[tor-project] Tigas' CDMX Meeting / Onion Browser report

Mike Tigas mike.tigas at gmail.com
Mon Oct 8 23:44:17 UTC 2018

Hash: SHA512

Hi y’all! I was asked to write up some notes on the CDMX Meeting for
tor-mobile folks; figured the report might be useful to my fellow
onionfolk in the way that other reports are on this list. Anyway, some
updates on Onion Browser-ish things, with a focus on the Tor meeting
(mostly just summarizing some notes I took and TODOs I made):

* From before the meeting: A few weeks ago I finally posted to my
Patreon after like, a year of silence? Something like that. There’s
plenty of updates on the past year of work in there.[1]

* I provided an update on installs/usage: Onion Browser crossed 1
million downloads at some point in April. There are about 1,700 app
sessions per day (which only counts users who’ve opted in to analytics
and sharing that data with app developers[2], so it’s a very low-ball

* Folks are seeing a lot of fake “Tor” or “Onion Browser” apps in the
Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. In the past we’ve submitted
requests to Apple about apps using the Tor branding or the Onion
Browser name. (Technically trademark is the only thing we have to act
on, since our permissive OSS licenses allow redistribution as long as
the correct license bits are written down in there.) Someone said we
should maybe have something (in the wiki?) about what to do if you
find someone else’s app pretending to be official Tor/Onion
Browser/Orbot/etc -- like who to notify here, and what steps &
language we use when submitting the request to the app stores.

* I learned from Nick that as of 0.3.4.X,  “DisableNetwork 1” now also
disables unnecessary CPU wakeups (basically things only needed when
Tor is connected) -- this might help with some of the stability issues
that happen when the device sleeps (since I do set DisableNetwork when
that event is triggered).

* There’s (possible?) new funding from Guardian Project that will
hopefully jump-start more work on Onion Browser again soon. Had a
great conversation with Fabby who works with Guardian Project; looking
forward to putting a roadmap together when I have some spare cycles
again. (I’ll probably have more time to have those conversations in
earnest after the US election.)

* Started working on an update to Tor.framework (the little-t tor
integrating bits that build into Onion Browser) to update the Tor in
it. (It’s currently stuck on 0.3.3.x right now.) I’m like 99% sure the
current issues are due to cleanup and refactoring in tor (like some of
the work towards making it usable as a library). Couldn’t work on it
in CDMX because I didn’t bring a Mac with Xcode on it, but I’ve been
tinkering around with it since I got back.[3][4] Hopefully more on
that soon.

* Not exclusively Onion Browser related, but since I also do operate a
few .onions, I was around a lot of conversations about .onion
usability (esp with long v3 ones) and things like HTTPS Everywhere and
alt-svc headers as solutions. I’d love to get some work in on alt-svc
in Onion Browser[5], and maybe experiment with some explicit user
consent like in [6]. Hand-in-hand with that, it could be cool to
implement some built in list of well-known and well-attested clearnet
-> onion site mappings in the app (going along with the HTTPS
Everywhere ruleset in the app).

[1]: https://www.patreon.com/posts/lots-of-long-21317240
[2]: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202100
[3]: https://github.com/iCepa/Tor.framework/compare/master...mtigas:tor_0_3_5_2-wip?expand=1
[4]: https://github.com/OnionBrowser/OnionBrowser/commit/90dc95f11c2949d7114bc1f50f0547d80830b5e1
[5]: https://github.com/OnionBrowser/OnionBrowser/issues/148
[6]: https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/attachment/ticket/21952/21952.png


Mike Tigas
https://mike.tig.as/ | @mtigas
0xDFD760C4 | 0x6E0E9923


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