[Author Prev][Author Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Author Index][Thread Index]
Re: Hacker strikes through student's router
Actually, I think the analogy to the anonymity afforded by open WiFi
hotspots is a good one insofar as potential for abuse is concerned, as
both have the potential to be abused in similar ways. Where they differ
significantly is the public benefit they provide. Tor offers anonymity,
while WiFi hotspots offer not only anonymity, but also Internet access
itself. Another difference that may be ethically significant is that
while Tor is operated as a free, non-profit public service, many WiFi
hotspots, though free, are provided by commercial establishments
motivated by profit as they seek to entice customers.
I think the analogy between Tor and WiFi hotspots is useful in that any
argument that a person should not be allowed to run a Tor server because
of the potential for abuse might also be made with similar force against
a person or group of persons hosting an open WiFi hotspot.
Anthony DiPierro wrote:
On 11/9/05, *George W. Maschke* <maschke@xxxxxxxxx
How is the anonymity provided by Tor any more subject to abuse than,
say, the anonymity afforded by companies and institutions that offer
WiFi hotspots? Or Internet cafes? Or public libraries?
Well, Tor is more accessible to more people. Tor lets you use your
own software, not whatever happens to be loaded on the public computer
(answer to 2 and 3 anyway). And the difficulty of tracking people
using Tor is much higher than tracking people using these other
providers, because at least the other providers give you a location.
Along those same lines, the examples you give are more limited. You
could easily set up a bot to use all Tor nodes at once. It'd be a lot
harder to do that with all wifi hotspots, or internet cafes, or public
On top of all that, there are probably protections put in place at
most of these places. Firewalls and proxies, with every access being
logged in case there's a problem. And finally, to the degree that
these methods don't provide this type of accountability, they probably
do find themselves being threatened with lawsuits.
I agree with cyphrpunk for the most part. In the end Tor is going to
be widely accepted to the extent that the good outweighs the harm. To
say it's just like cyber cafes, or wifi hotspots, or public libraries,
or selling hammers - none of these are very good analogies. Of course
hooking up a gun to the internet isn't any better, but somewhere
between the two lies my view of the situation. (Actually, both the
hammer and the gun analogy miss the point that Tor just allows you to
do something most users can already do, more anonymously.)