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Re: Access for the uncomputed

[I'm forwarding this thread to the or-talk list, since this is probably
the better place for it. -RD]

On Sun, Jun 19, 2005 at 09:23:40AM -0400, Paul Syverson wrote:
> We should have public entry points for people coming in
> without tor clients:
> This will allow people using, e.g., Internet cafes to use Tor.  We can
> encourage internet cafes to have Tor clients, but we can't expect this
> to be ubiquitously or even widely adopted, and it won't cover all the
> cases where it would be useful. I can argue the various ways that this
> is a good thing (because I recognize it also introduces risk) but
> leave that mostly for another time.
> These should be relatively easy to set up, no? Just allow external
> connections to a local Tor client. Hell we did it with the very first
> alpha prototype OR system ten years ago so it shouldn't be too much
> trouble.

Right, Tor servers (and heck, Tor clients) can do this by opening their
socks port to the world. Then people can use their node as a socks
proxy without needing any special software. But note that they'll be
communicating unencrypted, and they'll also be at the mercy of the proxy
they choose. But such is life when you don't run our software yourself.

> Possibly this should be a decision that node operators should make.
> There may be incentive/abuse issues to allowing an entry connection
> from a non-Tor client. Although I cannot imagine what they would be
> so maybe not necessary over the basic decision about being an entry
> node.

Well, if you open a socks proxy, then some proxy scanners will conclude
that you are an open socks proxy ("since they can handshake with you,
clearly your IP address allows arbitrary outgoing connections"), and
put your IP address on blacklists. This will make it harder for you to
connect to some IRC servers, and who knows what else those blacklists
might be used for now or down the road.

> These need to be publicized in such a way that users can find them.

Right. There are lots of ways we could do this. We should keep in mind
that all the reasonable ways will involve letting the blacklisters easily
enumerate them too.

> Here's where the clearer connection to GUI issues comes in: Entry
> should at least have a standard web page to which one can connect via
> TLS.

Ah, so this would mean not just letting people connect via socks, but
also running a web proxy that points to a Tor. This is easy enough --
just run Privoxy and open up *its* port to the outside world. But that
won't get you encryption either.

>  Ultimately it would be nice to have something such that someone
> walking up to a kiosk carrying nothing or little (is a card with a PGP
> fingerprint too much?, visual crypto things to match on the screen
> ,etc.) can confirm that they are getting a good list of entry points,
> but maybe that comes later. At least they should start with the usual
> lock-in-the-corner and something to show them they are (apparently) on
> the Tor network. Of course this system could also be used by people
> who are carrying good mechanisms to authenticate (some) entry nodes,
> but are not carrying a tor-client enabled/internet connected device.

So you want some sort of interface like anonymizer's, where there's a
web site you can SSL to and it will let you type in a URL that it will
load for you?

Anybody want to work on one of these? :)

Or better, tell us how to make a smoother and more transparent interface
for this? Perhaps http://relay.com/tor.eff.org/ ?

Bonus if it supports .onion and .exit addresses.