[tor-dev] Should cloud-hosted relays be rejected?

isis isis at torproject.org
Tue Sep 1 00:17:51 UTC 2015

Tim Wilson-Brown - teor transcribed 11K bytes:
> > On 1 Sep 2015, at 07:45, Philipp Winter <phw at nymity.ch> wrote:
> > 
> > There are also cloud-hosted bridges.  Tor Cloud, however, has shut down,
> > and the number of EC2 bridges is declining:
> > <https://metrics.torproject.org/cloudbridges.html?graph=cloudbridges&start=2015-01-01&end=2015-07-31>
> Can we preserve cloud-hosted bridges independently of whatever we decide to
> do to cloud-hosted relays?

Tor Cloud is deprecated for several reasons, [0] and it's possible that those
bridges haven't been getting software updates. [1] Those bridges should
probably die.  But yes, in theory, if we decided to block cloud relays, we
technically could preserve those bridges.  If anything, I'd be more in favour
of doing this the other way around: ban those EC2 bridges and keep the cloud
relays (but perhaps create more/better automated scans to detect misbehaviour).

> I wonder about the impact of this proposal on Tor research and on Tor developers.

The Tor Project does have an EC2 account that some Tor developers have access
to, but we don't ever run non-TestingTorNetwork relays/bridges on it.  Also,
in general, (paid) Tor developers aren't supposed to run relays, due to
concerns that doing so could possibly be legally interpreted as "The Tor
Project runs the Tor network".

However, I agree with your concerns that this change might make it more
difficult for other researchers to study tor (hopefully, ethically).

[0]: https://blog.torproject.org/blog/tor-cloud-service-ending-many-ways-remain-help-users-access-uncensored-internet
[1]: https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/11502

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