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.