeared:

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Edward-Snowden-Beware-How-by-the-web-1…
Edward Snowden Beware: How Spooks Smear Whistleblowers
Steve Weissman, Reader Supported News
12 Jun 2013

> "China could be behind NSA leaks," screams the Newsmax headline on [former CIA agent Robert] Baer. "On the face of it, it looks like it's under some sort of Chinese control," Baer said... "We'll never get him from China. There's not a chance. He'll disappear there," says Baer. "He won't be able to go anywhere else"

Here is another debunking of USG anti-Snowden propaganda:

http://www.thenation.com/article/seven-myths-about-edward-snowden-nsa-w…
Seven Myths About Edward Snowden, NSA Whistleblower
A handy myth-stripping guide to NSA surveillance and its whistleblower.
Chase Madar
24 Jun 2013

> [Snowden] made his way firsly to China and then to Russia. The both are geo-political adversaries of the USA. This looks like an attempt to trade USA secrets.

This was one of the first propaganda themes to be pushed by USG operatives back in June 2013, and within weeks it had been so thoroughly debunked that I am surprised to see it re-emerge.

Snowden didn't go to *China*, he went to *Hong Kong*, the former UK colony which was handed over to China under the understanding that it would become an autonomous region with press freedoms not available elsewhere in China. No surprise that the central Chinese government soon moved to quash the promised freedoms, but despite the very considerable risks in speaking out, Hong Kong remains one of the few places in China where most ordinary people support activists who speak out against one party rule, censorship, government crackdowns on peaceful street protests--- and in recent weeks, the alarming disappearances of several people who has published things the Chinese leadership didn't like to see in print:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/01/answers-demanded-missing-hong-kon…
Answers sought on missing Hong Kong publishers
Protest held over disappearance of five employees of company specialising in books banned by Chinese government.
3 Jan 2016

> Pro-democracy protesters have marched in front of China's liaison office in Hong Kong to demand information about a missing book editor and four of his colleagues, who worked for a company specialising in books critical of China's government.

Further, Snowden was regarded in CIA/NSA (before his defection to The People) as an expert on counter-surveillance methods which could defeat Chinese cyberespionage methods in particular, including ways in which Chinese spooks target hotel guests. In fact, Snowden even taught cyber-safeguards to other employees of the USG.

So Hong Kong was actually a very shrewd choice of places to meet Greenwald and Poitras.

> If he really had wanted to inform the society he would have disclosed everything immediately, not the time the info got obsolete.

Most of the documents leaked by Snowden in Jun 2013 were only a few years old. Some were only a few months old. Hundreds of the most important documents described in detail programs which very much in operation at the time of the leak (and indeed in many cases continue to this day).

Anonymous

January 01, 2016

Permalink

ED or TOR : Could you please explain how can I : You can drop into the IRC and talk to these people directly and ask them questions . THANKS
Mr P
Houston TX USA

https://www.torproject.org/about/contact#irc
should get you started.

I'm afraid it's not super-easy for the average internet user though. IRC is mainly the way that we interact with each other, and that we interact with our community of volunteers and other helpers. You might have more luck using the helpdesk, or tor.stackexchange.com, or going to your local cryptoparties, or finding Tor people at conferences.

Snowden was quoted as saying:

> "You can drop into the IRC and talk to these people directly and ask them questions, or criticize them" (laughs).

Just a guess (would welcome correction): Snowden may have been citing the pre-configured oftc accounts in Tails, the Tor/GPG-equipped amnesiac operating system which he has stated he used (with other critical open source software) to blow the whistle on NSA.

You asked:

> Could you please explain how can I : You can drop into the IRC and talk to these people [Tor supporters?] directly and ask them questions

If I guessed correctly what he was talking about in the interview, I guess further that you tried using Tails and were unable to log onto any oftc chat servers. If so, the likely reason is that the oftc chat servers unfortunately started blocking the Tails accounts last year. But Tor Messenger is here in beta and you can perhaps try that (maybe wait for the first stable release if you yourself want to contact reporters as a whistleblower).

If you are talking about the pre-configured OFTC accounts in Tails, this might help:

https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-talk/2016-January/039818.html
From: bancfc
3 Jan 2016
Sun Jan 3 22:14:13 UTC 2016

> The OFTC servers have been blocking Tor users for weeks and the #tor is no longer a viable support channel for anonymous users. We are looking for other Tor friendly options at the moment and it would be great if you consider moving your channels too.

