[tor-talk] A Pluggable Transport based on i2p?

Roger Dingledine arma at mit.edu
Wed Mar 15 19:43:10 UTC 2017

On Wed, Mar 15, 2017 at 06:20:53AM -0400, Lolint wrote:
> Hi,
> Could it be possible to implement a pluggable transport using i2p? The way this could work
> is that a server would function as a bridge node, and will also have the i2p router installed,
> and the client will connect to this bridge via I2P Tunnels,
> <User><=><i2p network><=><bridge with i2p><=><Tor network><=><Clearnet or onion>
> What do you think?

If somebody wants to build this, that sounds great to me! More options
are always good.

I agree that it could give you somewhat crummy performance, but hey,
that's a tradeoff that users can decide whether to make. Some bandwidth
is a lot better than no bandwidth in some situations.

Jonathan responded with:
> You want to hide the fact that you are using an anonymization network
> by using an anonymization network. This idea seems pretty stupid to me.

But I think that's taking a very narrow view of pluggable transports.
Many people want to use Tor and/or pluggable transports to get around
censorship that otherwise prevents them from reaching the sites they
want to reach.

(Getting around censorship with no security at all is probably a bad
idea -- we keep learning that lesson as people from Iran, Egypt, etc say
"my government is stupid, they don't know how to surveil the Internet,
just let me get to Facebook" and then they realize once it's too late that
maybe they should have had some more security. So the Tor perspective is
that we should give them as many ways to get around censorship, while
getting most of Tor's security properties, as we can, but we shouldn't
help people with insecure approaches.)

That said, one of the side effects of making a successful i2p pluggable
transport would be that censors would have more incentive to censor
i2p connections. Speaking of which, I have no idea if i2p connections
right now are hard or easy to DPI for. But attracting the attention of
Tor's adversaries could speed up the arms race there, which could be a
sad result.


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