Tor Weekly News — October 8th, 2014

Lunar lunar at
Wed Oct 8 12:21:18 UTC 2014

Tor Weekly News                                        October 8th, 2014

Welcome to the fortieth issue in 2014 of Tor Weekly News, the weekly
newsletter that covers what is happening in the Tor community.

Setup ooniprobe in five minutes

New versions of the Open Observatory of Network Interference [1] (OONI)
tools are out. On October 1st, Arturo Filastò announced [2] ooniprobe
1.2.0 and oonibackend 1.1.4.

“One of the most interesting new features that are now part of ooniprobe
is the ability to generate test decks for the country you are in a way
that is much easier than before”, writes Arturo.

He adds: “As a matter of fact to start contributing useful measurements
it’s just a matter of 5 minutes of setup [3].” So don’t be shy about
adding your measurements to the project!


Monthly status reports for September 2014

The wave of regular monthly reports from Tor project members for the
month of September has begun. Juha Nurmi released his report first [4],
followed by reports from Georg Koppen [5], Damian Johnson [6], George
Kadianakis [7], Matt Pagan [8], Lunar [9], Sherief Alaa [10], Leiah
Jansen [11], Harmony [12], Pearl Crescent [13], Nick Mathewson [14],
Karsten Loesing [15], Sukhbir Singh [16], Nicolas Vigier [17] (in
addition to July [18] and August [19]), Arlo Breault [20], J.
Todaro [21], and Colin C. [22]


Lunar also reported on Tor help desk [23], Mike Perry for the Tor
Browser team [24], and Arturo Filastò for OONI [25].


Miscellaneous news

Orbot users should rejoice at the news that orWall [26] 1.0.0 has been
released [27]! orWall will force selected applications through Tor while
preventing unauthorized applications to have any network access. “Any
feedback from Tor/Orbot users interests me in order to improve orWall. I
think the current release is pretty good, but as the main dev I’m maybe
not that neutral regarding this statement” joked CJ.


The OONI project has been “developing a test that allows probes in
censored countries to test which bridges are blocked and which are not”.
George Kadianakis is seeking help [28] to create interesting
visualization of the resulting data. He shared a sketch about countries
and pluggable transports [29] and another one showing time before blocks
happened [30].


Nick Mathewson announced [31] the release of Trunnel [32] 1.3. Trunnel
is a code generator for binary encoders/decoders. Nick adds: “Some
code that it has generated has been merged into the Tor master branch
for the 0.2.6 release series, though that code is not yet in active


David Fifield sent a summary [33] of the costs incurred by the meek [34]
pluggable transport for the month of September 2014. More details are
included in the email, but costs are currently very low: “$3.85 for
App Engine, $4.59 for Amazon, $0.00 for Azure”.


Virgil Griffith shared [35] a yet unpublished tech report on Tor growth.
To pick just one finding, the Tor network’s bandwidth has been doubling
every 13–14 months so far.


The Knight Foundation is going to fund projects [36] for “the future
of libraries”. The Library Freedom Project [37] wants to teach
“librarians about privacy rights, law, and tech tools to protect patrons
from dragnet surveillance”. It’s based on their previous experience [38]
promoting Tor and other privacy tools in Massachusetts libraries. Show
them support!


The US National Science Foundation is seeking input [39] to lay out a
future Privacy Research Strategy. The deadline being October 17th, Roger
Dingledine suggests: “if anybody here has partially written ideas that
they want to put together into a submission, please do!”


Thanks to opi [40] for running a new mirror of the Tor Project’s website
and software.


Easy development tasks to get involved with

oonibackend [41] is used by ooni, the Open Observatory of Network
Interference [42], to run in the background and perform tasks like
discovering addresses of test helpers and performing measurements that
require a backend system to talk to. When oonibackend was changed to fix
compatibility with Twisted 13.1 it lost its ability to start tor and
then drop privileges [43]. Arturo suspects that the correct way of doing
this is to place the logic for starting tor inside of preApplication or
startService. But from a quick research he suspects that Twisted does
not support returning Deferreds in there. He also points to two relevant
Twisted tickets [44, 45]. If you have experience with Twisted and want
to help debug or even solve this problem, be sure to post your thoughts
or patches to the ticket.


Upcoming events

 Oct 08 13:30 UTC | little-t tor development meeting
                  | #tor-dev,
 Oct 08 16:00 UTC | Pluggable transport online meeting
                  | #tor-dev,
 Oct 10 17:00 CET | OONI development meeting
                  | #ooni,
 Oct 13 18:00 UTC | Tor Browser online meeting
                  | #tor-dev,
 Oct 14 17:00 UTC | little-t tor patch workshop
                  | #tor-dev,
 Oct 23 10:10 CET | Andrew @ Broadband World Forum
                  | Amsterdam, Netherlands

This issue of Tor Weekly News has been assembled by Lunar, harmony
and Karsten Loesing.

Want to continue reading TWN? Please help us create this newsletter.
We still need more volunteers to watch the Tor community and report
important news. Please see the project page [47], write down your
name and subscribe to the team mailing list [48] if you want to
get involved!

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