The Tor challenge: run a Tor node for great justice



First of all, I thought for great justice we were supposed to remove every Zig?

Second, given that people are having their doors broken by the cops for shit people do on their WiFi, is this actually safe? What are the legal remedies if someone’s using your Tor exit node for drugs or child porn? I would love to run Tor to help the disenfranshised, but I have a family to think about. The list of sacrifices I’d make for a stranger include giving money, but not ruining my life.

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Quick question. Does the computer I install the relay on have to be always on? I’m sure that is ideal, but does it have to be?

I ran a Tor node for a while, some time ago.

As memory serves (now possibly outdated) the owner of the hardware has several configuration options available to them.

One of the configuration options was to prevent your node from being used as an exit point for the traffic. While that decreases the utility of it somewhat, there is still a value to the network to being a middle node.

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No, it does not.

Further (as memory serves) you can throttle the traffic, by declaring how much bandwidth you’re prepared to allow the Tor network to use.

However, the network learns over time. When you first create a node and join the network, you get very little traffic. The longer your node is up, the more traffic you get passing through.

I ran my Tor node on an old (and I mean really old) mac mini, so I was okay with it being on all the time. The computer is just handling packets, so it doesn’t need to be some kind of high-end rig.

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sounds like a good use of a raspberry pi


Thanks for the reply. I might have to do this, to help out the EFF. My main PC at home has turned into primarily a Minecraft machine for the kids anyhow.

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My main problem with running a relay node is the incredible number of idiots that get the raw list of IPs running a relay node (not an exit node, just a relay) and block them for various and sundry reasons. I don’t need that kind of pain on my home connection.

Back in the day when I lived in an apartment and had Speakeasy DSL and had two static IPs, I could see doing that… but not now. If paying for an extra static wasn’t so expensive, I’d even consider that, but I can’t justify an extra $30/month just to run a relay.

Could you provide some examples of who is doing that?

You don’t need a static IP to be part of the Tor project. From this bug report (closed and labeled as fixed) I deduce that the network makes allowance for nodes changing IPs.

My ISP tells me I have a dynamic IP, but I regularly go months at a time with the same IP, so even though it’s dynamic, it’s quite sticky. One of the changes named in the bug thread linked above is that a node that has 4 or more IPs that last for a week or less is considered to be on a dynamic IP.

As always, YMMV :smiley:

From the Tor Abuse FAQ at EFF:

  • Because of a few cases of anonymous jerks messing with its web pages, Wikipedia is currently blocking many Tor relay IPs from writing (reading still works). We’re talking to Wikipedia about how they might control abuse while still providing access to anonymous contributors, who often have hot news or inside info on a topic but don’t want to risk revealing their identities when publishing it (or don’t want to reveal to local observers that they’re accessing Wikipedia). Slashdot is also in the same boat.
  • SORBS is putting some Tor relay IPs on their email blacklist as well. They do this because they passively detect whether your relay connects to certain IRC networks, and they conclude from this that your relay is capable of spamming. We tried to work with them to teach them that not all software works this way, but we have given up. We recommend you avoid them, and teach your friends (if they use them) to avoid abusive blacklists too.

There are others, but that’s an easily-accessible entry from the horse’s mouth.

Yeah, but the only way to get additional IPs out of my ISP is to start getting statics; it’s more of a case of my particular tree than the forest as a whole.

If I had the slightest notion that the majority or even close to the majority of TOR traffic was for justice I would do this.

However I don’t feel like sharing my bandwidth with people buying from the Silkroad, looking at porn, trolling Wikipedia, or the dozens of other things I suspect the majority of TOR traffic is comprised of.

The sentiment you express here is only a little different from:

That cynicism about the motives of those who desire anonymity is cut from the same cloth as the emotional veil used to defend the NSA’s dragnets.

I don’t run a Tor node at this time, though I have in the past. Your post has helped to convince me to renew my participation :wink:

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Thank you for the link, but I understand the horse to be saying something different than what you said.

The subheading you linked to and quoted is [quote]So what should I expect if I run an exit relay?[/quote] {emphasis added}

No, not really.
What people want Tor to be is an Internet that is free and secure and provides information for people with infringed freedoms. However, that’s actually not much information in total, and Tor has ended up being a repository for very illegal things, not things that are just illegal in Iran, but things that are very illegal in the US.

I completely understand that if a huge number of ‘normal’ people ran nodes it would make it more secure and less suspect… but, in the process of that you are helping the illegal activities become more secure, less suspect and safe. And with cops confiscating exit node computers and possibly making their life uncomfortable, and with recent takedowns of pedofiles and drug dealers, the Tor system doesn’t seem all that secure. The illusion of security is worse than no security.

Because as things stand right now, anyone who is operating a Tor node is likely to be ‘abnormal’ ?

You’re just perpetuating the FUD I responded to with my reply to Rider, and it’s all based on the tacit assumption that a desire for anonymity is a sure indicator of criminality

Since your mind is already made up on this topic, I advise you to definitely not click this link that refutes your argument more eloquently and succinctly than I can.

At the end of the day, you can rest assured that no one is going to force you to operate a Tor node, so your normalcy is secure.

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Well, that’s one way to Tor-pedo people’s enthusiasm…

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Seriously? Perpetuating the FUD? Just because someone else has a differing opinion? The link is wonderful in its altruism however in light of all recent events regarding security it’s a bit naive. The assumption that criminals have other ‘better’ secure means does not sell it because it’s just openly saying that it’s not as secure as these other means.

If you don’t want your mommy to know you’re surfing for porn, then go for Tor. But don’t think it’s the super secret dark net that will rid the world of the NSA.
It’s a great start, but as long as it’s legitimacy is undermined it will never be trusted by us ‘normal’ folks.

And Boing Boing get SSL running for crissakes! There is no good reason you shouldn’t have been all this time!

That’s a real zinger there! You’ve got quite the way with words!

But in seriousness, if that’s the limit of your imagination about why a person would desire anonymity, it says more about you, and your assumptions about normalcy and legitimacy, than it does about Tor users.

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