[tor-talk] Questions about NSA monitoring of Tor users.

simonsnake at openmailbox.org simonsnake at openmailbox.org
Sat Jul 12 23:14:30 UTC 2014

I have two questions about the recent revelations that the NSA has been 
collecting data about Tor users.

I would like to hear from those with personal knowledge and experience 
such as Jacob, Roger, Mike, etc.

AIUI, from the stories in the German media 
(http://daserste.ndr.de/panorama/aktuell/nsa230_page-1.html) and Wired 
the NSA has logged the IP of everyone who ever accessed:
a) a directory server.
b) an entry node.
c) bridges.torproject.org
d) requested an email of bridges.
e) the tor website itself (except from five eyes countries).

This is viable as the NSA runs the Quantum network which allows it to 
intercept traffic to whichever sites it desires before that traffic 
arrives at its destination.

Two questions:

1.	What would be the purpose of collecting a vast trove of IP addresses? 
In my case, my IP could be tied to my real name since I send emails via 
SMTP which will contain my IP, email address, real name, etc. That said, 
IP addresses are dynamic. I don't know how easy it would be to identify 
most people via an IP. Of course, one way would be to ask the ISP 
directly. But, whether tied to a real identity or not, what's the point? 
  What does it achieve? They also gather the IP address for those who 
access any number of proxy services such as MegaProxy and 
FreeProxies.org. Would they not just end up with a massive database of 
(mostly dynamic) IPs?

2.	What is the attitude that encourages the gathering of this 
information? Is it: because they can? Or do they truly believe that 
anyone who uses Tor is dangerous? Bear in mind that Tor was developed 
and is still funded by the US government. No-one can deny that 
dissidents in unfree countries use it. So, even if you assume that a 
high percentage of users are bad people, what about the dissidents in 
the Middle East or wherever? What is the psychology here? I'm sure 
people like Roger are in regular contact with some government types. 
Perhaps he can shed some light on the motivation?

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