[tor-dev] Scaling tor for a global population

Thomas White thomaswhite at riseup.net
Fri Sep 26 20:31:28 UTC 2014

Hash: SHA1

I think one of the important thoughts here, at least as an exit
operator is that having a large group like that can significantly
influence how Tor is seen and I am sure having that kind of backing
could open many avenues for us.

If we are to scale up, we can reduce CPU load (or optimise) per node
or we can have more ISPs who welcome Tor. I think whilst there are
lots of great people doing fantastic work expanding the ISP's who
accept Tor, we need to perhaps revisit those ISP's who have shown to
be hostile towards us. Do you believe this person or group could
assist in perhaps pursuading ISP's to open up to Tor exit operators
like myself?

If they are willing to offer their name as a backing, I'd be more than
happy to dedicate myself for many hours per week to get in touch with
ISP's and try to change their policies. If we see much success, I can
easily co-ordinate a revamp of the good/bad ISP list which has become
a bit messy over the last few months. Given the sheer volume of
traffic my exits have pushed (Petabytes a month), the amount of abuse
complaints I've had and even police raids I am quite comfortable
giving ISP's the honest picture. Some won't open up even with major
backing but I am sure we can convince some to change their policies
when they see and hear from the actual operators who aren't in prison
(since many of them seem to equate running Tor exits to being a
criminal or a guaranteed way to get in trouble with the police).

- -T

On 26/09/2014 15:58, Andrew Lewman wrote:
> I had a conversation with a vendor yesterday. They are interested
> in including Tor as their "private browsing mode" and basically
> shipping a re-branded tor browser which lets people toggle the 
> connectivity to the Tor network on and off.
> They very much like Tor Browser and would like to ship it to their 
> customer base. Their product is 10-20% of the global market, this
> is of roughly 2.8 billion global Internet users.
> As Tor Browser is open source, they are already working on it.
> However ,their concern is scaling up to handling some percent of
> global users with "tor mode" enabled. They're willing to entertain
> offering their resources to help us solve the scalability
> challenges of handling hundreds of millions of users and relays on
> Tor.
> As this question keeps popping up by the business world looking at 
> privacy as the next "must have" feature in their products, I'm
> trying to compile a list of tasks to solve to help us scale. The
> old 2008 three-year roadmap looks at performance, 
> https://www.torproject.org/press/2008-12-19-roadmap-press-release.html.en
>  I've been through the specs, 
> https://gitweb.torproject.org/torspec.git/tree/HEAD:/proposals to
> see if there are proposals for scaling the network or directory
> authorities. I didn't see anything directly related.
> The last research paper I see directly addressing scalability is
> Torsk (http://www.freehaven.net/anonbib/bibtex.html#ccs09-torsk) or
> PIR-Tor 
> (http://www.freehaven.net/anonbib/bibtex.html#usenix11-pirtor)
> Is there a better list available for someone new to Tor to read up
> on the scalability challenges?
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