> Options we are considering for Whonix are Anarplex and DarkScience - the latter has an onion service.

Anonymous

January 01, 2016

Permalink

"even starting to experiment with running an exit, which I think is one of the most interesting parts of the Tor experience. "

some individuals who have run exit relays have found themselves arrested by police because of illegal stuff done using the exit relay. certainly their lives became very interesting when they were arrested at gun-point on child pornography/bomb threat charges. i don't think people should experiment with running an exit relay personally. maybe they could mitigate the risk by using fake billing info and traceless payment for the exit relay server so it can't be traced back to them easily. this is something that DOXBIN and PinkMeth did for their (illegal) hidden services. however, DOXBIN/PM used other secrecy techniques to hide who ran the server (such as always logging into it using Tor itself), something we can't expect individuals to do consistently.

i think larger orgs should stick to running exit relays and we can donate to them maybe. mr snowden means well but i think he is over-zealous. people who naively follow his ideas can find themselves victims of the police apparatus mr snowden wants to protect us from.

At 32c3 last week, we had a relay operator meetup, and more than 100 people attended. This is an astonishing number of people compared to even five years ago.

So yes, I agree with you that not everybody is in a good position to run an exit relay. But the actual legal issues are very rare. The much more common issue is that your ISP doesn't understand what's going on and gets scared and wants you to stop. We, the Tor community, need to keep working to educate ISPs about the importance of Tor, and about how exit relays work. Running your exit relay in some obfuscated hidden way is usually a terrible way to introduce Tor to the ISPs in a positive light.

For other tips on how to run an exit relay more smoothly, see:
https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/wiki/doc/TorExitGuidelines

Anonymous

January 02, 2016

Permalink

I hope he means the good side of Tor is why we should support it.... Otherwise, the bad side has stalkers, killers and hackers!(the insane type of them) But I think I get what he's saying.

https google translation could help you better ;) to understand the reason why you should wish support tor.

*we are using few percent of the net even with the hidden services _ 70% are for commercial area _ so, if you wish see the dark side it will be more on the 70 % than on the 1%.
killers,hackers,stalkers (lol) are not dangerous ; they are tagged as this but they are not as dangerous as in the real life.

Anonymous

January 04, 2016

Permalink

I want to use this opportunity to thank both the Tor Project, our Lebanon, N.H. Library Director [who had Tor installed in our local public library computer system]; and who stood up to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security-who contacted Lebanon NH Police to try to persuade our library director to cease using Tor, and our local Board of Library Trustees-who supported our Library Director's decision. ...and to also thank Edward Snowden for bringing this matter to the U.S. Citizen's attention.
I regret that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has "private sector representatives" [ALL Corporate (for-profit) representatives], but NO public interest representatives on their regional Fusion Center boards-such as the League of Women Voters. Our LEPC (Local Emergency Planning Committee) had League of Women Voter representatives, and other public-sector representatives-to safe guard the interests of all citizens, not just the for-profit "public sector".

Anonymous

January 05, 2016

Permalink

I believe Snowden is a modern era hero and we all should support projects like Tor, because they're working for us. For our privacy. For our rights. A lot of my friends tell me that they don't care about privacy so much because they have nothing to hide.... but as Snowden says, it's just like saying that you don't care about freedom of speech because you don't have nothing to say. So, keep on fighting for freedom.

If you want to use Tor to browse the web, download Tor Browser here

https://www.torproject.org/download/download-easy.html.en

(Hmm... why does the Project make that link so hard to spot on the home page?)

Make sure you download the correct version for your OS (Windows, Mac, Linux). Make sure you use GPG to verify the detached signature of the tarball. And be sure to read

https://www.torproject.org/about/overview.html.en#stayinganonymous

Note that Tor Browser provides a Tor-friendly web browser which is based on Mozilla Firefox. The "bundle" includes everything needed to make it run safely on your computer. But installing TB won't cause your computer to use Tor for other interactions with the Internet. In particular, it won't anonymize chats or file downloads with a tool such as wget or curl.

If you want to use Tor safely for more than web-browsing, you should check out Tails, an open-source live linux-based amnesiac operating system available free of charge here:

https://tails.boum.org/news/index.en.html

The Tail Project is a distinct NGO, but it maintains close ties to Tor Project.

"Amnesiac" means that the Tails system (technically, a stripped down security/anonymity-enhanced version of Debian, a Linux distribution) is designed to avoid leaving traces on the hard disk or other permanent storage of how you used your computer, which can be very important for whistleblowers, or activists or human rights researchers working in dangerous locations (which increasingly appears to mean "anywhere in the world").

