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Re: Why TOR Operators SHOULD always sniff their exit traffic...

Why not set up your own tor network, call it Echelor, announce that
you're monitoring, and seek volunteers to use it, knowing they'll be


On Thu, Jun 09, 2005 at 02:24:17PM -0700, Chris Palmer wrote:
| Hash: SHA1
| Parker Thompson wrote:
| > My question is, what kinds of traffic analysis are legal (and ethical,
| > if you wish to speak to that), and would this be dependent on context?
| >  For example, would it be legal for an academic in the course of
| > research, but illegal for an ISP?  And if there are cases where it's
| > appropriate to treat Tor as more than a black box, are there
| > recommended/"approved" methods/tools for analyzing traffic.
| We know another person who wanted to analyze Tor traffic coming out of
| exit nodes for academic research, and I'm not sure where he ended up,
| legally speaking. There were thorny issues, although I think he planned
| to scrub and aggregate the traffic. I don't know if he ever went through
| with it, although I think we would have heard from him if so since he's
| a friend.
| Lawyers tend to advise their clients to take the least risky and safest
| path. In this traffic sniffing example, it's obviously safest not to go
| anywhere near violating the Wiretap Act. The surveillance laws and
| related case law are not as clear-cut as we might hope them to be, and
| surprising results sometimes come out of the courts on these topics. (I
| helped with the drafting of a brief by EPIC in the Brad Councilman case,
| for example. That was a weird one, although note that it had to do with
| stored communications, not communications in transit; and that the law
| distinguishes between the two.)
| I am not a lawyer, but as the Tor legal FAQ says, you can contact our
| privacy/surveillance/speech lawyer Kevin Bankston if you want to get
| legal information, or if you want to get help finding representation.
| (Please, everyone, don't spam Kevin with frivolous questions.)
| > And second, on a different track, the possibly evil operator in this
| > thread suggests that security through nobility is not good policy; it
| > leads to undiscovered vulnerabilities and a false sense of security.
| Nobody, least of all me, ever suggested that security through nobility
| is a good idea.
| > That said, I think the network could benefit from good operators
| > doing their best to find vulnerabilities that an actual evil operator
| > could find/exploit.
| Certainly. It's also possible to do so without going anywhere near the
| Wiretap or other Acts, such as by auditing the code, black-box testing
| techniques like fuzzing, running a Tor network on private hardware that
| 3rd parties are not using in production and tcpdumping that, and so on.
| > May I ask, do you agree that hostility, within the law or subject to
| > some (yet defined) set of ethical guidelines should be encouraged?  I
| > know you guys like to wax philosophical over there (and then blog it).
| >  I would be very interested in a legal/ethical/technical analysis of
| > this issue if someone is up for commenting on it.
| If you want to do a white hat pen test kind of thing on the public Tor
| network, please talk to 90,000 lawyers first and notify the whole world.
| :) Kevin will probably have a strong opinion on that.
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