[tor-relays] Legal situation of tor in Europe

Sebastian Urbach sebastian at urbach.org
Mon Mar 9 14:49:41 UTC 2015

On March 9, 2015 3:14:37 PM s7r <s7r at sky-ip.org> wrote:


> Hash: SHA256
> On 3/9/2015 1:17 PM, Sebastian Urbach wrote:
> > On March 9, 2015 7:17:20 AM oneofthem at riseup.net wrote:
> >
> > Hi John,
> >
> >> Can someone point me to an overview of the different legal
> >> situations for running tor relays in European countries? I'm
> >> especially interested how the situation differs per country.
> >
> > I don't think that we have something like that anywhere, sorry.
> >
> > The only offered list is this one, afaik:
> >
> > https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/wiki/doc/GoodBadISPs
> >
> > From what i hear a few countries are starting to crack down on Tor
> > or Encryption more generally and some are planning to do so in the
> > near future. Hard to keep up with the changing laws.
> >
> What is the source for this?

I read this on spiegel.de but since that was a few weeks ago i don't have 
the article at hand.

> In the European Union Tor running a Tor exit relay  _is legal_, and
> the rights for privacy and anonymity are guaranteed by European Court.
> I can't find the source now to give exact data, but about one year ago
> declared the laws from multiple EU member countries enforcing to
> retain user navigation data or metadata of communications (who calls
> who and when, internet browsing history) as incompatible with the
> universal human rights which guarantee the right to privacy and
> private life.
> Majority of Tor exit power in is Europe. We have no reports of relay
> operators being prosecuted or punished by any means for running Tor
> exit relays.
> Which countries started to "crack down on Tor" and which ones are
> planning to do so in the near future?

I recall that at least David Cameron (UK) talked about an key escrow, mass 
data storage and that the police / secret service should have access any time.

> This is a speculation and it's not backed up by anything real. Can you
> define "crack down on Tor"? People and organizations are researching
> and trying to find a flaw in Tor since Tor was born - there is a good
> side here, being widely studied and getting a lot of attention makes
> it the best anonymity network available. All the bugs and flaws
> discovered until now were fixed, and this only made Tor stronger, so I
> want to thank this way for everyone who is doing research and tries to
> find flaws in Tor, assuming they do this in a transparent and fair way
> and share the results with everyone.
> I only know of one case, outside the European Union, in Russia to be
> exact, where they've put a bounty of $100.000 or $150.000 9can't
> remember the exact amount) for whoever manages to crack Tor. This is
> under no circumstances reason to worry. Still there are many exit
> relays in Russia, so not even there Tor is illegal.
> P.S. Not everything is illegal, except what is authorized and
> regulated by law. It's the other way around, anything is legal and
> permitted unless clearly prohibited by law. At least theoretically
> speaking :-)

You are right, the European Court ruled not to long ago in that matter. But 
since then, the german government at least wants to give the mass data 
storage another shot because they don't want to wait for a European 
Initiative any longer as they say. And no, thats not speculation as you can 
read here (german):


Just because the Eurooean Court ruled once it's not good forever. They just 
ruled that the system used before was against the law and as you can see 
different governments are trying to find ways around that.

Im not sure though how serious some of these politicians are because in 
some countries (like UK) elections are coming up ....
Sincerely yours / Sincères salutations / M.f.G.

Sebastian Urbach

Religion is fundamentally opposed to
everything I hold in veneration - courage,
clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and,
above all, love of the truth.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880 - 1956),
American journalist, essayist, magazine
editor, satirist and critic.

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