[Freedombox-discuss] Dumb idea: Alternative to Tor that promotes good behavior

Bill Cox waywardgeek at gmail.com
Sun Oct 27 21:46:41 UTC 2013

On 10/27/2013 3:24 PM, Jonathan Wilkes wrote:
> On 10/27/2013 01:26 PM, Bill Cox wrote:
>> I would love feedback on an idea for promoting more internet freedom.
>> Here's the problem: Tor has little public support, because most Tor
>> traffic is wasted on supporting bad behavior.  When I ran a Tor node, it
>> became clear that most of my bandwidth was being wasted on video
>> downloads.  People want to promote free speech, not child pornography.
> The real solution is to improve hidden services so they can be an 
> alternative
> to insecure internet services.  Exit nodes are like off-ramps, and 
> nobody likes
> having one next to their house.  But relay-only nodes are like 
> by-passes, and
> encryption essentially lets relay operators build them without ever 
> letting any
> of the creeps cruise around in their neighborhood.

It drives me crazy that we take simple activities that should naturally 
be secure P2P based, and route them through insecure servers.  A 
FreedomBox is an excellent solution for things like end-to-end encrypted 
email that is unlikely to get hacked by the NSA.  My thinking is that a 
Tor-like P2P social network might encourage more participation, and 
there's no reason Tor's awesome ability to offer hidden services could 
not work.  We'd just do a better job at keeping the creeps out while 
offering those hidden services.

> might still be "bad data", but at least for me that's a much weaker 
> argument.
> For example, I don't know anyone who refuses to use the tools granted to
> them in the justice system because they are so often used to defend
> drug dealers, murders, and thieves.  I also don't know anyone who
> doesn't believe in maintaining city, state, and interstate 
> infrastructure, _even_
> when just the act of driving carries a rather large risk of death when
> compared to other forms of transportation.
> -Jonathan

Certainly Tor is used often used for good purposes, specifically 
promoting various freedoms.  A little free speech probably outweighs a 
lot of illegal file sharing.  However, my experience with Tor to date is:

- My Tor node was being used mostly to watch videos.
- A online chat meeting of mostly blind users was attacked by a Tor 
griefer who kept posting known crash words that would cause most blind 
listeners' text-to-speech engines to crash.
- A web site of mine was hacked from a Tor node.

Unfortunately, the world has lots of people who enjoy making life 
miserable for everyone else.  Can we support good anonymous behavior, 
while discouraging guys like the griefer who trashed the online meeting 
of blind people?  One idea is to hold people accountable for their 
actions by having those actions impact their online reputation of their 
secret identities.  This idea needs work.  It might be an enhancement to 
Tor, or maybe a new system.

Thanks for the feedback,

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