[tor-talk] Court in Greece acquits Tor exit node operator, accused of visiting child porn website

irregulator at riseup.net irregulator at riseup.net
Thu Mar 20 22:56:41 UTC 2014

On Tuesday March 18th 2014 an important case about Tor relay operators
came to court in Athens, Greece. All started back in February 2011, when
United States authorities contacted Greek authorities about a website
serving child porn material. US authorities provided a document with IP
addresses belonging to Greek ISPs and also a sample of the child porn
material. Among these IP addresses there was one in the range controlled
by the National Technical University of Athens, an address belonging to
a certain room in the university's dormitories.

The student who was at the time living in that room, was accused for
logging in the child porn website. District attorney did not order any
confiscation of the student's PC for further investigation on the disc.
The case was based solely on the IP address that the US authorities had
logged and provided to greek authorities.

The point is that at the time and date, the computer of the defendant
seemed to have made a connection to the website, was in fact a Tor Exit
Node. This was easily proven by feeding ExoneraTor [1] with the IP
address of the defendant and time/date of the crime. A simple query
returned the descriptors of the relay at the time and it's exit policy
was the reduced exit policy letting out traffic to ports 80 and 443, i.e
web traffic.

So the main defense line of the defendant was that he would never access
such material for ethical reasons, that at the time of the crime he was
running a Tor Exit node and he had no relation whatsoever with the
accusations. The relevant evidence was provided to the court -
screenshots from ExoneraTor and a statement by the Tor Project that
validated what the ExoneraTor was showing.

During the judicial procedure, a police officer of Cyber Crime unit of
Hellenic Police, was called to testify. The policeman, talked generally
about what's happening with child porn cases and how the unit
investigates them. He acknowledged the fact that the defendant was
running a Tor Exit node and he stated that there was no evidence the
defendant had commited the crime.

Next, the defendant talked about the ethical reasons he would never
visit such a site. He then explained why he was supporting the right to
anonymity and privacy, why he supported the Tor project and how he had
decided to run an Exit node. He exlained to the court the meaning of
being an Exit node, and that he could not identify whoever visited that

The court acquitted the defendant.

[1] : https://exonerator.torproject.org/

Editor comment : I have no official involvement in that case. I just
developed interest in it since I am a student in National Technical
University of Athens and also a Tor lover. I find this is a pretty
important legal decision about Tor relay operators in Greece. We
certainly need and can have more exit nodes in Greece.


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