ICE Screws Up, Seizes Tor Exit Node; Vows Not to Learn From Its Mistake

from the these-people-protect-us? dept

Given the various domain seizures and other efforts by ICE to act as Hollywood’s personal police force, it long ago became clear that they’re not particularly technically competent. As if to demonstrate how technically illiterate they are, ICE recently seized six computer hard drives from the home of Nolan King as part of a criminal investigation. ICE’s evidence in getting a warrant? Solely an IP address. Yet, as the EFF notes in the link above, if ICE were even mildly technically competent, it would have been able to tell before it seized the machines that King was running a Tor exit node, and thus was not the person connected to the IP (nor could he say who was).

We’ve seen this before. Earlier this year we wrote about law enforcement in Europe being equally confused by a Tor exit node.

Of course, some people will claim that this is “the price you pay” for running a Tor exit node. In fact, after the EFF gave ICE agents basic remedial training in how the internet works, it returned King’s hard drives, but told him “this could happen again.” Sure, it could. But it shouldn’t. The fact that law enforcement is clueless over the fact that an IP address is not a unique identifier, and yet seems to rely on it as if it does, shouldn’t place more of a burden on users. It should indicate that law enforcement should be required to do more than simply identify an IP address.

An IP address alone is not probable cause that a person has committed a crime. Furthermore, search warrants executed solely on the basis of IP addresses have a significant likelihood of wasting officers’ time and resources rather than producing helpful leads.

In the case of Tor, the police can avoid mistakenly pursuing exit relay operators by checking the IP addresses that emerge in their investigations against publicly available lists of exit relays published on the Tor Project’s web site. The ExoneraTor is another tool that allows anyone to quickly and easily see whether a Tor exit relay was likely to have been running at a particular IP address during a given date and time. The Tor Project can also help law enforcement agencies set up their own systems to query IP addresses easily. These simple checks will help officers concentrate their investigative resources on tracking down those actually committing crimes and ensure that they don’t execute search warrants at innocent people’s homes.

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Comments on “ICE Screws Up, Seizes Tor Exit Node; Vows Not to Learn From Its Mistake”

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138 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

They can’t seize it because it was not used to commit a crime, transporting data is not a crime, providing a service is protected by federal laws, remember safe harbours?

Whether it “was not used to commit a crime” is a conclusion on your part. That doesn’t explain why there was no probable cause.

How is providing a Tor exit node “protected by federal laws”? Which federal laws? Which safe harbors?

I think the EFF is outright lying when they claim an “IP address alone is not probable cause that a person has committed a crime.” I can find lots of judges who thought otherwise. Can they show me one who agrees with them? I doubt it.

The fact is, running a Tor exit node is inherently dangerous, and there is certainly probable cause to search your stuff if something bad comes out of your exit node.

The Devil's Coachman (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Listen up, Zippy! Your ludicrous assertion that there is probable cause at all is the crux of your problem. If you had said “improbable”, then I would not be on you shite, but you did say “probable” as though it implied it was, in fact, probable. Please look up the meaning of the word probable. Your government abuses the term to the point of of creating a fascistic state, where all they have to do is utter the word “probable” and the slack-jawed goobers and douchebags who see

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

I have studied the meaning of “probable cause” in great detail in my constitutional criminal law class. If you want to explain why there’s no probable cause, legally speaking, I’d love to hear it. I suspect you’re just talking out of your ass and trying to stir up shit though. Perhaps you could try adding something useful to the conversation for a change, or is that too much to ask?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Bull. That’s like saying there’s probable cause to search your city if something bad come out of it.

I don’t think that analogy is apt, and as this article demonstrates, judges do deem the IP address and evidence it was used for crime to be probable cause on which to issue a warrant.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Not so fast. Let’s say a credible and “certain” tip came in: someone on the 1:10 PM bus from Omaha was going to murder your grandmother. Their IP address was 195.192.1.122. Should we ignore it completely? Or maybe we should do some due diligence and stop these fuckers, if possible, from murdering your grandma?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Not so fast. Let’s say a credible and “certain” tip came in: someone on the 1:10 PM bus from Omaha was going to murder your grandmother. Their IP address was 195.192.1.122. Should we ignore it completely? Or maybe we should do some due diligence and stop these fuckers, if possible, from murdering your grandma?

