[tor-dev] Hidden service policies

Mike Hearn mike at plan99.net
Mon Jul 21 09:48:37 UTC 2014

> One of my first concerns would be that this would build in a very easy
> way for a government (probably the US government) to compel Tor to add
> in a line of code that says "If it's this hidden service key, block
> access."

And people who run Tor could easily take it out again, what with it being
open source and all.

> After all - it's a stretch to say "You must modify your software to
> support blocking things"[0]

I don't believe it's a stretch. If I did, perhaps I wouldn't bring the
topic up.

Judges and lawmakers care very little about the (in their eyes) minor
distinction between "the code to do this wasn't written yet" and "the code
to do this wasn't configured yet". For example, look at the EU right to be
forgotten ruling. The fact that no infrastructure existed to sift through
tens of thousands of vague requests for search results to be removed didn't
faze the court one bit, nor did the massive size of the project that
resulted. They simply interpreted the (vague, poor) law put in front of

Regardless, even if there is such a difference, jurisdiction would still
have the same effect as today. If there's even one relay that supports
introductions to a HS then the protocol would still technically work, but
operators in regions where the government proved unfavourable would be
protected and still able to operate.

Additionally, in the absence of government coercion, the Tor relay
community would then be able to collectively decide if they really want to
pay for the privilege of giving bandwidth to botnet and ransomware
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