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Re: Questions about gathering information and statistics about the tor-network

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Hi Sebastian,

Sebastian Schmidt wrote:
>> That's about how geolocations of directory users can be collected
>> right now.
> This sounds interesting. Can those informations be questioned somehow
> from the dir-servers or are they non-public?

It's not that these data are non-public, but there is currently no way
to request them from the directory servers. And unfortunately, I don't
have a good sample at hand, as I don't collect these data right now.

But I think you should be able to generate them on a directory mirror,
too. Have a look at the DirRecordUsage* config options (grep for them in
the code). You may also need to configure --enable-geoip-stats.

> Those stats you gathered about the bridges here are really
> interesting! Since I read it I'm thinking how to interprete them. It
> looks like we have already "many" bridges for the short time they are
> supported in stable tor but just a small number of overall traffic
> (based on the bandwith consumption) on them. This could be intresting
> for people who want to support the network because they don't need to
> setup a 4TB-root for running a bridge.

Correct. Often, bridge admins are disappointed that they don't help Tor
'enough', because they see so little bandwidth. But people who don't
have much bandwidth to share do help the network by setting up a bridge.
As Roger has stated several times, bridges might become even more useful
in the future. So it's good to already have a solid number of bridges
when they are needed.

> Also most users seem to be
> germans/americans and not people of countrys one would think who
> would be the number one. I'm thinking why? Afaik no provider in
> germany restricts the access to tor. Do people use bridges because
> they think this "extra hop" increases their anonymity instead of
> letting the bandwith for the people who really needs them?

One explanation that comes to mind is that some corporate filtering
systems make it necessary to use bridges.

I would have to look this up in the spec, but I think there is no
anonymity gain by using bridges in terms of an 'extra hop'. Bridges
replace the first node in a circuit, so that circuit are 3 hops long, too.

> Well there are many interesing information which could be gathered
> without touching users anonymity at all. In contrast there are
> information which needs to be collected to protect their anonymity.
> Stats like the sudden increase of nodes in a fascist country like
> e.g. burma,china and so on shouldn't happen without people noticing
> it. For the beginning I want to get all the interesting information
> out of the service-descriptors and make them visible.

Starting with the descriptors is a good idea. You can collect them with
Peter Palfrader's directory archive scripts in the contrib/ directory.

> Have you already thought about a good way to present the data? I
> think best would be a dynamic solution so one gatheres all the
> information and users can throw exactly the information they want in
> one pot which they want to see joined in one graph for a timeline
> they can choose. But I don't know any good framework which offers
> this. At the moment I just found
> cewolf(http://cewolf.sourceforge.net/new/index.html) and I don't know
> if it fits the needs of which I'm thinking off. So I think gathering
> the already available information is more easily than finding a good
> way to make them easily public for the average user.

Right, making data available might turn out to be difficult. I haven't
looked at specific frameworks, yet. One option would be to integrate
more graphics into TorStatus (http://trunk.torstatus.kgprog.com/).
Kasimir Gabert did a great job displaying bandwidth histories for the
past day, week, month, and so on. Maybe these graphics can be extended,
given that we have good data to present.

> I'll be really busy the next month but as soon as I have something to
> show I'll let you know!

Ah, the exam phase? :) If so, good luck with that!

- --Karsten
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