[tor-relays] Call for discussion: turning funding into more exit relays

Moritz Bartl moritz at torservers.net
Tue Jan 8 21:40:11 UTC 2013


On 23.07.2012 20:58, Roger Dingledine wrote:
> We've lined up our first funder (BBG, aka http://www.voanews.com/),
> and they're excited to have us start as soon as we can. They want to
> sponsor 125+ fast exits.

From what I understand, the reimbursement process is blocking on
legal/contractual issues Andrew has to figure out first. The German Wau
Holland Stiftung (WHS) [1] has agreed to channel donations towards exit
operators, both for organizations and individuals. Amongst other things,
this will offset load from Torproject to have it further focus on
development, and allow for easy wire transfers within European borders.

I think a good approach would be to call it "Tor Exit Operation Rewards
Program" (or something). I don't know what TPO's or WHS's stance is on
this, but for media purposes, we could also make it be a thing that WHS
offers, not TPO?

A relay operator who would be eligible for rewards, but does not want to
take the money can 'donate' it to WHS instead for the specific purpose
of having it used for exit bandwidth by other community members.

Let me summarize the reactions to Rogers blog post in July [2] and
the/this tor-relays thread [3].

Some of the comments on the blog post were not very welcoming of the
whole idea. That was to be expected, given the initial money comes from
"CIA's propaganda outlet".

The feedback on tor-relays was positive. No big objections to the idea
in general. Conversation derailed into how much the actual costs for
operating exits are.

Some overloading of the term "fast exit" happened, and all tools
mentioned below use the same definition (95+ Mbit/s configured bandwidth
rate, 5000+ KB/s advertised bw capacity, exits to ports 80,443,554,1755,
at most 2 relays per /24). Being a "fast relay" based on that definition
can be seen as a basic requirement for a reward.

https://compass.torproject.org/ lists fast exits and almost fast exits.
https://metrics.torproject.org/fast-exits.html has nice graphs on
development of such relays over time. We might want to add additional
caveats, to avoid too many exits at one AS, for example, and other
diversity criteria mentioned in Rogers initial post. There hasn't been
much feedback on that so far. If we decide whether someone can become
part of the rewards program on a per-case basis and not only on a given
set of hard criteria -- since we want good relationships with the
operators and sustainable growth -- that might entail in hate speech and
what not, so maybe we should have more strict (but fair) limits like
"not more than X relays per AS" and "not more than Y relays per
country", and also "not more than Z relays per operator". Thoughts on
how we can make this as fair as possible?

I wrote a small incapable script [4] that visualizes how often a relay
is a "fast" relay over time. In its current form, it is not very
helpful, but slightly modified to output monthly overviews or just a
percentage figure per relay, it might already be good enough to define
when a reward is granted (after it became part of the rewards program)
and when/if the operator needs to do additional explaining of downtimes
etc. Feedback and patches welcome.

A good suggestion was to get the word out to hackerspaces to find (A)
organizations that already exist that (B) consist of people who (my
opinion) should be aligned to the goals of Tor. I have been reaching out
to hackerspaces all along, but I will try to do so in larger scale once
we have a defined reimbursement process. I have tried to lobby the CCC
to suggest to its chapters to have a simple checkbox on member
registration forms towards running Tor exits, and then either the local
space would start a new exit or pass the money upstream to CCC eV or WHS.

On July 27th, 2012 Anonymous said [blog comment]:
> Pay someone who answers all abuse complaints for Tor funded exit nodes
> in a timely manner. The individual running an exit node would be the
> technical contact and all complaints would be handled by the sole
> abuse contact. This would take some burden from the operators and the
> answers to complaints would be consistent.
> This person could also answer inquiries about Tor in a professional
> manner fostering public relations.

I don't think that's a bad idea. We could offer people to list
abuse at torservers.net as abuse contact for their exits. Answering them is
already my duty, and if this is something TPO likes I could see me doing
the additional load for other relays as well. I don't think there are
any legal implications of doing so; the operator would remain technical

All in all, the questions Roger raised in his original post are still
interesting to discuss. See [4].

[1] http://www.wauland.de/
[2] https://blog.torproject.org/blog/turning-funding-more-exit-relays

Moritz Bartl

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