[tor-talk] Putting the "Tor" back in Torrent

Helder Ribeiro helder at discor.de
Fri Jul 11 22:56:39 UTC 2014

On Fri, Jul 11, 2014 at 7:06 PM, Random Tor Node Operator
<tor at unterderbruecke.de> wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> On 07/11/2014 11:12 PM, Helder Ribeiro wrote:
>> 4. Make the Popcorn Time fork also **be a relay by default*
>> whenever possible**.
>> Nobody would agree to do this on the main tor software for a
>> thousand reasons, but it's an *app* and you can decide to do that
>> in it independently. If you're going to add a lot of load to the
>> network, you have to give back.
> There are at least 2 problems with many "make users a relay by
> default" ideas:
> 1. Some overzealous website administrators blacklist all Tor relay
> IPs, even non-exits. [1]
> This might cause lots of frustration in users when they realize that
> some sites lock them out because they used to be running a Tor relay
> for some time on their IP. Right now, that type of problem is limited
> to very few cases where relay IPs are used for non-Tor purposes as well.

True. Hopefully, if the app is popular enough and this happens, there
will be enough pressure from users to unban relays (after all non-exit
relays are harmless to website operators).

> 2. Currently, the time constant of the Tor system to pick up a new
> relay[2] is way bigger than the time of a typical Bittorrent session
> (This is a handwaving guesstimate of mine).
> So the effect of contributing to Tor that way would in most cases be
> minimal.
> One could think of a way to have Tor use something like "short-lived
> relays", which are perhaps propagated through a DHT instead of the
> regular consensus system. On the one hand, that would make "giving
> something back to the network" a whole lot easier. On the other hand,
> I can hardly estimate what the security and anonymity implications of
> that would look like.

Good point. As an optimization, users could pick relays for their
circuits from the torrent DHT itself (not necessarily nodes
hosting/downloading the same file). That would at least make them
neutral in terms of bandwidth consumption for the network.

The interface/"tit for tat" mechanism could also encourage users to
keep running the app longer.

Other than that, there could be a way to authenticate relays so that
they keep certain flags across sessions, and have regular tor clients
pick them for short-lived circuits like for HTTP traffic. No idea
aobut privacy implications either :/

> [1]
> https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-relays/2013-August/002531.html
> [2] https://blog.torproject.org/blog/lifecycle-of-a-new-relay
> Version: GnuPG v1.4.11 (GNU/Linux)
> Comment: Using GnuPG with Thunderbird - http://www.enigmail.net/
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> =l95K
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