[tor-talk] Tor and solidarity against online harassment

Zenaan Harkness zen at freedbms.net
Tue Dec 16 01:07:19 UTC 2014

>>> I was interested in hearing what he had to say. You folks may argue
>>> against him/her but it seems to me he had some valid points though the
>>> poster probably knows that no one will listen to his frustration.
>> Juan's voice is an important voice, as he is hard-core "BE CAREFUL",
>> and this is a very good thing for anyone who might genuinely -need-
>> privacy in their communications, against USA Corp.
> Upon reflection, I totally agree. And I apologize to Juan for being mean
> and dismissive.
>> In particular, a healthy (very healthy :)  paranoia enema is important
>> for some people. And if a newcomer comes to this list genuinely
>> needing privacy, and everyone speaks "TOR is, OMG, like soooo awesome,
>> it's just the greatest privacy for everyone", then that newcomer is
>> likely to guarantee themselves a serious problem.
> Indeed. In that regard, I am most troubled by the Tor browser.
>> So caution, paranoia, attention to detail, proper assessment of the
>> risks and technical foundations/ requirements/ possibilities of what
>> TOR can, and more importantly cannot provide, is (in such
>> circumstances) of utmost importance.
> Yes. I write a lot about such matters.
> However, as Jonathan Wilkes noted yesterday, there's a risk of
> frightening away users and potential relay operators. For better or
> worse, Tor is the best low-latency anonymity network around. In the
> short term at least, hurting Tor benefits many enemies of freedom.

"Educating new users" must not be allowed to be seen the same as
"hurting tor", I'm sure Juan would agree here.

"Hurting tor" might not be the best term, but perhaps we can say
'scare-mongering' may cause potential users to run away, thereby
reducing our community, and that this is undesirable; I'd hope Juan
would agree with this.

But I have to agree that whenever we see "omg tor is so ponies and
freedom", that Juan's voice of "whoah, slow the fuck down guys, Tor
and TBB cannot save you from nation-state monitoring, and make sure
you're aware of potential problems a b and c" is much better than no
genuine voice of caution.

And I have to say - every newcomer that appears here, must be the
beneficiary of our best efforts in communication, for we simply cannot
know if -this-particular- newbie is in need of the most careful advice
to be cautious or not.

So -because- Tor is the currently most viable "privacy of some level/
some sort" newtwork today, we particularly owe it to be diligent and
-never- fail to impress upon newcomers what they may need to keep in
their minds.

> There is no question that Tor was developed for the US military. And the
> Tor Project is still funded largely (and for argument sake, entirely) by
> the US government. But even so, I've seen no credible evidence that Tor
> is backdoored or intentionally vulnerable.
> It is true that Tor's threat model explicitly excludes global
> adversaries, who can break anonymity by correlating entry and exit
> traffic. It's also true that some proposed low-latency anonymity
> networks may resist traffic analysis far better than Tor does. However,
> these are highly technical matters, and there is much room for debate. I
> am by no means qualified to have an opinion on the merits.
> One might argue that the US government funding gives Tor an unwarranted
> advantage, or even that it suppresses work on alternatives. As paranoid
> as I am, that seems unworkable. But of course, I defer to evidence.

Mirimir, your words in this email might make a good start for a "Quick
educational caution" which newcomers ought be pointed to, say on the
tp.o wiki.

To help those who need it stay as safe as might be needed and/ or
possible, certainly requires helping them, as early as possible,
framing a mindset and certain understandings. Perhaps we can do better
on this front.

Over to others,

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