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(FWD) commercial nodes (Was: Re: data retention) [u]

[Forwarding because Mixter isn't subscribed at this address. Mixter,
please fix this one way or the other. -RD]

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Date: Thu, 15 Dec 2005 12:44:28 +0100
From: "ka@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [c]" <ka@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: or-talk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: commercial nodes (Was: Re: data retention) [u]

There already was some discussion about commercial nodes on this list,
and this ultimately might be a solution. I think tor is already good and
solid, and if it weren't for the leeches-vs.-servers-ratio problem of
all free p2p systems, it could become really great.

IMHO the best concept would sure be a blend of commercial and noncommercial
router nodes, since for security/trust reasons, you ideally don't want to
depend solely on the first kind, but for performance and such, you want to have
a commercial incentive for high-traffic/high-availability nodes.

So, perhaps a solution with commercial routers which are approved/key-signed
for use in the main, noncommercial tor network and its dirservers. This
would instantly benefit performance of the whole network.

Now, for the operator's incentive, profit or at least compensation of costs: limit
direct access to those (as starting node) to paying clients, and have some way of
billing them (openvpn-authenticated connection with kbyte/user counting or so),
and route this traffic preferred and without limits.

However, commercial routers would also accept and route traffic coming directly
from non-commercial tor routers, just in a limited rate or max. bandwidth as to
not make huge money or performance losses from the gross tor network traffic. The
distinction between limiting traffic from commercial routers vs. non-commercial
tor network could be done by some traffic shaping tools, or some code modifications
to TOR, where you can white-list some (commercial) nodes and apply the rate-limiting
features only to the traffic coming from the rest...

Paying users who connect to a commercial node could manually chose their route
over several commercial nodes with guaranteed bandwidth, or could manually/randomly
include non-commercial nodes to have a potentially higher degree of anonymization
with less performance, while non-paying users would still profit from the commercial
nodes sharing their load...

Caveats: I know this system is not perfect on the billing-end, as I guess it would be
with any tor billing scheme, because you can only bill at the first router/onion, and
restrict traffic from the directly incoming router; i.e. it's impossible to tell
all the hops in a connection at any end by design, of course, which makes billing
always imperfect, be it with commercial-only peers or mixed commercial/free peers...



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