Snowden Ran A Major Tor Exit Relay, Hosted CryptoParty In Hawaii While Waiting For Greenwald To Reply
from the teaching-tor-and-truecrypt dept
Perhaps more interesting is the news that he ran a Tor exit relay. The story kicks off with Snowden emailing Runa Sandvik, a key Tor developer, asking if she can send him some Tor stickers that he can pass around at work. It's long been noted that Snowden has a Tor sticker (along with an EFF sticker) on the laptop he uses, but now we know where and how he got it. But in that email, he noted that he ran a "major tor exit" relay:
In his e-mail, Snowden wrote that he personally ran one of the “major tor exits”–a 2 gbps server named “TheSignal”–and was trying to persuade some unnamed coworkers at his office to set up additional servers. He didn’t say where he worked. But he wanted to know if Sandvik could send him a stack of official Tor stickers....Of course, some may also point out that one minor weakness in Tor is that malicious exit node operators can do some spying on users -- at least opening up the question of whether or not Snowden was running that exit relay for himself (and being good about it) or running it for the NSA.
“He said he had been talking some of the more technical guys at work into setting up some additional fast servers, and figured some swag might incentivize them to do it sooner rather than later,” Sandvik says. “I later learned that he ran more than one Tor exit relay.”
Either way, to get the stickers, Snowden gave Sandvik his real name and address, and she mentioned plans to be in Hawaii, leading to the idea of hosting a CryptoParty, which turned into reality:
Sandvik began by giving her usual Tor presentation, then Snowden stood in front of the white board and gave a 30- to 40-minute introduction to TrueCrypt, an open-source full disk encryption tool. He walked through the steps to encrypt a hard drive or a USB stick. “Then we did an impromptu joint presentation on how to set up and run a Tor relay,” Sandvik says. “He was definitely a really, really smart guy. There was nothing about Tor that he didn’t already know.”As for the timing, Snowden apparently emailed Greenwald for the first time 11 days before the party, and was still waiting for a reply when the party happened...
“Everything ran very smoothly,” she adds. “There were no questions about how to do things or where to put the chairs. Maybe he’s just really good at organizing events.”