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Re: Block directory authorities, is it possible?

> Why hasn't Tor been blocked in China already?

My guesses, in order of ease-of-explanation:

A) There are perhaps 30000 people in China running Tor clients right now,
according to my rough estimates. That's roughly zero people, in China.

B) The general perception of Tor is that it's a tool for experts. So
they don't think they need to block it (yet).

C) We haven't publically threatened their control. By emphasizing
government/military/law enforcement use, and individuals in free countries
who need their civil liberties, we don't force them to take action.

D) Other?

> Could it be that Tor is being used to help identify suspected
> dissidents?

So yes, they could do what you describe, but there are many things they
*could* do, and from talking to people in China, this probably isn't
first in line in terms of worries. But let me know if you disagree. :)


I agree with you that it is unlikely that monitoring Tor users plays much if any role in identifying dissidents in China given its relative complexity when compared to other methods, however I am still perplexed as to why Tor has not been blocked. If reasons A) and B) are true, then why does the Torpark download reroute to Google's homepage? Torpark users are a subset of Tor users, and I would imagine that Torpark users in general are more experienced computer users as well, ie., wouldn't Torpark also be perceived as a tool for experts? Furthermore, why has the psiphon homepage been blocked? Users of psiphon in China are likely far fewer than users of Tor, and because psiphon essentially requires Chinese users to have a trusted contact running a psiphon server abroad the likelihood of psiphon ever becoming as popular or as useful as Tor is in China is nil.

Reason C) seems pretty reasonable, and also provides a reason as to
why both Torpark and psiphon have been blocked.

From the Torpark Support page: "Your donation can help bring democracy
to those who have no choice, freedom of speech to those who are
silenced, and break down the walls of censorship worldwide."

From the psiphon homepage: "psiphon is a human rights software project
... that allows citizens in uncensored countries to provide unfettered
access to the Net through their home computers to friends and family
members who live behind firewalls of states that censor."

On the other hand, the Tor developers have publicly made note of the
ability of Tor to circumvent the Chinese firewall, calling China "a
global active adversary with a lot of manpower and money, and severe
penalties to discourage people from trying."

Given the fact that access to these smaller projects has been blocked,
I think the "Tor is small enough to be flying below the radar"
argument has some strikes against it. I think there must be some other
reason(s) in addition to this one as to why Tor has not been blocked.
But what is that reason?

Kevin S.