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Re: [tor-talk] NYC Event 2/15: Discussion Questions

> I thought it might be interesting for others to hear some of the
> questions that arose in the discussion at the NYC Tor event on Feb 15
> this past week.
> https://blog.torproject.org/explore-tor-nyc-meetup-feb-15/
> This list isn't exhaustive, but it may connect with others on this list,
> and could possibly provide more materials for the Tor Project FAQ
> (https://www.torproject.org/docs/faq.html.en). I didn't attempt to
> provide details on the answers and I did miss a part of the discussion,
> although I provide some comments. Any inaccuracies/commentary are
> attributable to me and me alone.
> * Why is Tor {weak|underutilized} *there*?/What causes the waves and
> troughs in Tor usage in a particular country?
> This question arose in the context of certain countries which see
> significant jumps then declines in usage. The well-known cases of usage
> spikes is usually tied to political turbulence in a particular country,
> in which internet censorship becomes a tactic of repression. But in
> other cases, there might be the adoption of "real identity" tied to
> online accounts, or blocking of specific messaging applications.
> * Why do Akamai/CloudFlare and other man-in-the-middle type services
> block Tor?
> There have been changes in the CloudFlare configuration where the "block
> Tor knob" is off by default. Blocking Tor isn't just based on the FUD of
> "Tor users are all bad" but often it's recognized as a tool of
> commercial competition.  For instance, firm's might be concerned about
> comment spam or derisive comments from a competitor.
> * Do *they* know if I download TAILS/Tor Browser?
> *They* in this case could be any wide-seeing adversary, which could be
> your ISP, corporate management or one three-letter government agency or
> another.
> This is a common question in my experiences. But despite fumbling
> through an array of answers, Roger offered an elegant answer with: Are
> you more concerned about the adversary seeing you downloaded TAILS, or
> them seeing the www sites you visit?
> * .onion sites
> There was some discussion about perceptions about and use of .onion
> services, and why we say ".onion" as opposed to the hidden web/"Dark
> Net"/etc.
> While many (particularly in the media) refer to the frequency of the
> "ugly" residing on .onion services, Facebook is actually the most
> visited site.  Some month in the past, some 1 million users accessed the
> .onion site, which represented 1/16 of that month's Facebook users. That
> may point to the future trajectory of .onion sites. Just because in
> absolute terms there's lots of loopy www sites there, they aren't
> representative of the full-scope of .onion traffic in relative terms.

Quick correction with full details later, but my Facebook .onion
statement is incorrect as-is, and needs some clarification.

> * Tor and The End of Net Neutrality: What Impact?
> The bluntly honest answer was "who knows?" since each state seems to be
> countering federal legislation. And as an overlay network, Tor users
> might actually be a useful too to mitigate legislation.
> * Running an Exit Node
> Much of the discussion is directly addressed by Tor documentation, but I
> can imagine that a meeting specifically on the topic may be relevant in
> the future, at least in a place where there is a significant
> concentration of non-exit relay operators wanting to take the plunge.
> ****
> The discussion prompted a lot of other relevant questions and comments,
> but that's a quick survey of some I thought that were interesting.
> g


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