To use Tails you put a "live" copy on removable media (a DVD or USB stick) and boot your computer or device from that. It won't touch your hard disk (if any).

Make sure to read the excellent Tails documentation:

https://tails.boum.org/doc/index.en.html

Anonymous

January 08, 2016

Permalink

@ Mike Perry and Tor Browser team:

An article by Patrick O'Neill, originally published in the Daily Dot, has just been republished in Salon. (For those who don't know, that's a mainstream left-leaning US magazine.)

I think this is a major achievement for the Project and for the Tor Browser team in the campaign to mainstream Tor, so congratulations are in order!

After all the disinformation which our enemies have relentlessly promulgated in the mass media, it's a joy to see a story which finally makes all the corrections which needed to be made to... pretty much everything the mass media has been saying for years about Tor.

I love the title, and the story gets even better from there:

http://www.salon.com/2016/01/08/this_is_the_web_browser_you_should_be_u…
This is the web browser you should be using if you care at all about security
Hint: It's not Chrome or Firefox
Patrick Howell O'Neill, The Daily Dot
8 Jan 2016

> No matter what you’ve heard about the Tor network, the basics of the service are simple: Tor keeps anyone who uses it safe, secure, and anonymous on the Internet.
> ...
> Once you have Tor, it’s as simple to use as Chrome or Firefox. (In fact, the Tor browser is a tweaked version of Firefox.) You can view most websites as you would with any other browser—the main difference is that now those websites won’t know who you are. You won’t be identified and tracked the way that you are around the Internet with other browsers.
>
> Tor lets you do plenty of other stuff, too. Using the Tor browser or working with other programs, you can chat anonymously or share files without giving up your identity. One of the most interesting uses of Tor is accessing so-called hidden services, anonymous websites that only exist within the Tor network. In the same way that Tor hides your identity, a hidden service website’s location and the identity of its owner is also hidden thanks to Tor’s technology.
> ...
> People often confuse the Deep Web and Dark Net. Adding further confusion is that these names are not used universally. Some call the Dark Net the Dark Web or the Deep Web the Deep Net. We use Dark Net and Deep Web. Here’s what each term truly means:
>
> The Deep Web is information on the Internet that is not available by standard search engines. This is a vast stretch of cyberspace because it includes private databases, administrative portals, emails, archives, and more. The Dark Net is a subsection of the Deep Web.
>
> The Dark Net or Dark Web are networks like Tor, I2P, or FreeNet that can only be accessed using specialized software and are often motivated by hiding certain data. When you’re talking about the Dark Net, the “normal Internet”—the one you used to access this article—is known as the Clear Net.
> ...
> Tor’s user base is diverse and, by design, it’s virtually impossible to know everyone who is on the network. Tor’s foundational purpose is to allow everyone, from spies to political dissidents, to surf the Web in such a way that no one can know who they are.
>
> Now, thousands of normal computer users utilize Tor in order to protect themselves from ads, tracking, and surveillance. Journalists use Tor to protect their sources and themselves. Both law enforcement and criminals use Tor in order to hide what they’re doing online. Businesses protect their Internet traffic using Tor. In countries like Iran and China, Tor is used to evade censorship and surveillance.
> ...
> Because of Tor’s origins within and continued connections to the U.S. military, there’s been much skepticism directed towards it throughout the years. If the Tor Project gets money from the U.S. government every year—which it does—wouldn’t that government insert a backdoor so it could spy on Tor’s users?
>
> Tor is open source, which means that every line of code that makes the program run is available for you to read right here. That code is written and audited by security professionals to make sure Tor does what they say it does: Keep users safe and secure from everyone, even the U.S. government.
>
> Despite understandable skepticism about the project’s connections to the U.S. government, no one has ever spotted a backdoor in Tor. On the contrary, no critic has ever really criticized the code in significant ways. The world’s top security professionals swear by Tor.
> ...
> Tor is a big step toward privacy, but there’s plenty more you can do, like using end-to-end encrypted messaging while also using Tor.

So, finally, a story which tells the truth about Tor (and even deftly debunks the usual lies told by the FBI propaganda machine)!

Hurrah!

Well, at least one correction:

> The Dark Net or Dark Web are networks like [hidden services accessible via] Tor, I2P, or FreeNet that can only be accessed using specialized software

> Using the Tor browser or working with other programs, you can chat anonymously or share files without giving up your identity.

