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Re: Hacker strikes through student's router

On 11/10/05, George W. Maschke <maschke@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
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.

George Maschke


I agree with this.  There are differences, some of which I've pointed out, and some of which you've pointed out.  But they are close, and I agree that if you should be *allowed* to run a wifi hotspot you should be *allowed* to run a Tor node.

Of course, that said, you should probably get permission from your ISP before you run a wifi hotspot.  And it's perfectly reasonable for a university to ban students from setting up free/open wifi hotspots.  And those who run open wifi hotspots probably have to deal with abuse complaints on a regular basis.

One of the reasons companies go through all this is because they think (reasonably in most circumstances) that they can profit from it.  If only we could figure out how to really spread anonymous e-money.  Then we could really start spreading Tor.