Let’s say a credible and “certain” tip came in: someone in New York city is going to commit a murder. Should we ignore it completely? Or maybe we should do some due diligence and just nuke the place to stop these fuckers, if possible, from murdering.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Problem with your analogy and reality is that no due diligence was done. There was a possibility, very remote, that he knew something was going on. Instead of getting a warrant and seizing all of his equipment right away, why not due some REAL due diligence in the form of proper investigation? Jumping to conclusions just makes them look bad for targeting an innocent party.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

An astoundingly poor analogy. The IP address would identify a piece of equipment, not a person. It may help as a lead to find who sent it, but it would be useless to identify that person. You might be able to use it to narrow down the router, ISP or modem used but you wouldn’t get the specific person unless they happened to be using their own connection to send the information.

In this case, the IP address you supplied seems to be assigned to the Danish Ministry Of Education. Would you just round up the Danish Education Minister, or would you rather do some investigation to see which person was actually using that IP at the time?

Besides, in that analogy, why would you even go after the person sending the message? Wouldn’t you rather be checking that bus out instead, or at least spend the time getting grandma out of the house?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Those judges are idiots even more after public cases of people being hacked by their neighbours and having their internet used to do naughty stuff.

Want another example of how someone could use your internet to do naughty stuff?
http://www.digicrime.com/noprivacy.html

“In fact, I could have snarfed your email address from this page, without you having to press a button or move your mouse. For an example of this, click here. In addition, I could trigger the browser to send mail when you pass your mouse over a link. For example, if you pass your mouse over the “Competely safe” link above, then it will send mail (watch the status bar at the bottom). Other examples can be found here (uses an invisible link in a frame) and here (uses a blue line).”

Anyone who says, an IP is enough for probable cause is a lost cause.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Sadly. Mr. Digicrimes site does nothing more than trigger the email process in windows, which accompishes very little. The mail isn’t sent (he didn’t even manage to get a subject or content in there), so it is sort of meaningless. It only exposes what is an incredibly common functionality of all browsers, nothing more.

If you think that kills probable cause, then you have issues.

jonvaljon says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“I think the EFF is outright lying when they claim an “IP address alone is not probable cause that a person has committed a crime.” I can find lots of judges who thought otherwise.”

and I can find a lot of people that think planet X is gonna hit the earth on dec. 24th 2012. Just cause a crap load of people hold false ideas doesnt make them any more accurate.

and IP adress is not an identifier.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

An IP address is an identifier. If you threaten to kill the President using your home computer without masking your trail, the feds will use your IP address to identify you. That something originated from a certain IP address is evidence, and judges deem such evidence to give rise to probable cause. The EFF can lie and pretend like it’s not true, but in fact when they ask people to run an exit node, they are asking people to take on the risk that the feds will kick in their front door.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:


An IP address is an identifier. If you threaten to kill the President using your home computer without masking your trail, the feds will use your IP address
to identify you. That something originated from a certain IP address is evidence, and judges deem such evidence to give rise to probable cause. The EFF
can lie and pretend like it’s not true, but in fact when they ask people to run an exit node, they are asking people to take on the risk that the feds
will kick in their front door.

You are wrong. If you’re really a lawyer, accusing the EFF of lying is defamatory when you should know that they haven’t said it.

The EFF has never claimed that running a Tor exit node may never give rise to probable cause. And a good attorney would be derilict for arguing such a claim in
a suppression hearing.

But neither does running a Tor exit node automatically give rise to probable cause. A probable cause determination is based on a totality of circumstances.

The question of whether there was probable cause will usually come up in two different settings: (1) A civil plaintiff filing a ? 1983 or a Bivens action for violation of the Fourth Amendment, or (2) A criminal defendant challenging the admission of evidence in a suppression hearing.

And of course, even if there was probable cause, it doesn’t answer the question of criminal culpability on the part of the Tor node operator.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

You are wrong. If you’re really a lawyer, accusing the EFF of lying is defamatory when you should know that they haven’t said it.

If I’m wrong, please explain how and why.

The EFF has never claimed that running a Tor exit node may never give rise to probable cause. And a good attorney would be derilict for arguing such a claim in a suppression hearing.

Do you agree then that running a Tor exit node doesn’t all of the sudden mean there’s no probable cause?

But neither does running a Tor exit node automatically give rise to probable cause. A probable cause determination is based on a totality of circumstances.

Agreed. But if child porn or whatever is coming from your IP address, that’s probably going to be probable cause whether you run a Tor exit node or not. In other words, whether you run a Tor exit node is immaterial to the determination.

The question of whether there was probable cause will usually come up in two different settings: (1) A civil plaintiff filing a ? 1983 or a Bivens action for violation of the Fourth Amendment, or (2) A criminal defendant challenging the admission of evidence in a suppression hearing.

Not sure why the law lesson, but OK.

And of course, even if there was probable cause, it doesn’t answer the question of criminal culpability on the part of the Tor node operator.

Of course. That’s a completely separate issue.

