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Re: [tor-talk] What is tor used for?

> i believe there is a real need for secure communications but as a new user
> to tor it seems the common entry points to the network are rife with
> criminal activity.
> the torproject website lists users as friends and family, military,
> business owners etc - use cases that make sense to me, but i've yet to
> find any stories or ancedontal evidence to suggest this is really the
> case. Âinstead i find core.onion linking to "adult" content that has
> little to do with adults and "market sites" that deal with illegal trade
> in weapons and drugs.
> so far it has me wondering if tor is really used for the humanitarian
> purposes the technology has the potential of aiding. Âi would really
> appreciate hearing real stories and highlights of how has helped in the
> use cases torproject lists.

Tor is used for a lot of different things. Sure, the kiddy pron, drug and chan
waste and all the talk about those things is disgusting to see infiltrating
everywhere. But with nothing to do about it you just have to ignore it.

Yes, it would be cool to see stuff like EFF, EPIC, ACLU, Red Cross and
whatever else makes you happy all be multihomed into the anonymous
space. But really, if you can't get to them on the clearnet, or via Tor exits,
you probably have worse problems on your hands, like finding work, food,
shelter and not getting shot. Nor do they see it as being all that
helpful to them.

On the plus side, lots of people use Tor for totally benign and boring everyday
stuff, I certainly do. Think about it... IRC with friends, dating,
reading the paper,
contributing to forums and various projects, blogging, doing your banking and
school stuff, email, internet and systems work, looking for work,
writing freely with
random people, buying stuff. Whatever it might be that people do. It
all feels just
a bit better knowing your ISP. employer or government doesn't really
have such an
easy task anymore of cataloging or quoting you, tracking your home/work/travels,
turning you into a statistic, optimizing your online experience, or
any other such
things you might not want to happen. These certainly aren't examples of 'working
for the greater global good of humanity' or whatever, but it all adds
up. Kindof how
anti-spam systems reduce the profitability of spam. And in a way,
gaining back some
of the anonymity by default that everyone had before everyone and everything
went digital, online, databased, monetized and controlled in the 90's.

It's unlikely you'll find those who really need Tor for their
activities standing up and
saying here I am with their use cases in hand. They simply have better
things to do
and that would entail risk.

You're more likely to find relay ops and coders evangelizing to the
good. They are
the interfaces to the use cases and know what's out there. Just seeing
packets flow
through the occaisional relay I prop up makes me happy knowing at least some of
them weren't full of the aforementioned trash... even if they are just
our boring
daily stuffs.
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