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Re: Running a Tor exit node on an academic network?

On 1/27/06, Chris Palmer <chris@xxxxxxx> wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> Arrakistor wrote:
> > I am trying to do the same thing. I would be interested in any help along these lines as well!
> Yes, maybe it's a conversation best had on-list rather than off-.

The main reason I didn't want to send my justification document to the
list is that it might expose my strategy (and any deliberation about
it) to the networking people if they monitor this list.  I suppose
that might be the plays-with-lawyers-well side of me.

I could send it if others think it would be helpful (and I guarantee
that I'll write up my struggle next week after they've passed
judgement on my proposal).

I guess I'll just paraphrase the issues and academic stuff:

* They want to make sure that my Tor server is not used to attack
services/computers on the campus network. Proposal: block all exit
traffic to campus IP addresses.

* The Library has electronic subscriptions to certain services that
are based on IP addresses only.  Proposal: block exit connections to
those IP addresses given a list or build a list as needed.  The
eventual list could be thousands of IP addresses long which would have
a undetermined impact on Tor's performance.

* They're not confident that Tor will obey its exit policies. 
Proposal: include kernel-level software firewall and possibly a
hardware-based firewall device on the Tor box.

* They're concerned about bandwidth (although this one is not a
biggie).  Proposal: limit to 5% of my departments bandwidth (5MBit/s)
and then explore burst settings and see how this impacts our

As for academic justification, in addition to Dean, Sysadmin. and
multiple Faculty supporters I've noted that:

* We have a postdoc that works on reputation systems in anonymous routing.

* Journalism and Law students need a way to be able to communicate
with clients/sources and do competitive analyses in a private, secure

* Faculty need to be able to do research on student and faculty
candidates without exposing their institutional affiliation.[1]

* Students at our school have expressed interest in using our Tor node
to incorporate onion-routing concepts into client-side privacy
protection tools and research tools (like hidden surveys and such).

* Students in networking, privacy, security and cryptography classes
(such as myself) could tinker with our Tor node and get hands-on
experience with onion-routing, cryptography an anonymity tools.

[1] Neither of these require a Tor node (exit or middleman) on
campus... but I'd like to make a convincing case that we need to be
supporting the network if we're going to be using its services.

I would appreciate any comments on any of this... -Joe

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Joseph Lorenzo Hall
PhD Student
UC Berkeley, School of Information (SIMS)
blog: <http://josephhall.org/nqb2/>

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