[tor-relays] NHS UK blocking Tor?

Chris Whittleston csw34 at cam.ac.uk
Tue Apr 15 16:57:18 UTC 2014

Thanks for all that Mick - I have already contacted them via that form and
received an initial response (pasted below) which isn't that encouraging. I
suspect the biggest challenge with this is going to be getting access to
the people who have influence or power to make a change. I've contacted
Ross also so we'll see if he has any insight or advice.

Here is their reply:

Dear Chris,

Thank you for contacting the NHS Choices Service desk

Unfortunately the issue you have raised seem to be to with your internet
connection as you are running a Tor middle relay. We are unable aid you on
this issue as no we have not has any reports of issue with connecting to
the site. If we have blocked Tor, it will be due to security reasons.

Kind Regards,


The NHS Choices Service Desk

I think the next step will be to find out if they can direct me to the
person who made the decision to block public Tor IPs in the first place, or
the policy/IT team who implemented it. I'll update when I have more.


On 15 April 2014 14:46, mick <mbm at rlogin.net> wrote:

> On Mon, 14 Apr 2014 23:37:35 +0100
> Chris Whittleston <csw34 at cam.ac.uk> allegedly wrote:
> > Can someone else running a relay from their home connection confirm
> > that they get an 'Access denied' error from http://www.nhs.uk? I've
> > checked with someone using the same ISP in the flat above me and they
> > seem able to access the site just fine, as can I via mobile internet
> > so I'm down to suspecting that they are blocking all Tor relay IPs.
> > This is the exact error I get:
> > Access DeniedYou don't have permission to access "http://www.nhs.uk/"
> > on this server.
> >
> > Reference #18.1f7f1002.1397514736.1fe2170c
> > The reference seems to change each time I visit. If this does turn
> > out to be them blocking Tor - advice on how to approach contacting
> > them to resolve this would be appreciated.
> >
> Confirmed. My (non-exit) relay in Amsterdam is blocked. Another
> (non-tor) server in Amsterdam is not blocked, nor are my non-tor
> servers in the UK, SanFrancisco or NYC blocked.
> As for getting this changed, that may be difficult. You could try
> contacting the site through the page at:
>  http://www.nhs.uk/aboutNHSChoices/Pages/ContactUs.aspx
> and selecting the "I have experienced a problem accessing or using the
> website or some part of it" radio button and then commenting. You could
> contact the NHS at the (postal) address below. You could contact the
> DoH (Charles Massey)
> https://www.gov.uk/government/people/charlie-massey
> As evidence in favour of Tor's value, you could point to the "who uses
> Tor" page at https://www.torproject.org/about/torusers.html.en. You
> could usefully explain the obvious value of anonymity in browsing health
> related sites.
> And, since you appear to be in Cambridge, you could look for some
> support (and possible advice) from Ross Anderson
> (http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~rja14/). You can bet that Ross uses Tor, and
> he almost certainly has experience in dealing with awkward parts of
> HMG.
> Best
> Mick
> -------------------------------------
> NHS address
> NHS Connecting for Health
> Informatics Directorate
> Department of Health
> Princes Exchange
> Princes Square
> Leeds
> West Yorkshire
> LS1 4HY
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
>  Mick Morgan
>  gpg fingerprint: FC23 3338 F664 5E66 876B  72C0 0A1F E60B 5BAD D312
>  http://baldric.net
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> _______________________________________________
> tor-relays mailing list
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*Dr Chris Whittleston 栗主*
Department of Chemistry
University of Cambridge
Lensfield Road, Cambridge, CB2 1EW
Email: csw34 at cam.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)1223 336423
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