[tor-talk] Tor and solidarity against online harassment

Roger Dingledine arma at mit.edu
Fri Dec 12 19:20:12 UTC 2014

On Fri, Dec 12, 2014 at 03:23:42PM -0300, Juan wrote:
> > You might like
> > https://www.torproject.org/docs/faq#Backdoor
> > 
> > We won't put backdoors in Tor. Ever.
> 	LOL! 
> 	You work for the pentagon and are subjects of the US state.
> 	The US government has secret 'courts'  and secretly forces its
> 	subjects to tamper with all kinds of 'security'  systems, in the
> 	name of 'national security'.
> 	Whatever public declamations you make carry very little weight.

Hello Mr. Tor hater,

We get funding from a variety of groups, including US government groups.
We do not "work for the pentagon" but that is a separate discussion and
it shouldn't derail this one.

We are indeed subjects of various governments, and some of those
governments have indeed been doing quite bad things lately. The notion
of a secret law makes me sick.

But when it comes to governments secretly forcing us to do things, no,
there *is* a choice. And that's why we're telling you we have made this
choice: No backdoors. Ever.

To quote the faq entry, which Nick and I wrote in 2004 and it remains
true today:
"We think that putting a backdoor in Tor would be tremendously
irresponsible to our users, and a bad precedent for security software
in general."

They can't make us put backdoors in. But they can make things miserable
for us if we don't go along with it -- see the Lavabit case for an example
(and hopefully one where people learned a lesson about centralization
too). That's a major part of why I try to keep talking to the folks who
might try to force us into something -- to explain that it won't work,
and that it will backfire because then *their* colleagues, who need
privacy too, will have fewer options, to remind them that there are
other jurisdictions in the world, and so on.

Thankfully, and I'd like to think in part because of this directed
advocacy, it has never come to this decision point for us. That is, to be
clear, nobody has yet tried to force us, with secret laws or otherwise,
into undermining Tor.

Now, you're right, these are just words. That's why we try to do all of
our development in public, and the source code is open, and the research
communities are active and public, and we engage with many communities
in person at a wide variety of conferences. Please do continue to audit
and observe and help find potential problems in Tor and the ecosystem
of software around it.

We've been working on Tor for more than a decade, and in that time the
world has been becoming a worse place in many ways for privacy and free
speech. Haters are going to hate, I accept this, but for the rest of you:
thanks for continuing to help us and to support privacy!

No backdoors. Ever.


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