[tor-reports] Report from LSM2013
lunar at torproject.org
Wed Jul 17 07:53:49 UTC 2013
Here is a report about my attendance at the 14th edition of Libre
Software Meeting. This conference is one of the big free software events
in Europe for french speakers. This year it was happening in Brussels,
The first two days of the event were dedicated to outreach. People had
set up tents [1,2] outside Place de La Monnaie, right in the city
center. A lot of people doing shopping were passing in front of the
booths with organizations like Mozilla, LibreOffice, Brussels LUG, and
half a dozen others.
It was a little bit last minute, so I took some space on a table and
laid out material about Tor and Nos Oignons. At some point, I realized
that I was missing something big to attract people's attention. Got a
marker and wrote “Avoid online surveillance: use Tor!” in french and
english on a white poster. It attracted at least 3-4 people to the
Several people saying “Yeah, I've heard of it but I've never needed it”
which I usually answered with something like “Good, but you should still
try it in case you find yourself on a censored network someday” and
“Still, if you use Tor, it means better anonymity for every other user”.
Almost all the flyers Keilley had sent me were given out in that one
day. Many stickers too. The flyers [3,4] we had made in time for Nos
Oignons were definitely helpful as it was the only material I had about
Tor in french. The inner page contains a good narrative as there's both
a graphical view of the network (“Here's the top 700 relays”) and a
diagram of onion routing (“So the client picks three of them…”).
I only had a single troll that wanted to talk about abuse of the
network. I expected more of those.
Booths were also there on Sunday but I've skipped that part to finish up
my slides. That was a good strategy as it took me the whole day to get
The talk  was initially proposed in french. As most talks about Tor
have been in english, and several recorded, it made sense. But language
politics can be complicated in Belgium and the schedule already had too
many presentations in french so I've obliged to the organizers' request
to do it in english.
40-50 people attended the 40 minute talk. See recording  and
slides . We had not much time left for questions, but they were about
MAC addresses and about hiding Tor usage from one's ISP.
It looks like I am able to acceptable talks in english, as I've got a
lot of positive feedbacks. The only downside was some french speakers
who had trouble understanding me. Even people who knew about Tor told me
they've learned something, and a few of them were happy about the case
During the rest of the week, I regularily used an empty table to setup
an ad-hoc booth with what I had left of Tor flyers and stickers. I had
several people coming up between conferences to ask questions, get
details or learn about Tor.
A volunteer working on the french localization in Mozilla asked me why
we were not shipping the Torbutton anymore. When I told them about our
issues with upstreaming patches, they were not happy. One good thing,
they told me about Transvision , which allows to search for a
translated string in all Mozilla products. This is a really useful tool
to find the correct translation for a menu entry in manuals or Tor
We chatted for a while with the developer of the discontinued
OnionCoffee. They were curious to know what the project was up to these
days. They've also asked if OONI had probes for BCP38 or other UDP
interferences, but my knowledge was short on these matters. They are
still subscribed to tor-talk there is too much traffic for them to
I got a nice success story: they were a dozen kids with the Tor Browser
Bundle on USB sticks in high school to access Facebook and other
censored websites. At some point the teachers figured out and switched
to more social means (they gave punishments when they could catch
someone on FB).
A french expatriate asked me how they could watch replays from a french
TV channel on their VOD websites. The access is restricted to IP
addresses identified as french. I've explained the procedure, but the
network was too flacky at that time for a demo.
It was pretty cool to do boothing. A bit hard to handle all by myself,
but interesting nevertheless. It requires quite an amount of energy, and
probably more promotion material, but people are really supportive of
what we do these days. :)
Final note: people really really like the new t-shirt. I was asked
several times if I had some to sell.
Lunar <lunar at torproject.org>
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