[tor-talk] Blacklists

Praedor Tempus praedor at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 11 13:06:36 UTC 2014

I think the thinking needs re-thinking.  Tor becomes less and less useful, and less and less attractive to users as more and more sites block tor.  The diminishing returns feeds itself.  More people quit using tor because many or most of the sites they are interested in prevent them from viewing them, fewer and fewer relays are provided as people quit tor, tor becomes weaker and weaker.  Rinse, repeat. 

I do not think sites should be able to simply block classes of traffic just because they want to.  Blocking a spammer is one thing, it is a response to a single demonstrable negative action but blocking an entire class is what anti-discrimination laws in the real world are used to stop.  Because it is unjust and simply bad.  Why should it be different on the internet? Carve out the internet from basic societal rules/laws so discrimination by class is perfectly OK?  

I'm merely stating that the simple ability to make a quick and easy setting change in the exit is all that is needed, not an automatic and broad default change to tor exit behaviors.  

Responding to growing blacklists by shrugging one's shoulders and saying, "Oh well, you're wrong to do so but...oh well" is not a functional response.  It is a promise of less and less usefulness of tor...unless the ultimate goal is to provide, in the end, just an anonymous chat infrastructure since that seems to be the ultimate end point as sites block tor in greater numbers.

 From: krishna e bera <keb at cyblings.on.ca>
To: tor-talk at lists.torproject.org 
Sent: Monday, March 10, 2014 10:10 PM
Subject: Re: [tor-talk] Blacklists

On 14-03-10 06:37 PM, Praedor Tempus wrote:
> I was wondering...would a change to tor exits so they direct through public proxies/anonymizers get around black lists?  The tor user would still be anonymized but the ultimate source address seen by blacklisting websites would NOT be a tor exit so blocking tor exits would fail...
> Is this too simple?  Perhaps add a setting that those who run exits could configure so their exit routes to a proxy?  
> praedor

The FAQ gives 3 reasons why Torproject doesnt encourage that particular
solution to blocking of Tor:

To quote therefrom:

a.    We can't help but make the information available, since Tor
clients need to use it to pick their paths. So if the "blockers" want
it, they can get it anyway. Further, even if we didn't tell clients
about the list of relays directly, somebody could still make a lot of
connections through Tor to a test site and build a list of the addresses
they see.

b.    If people want to block us, we believe that they should be allowed
to do so. Obviously, we would prefer for everybody to allow Tor users to
connect to them, but people have the right to decide who their services
should allow connections from, and if they want to block anonymous
users, they can.

c.    Being blockable also has tactical advantages: it may be a
persuasive response to website maintainers who feel threatened by Tor.
Giving them the option may inspire them to stop and think about whether
they really want to eliminate private access to their system, and if
not, what other options they might have. The time they might otherwise
have spent blocking Tor, they may instead spend rethinking their overall
approach to privacy and anonymity.

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