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Re: [tor-talk] Giving Hidden Services some love
On 12/31/2014 11:53 PM, Scott Arciszewski wrote:
Trigger warning: This entire reply is going to be shameless (though
The current state of diversity in Onion Land is disappointing. So many of
the sites still online emphasize things like drugs, porn, and hacking. I
think everyone would benefit from a wider swath of the population getting
involved in hosting hidden services.
tldr; this is why Facebook's hidden service is so important.
This has long been a chicken-or-egg problem. A general audience (i.e.,
not digital security specialists) must know what hidden services do
before they get involved in hosting hidden services (or even using them,
for that matter). But to know what hidden services do, a general
audience must be able to use hidden services that interest them. If
there aren't any that interest them, then consequently there's no demand
for anyone to create them. So few people know what they do, outside of
"hacking" and "omg darknet".
So yes, an Onion Land with publicly navigable sites that are
predominantly shady and disgusting hasn't encouraged public
participation. (No matter how clever the tech is, btw.) But an Onion
Land with publicly navigable sites that are shady and disgusting, _plus_
a few well-known socially expedient services-- well, that's just another
way to say "the internet". Even if it's just the toe-dip of Facebook's
location anonymity, that's enough for most people to develop an initial,
practical understanding of what the readers of this list know to be one
of the fundamental principles of 21st century civil rights.
That logic also provides a nice "golden rule" symmetry for free software
privacy advocates. If you truly grasp the theory behind online
anonymity despite all the shady onion sites out there, then
congratulations: you understand why a user of a shady service like
Facebook also benefits by using it over Tor. (And how the Tor network
benefits from that use, too.) So when faced with inarticulate
skepticism, be lazy: tell people, "Well, Facebook uses it." Then trust
them to take the most important step: to exercise their freedom to run
the program, for any purpose.
And who knows, maybe someday they'll modify their behavior and
distribute that modified behavior to others.
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