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Re: [tor-talk] Fwd: Cryptopolitik and the Darknet

Personally I view Tor as enabling the fundamental vision of the Internet, what is sometimes called the end to end principle, but now, with added anonymity.

The end to end principle argues that end nodes can directly connect without requiring the help of an intermediary. Unfortunately, this principle is a dead letter on the Internet today and nobody ever seems to notice. 

Just look at the arguments about net neutrality. They are all about the right to listen, not the right to be heard. That is, the right to connect to any service one wants on equal terms but not the right to run one's own service and be heard on one's own terms. As such we only allow people to be heard if they are mediated by someone else. 

For example, my mobile phone has more than enough CPU and battery to run basic services on my behalf but when I'm on a cell connection or at work or in a cafà I can't be heard. I'm forced to be behind a NAT, firewall or both and so cut off. Sure, I can listen to whomever I want, but I can't be heard.

Tor, along with anonymity, has the ability to start the long and hard process of redressing this imbalance. To not just provide the right to listen anonymously (i.e. via an onion connection) but also the right to be heard anonymously (i.e. via a hidden service).

Tor has argued that we have the right to listen without being forced to expose our identity. Don't we also have the right to be heard without being forced to expose our identity? 

It would be awful if just as people's personal devices are powerful to give them a voice, Tor takes away the infrastructure needed to make that voice audible.

-----Original Message-----
From: tor-talk [mailto:tor-talk-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of eliaz
Sent: Thursday, February 25, 2016 11:02 AM
To: tor-talk@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: [tor-talk] Fwd: Cryptopolitik and the Darknet

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Steve Kinney <admin@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Date: Mon, 15 Feb 2016 08:59:32 -0500
> Subject: Cryptopolitik and the Darknet
> To: cypherpunks@xxxxxxxxxx
> Cryptopolitik and the Darknet

As an erstwhile bridge operator & also one who's put a lot of thought into the possibilities of abuse of the network, and also never quite believing that "there are more good than bad people," I found the article extremely useful.  Two passages from the summary:

"Proponents of hidden services argue that the cryptographic protocols that power the internet today were at the fringe of software development and considered a threat as late as 1995. Hidden services, they argue, are what https was 20 years prior: the future of security, not a threat to security. These arguments are strong, and cannot be dismissed; the technology may well mature and move into the mainstream in the future. But the crypto purists, Tor's developers among them, often fail to acknowledge an even more fundamental point, one that is deeply rooted in the recent history of cryptography: enhanced privacy, enhanced authentication and enhanced user anonymity are not tied to the service or content provider remaining anonymous and unregistered. Our first four properties â security, authentication, user anonymity and cash (or blockchains) â are entirely disconnected from the fifth: unidentified hidden exchanges. These issues are conceptually, politically and technically distinct. "

"End-to-end encryption will therefore always be available to a determined, capable user. Moreover, at present, the powerful dynamics of open markets for communication services do not favour end-to-end encryption among individuals at a large scale, thus limiting the technology's wider appeal and uptake. Any attempt to systematically undermine end-to-end encryption â through legislation requiring service providers to retain the option of removing encryption for any given user â will likely strengthen more secure implementations by creating more demand for them, and thus help criminals and militants. We believe it should be a political no-go area for democratically elected governments to pursue such a path."

So if it's possible to retain the desirable aspects of onion services while also abandoning unidentifiability of content providers, why not do it?  Tor operators and users could then join the rest a progressive society, no?

I hope everyone takes time to read the article.  Then it would be interesting to take a poll or vote here to see how the Tor community feels about this. - eliaz
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