Some legal trouble with TOR in France +

Nick Mathewson nickm at
Mon May 15 22:58:52 UTC 2006

On Mon, May 15, 2006 at 03:36:59PM -0700, Ben Wilhelm wrote:
> The line is drawn. The line is that Tor does not censor. That's the only 
> line that makes sense, because everything else requires subjective 
> judgement that many would not be able to agree on.

I typically argue this from the "can't" point of view, not the
"won't".  If it were possible detect block evil activities through
programmatic means, I *would* be in favor of blocking them.
Unfortunately, evil-detection isn't automatable (RFC3514
notwithstanding), and most schemes for blocking are both over-broad
_and_ easy to circumvent.

Non-automated schemes, as you say, fall for different reasons: you
can't make one without putting human judgment in the loop, and once
you've done that, you've appointed somebody as a censor, and you've
created a mechanism for someone else to take the reigns of censorship
in the future.

Also, there's the jurisdictional arbitrage problem: which local
standards does your hypothetical censor try to comply with?  China's?

> If you don't want your internet connection to be used anonymously, for 
> *anything*, then don't run a Tor exit node.

Rather, if you're not willing to accept that people may use your
Internet connection to do stuff you don't like, don't run an exit
node.  You don't have to like everything that people do.  I don't
*want* people to use my software for any number of things, but I
believe that the benefits it provides do outweigh the problems.

> It's impossible to block 
> subjects on a case-by-case basis anyway - the exact thing Tor was built 
> to prove! - and I'd rather not waste our coders' time on that.

Hm?  I don't think Tor was built to prove anything; I think it was
built to further usable online privacy for everyone. :)

As for wasting the coders' time, don't worry.  We have a long history
of ignoring bad ideas. <wink>

Nick Mathewson
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