[tor-talk] Can NAT traversal be Tor's killer feature?

Helder Ribeiro helder at discor.de
Fri Jul 11 05:25:04 UTC 2014

On Thu, Jul 10, 2014 at 9:31 PM, Zenaan Harkness <zen at freedbms.net> wrote:
> On 7/11/14, Helder Ribeiro <helder at discor.de> wrote:
>> tl;dr: how about a virtual global flat LAN that maps static IPs to
>> onion addresses?
>> Exhibit 1: Ricochet IM (https://ricochet.im) uses onion addresses
>> (each client runs a hidden service) as a sort of *static anonymous IP
>> address* and, because it's static, it's the user's identity too, in a
>> p2p/serverless chat app. It's dead simple, works like a charm behind
>> the firewall at work, and protects metadata, which no other chat
>> app/protocol I know does.
>> Exhibit 2: OnionShare (https://onionshare.org/) does the same for file
>> sharing, and it's actually a much *easier* user experience to send
>> large files this way than any other. Why? "Static anomyous IP" (onion
>> address) and NAT traversal because all hidden services work by making
>> *outgoing* connections to Tor relays and don't need any open ports.
> Sounds good.
> Excessive popularity/ usage, without measures to 'encourage' or
> otherwise to automatically facilitate expansion of the network may
> well lead to network degradation.

Yeah, since all these connections will be made without leaving the Tor
network, it doesn't seem like it would be a bad thing to make all
nodes relays by default. Would they be exposing themselves to any
*extra* political risk than that of running a hidden service?
(Bandwidth correlation is a technical one, will open new thread.)

Although, as I said, with enough demand, I think capacity finds a way
of taking care of itself. If it's something people want, they'll find
out about "how to make X faster" and learn that it's based on Tor and
that you should become a relay or donate money here so that your
connection can get faster.

Oh, and for every 100 new relays, you gain on average X extra kbytes
of bandwidth: help us get to this month's goal of another 100 by
donating 5 bucks a month!

It's easier to convince people to improve something they want (games,
collaboration, p2p madness!) rather than convince them they need
something they're not sure what for (a browser that's slower but..
private? what's that?).

> Skype super-nodes or whatever they are (were?) called, are
> automatically created on nodes where Skype detected sufficient
> bandwidth and no blocking firewall, AIUI. UPnP comes to mind.

Great point. Hadn't thought of "in-between" approaches to either
"everyone a relay by default" or "opt-in only".

I still think people would be vocally against _automatically_ turning
a client into a relay given certain conditions, but Tor could at least
*suggest* it to the user:

"Hey, it seems like you are in great shape to be a relay, and that
would help everyone else a *lot*. It's not recommended in this, this,
and that case, but otherwise, it's up to you. Can I Get an Amen?"

Btw, there are some great comments here:

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