Tell me this: Do you agree with Mike that ICE “screw[ed] up,” or do you agree with me that they didn’t because there was still probable cause despite the fact he ran a Tor exit node.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:


Do you agree then that running a Tor exit node doesn’t all of the sudden mean there’s no probable cause?

Yes, I agree depending on what other facts are objectively known to the issuing magistrate or the officer.

In many cases, I think an IP address would be sufficient to establish probable cause, but since PC is not determined by a hard fact but under the totality of circumstances standard, the knowledge that the IP address belongs to a Tor exit node could also subtract from the probability.
It’s likely that the Supreme Court would rule that running
a Tor exit node under most circumstances gives rise to probable cause, but until there is a black and white ruling from the court on that issue, the EFF isn’t wrong as a matt of law, or deliberately lying.


Agreed. But if child porn or whatever is coming from your IP address, that’s probably going to be probable cause whether you run a Tor exit node or not.
In other words, whether you run a Tor exit node is immaterial to the determination.

Yes, but what if it’s objectively known to the magistrate and the officer that the operator of the Tor exit node isn’t likely guilty of anything, and that no evidence identifying or leading to the criminal is likely to be recovered by a search apart from the fact that the IP address is associated with a crime?

In such a scenario the there is no culprit or evidence of crime to be recovered by a search, precisely because the probability to recover any evidence identifying the criminal would be near zero.


Tell me this: Do you agree with Mike that ICE “screw[ed] up,” or do you agree with me that they didn’t because there was still probable cause despite the
fact he ran a Tor exit node.

I agree with you on thee x ante probable cause question.

But I don’t agree with your claim explicitly stated or implied that an IP address is a settled question in the probable cause
determination, more than anonymously reporting a gun incident at a neighbor’s house automatically gives rise to probable cause.

Maybe running a Tor exit node is “dangerous” or it’s undesirable to provide criminals with plausible deniability, but all these arguments are at best public policy arguments best suited in a balancing
exercise.

They have no place in the probable cause determination.

It may well be that a court is prepared to carve out another exigency exception in internet-crime-anonymity cases, but until the court explicitly carve out another exception, the totality of circumstances test should not give the government a free hand just because there is an IP address.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

It’s likely that the Supreme Court would rule that running
a Tor exit node under most circumstances gives rise to probable cause, but until there is a black and white ruling from the court on that issue, the EFF isn’t wrong as a matt of law, or deliberately lying.

If there’s child porn coming from your IP address, there’s probable cause whether you run a Tor exit node or not. It doesn’t take the Supreme Court to say as much as a matter of law to make the EFF’s position misleading.

bratwurzt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I think the EFF is outright lying when they claim an “IP address alone is not probable cause that a person has committed a crime.” I can find lots of judges who thought otherwise.

And therein lieth the problem – EFF know its technology jargon while judges ussually don’t know, what link actually is (a pointer. That points to data. Which isn’t always there where link points.).

In your country lobbying is like an appetizer before main dish called law and/or politics is thrown on a table. Everybody likes money and judges are no exception. And so they understand hard topics (like torrenting – link to other LINKS! argh!) in terms of “who shouts more money my way, wins”.

If you have a “couch surf” at your home – are you liable for what a potential wacko does, while you’re not watching him/her (e.g. when not on your couch). Also – is GPS trace from a month ago your actual location? Why am I asking this? Google “dynamic IP address”.

In a perfect world, judges would be forced to use experts on things they’re not experts on themselves. Expert witnesses should NOT include recording industry shills and payed off ex-politicians.

Harlan Sanders says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“A safe harbour is a provision of a statute or a regulation that reduces or eliminates a party’s liability under the law, on the condition that the party performed its actions in good faith or in compliance with defined standards. Legislators may include safe-harbour provisions to protect legitimate or excusable violations, or to incentivise the adoption of desirable practices.” (Wikipedia)

TOR operators cannot know what passes through their machines, and so they operate their service with good faith that what passes isn’t bad content. On the face of it TOR operators do only what is technically possible (read nothing) to filter bad content. As long as it remains impossible to observe that traffic and TOR is not criminalized (which I don’t think routing can be banned, but it’s the US who knows) they are eligible for safe harbor protection.

The EFF was able to argue that (and this was multifaceted for them to get that computer back):

1. IP != person because there was a TOR exit node.
2. TOR exit node operators are eligible for safe harbor protection. And their ISPs are eligible as well. Everyone’s protected!

If you want to see how the defense for a TOR operator works read this: http://www.torproject.org/eff/tor-dmca-response.html

Otherwise just keep speculating and just keep being wrong.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

A warrant to seize electronic devices that could be used in the commission of a crime allows the LEO’s to seize anything that has the merest hint of a connection to a computer.

