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Re: Using Tor at an on-line advocacy org

On Tue, Mar 20, 2007 at 08:23:32PM -0700, firefox-gen@xxxxxxxxxx wrote 3.6K bytes in 88 lines about:
: Thanks for the insights so far. I have done some documentation work on
: the wiki, but I've run out of things to write. What are the areas most
: in need of documentation that is also NOT programming side, which I
: don't know much about? I also support the project financially already.
: Perhaps I can get some of our members to do so as well.

	Thanks for the financial support.  It's appreciated.  The
	Documentation section of https://tor.eff.org/volunteer.html.en
	is a great place to look for projects.  #6 may be of interest in
	helping non-techincal users configure Tor.  Screenshots and easy
	to follow docs are always a favorite.

: We would be using Tor as a cover for a cluster of e-mail servers which
: send constituent messages to Congress. Currently, we do this directly,
: but we've had a few isolated "accidents" in the past that were not
: explained, and seemed a bit like political censorship, though we can't
: prove it due to the usual "plausible deniability" that politicians so
: treasure.

	You're able to mail from Tor exit nodes?  My concern here is
	that Tor becomes part of the "damn spammer" set and is blocked
	accordingly.  I'm not sure what response is appropriate here.
	However, using Tor to defeat smtp blocks turns into that arms
	race problem again.  Tor, and you by proxy, can only lose.

: I agree that this whole thing may have negative consequences, but
: would it be possible to configure Tor so that we had a separate node
: network that was not connected to Tor, at least not as far as end
: nodes go? This would shift and contain the blame to our participants
: and not the entire community. Still, governments are famous for their
: tendency toward collective punishment, so perhaps that wouldn't do
: much anyway.

	In the end, how is this different than just buying a lot of
	throw away xen/openvz servers to use for mailings?  Your
	adversary, in this case Congressional IT, can just block the IPs
	of your Tor exit nodes.  I mean, sure, you can create your own
	Tor network distinct from the current public Tor network.  I'm
	not sure people in Congress IT would notice the difference
	between the real Tor network and your Tor network.  As you say,
	they'll probably end up just hating Tor altogether.  

	I don't have a simple solution for you.  I imagine the problem
	of how to email Congresspeople has been solved.  The EFF, ACLU,
	and other organizations seem to be able to email reliably.