[tor-relays] [tor-dev] Hidden service policies

Lance Hathaway qhltx at yahoo.com
Mon Jul 21 14:25:22 UTC 2014

Hash: SHA512

On 21/07/2014 6:21 AM, Thomas White wrote:
> Also note, botnets in this sense are not the topic. The proposal is
> an easy mechanism to censor hidden services and let it not be
> portrayed as anything other than that. ...
> So to state clearly:
> Should Tor Project develop a system to filter hidden services?

The simple fact of the matter is this: However good and pure our
intentions may be ("We'll only block malware and child porn!"), a
system would have to be developed to allow us to block arbitrary services.

Something I have noticed which trips up most people is their inability
to see beyond themselves. YOU may have only the best intentions. YOU
may never countenance blocking inconvenient truths on Twitter /
Slashdot / news-feed-of-the-day. But once a system is created that can
block arbitrary services, it's only a matter of time before somebody
with intentions less pure than your own decide to start blocking other
things. Maybe somebody with an upright moral standing decides it would
be better to block everything PG-13 and up. Maybe somebody decides
their government is taking too much flack on an issue, and tries to
"help out" by filtering some news sites they feel are particularly
biased. Maybe I decide that tabloid magazines are total trash, and
nobody should be allowed to give them business so they'll just die off
in the end.

Why would we want to replace a system of government censorship with
censorship-by-the-masses? I thought we wanted to decide for
ourselves--what we read, to whom we listen, what we do, and with whom
we associate.

(Never mind the legal fact that, if we CAN filter / exert legitimate
control over the traffic flowing over the network, somebody will
figure out a way to MAKE us do so--and it may not be what we
personally agree should be blocked.)

Insofar as botnets create an infrastructure problem with Tor (ie. the
HSDir mobbing issue), that's something that we can work on addressing.
Maybe a more load-tolerant design or what-have-you. Filtering things
is not the answer.

(I should add as a final note: filtering ports is not the same as
filtering sites or traffic. I don't care what traffic passes over port
80, nor should I. But traffic on port 25 gets me marked as a spammer
and shuts down my exit nodes, so I can't have that. Anybody who wants
to change that traffic to tunnel over port 80 or 22 or whatever is
free to do so, and I do not and should not know about it. If I can
find a provider within my budget range who allows full exits and lets
me handle all the abuse issues myself, I dare say I'll allow all ports
through that exit.)

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