This also includes normally all external hard drives, printers, flash cards, Mobile phones (including sim cards). floppy discs, routers, modems, networks witches, commercial programme boxes, manuals, notes, and basically anything that goes beep or could hold an electronic signature that might be able to be analysed.

It’s easier and more conducive to good evidence procedures to bag everything first then to miss something vital to the case and have to go back later. Collateral damage/seizure is always the case.

It is highly unusual in the extreme if it is just for a specific individual computer/device.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Being one of the actual people who sometimes is called to teh places of seizure, I normally try to restrict it to actual things that can be used for evidence, especially when too much crap means storage is a nightmare.

Though I take note of types of keyboards and mice etc, that way , when needed, you can recreate a reasonably exact environment/equipment match.

But with the other quote in reply here, re the Amiga cartridge.. No idea why the Amiga itself was not taken, unless it had no internal drives (and was off) at the time. Though I have never yet run across an Amiga in investigations yet.. Though I have seen a, I kid you not, Commodore 64… now that was a weird one (and less than 5yrs ago too)

Atkray (profile) says:

I fear the title is incorrect, I suspect they will learn all too well from this and it will become a common practice.

As AC stated it is for harassment.

Somewhere in ICE is an individual who once did a clean install of windows xp after getting a virus on the machine…

Now drunk with power roaring out loud in an otherwise empty room

“All your Tor are belong to us”

xenomancer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“you are allowing people to sneak around, possibly bypass legal restrictions on content, etc. At that point, you could be considered a co-conspirator”

…says the anonymous commenter on a public forum. How do we know you haven’t defamed anyone? Should we have Mike arrested for allowing you the possibility of quoting whole books sans license on his forum? Maybe next we should just have the police walk around and punch out anyone who opens their mouth. Who knows, they could start a flash mob if they’re allowed to communicate.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:


Want to test that in court moron and see how far you go?

The only moron is you. Criminal liability usually requires that the person possesses scienter with regard to all elements constituting the offense.

In child pornography cases, you are not guilty of distributing child pornography unless you knows what you distribute is child pornography.

The Supreme Court ruled that such a gloss on the reach of the law was necessary in order to save its constitutionality.

The reasoning is that imposing strict liability on publishers and distributors would chill the exercise of First Amendment rights.

Claiming that the First Amendment is no bar to imposing strict liability on third parties even in these unpopular cases is therefore wrong as a matter of law.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:


So let me get this straight…ignorance of the law is a valid defense in criminal cases, but not civil?

Ignorance of the law is usually no defense, but since most criminal statutes requires knowledge – in child pornography prosecutions you must know that what you possess or distribute is of actual minors.

In a criminal case, guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt as to all elements conssituting the offense.

A Tor exit node is unlikely to know what passes through his relay and is thus not guilty of child pornography.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

> So let me get this straight…ignorance of the law is a valid
> defense in criminal cases, but not civil?

If you want to get it straight, you should, you know, actually get it straight.

He didn’t say ignorance of the law was a defense. He said ignorance of the *facts* is a defense. You can’t be found guilty of distributing child porn if you don’t know that what you’re distributing is child porn. Knowledge is a requirement for guilt in the law.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

You can’t be found guilty of distributing child porn if you don’t know that what you’re distributing is child porn. Knowledge is a requirement for guilt in the law.

Then why can you be guilty of possessing child porn if you didn’t know that you were possessing child porn? (same thing for illegal drugs)

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

> Then why can you be guilty of possessing
> child porn if you didn’t know that you were
> possessing child porn? (same thing for
> illegal drugs)

If that were true, the simple answer would be, because the law doesn’t have an intent require for possession like it does for distribution.

However, even for possession, you have to have intent/knowledge. If someone slips a bag of cocaine onto your boat without your knowledge, you’re not guilty of possession.

This is why major airlines and cruise lines, for example, don’t lose their planes and ships and their captains and crews aren’t arrested when a passenger is found on board with illegal drugs. They had no knowledge; they’re not guilty of possession.

Harlan Sanders says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

It’s not ignorance of the law, but rather, ignorance of what the content is. If there’s no way for a reasonable person to determine whether the person appearing in the alleged child pornography is a child without carding that person, that’s a fair defense according to the AC above. Where that defense applies is very much so limited in scope to pornography, and thus not subject to your strawmen about drug distribution.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Exactly moron, unless you can prove that the operator of the TOR node knew exactly what was happening and you can’t(I dare you try) there is no case.

Aside from plausible deniability there is the other issue of TOR being a service and being covered by the feking law.