Is that true, or should this read: "using Tor Messenger (once it is out of Beta), you can chat anonymously"?

Anonymous

January 14, 2016

Permalink

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/265889-cruz-flip…
Cruz shifts on Edward Snowden
Bradford Richardson
14 Jan 2016

This is in a way somewhat amusing:

Sen. Cruz in 2013:

"If it is the case that the federal government is seizing millions of personal records about law-abiding citizens, and if it is the case that there are minimal restrictions on accessing or reviewing those records, then I think Mr. Snowden has done a considerable public service by bringing it to light."

Sen. Cruz in 2016 (in a recent statement to the NYT):

"It is now clear that Snowden is a traitor, and he should be tried for treason. Today, we know that Snowden violated federal law, that his actions materially aided terrorists and enemies of the United States, and that he subsequently fled to China and Russia. Under the Constitution, giving aid to our enemies is treason."

Anonymous

January 28, 2016

Permalink

I salute John Kiriakou for continuing to courageously blow the whistle, most recently on abuses by prison guards in US Federal prisons:

https://www.truthdig.com/report/item/an_assault_on_justice_20160127
An Assault on Justice
John Kiriakou
27 Jan 2016

> Two federal prison guards in Florida recently agreed to plead guilty for beating a prisoner and then covering it up. One officer faces up to three years in a federal prison, while the other is looking at a year.
> ...
> The two Florida officers are no anomaly. About a year ago, I finished a 23-month stay in a federal prison for blowing the whistle on the CIA’s torture program. I couldn’t believe some of the things I saw there.
> ...
> One of my cellmates at Loretto, whom I’ll call “James,” was a mentally ill homeless man from Pittsburgh. He’d purposefully violated the terms of his federal probation so he could spend the winter months indoors.
>
> James was clear with both the medical staff and his cellmates that he was mentally ill and needed to be medicated. We appreciated his candor.
>
> But the medical staff’s primary mission is to keep costs low, and drugs for serious mental illness are expensive. Since James was supposed to go home in a few months anyway, they didn’t give him his meds. You can guess what happened: James began to spiral into insanity, and he was sent to solitary confinement.
>
> James’s struggles angered the staff. After one incident in solitary, he was stripped naked, beaten, and thrown outside. It was January, and the temperature in the central Pennsylvania mountains was 10 degrees. An eyewitness told me that James apologized and asked to be let back in. He started crying after a couple of hours in the cold. Then he curled up into a ball and fainted.
>
> No guards were punished for what they did to James. Even if he’d reported it to the federal Bureau of Prisons headquarters, who would have listened to him? Would you believe a uniformed law enforcement officer or a mentally ill homeless man?

Anonymous

January 28, 2016

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Another act of petty revenge by USG: ten years after he disclosed the unconstitutional PSP to the NYT, whistleblower Thomas Tamm is suddenly facing disbarment for--- get this--- "ethics" violations. Yes, it seems the Bar Association has the curious idea that blowing the whistle on a huge Constitutional violation--- no-one in USG denies this is the case--- is a violation of ethics:

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/01/ethics-charges-filed-against…
Ethics charges filed against DOJ lawyer who exposed Bush-era surveillance
David Kravets
26 Jan 2016

> A former Justice Department lawyer is facing legal ethics charges for exposing the President George W. Bush-era surveillance tactics—a leak that earned The New York Times a Pulitzer and opened the debate about warrantless surveillance that continues today.
>
> The lawyer, Thomas Tamm, now a Maryland state public defender, is accused of breaching Washington ethics rules for going to The New York Times instead of his superiors about his concerns about what was described as "the program."

Can't advise you, but maybe some else can help.

Another reason to donate generously to TP: once Tor Messenger gets out of beta, with more user donations TP may be able to set up and staff chat rooms dedicated to Tor support questions which cannot be easily blocked by third parties. I think this is one of those measures which would help a lot to "mainstream" Tor, but I also think the users will have to help make it happen by providing the "no strings" funding needed.

One of the more thankless needed tasks is cleaning up the website and marking or removing information which is hopelessly out of date.

Anonymous

January 30, 2016

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Further developments in the Double Standard for Leaking front:

Senator Cruz and most of the other US Presidential candidates are loudly calling for Snowden's head. The Bar Association is suddenly trying to disbar Thomas Tamm, ten years after he disclosed the unconstitutional PSP. The Obama era DOJ has filed for criminal charges related to alleged leaks (these charges typically would result in decades long to life prison sentences) than all previous administrations combined.

