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Re: [tor-talk] Neal Krawetz's abcission proposal, and Tor's reputation

On 30 August 2017 at 15:04, Alec Muffett <alec.muffett@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Hi Jon!
> On 30 August 2017 at 13:41, Jon Tullett <jon.tullett@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> First is that the technical advantages of Tor are not in question, and
>> raising technical arguments in what quickly becomes an ethical debate
>> tends to polarize positions further.
> Did I do that? I don't think I did that.  If I did that, I didn't mean to.

I meant it more generally - pro-Tor arguments tend to become technical
fairly quickly. Possibly because they're easy - easy to raise, easy to
defend. Ethical stuff gets murky awful fast, and is so full of
strawmen. You're opposed to censorship? You must be pro-terrorism.
Burn the witch!

> What I meant to say, I suppose, after all that context, is that any
> mechanism which denies or filters the availability of those "technical
> advantages", to anyone who desires them, is tantamount to censorship.
> I say that not as an ethical statement.  It simply is true.
> Perhaps you can explain how it is not true?

I can't, because it is. However, that's the ethical argument - is
there a censorship line, and if so where? That's what Krawetz is
bringing up by pointing out what he sees as Tor's denunciation of one
type of content where it has scrupulously avoided that in the past.
It's worth noting that this is  already out of context; the comments
on the blog post clarify that the group feels bad about any "vile" use
of the network. Clearly (and probably the key point here) is that
feeling bad about it is not held to justify censoring it.

He'd probably counter that he's not suggesting _censorship_, just a
mechanism that would make life harder for illegitimate sites while not
outright knocking them offline. Which does sound an awful lot like a
first step towards a slippery slope, even before you get into the
conflicting definitions of what is legitimate and what is not.

Murky. Hence my curiosity to know Tor's official thoughts on it.

>> Second:
>> > Practical example: the point of the Facebook onion site is to provide the
>> > above-listed four benefits - plus a better quality of service - to people
>> > who choose to access Facebook over Tor; the point is to free the
>> > communications path from mediation of any form. To see this as a threat,
>> or
>> > to argue that "well maybe $THIS_SITE is okay, but $THAT_SITE should not
>> be
>> > afforded such protection" - is to call for censorship.
>> And yet Facebook itself actively engages in censorship, and cooperates
>> with law enforcement when legally required to do so.
> Yes.
> It is a platform, and a corporation, and is bound by the laws of various
> countries and geographies.
> Should that privilege its access to good security and communications
> technologies, above that of (say) an individual?

Well, that's an interesting discussion. I'm actually not sure how I'd
answer it - issues like responsible disclosure spring to mind. Will
think on it.

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