A group of researchers from the University of Colorado and University of Washington could face both civil and criminal penalties for a research project in which they snooped on users of the Tor anonymous proxy network. Should federal prosecutors take interest in the project, the researchers could also face up to 5 years in jail for violating the Wiretap Act.
The team of two graduate students and three professors neither sought legal review of the project, nor ran it past the Human Subjects Committee at their university, putting them in a particularly dangerous position.
The academic paper, "Shining Light in Dark Places: Understanding the Tor Network" (pdf) was presented at the Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium yesterday, in Leuven, Belgium. The authors are listed as: Damon McCoy, Kevin Bauer, Dr. Dirk Grunwald, Dr. Tadayoshi Kohno and Dr. Douglas Sicker.