[tor-talk] Tor Exit Operator convicted in Austrian lower court

Zenaan Harkness zen at freedbms.net
Sat Jul 5 05:30:00 UTC 2014

On 7/5/14, Moritz Bartl <moritz at torservers.net> wrote:

> The legal FAQ is a legal FAQ. It is still completely legal in all
> countries we know of. It is not the "how you should behave and what is
> the worst case scenario" FAQ: That is
> https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/wiki/doc/TorExitGuidelines .

I'm not sure the TorExitGuidelines provide an adequate
Behaviour FAQ, in the hindsight of recent events.

Here's a draft of some extra FAQs, please jump on in everyone and

- Node operators (relays, entries and exits) are advised to be
especially careful with their exercise of their right to free speech
in all public forums. A healthy paranoia is recommended in such public

- Consider that everything you say in public (and everything on the
internet is public) will most likely be held against you in a court of
law, should you (in the extreme case) find yourself as a Defendant in
a court case where your activities are related to Tor.

Perhaps some one would write up Williams case (with links) for
submission to torproject. Of course having the court's actual ruling
is a pre-requisite.

> A legal FAQ in my eyes should mention that a lot of cases
> already proved the legality of Tor exit relays.

A collection of pointers to cases/ events (those that have any public
records) would be a good start, regardless of primary language
(translation is merely one step in the collection, sorting and
presentation phases).

> You can't expect this document to be up
> to date by the minute. It also clearly states that it is something
> written by the EFF for United States only: Tor cannot give legal advice,
> US entities seem to have to be very careful about that.

Agreed. Thus the almighty disclaimer - as long as you don't step on
the potential profits of (those particular few unethical) lawyers,
then we ought be able to say what we like, and help each other.

The flip side of "lay person giving legal advice" or variations
thereof, is that a "(potential) consumer of legal services", if they
are not properly informed and disclaimed etc, may pursue a path of
action which causes them harm of some sort, when it was/may have been
in their interests to "seek legal advice".

So again, we have a duty of care to each other, and to those who read
the material we publish. Things can go off the rails if/when we are
not careful in considering unforeseen consequences into the future.

Unfortunately "caveat human" is no longer - humans are expected to be
baby sat and treated with provision of a cotton wool society, and
anyone who goes against that is treated ("quasi") criminally (I have
personal experience of this in Australia).

Don't get me wrong: disclaimers and appropriate cautions are good things.

But so the firetruck is self responsibility and common sense; as these
are removed, we have survival of the stupidest.

Sorry, I'm ranting now...

> Sorry for sounding a bit rude, but yes, to say it frankly, I am pissed
> off because of this case. There was no reason for making this public
> before the written statement other to scare away other Tor relay
> operators. As if Tor didn't already have enough bad press, some fuckup
> DISCUSSION ON is not helpful.

Thank you. That is a very useful thing to say.

The torproject.org site, in the light of this, _ought_ provide some FAQs:

- How to publicize your court case if you need or want assistance.

Guys, let's jump in and formulate appropriate FAQs - paraphrasing
Moritz's words above in a FAQ- and family- friendly and functional

> Pleaaase, everyone, you don't have to jump on everything on
> the Internet that some dude posted to a blog and waste
> ABOUT YET. If you want to be constructive, think about how we
> can properly design a legal fund. WE DO HAVE MONEY FOR THIS.

Again, what's a suitable FAQ entry.

We want to mitigate future versions of such events,
in the hindsight of these experiences.

> No, I do NOT plan on throwing 30000 Euro to waste just because the
> operator didn't want our help and handled the whole case completely
> wrong. YES, I feel bad about this and we wanted to help him all this
> time. I understand it is not his fault, but sadly there is nothing we
> can do if the accused does not want our help.

- If you do not want the assistance of torproject.org,
please assist the community by contacting torproject.org
and letting them know that you have your case in hand,
either with lawyers or by yourself, so that the community
knows in advance that you have chosen a pathway for handling
your case.

- If you are able to, please pre-empt negative public discussion
about the free speech networks if and when you blog or otherwise
communicate about your case, whether or not you are receiving
any assistance from torproject.

> Please, understand that we have an active interest in updating the
> website, providing a legal fund, organizing lawyers and all that.
> Several of you make it sound like it's the Tor project's fault, and
> demand that magically "someone" writes elaborate and brilliant guides
> for the website and from one day to another sets up an international
> legal fund. You're all invited to investigate options and write guides,
> but just ranting on a mailinglist is not getting us anywhere.

Of course. Thanks. I agree that there has been what reads as a bit
of negativity about torproject. We ought assume good faith (with
suitable cautiousness and paranoia etc etc).

> I will pick up this thread only after we have seen a written statement
> by the court. Please start separate threads if you have good and
> well-thought ideas about how we can organize a legal fund, send a patch
> for the website if you have good writing skills, and edit the Tor Exit
> Guidelines page if you think it is wrong. It is a wiki, wikis are there
> to be edited.

Is it ok to prompt and suggest and debate potential FAQ/site
enhancements here on tor-talk?


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