[tor-project] Tor at LibrePlanet 2016
dgoulet at ev0ke.net
Tue Mar 22 16:03:35 UTC 2016
LibrePlanet 2016 was last weekend and we were a couple of Tor people there (I
won't list them since I didn't ask them before writing this email). Please,
"other Tor people", feel free to add anything to this thread about what
happened there if you think it would be relevant.
I would like to share one thing with all of you that I learned there. It might
not be news to some of you but one part of it below was for me.
First, there was a talk from two activists from Mexico that deploy free
software in indigenous communities, in states like Chiapas and other
autonomous communities around Mexico. They build, install and teach those
solutions. On the list of software they use, Tor was one of them (and Bitmask!
shootout to our LEAP friends! :). After the talk, I went to talk to them on
why it's being used for which it seems a _non_ optional software for them.
They told me that all those communities around Mexico they work with face very
important surveillance threat which sometimes have physical consequences for
lots of people (you can imagine...). This comes from three different sources
they explaines me. The first one is corporation. Those corp. are there for the
massive natural ressources those regions have and they are regurlarly causing
natural disasters so there are a lots of activists fighting that at the street
level and at the legal level. Using Tor is essential so they evade corporate
spying which is apparently intense. They can coordinate safely and do their
legal research about those corporations in privacy.
The second source of surveillance is, no surprise there, government which
sleeps with those corporations and has a reach outside of the region that is
country wide thus much more invasive in terms of surveillance. Again, Tor!
The last one is the cartels. They explained to me that the cartels, in the
region(s) they control, have infrastructure in place to spy on electronic
devices and Internet communications. And you can also imagine that _they_
don't fuck around there when they catch someone doing something against their
All in all, for them Tor is a matter of _survival_ and that is absolutely
mandatory to their everyday life which is a suprising number of people in
Mexico. Up to this day, it's been *years* they've been deploying those
softwares around the country and continue to do so for which Tor is a core
component. Those two activists were able to travel, talk about it and continue
to do their work in part because of Tor (and of course other software like
Tails, Bitmask, GPG, ...).
It's really great to be honest, as a Tor developer, to get this kind of
feedback and also understanding (well as best as possible since I never lived
something like that) their situation and needs. Also, +9k for translation of
our documentation and tools, English works fine for rich and powerful
colonialist countries ;).
I've also talked to people from https://about.commonsearch.org/ for which they
have been "mining" a .onion address for weeks now to get a vanity one. They
are behind CloudFlare because of the cost it saves them but will at least have
a .onion for Tor users. We'll see where that goes...
Mr. Stallman tried to convince me that TBB should be based on IceCat and
put me in contact with the maintainer... This all happened after I gave him
"Fuck CloudFlare" stickers for which he was SO happy that he asked me more so
he can put them everywhere he goes. (For those who don't know, he uses Tor
_all_ the time and he is quite pissed about CloudFlare.)
Anyway, I'll stop here. It was a great conference imo and I encourage anyone
that can attend to do so next year.
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