And the fact that most TOR nodes are operated by volunteer(among them several from the US government), they probably don’t deploy costly filtering capabilities and they should never deploy such capabilities because it diminishes the plausible deniability aspect of TOR exit nodes, if you can’t look at what is going out you can’t be possibly responsible for any crime the law is very clear and you yourself cited the supreme court on the issue.

So who is the moronic idiot who wants to take on a TOR exit node?
We are waiting for ya.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Sorry, but basic conspiracy theory stuff applies here. A criminal conspiracy doesn’t require that the two parties have the same goal, only that they work in common to provide it.

If you run a Tor portal, you know what someone people may use it for illegal activity. In fact, anyone who is using a Tor portal generally is doing so to conceal their actions, or to otherwise bypass some security or legal restrictions. Nobody would decide to route their traffic so poorly and so slowly on a normal basis.

So as the operator of a Tor exit, you would know your portal is likely used for illegal activity, and you leave it up anyway. Negligent behavior, knowing the risks you still decide to operate the portal.

The rest is for the lawyers. I however wouldn’t recommend operating a Tor portal.

Rekrul says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

If you run a Tor portal, you know what someone people may use it for illegal activity. In fact, anyone who is using a Tor portal generally is doing so to conceal their actions, or to otherwise bypass some security or legal restrictions. Nobody would decide to route their traffic so poorly and so slowly on a normal basis.

Here’s an interesting statistic: 100% of “cyber-crime” on the internet is committed through some form of ISP. So by your logic, every company that provides internet access is guilty of “negligent behavior”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Sorry, you fail.

The ISP sets things up for everyone, not specifically hide anything. The ISPs don’t provide cloaking, they don’t allow for “secret” downloading, etc.

100% of people who commit cyber crime are breathing, so we should cut off air. Well, maybe yours, because clearly you aren’t using any.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Well if that is true than all ISP are liable and accomplices of criminals because they know for a fact that crime is committed using their services don’t they?

Nobody would decide to route their traffic so poorly and so slowly on a normal basis.

Except for: Iranian dissidents, Chinese dissidents or any dissident from an oppressive regime, for diplomats everywhere using TOR to pass sensitive information, whistleblowers and general free speech run of the mill kind of stuff and of course radicals and criminals.

Yes it does happen, but like everybody else knows people who don’t learn to take the good with the bad apparently will never taste the good.

We know already for a fact that letting governments decide what is good for people is not an option, governments don’t respect their citizens and they need to be reminded of that respect from time to time.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

If you run a Tor portal, you know what someone people may use it for illegal activity.

If you run a restaurant, you know what someone people may use it for illegal activity.

In fact, anyone who is using a Tor portal generally is doing so to conceal their actions, or to otherwise bypass some security or legal restrictions.

Bull. Using Tor doesn’t mean that a person is doing so for illegal reasons. Furthermore, I such a claim to be highly hypocritical coming from someone posting anonymously. Hey, why don’t do post your name and address? Are you doing something illegal?

So as the operator of a Tor exit, you would know your portal is likely used for illegal activity, and you leave it up anyway. Negligent behavior, knowing the risks you still decide to operate the portal.

So as the operator of a restaurant, you would know your restaurant is likely used for illegal activity, and you leave it open anyway. Negligent behavior, knowing the risks you still decide to operate the restaurant.

I however wouldn’t recommend operating a Tor portal.

Trying to threaten and scare people, eh? Of course you “wouldn’t recommend operating a Tor portal.” You probably wouldn’t recommend that people do anything that might upset your employers.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

> Sorry, but basic conspiracy theory stuff applies here.

No, it doesn’t.

> A criminal conspiracy doesn’t require that the two parties have
> the same goal, only that they work in common to provide it.

You can’t legally conspire with someone if you’ve never met them and have never communicated with them. The law simply doesn’t cover such situations.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Sure it does. There is no issue here. It would be no different from someone placing a gun hidden at a key location, telling someone else, who in turns tells the future murderer where to get the weapon to commit the crime. A and B don’t have to know each other, because C is the intermediary.

In this case, C is the Tor system itself, which introduces potential criminals to willing assistants.

The Logician says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Your logic, AC #91, is flawed. Liability must only be placed on the person/entity performing the act. No more and no less. Otherwise, where would you have it end? To the fourth degree? The fifth? The sixth? Even further out?

I admit my knowledge of Tor is limited, but I do know it is a form of encryption technology, with many legitimate uses. And since the data passing through it is encrypted, there is no way for the Tor operator or the node/exit point itself to know what it is.

