[tor-dev] Desired exit node diversity

Griffin griffin at cryptolab.net
Thu Sep 24 06:12:00 UTC 2015

Virgil Griffith wrote:
>  Tor "exploits the military" into lending cover to activist groups,
> which they would presumably support.
> This may be too naive a view of the situation.

  Exploit is definitely the wrong word here.  Different people who
disagree about {policy|topic|whatever} can all see the value of
anonymity, without viewing it as ab/using the other contributors.

  More relays are always good, but don't necessarily counter the
occasional fatalist opinion 'surely n relays are bad and surely n
represents enough to de-anonymize me no matter what, so why bother' [0].
Ongoing research does a lot of good here, but some people will never be


[0] "Is your relay hiding BOLSHEVIKS?"

> Re: socially connected. That's interesting. I'll see what I can do.
> Chat more in Berlin.
> -V
> On Thu, 24 Sep 2015 at 13:19 Roger Dingledine <arma at mit.edu> wrote:
>         On Wed, Sep 23, 2015 at 06:18:58AM +0000, Virgil Griffith
>         wrote:
>         > Exit nodes seem a nice place to start concretizing what's
>         meant when we say
>         > we want relay diversity. Comments immensely appreciated
>         because as-is I
>         > don't know the answers to these questions.
>         Hi Virgil,
>         I've been pondering the opposite of this topic, after looking
>         at the
>         recent tor-relays thread about some ISP not wanting to let
>         somebody
>         host an exit relay because they figure a lot of the Tor
>         network is
>         run by government agencies. My usual answer to that concern is
>         "no, we
>         *know* the operators of more than half the capacity in the Tor
>         network,
>         so this cannot be the case". And I think this is increasingly
>         true in
>         the era of activist non-profits that run relays -- Germany's
>         got one,
>         and so do the US, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Luxembourg,
>         etc etc.
>         But it would be neat to have a mechanism for learning whether
>         this is
>         actually true, and (whatever the current situation) how it's
>         changing.
>         The tie-in to Roster would be some sort of "socially
>         connected" badge,
>         which your relay gets because you're sufficiently tied into
>         the Tor
>         relay operator community.
>         And then we'd have something concrete to point to for backing
>         up, or
>         disputing, the claim that we know a significant fraction of
>         the network.
>         Of course, the details of when to assign the badge will be
>         tricky and
>         critical: too loose and you undermine the trust in it (it only
>         takes a
>         few "omg the kgb runs a relay and look it's got the badge"
>         cases to make
>         the news), but too strict and you undercount the social
>         connectedness.
>         In a sense this is like the original 'valid' flag, which you
>         got
>         by mailing me and having me manually approve your relay (and
>         without
>         which you would never be used as the entry or exit point in a
>         circuit).
>         Periodically I wonder if we should go back to a design like
>         that, where
>         users won't pick exit relays that don't have the "socially
>         connected"
>         badge. Then I opt against wanting it, since I worry that we'd
>         lose
>         exactly the kind of diversity we need most, by cutting out the
>         relays
>         whose operators we don't know.
>         But both sides of that are just guessing. Let's find out!
>         --Roger
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