[tor-relays] Electronic surveillance on major tor exits

Roger Dingledine arma at mit.edu
Mon Jul 23 21:32:53 UTC 2012

On Mon, Jul 23, 2012 at 11:03:24AM -1000, Name Withheld wrote:
> I know that this is one of the reasons why "more nodes" is the
> largest everyday push (I went from 1 to 3 in the last month), and
> "we're working on it," and the node-funding push should help some of
> this, but I think it's important to review what direction relay
> diversity is heading in the long-term when the metrics start leaning
> in a certain way.

I agree.

Note that we could instead reduce the influence of the fastest exits by
just refusing to allocate as much traffic to such fast exits. This choice
goes back to the original discussion that Mike Perry and I were wrestling
with a few years ago, when deciding about deploying the bwauth design
[1]: if we want to end up with a fast safe network, do we get there by
having a slow safe network and hoping it'll get faster, or by having
a fast less-safe network and hoping it'll get safer? We opted for the
"if we don't stay relevant to the world, Tor will never grow enough"
route. I think that's still a good decision today.

That said, diversity is about more than just "are there two relays to
choose from or one" -- against bigger adversaries, we should be wondering
about what country they're in, what upstream they have, and so on. I
hear that running exit relays in the US is increasingly difficult these
days, which is an extra shame because that's where a lot of Internet
diversity is (unless NSA is your adversary, in which case you probably
have bigger problems).

There's a lot of research work in this direction [2, 3, 4], and we're
going to have to keep pushing on it.


[1] https://blog.torproject.org/blog/torflow-node-capacity-integrity-and-reliability-measurements-hotpets
[2] https://blog.torproject.org/blog/research-problem-measuring-safety-tor-network
[3] https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/6232
[4] http://freehaven.net/anonbib/

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