You cannot act merely on supposition and assumption. You must have proof, actual evidence. Otherwise you are using the tactics of a police state. Is that what you really want for this country? You must look at a given law and examine it to see if it is just and ethical, before deciding whether it is worth enforcing. If it is not, then ignoring it is not wrong.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“If you run a Tor portal, you know what someone people may use it for illegal activity. In fact, anyone who is using a Tor portal generally is doing so to conceal their actions, or to otherwise bypass some security or legal restrictions. Nobody would decide to route their traffic so poorly and so slowly on a normal basis.”

WRONG. I run it from my home, for a few simple reasons, none of them are breaking any laws or bypass security rrestrictions.

I use it because the more pople that use it, the less suspicious those users are.

I use it to support those without the rights to free speech, such as dissident groups in China.

I use it because I want to make it hard for the government to gather my communication data, since they have no warrent, or right.

I use it because I can.

resistance to the survallince state is not futile, but convincing some americans of their rights, seems to be.

Harlan Sanders says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Sure. Safe harbor has been tested in federal court many times for ISPs, shared hosting providers, file download sites, email providers, VPN providers, and various other businesses that I may not know about. Safe harbor for carriers is enshrined in law and has been challenged many times by the MAFIAA.

Personally, I have no inclination to run a TOR exit node because I know the pigs make mistakes and are willfully ignorant about what TOR is and how safe harbor applies and I don’t want to subject myself to harassment and having to go to court and use that defense. The defense works and is well tested, but it’s still a pain in the ass because you have to go to court.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

It is a form of legal harassment that though unlikely if it can be shown to be part of a pattern of vindictiveness and inequity could remove that immunity the LEO’s have.

As for your other comment.

If you are running a Website/Blog, you are allowing people to sneak around anonymously, possibly making stupid and troll like comments on content, etc. At that point, you could be considered a co-conspirator to the idiocy of some AC’s.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Wow, talk about missing it!

We aren’t talking about written comments here. We are talking about people intentionally opening a gateway on their computers so others can do things that they otherwise cannot do, either legally or because they don’t want to be traced.

It will all fall down with anonymous starts to use tor portals as ways to launch LOIC attacks. Then the shit will hit the fan.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Have you ever counted the number of TOR exit nodes?

TOR won’t be used for DDoS any time soon.

What they could use is some form of the Herbivore concept from Cornell.

And I believe you missed his point since his comparison is a valid one.

If you operate “any service” on the internet that allows other people to use it, it is no different from TOR is it?

Besides the US constitutions affirms the right of others to be anonymous and secure against their own government, this is something you fail to see apparently.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

You mean the same logic you used talking about Tor and people using it doesn’t stand up when going to other actionable situations by people, whether intentional or not?

Wow… look at your original logic hypothetical.. notice you are using elements of people doing intentional actions, or even inactions as the case may be. Whether it is done via typing, or done via using a TOR, or done by creation of a TOR exit Node, or done via creation of a Blog that allows comments. The same elements exist and the same illogical failure exists on BOTH your and My statement.

And if you really think Anonymous [troll points of +10 awarded for FUD] are going to use Tor points, you have absolutely no knowledge on what else is available for the actual members of anonymous. Oh and LOIC attacks are like script kiddy attacks.. great for the press, but there are better ways to get access and cause shutdowns, In fact I use better thjngs than LOIC every day, so do most Network Admin/Security people.

Come back when you learn more about the link/physical layer of the OSI/TCP stack

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Harassement? Not really. If you are running a Tor node, you are allowing people to sneak around, possibly bypass legal restrictions on content, etc. At that point, you could be considered a co-conspirator.

I don’t think that Tor is going to have a very long life span.

You know what’s funny? The US state department and the US military run Tor nodes and considers Tor to be a critical tool for ensuring free speech in repressive regimes.

So I guess the US government itself is a co-conspirator.

Tor serves a legitimate and extremely valuable function. It’s not going anywhere.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Harassement? Not really. If you are running a Tor node, you are allowing people to sneak around, possibly bypass legal restrictions on content, etc. At that point, you could be considered a co-conspirator.

I read a story the other day about the local cops busting a couple of guys making a drug deal in the local mall. What I want to know is why didn’t they arrest the mall owner too? I mean, the mall allowed these two guys to come inside, where they then attempted to bypass the law (they were obviously caught, though). The mall wasn’t even checking ID’s at the door, so doesn’t that make the mall owner a co-conspirator? Shouldn’t the cops seize the mall as evidence?

I don’t think that Tor is going to have a very long life span.

We obviously need to rid of malls too.

jonvaljon says:

Re: Re: Re:

we have a constitutional right to privacy. call it sneaking around, but when the NSA is logging every packet we send with no warrents, im inclined to think people will take their privacy back, cause our brave leaders are certianly not doing it for us.

there are some folks out there that would like to develop the ability to communicate un-observed BEFORE its too late to create such a system.

