Germany Trying To Shut Down Anonymous Servers?

from the if-you've-got-nothing-to-hide... dept

Anytime you see someone defending surveillance systems, you know that sooner or later, they’ll utter the ridiculous phrase: “If you’re not doing anything wrong, you’ve got nothing to worry about.” That’s the point at which you should absolutely start worrying. The corollary to this statement is often to naturally assume that anyone who is trying to hide something, must have done something wrong. For example, just last year, we wrote about a case in Minnesota, where the fact that someone had the popular PGP encryption on his computer was used as evidence against him (no attempt was made to show what he had encrypted, just that he had the encryption software, suggesting he must have wanted to hide something). There’s some worry that a similar situation may now be happening in Germany, where Boing Boing reports German authorities are seizing various Tor servers in connection with an investigation into child porn distribution. Tor, of course, is a well-known anonymous surfing tool that’s targeted at “whistle-blowers, political dissidents, researchers, and others concerned about exchanging information without authoritarian backlash.” Of course whenever you have an anonymous system it will be misused. That’s the price you pay for anonymity — and many believe that the ability to be anonymous is often worth the cost that some will misuse it. At this point, it’s too early to tell what the German officials are going to do, but apparently there’s some fear that those who run Tor servers are going to be charged in a “guilt by association” type of situation. Hopefully, that’s not the case at all, but it is a reminder that as valuable as anonymity is, it’s still viewed with suspicion. Update: Well, we said there weren’t enough details, and that was true. Boing Boing now has an update, saying that Tor servers are not being targeted, but a few were seized as part of a larger investigation.


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Comments on “Germany Trying To Shut Down Anonymous Servers?”

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17 Comments
dorpus says:

Funny

In more than one country, the libertarian gung-ho privacy attitudes are associated with Marxist politics. I was just on a forum where a leftist newspaper in Japan criticized the post-9/11 surveillance culture, and “conservative” Japanese told the newspaper to shove privacy up theirs.

The US is an anomaly, where libertarian views tend to be associated with the Right.

mark says:

Re: Funny

In America, libertarians are associated with the Right because the Right is pro-business. A lot of Libertarians are pro-business as they want less govt. control, in order to make more profit. I am a libertarian, as are many associates of mine and they are people who are in business for themselves.

The left is all about govt. control. It’s not the libertarians here that are screwed up, it’s the politcal parties!

larryk says:

Re: Re: Funny

“Pro business” in this context means freedom for corporations, the customer be damned. A real libertarian (small L) cares about individuals – real people, not just corporations which are creatures of the State in the first place. Real libertarians oppose Big Government when it manifests itself as warrantless spying, detention without trial, state-sponsored torture, excessive secrecy and classification of information, etc.

dennis parrott says:

Re: Funny

i disagree. libertarian views are definitely NOT right wing in the US.

if you take the time to really learn about libertarian points of view and philosophy, you will see that they are critical of both the political left and right in our country. both the left and the right seek to impose a form of tyranny. the libertarians reject both.

Anonymous Coward says:

Ultimatly theres no left or right when there’s a gun to your head. Political parties can bicker all they want but it won’t change the fact that when there is oppression there is oppression. Everyone has something to hide, regardless of who they are. Tor has no legitimate uses if you view keeping a secret as illegitimate. People could use Tor to keep their parents who check site access from knowing that they’re gay. I use tor to sign up for forum accounts without my IP being broadcasted. Are those legitimate?

chris (profile) says:

everyone has something to hide from someone

everyone *should* protect their privacy because everyone is doing something that someone could consider “wrong”.

if more people took steps to protect themselves then protecting yourself wouldn’t carry the stigma that it currently carries.

no matter who you are or what you are into, there is *someone* out there who will think you are doing something wrong.

examples:

1) if your boss/co-workers are not religious and you are, then your “inspiration of the day” and WWJD surfing could be considered wrong. the same could be said for secular people in a religious setting.

2) if you are in to [instert ethinicity here] power, your parents/spouse/employer/local govt. may not approve and you would naturally want to protect yourself. in the united states, you could be mistaken for a terrorist.

the question isn’t whether or not you are doing something wrong, because we are all doing something wrong according some someone’s moral compass.

the questions is why aren’t you doing more to protect yourself?

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