On Wednesday 14 November 2007 14:22:29 Mirko Thiesen wrote: > I > asked "What about a postal service that delivers i.e. a bomb or a blackmail > letter? Do they help people committing crimes as well?" They said that > these two things could not be compared as a postal service offers > transportation services whereas I offer anonymization services. > First of all, well done and keep up the good work. Secondly, your case is proof, if proof were needed, that Tor is still a project without a rock-solid layman's analogy. Every Tor server operator that ends up explaining Tor to a non-technical or even just plain skeptical audience will encounter the same problem until the crack of doom unless we all put our heads together and document one. Here is my stab to get things rolling: "Why should Internet usage be anonymous? Because almost everything else in our life (e.g. TV, radio, the postal system, telephony, cash) has a great deal of anonymity built in. Imagine being asked to sign your name at the newsagents every time you buy a newspaper or being asked to fill out and sign a form detailing every radio program you listen to? What would your response be? Well, newspaper websites and internet radio broadcasters take your signature every time you use them. The information that establishes what you have listened to and what you have read on the internet is logged and stored centrally. So unlike the real world, the internet has no privacy built in. You are made to sign for everything. So unless you are proposing that we should sign a docket every time we read a newspaper article, unless you believe that paper money should be abolished because it allows people to purchase goods without creating a permanent record then you must believe that the same right to privacy we enjoy in a world with cash, radio, and television pertains in a world with cash, radio, television plus the internet. " Thirdly, Tor operators of the world need to unite. The Tor project is not our daddy. There is no Tor Project cavalry over the hill about to ride in with a coachload of free lawyers. We need to establish a fighting fund for exactly these sorts of cases. This fund needs to be managed by a compaign group in such a way that it doesn't undermine the anonymity of the network we all help provide. I believe informal ad-hoc donations won't cut it. There needs to be an organized body that can accumulate wisdom, develop public credibility and even distribute funds to cover basic legal costs or more. This could be organized along the following lines: * The organization would be on a subscription basis. X euro/dollars a year. * The organization would accept donations of all sorts. * The organization would be registered as a campaign group/NGO (or whatever is appropriate) in as many countries as possible. This will require a country representative in as many countries as possible. * Every subscribed member will be entitled to whatever the organization can afford within some reasonable minimum/maximum of protection. * Maybe the organization could negotiate and take out some sort of legal insurance on behalf of it's members? What sort of insurance would be appropriate? Is there such a thing? I don't think any of the above is pie-in-the-sky. Tor server operators aren't anonymous. They already communicate/collaborate with each other regularly on IRC and this mailing list. When a tor operator is 'hassled by the feds' they deserve a lot more than tea and sympathy on or-talk. They deserve the resources of an organized association that has funds, expertise and a bit of a clout to ride in and back them up. Maybe we can wait for George Soros to read about Tor for that to happen, or maybe we can get organized and start defending something we clearly all believe in. There are all-sorts operating tor servers on this list. Who can tell us what concrete steps we need to take to set up a Tor Operator NGO? What's the best way of incorporating/associating ourselves? What sort of insurance could such an organization arrange? How could we do all this without turning the network into some kind of cadre? Yours from the moral high ground, ;) Robert
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