Respect your constitution brother. Your sounding like that dude from Lives of Others.

another mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I don’t think that Tor is going to have a very long life span.

And yet…

If they want to start that arms race, it’ll happen just like the pointless fight against file-sharing networks. Tor is already decentralized and encrypted. The next version of Tor would add rotating exit nodes, cycling through its network for that next level of difficulty to break it.

Overcast (profile) says:

Learn what? Learning first means you must admit you are ignorant on a specific thing or perhaps you were mistaken, I doubt they consider either concept in this. Their goal seems to be a police state, after all.

If it was safety, wouldn’t immigration issues – particularly potential terroristic issues at the borders take precedence over seizing computers?

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

At some point is one of us going to use TOR to hack into the great AC talking points database and see what is there?

Its gotta be a treasure trove of dumb ideas, and cat pictures.

Dear Judges,
IP Addresses are not like your medicare number, your social security number, your drivers license number. They do not point at actual people, and they can be red herrings. When in doubt making a decision about something technical you do not understand, you should NEVER rely on what the plaintiffs before you claim.
See they want you to sign off, if it was proven to be wrong later oh well. But funny the citizens are supposed to have rights, and how can you consider those rights when you have no understanding of what is in front of you?
There is no shame in having to ask for an outside expert to explain something to you, there should be much shame in making a ruling on something you have no understanding of just because the Government asked.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:


So who is the moronic idiot who wants to take on a TOR exit node?
We are waiting for ya.

>

I am not the AC claiming that Tor relay operators are criminally culpable. if you read carefully I am actually arguing the opposite position.

Tor relay operators aren’t legally responsible for criminal conduct of users unbeknownst to them.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Not all AC’s are evil, but there is a vast number of them making crazed statements.

Yesterday I had to stop an AC from trying to bait people into a discussion of infringement being like rape. Not because the AC believes this for one second, but because that AC wanted to be able to take the high moral position of if you have no problem with infringement you have no problem with rape.

There are several AC’s who add to the discussion who use the AC cloak to say things they would not normally say or can not say given their position.

When in doubt assume my war against the great unseen guiding hand for the AC’s is not focused on you if your adding to the discussion. I do enjoy conversations and I have had my positions questioned and sometimes (rarely) they change when I see a different viewpoint I had not considered.

I was an AC here once, I even used this name. It was a pejorative name used for AC’s with nothing better to do that be “That Guy”. I’m working on redeeming the title.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:


So who is the moronic idiot who wants to take on a TOR exit node?
We are waiting for ya.

>

I am not the AC claiming that Tor relay operators are criminally culpable. if you read carefully I am actually arguing the opposite position.

Tor relay operators aren’t legally responsible for criminal conduct of users unbeknownst to them.

Stynkfysh says:

Still could be linked...

I am no fan of the government’s ability to monitor our internet usage, but the person could have been personally distributing copyrighted works and running a Tor exit point. They are not mutually exclusive. From the government’s perspective, they can only go after the clues they have. At their disposal. There are bigger fish to fry out there than Joe teenager copying their favorite tune, however. And its copyright infringement. Software / music / movie piracy does not exist. These industries need to stop being drama queens. Maybe some real pirates should show up on their doorsteps?

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Still could be linked...

The downside is we have no idea what ICE was actually looking for.
The simple fact that the EFF needed to gently remind them to get rid of any copies they made is very troubling.
Had they done any looking into the clues they had, they would and easily discovered it was a TOR exit node.
Being able to get a Judge to issue a warrant on just an IP address sounds very good, but it is not a solid identification of a person, place, or computer.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Still could be linked...

I am no fan of the government’s ability to monitor our internet usage, but the person could have been personally distributing copyrighted works and running a Tor exit point.

They “could” have been, but there’s no evidence that they were. You “could” be a child molester, but without evidence should we just assume that you are?

Anonymous Coward says:

Given that law enforcement- especially the homeland security/ICE brand of LE, is distinguished by kicking in a door at dawn, lots of yelling, and pointing assault weapons at you, your wife, kids, dog and so on, i wonder: is this the twilight zone? do pirates often shoot back? why do we allow law enforcement to treat people like this?

why do we allow old people to elect judges who think every click is a doubleclick, and think an ip address is the same as an SSN?

ill bet that guy did not any apology whatsoever for the trashed house, pissed wife, and nightmares his kids are having now.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

No they initially told him this could happen again.

Why would that have to apologize?
They are systematically stripping the peoples rights for fear of terrorism, fake drugs, fake handbags are they actually mutant aliens that are going to eat the children.
A great number of people are so terrified of the boogeymen they serve up on a plate that they give up everything to be more safe. None of these laws will ever be used against me, because they only go after bad people.