So what happens when a general leaks top secret information to his illicit lover? He loses his job, but he isn't charged with any crime. He is not even demoted--- which means he gets to keep his lucrative four-star pension (which amounts to double dipping, since he also is paid very handsomely in military-industrial complex corporate sinecures):

http://thehill.com/policy/defense/267609-pentagon-wont-demote-petraeus
Pentagon won’t demote Petraeus
Kristina Wong
30 Jan 2016

> Defense Secretary Ash Carter will not seek to demote retired Gen. David Petraeus for sharing classified information with his biographer, according to a Jan. 29 letter from the Pentagon to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Of course, Carter leaks to his favorite reporters all the time, and he is looking forward to enjoying his own post-governmental sinecures, so it's no surprise he is protecting one of his own kind.

A curious feature of the US Presidential race is that at least two candidates are probably constitutionally disqualified. Cruz does not meet the "natural born" requirement (he was born in Canada), and the FBI is leaking (to congressional allies) a bit of juicy gossip: Hillary Clinton is likely to soon be indicted on felony charges for exposing all manner of Top Secret information in her personal email server.

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/267524-gop-rep-f…
29 Jan 2016
GOP lawmaker: FBI ‘would like to indict both Huma and Hillary’
Mark Hensch

> Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said the FBI likely has enough evidence right now to indict Hillary Clinton and her valued aide Huma Abedin, but that agency chief James Comey is being constrained.
>
> “I think the FBI director would like to indict both Huma and Hillary as we speak,” Issa told The Washington Examiner in an interview published Friday. “I think he’s in a position where he’s being forced to triple-time make a case what would otherwise be, what they call, a slam dunk."

(This kind of language usually indicates that the leaker is Comey himself, or a top aide.)

The political establishment will no doubt prevent the DOJ from actually indicting her, but can anyone doubt that anyone who did not enjoy her deep ties to Wall Street would be immunized from prosecution?

So what happens to the first US presidential candidate whose campaign is in some danger of being derailed by a criminal indictment for an electronic faux-paux? She gets endorsed by WaPo and NYT (two papers which are, needless to add, owned by billionaires, in keeping with virtually all remaining US newspapers):

blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/267608-new-york-times-endorses-clinton-kasich
New York Times endorses Clinton, Kasich
30 Jan 2016

Clinton aid Huma Abedin, who may be charged as a less immunized proxy for Clinton herself, is the wife of a former Congressman who was forced to resign after he sent some dick pics, so the Clinton camp is well versed in electronic impropriety (as in, "do it but don't get caught--- oops, we got caught, again").

Anonymous

February 01, 2016

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Ashkan Soltani, who has worked on cybersecurity for privacy groups, and later worked with Barton Gellman at WaPo on the Snowden documents, was hired in December as a senior adviser to WH CTO Megan Smith, in a move which was widely applauded by privacy advocates.

But in another act of petty revenge by proxy, the people who recently lost the official USG background check dossiers on all USG employees with security clearances have barred him from actually taking the job:

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/02/researcher-who-helped-write-…
Researcher for Snowden journos leaves White House, denied security clearance
They won't say why, but White House personnel security sent Ashkan Soltani packing.
Joe Mullin
1 Feb 2016

Anonymous

February 05, 2016

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http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/feb/05/edward-snowden-us-govern…
US government jet lay in wait for Snowden in Copenhagen
David Crouch in Gothenburg
5 Feb 2016

> A US government jet was lying in wait in Copenhagen to extradite the whistleblower Edward Snowden if he had come to Scandinavia after fleeing to Moscow in June 2013, the Danish government has revealed. The twin-engined Gulfstream aircraft, which had previously been used to fly Abu Hamza to the US from the UK, landed shortly before the FBI called on Scandinavian police forces to arrest Snowden and hand him over for extradition.

The Guardian article does not identify the aircraft, but it is one of the most notorious of all the USG aircraft used for state-sponsored kidnappings:

http://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinquiry/NNum_Results.aspx?NNumbertxt=97…

I am sure many readers would be very interested to know the current location of this aircraft. The last flight for which a flight plan was filed may be a return to its home base KHEF (Mannassas Regional Airport, also the home base for many FBI spy planes) from EGGW in London, in Jun 2014 (a year after the USG's failed attempt to kidnap Snowden).