Some legal trouble with TOR in France +

glymr glymr_darkmoon at
Tue May 16 01:17:49 UTC 2006

Hash: RIPEMD160
User 165 wrote:
> On May 15, 2006, at 5:37 PM, Anthony DiPierro wrote:
>> Remember that by default Tor *does* censor.  Port 25 is blocked
>> by default.  Why is this?
> I don't think that deciding which ports to allow has anything to do
>  with censorship.  Censorship refers to content, not method.
I think this line of discussion is irrelevant anyway, because saying
'we don't censor' yet you are censoring censorship? The bigger issue
is that there is so many zombie machines, this is not about censorship
of email but simply a defense against a very large attacker whose
activities would impact the exit nodes.

And this is why I think that it should not be regarded as censorship
(and I should add, this should be at the discretion of any exit node
operator suffering from law enforcement attention) for a tor user to
block traffic to the IP address(es) related to their enquiry, nor
should it be regarded as spying if the exit node operator wishes to
plug on a forwarder for traffic coming out of the server going to a
specific IP address. I think that tor needs friends in the law
enforcement scene. As I discussed in one of my previous posts, it
would demonstrate to the relevant authority that people using tor are
against the use of their systems for carrying despicable stuff (As I
said just before, this should be at the discretion of the exit node
operator) if they were willing to participate in apprehending the

Unfortunately, regardless of either of these things, when it comes
down to it, driving these types away from tor will not stop them using
anonymity systems of some other type, possibly even illegal ones. I
would say that, just like what the french police did to our friend
running an exit in france, they will see it simply as a dead lead and
not prosecute anyone for it.

Last time I recall looking into it, the police don't go after the big
backbone routers... These large network infrastructure systems most
definitely are neutral to the content. I think it could be argued that
anyone providing content-neutral network services should be treated
the same way.

The crux of the matter is, tor exit nodes, as eugene explained in a
response to my set of ideas post, don't use locality to select exit
points. This means that tor exit nodes could carry traffic for these
low-lifes from any country in the world. It's not possible, given the
architecture, to trace anything through tor, nor is it possible to
even be sure that anyone whose traffic comes out of an exit node, is
even in their jurisdiction.

I think this last point is the most important point. Any tor exit node
operator can use this as a defense - The traffic could be originating,
literally, anywhere in the world, and thus this puts it in this funny
little grey area where they cannot assert the traffic is even in their
jurisdiction. It is my opinion that this will be quickly surmised by
the law enforcement folks anyway. Not even tapping or hacking the
server or taking its crypto will help them in the slightest in their

Will this cause them to look upon tor in a negative light? I don't
know. I would hope not. If there's one thing that cops don't like
doing, that is stepping on the toes of someone in another
jurisdiction. Mainly because of the whoopass can that usually gets
opened on them.However, one thing the law enforcement *could* do is
interdict at the hosting provider of the site they are trying to get
both it and its users nailed, make the isp block traffic from tor exit
nodes, without the site operator's awareness of this, and this would
drive the users onto non-tor connections or other proxy systems, and
increase the effectiveness of their honeypot type operation on the
site. And this is something that the exit node operator can
practically make any impact on, since as I pointed out earlier in this
post, it is just as likely that the suspect could emerge out of any
tor exit node on the network.

And this could be a way to get around any possible issues with the
outlawing of tor. Put this idea out there, of blocking tor exits to
honeypot sites. Simple solution. Doesn't affect anyone except those
they are trying to catch out. Tor is not the problem. I don't think
the police will even see it as a problem, cos I'm sure it's obvious to
them the potential tor has for their undercover online work. This is
something talked about in the faq and on the website, and any efforts
to inform the law enforcement of its potential uses, if there isn't
already knowledge of this, will make them unwilling to accept it being
outlawed in their jurisdiction if it is a critical and low-cost way
for them to provide anonymity to their undercover agents. Police are,
despite what they show on stupid cop shows, averse to wasting money on
anything that they don't have to waste their money on. The NSA is a
whole different kettle of fish, but cops don't put taps on lines
unless they are very confident it will lead to evidence that can be
used to prosecute. The cost of establishing and monitoring these taps
is quite high, I don't know exactly how high, but if the cost
outweighs value of the crime or the PR yield of it, they won't do it.
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