People are short sighted and want a quick solution from the end up a pen, it is against the law now so no one will ever do it. Then it happens again and again and rather than look at why things happen, they just want more laws and less freedom for everyone but themselves.

Poor little frog, has no idea the pot is heating around them.

Rekrul says:

Yet, as the EFF notes in the link above, if ICE were even mildly technically competent, it would have been able to tell before it seized the machines that King was running a Tor exit node, and thus was not the person connected to the IP (nor could he say who was).

What makes you think that they even care? To them, anyone running such an exit node is the enemy and the more afraid they can make such people, the better (in their opinion). They’d love it if everyone was too scared to be involved in any part of Tor.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

probable cause? just barely.

Lets assume the “criminal investigation” was related to some kiddie porn downloaded from a website hosted in the United States. ICE raids said host and starts looking at the site logs. ICE spots some IPs in their jurisdiction, gets some warrants and starts kicking in doors.

Are there any steps missing? sure, probable cause is at least superficially there, but why spend thousand of dollars and a days effort raiding a home based on the info contained in a website log. Did they do any followup? why not get a wiretap warrant first, and monitor the online habits of the suspect? were there any other clues as to the pedo status of the subject?

at the very minimum, this is an example of stupid waste of public resources by incompetent thugs. at worst it is willful ignorance of investigative best practices in the name of the security apparatus and the desire of some nobody ICE agent to get a gold star on his homework chart

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Say they see child pornography coming from an IP address. That’s probable cause. And then say they look on the Tor list and see that that IP address is a Tor exit node. What are they supposed to do, just say “fuck it”? If it were that easy, every child pornographer would just run an exit node.

bratwurzt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Or you can do what I do, which is run a Tor exit node on a foreign server paid for with anonymous funds.

Irony much? You wouldn’t recommend running a TOR exit node, but you do run it, in a big Onion way. You are TOR-ing your tor exit node. Why? Do you have anything to hide?

“adding something to the conversation” sometimes happens, when you act childish and lash at apologists. Not always (since it’s a troll technique) but usually integrity of a poster is higher, when they aren’t afraid when all of their posts connects them to one identity. You know – a profile. Well, there are exceptions – out_of_the_blue could be one…
๐Ÿ™‚

Angry Puppy (profile) says:

It seems to me

It seems to me that if I want to do criminal activity on the internet and provide myself a alibi running a TOR exit node would be a good cover.

I have only used TOR so that I could watch TV shows using a static exit node located in the USA. This ended when TOR cut off streaming through TOR. For what other purposes is TOR utilized?

According to the site (https://www.torproject.org/)even the military uses TOR to ensure anonymity and secure communications. What does the average person use it for?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: It seems to me


It seems to me that if I want to do criminal activity on the internet and provide myself a alibi running a TOR exit node would be a good cover.

Yes, and because criminals may use a tool or the presence of plausible deniability to avoid responsibility, the law should simply presume everyone claiming deniability are likely criminals.

By that logic no defense should ever be available if it tends to benefit criminals or let some criminals go free.

However, under our system of law, the onus is on the prosecution to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, not the defendant’s responsibility to prove that he is not guilty.


I have only used TOR so that I could watch TV shows using a static exit node located in the USA. This ended when TOR cut off streaming through TOR. For
what other purposes is TOR utilized?

Please could you post your name, address and phone number, and promptly report to nearest police station. You are likely guilty of criminal copyright infringement or breaking the content provider’s terms of service – itself a crime under The Computer Fraud and abuse Act.

Avoiding data retention or snooping by your ISP is not illegal, and people have a right to hide themselves from the government – absent any law to the contrary.

darryl says:

he is still breaking the law... it's very simple....

everyone knows if you trade in stolen goods you are equally guilty of the crime of theft.

therefore you assume the same liability, risks and responsibilities as all the other liable parties.

It is illegal to be complicit in the knowing conduct of a crime, and operating a TOR node you would have to have a clear expectation that you computer, at your location is being used in the conduct of a committing of a crime.

Joe says:

I2P

Stories like this are why I use I2P instead of TOR. I don’t have the outbound proxy enabled… It’s too easy of an excuse for someone to deliberately make a lot of requests on a computer running TOR to a honeypot. Then they can claim every single IP address that accessed it is a kiddy fiddler and harass the TOR exit node operators. This is the #1 reason that TOR is obsolete. Just run a hidden service and don’t worry about the open Internet, if you’re so worried about censorship or ‘disappearing’ for saying something someone doesn’t like.

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