Austrian Tor Exit Node Operator Found Guilty As An Accomplice Because Someone Used His Node To Commit A crime

from the bad,-bad-news dept

Three years ago we wrote about how Austrian police had seized computers from someone running a Tor exit node. This kind of thing happens from time to time, but it appears that folks in Austria have taken it up a notch by... effectively now making it illegal to run a Tor exit node. According to the report, which was confirmed by the accused, the court found that running the node violated §12 of the Austrian penal code, which effectively says:
Not only the immediate perpetrator commits a criminal action, but also anyone who appoints someone to carry it out, or anyone who otherwise contributes to the completion of said criminal action.
In other words, it's a form of accomplice liability for criminality. It's pretty standard to name criminal accomplices liable for "aiding and abetting" the activities of others, but it's a massive and incredibly dangerous stretch to argue that merely running a Tor exit node makes you an accomplice that "contributes to the completion" of a crime. Under this sort of thinking, Volkswagen would be liable if someone drove a VW as the getaway car in a bank robbery. It's a very, very broad interpretation of accomplice liability, in a situation where it clearly does not make sense.

Tragically, this comes out the same day that the EFF is promoting why everyone should use Tor. While it accurately notes that no one in the US has been prosecuted for running Tor, it may want to make a note about Austria. Hopefully there is some way to fight back on this ruling and take it to a higher court -- and hopefully whoever reviews it will be better informed about how Tor works and what it means to run an exit node.

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    Ninja (profile), Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 7:04am

    Under this sort of thinking, Volkswagen would be liable if someone drove a VW as the getaway car in a bank robbery.

    When you add "on the internet" relativity kicks in and causes Govt employees' brains to fart it seems. This is even worse on a quite specific demographics outside the government too but that's for another article.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 9:53am

      Re:

      More like if you bought a VW and then started renting it out to people, and someone you rented it to used it as a getaway car.

       

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        No No No (profile), Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 10:07am

        Re: Re:

        No I say again.

        The premise is that VW (an incorproated entitiy and here in the USA, therefore a Person) would be liable for your crimes, for selling YOU a car that YOU used to drive as a get away Volkswagon.

        They may as well have named the EU central bank as an accomplice for all crimes commited wile using Euros to facilitate them...

         

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        Michael, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 10:48am

        Re: Re:

        Ok, let's go with your version.

        If I rent a car from Hertz (a large US rental company) and use the car in a crime, they are liable?

         

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      James T, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 12:34pm

      Re:

      Does this also equally apply to any ISP involved? I mean technically they assisted in committing this crime. Perhaps I am missing the distinction here between a TOR service and an Internet service. The encryption aspect would seem irrelevant to this argument.

       

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      That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 6:52pm

      Re:

      Part of it is the fault of the copyright cartels who keep screaming that other companies on the internet could do all the things they want done, if only the court would make them.

       

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    Digger, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 9:03am

    tor exit nodes are the same as ISPs / infrastructure

    If they go after tor exit nodes, then they have to arrest the executives of the ISPs and infrastructure providers - they are all equally liable to the same degree.

    Unless they do this, they have to drop all charges to tor exit node operators and pay damages to those falsely arrested and imprisoned.

    I would sue the government for wrongful arrest and imprisonment.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 10:04am

      Re: tor exit nodes are the same as ISPs / infrastructure

      Sueing the government and having them pay damages may not work in Austria because the law may be different there. Definitly in America this is how the law should work though.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 9:04am

    Bad news for the dead Internet.

     

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    Scote, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 9:06am

    So, when do they arrest all telecom execs for the same thing?

    So, when do they arrest all telecom execs for the same thing? People, presumably, use email, phone and text messaging all the time, and the executives of telecom companies surely have the same personal knowledge about those activities that the TOR operator knew about the activities on TOR.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 9:10am

    Under this sort of thinking, Volkswagen would be liable if someone drove a VW as the getaway car in a bank robbery.

    Roads aid many criminals, therefore making governments criminal enterprises.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 9:19am

    Doesn't Germany had a similar ruling already?

     

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    Whatever (profile), Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 9:33am

    arm waving frantic

    Under this sort of thinking, Volkswagen would be liable if someone drove a VW as the getaway car in a bank robbery

    I have to shake my head when you write things like this, I know you know this just isn't the case. You might have a valid point if VW's customers were all engaged in criminal activity or covert acts, but they are not, plain and simple.

    When you open your network connection as a TOR exit node, you do some with the understanding that the only people on TOR are people who want to do things and not get traced. They are intentionally using an obfuscation network to hide their activities. Knowing that, providing them with internet access helps facilitate whatever bad thing it is that they are trying to accomplish.

    With that basic knowledge, providing that connection is being an accessory to the crime, and a significant one at that, because without the TOR exit nodes, perhaps the crime would not have been committed at all.

    The TOR exit node operator here doesn't even have to know of a particular case or situation. He would only have to know that his action (to open the node to anyone and everyone) is likely to lead to some sort of criminal activity being conducted over it. He wasn't forced to run a TOR node, it's not the ISP default, it's not a bug in a router or wireless setup. It's someone purposely downloading and installing the TOR software and allowing people to use his internet connection without restriction.

    He could have chosen not to do it.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 9:38am

      Re: arm waving frantic

      Whatever, you are an idiot. I suppose you also think that open WIFI operators should similarly be held responsible? What about gun shop owners? Use your brain, if you can find it.

       

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      Patrick, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 9:39am

      Re: arm waving frantic

      VW could choose not to make automobiles.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 9:42am

      Re: arm waving frantic

      So you are in the belief that everyone's guilty until proven innocent. Hopefully you will never become a judge.

       

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        perih60 (profile), Jul 6th, 2014 @ 9:07pm

        Re: Re: arm waving frantic

        most people do not know that we have to prove our innocence allready , some years ago i had the cops search my car , then the quaters supplyed by my employer , my mother had sworn out a warrent stating i had stolen documents ( including my own birthcertificat . i was working in an enviroment where a persons reputation is everything ! obviously i had to go to my boss and tell him why the police went thru my things . when i told him ( his wife was there as well ) she asked for the date as to when i supposetly done that . she had a look at her diary , told me to phone the copstation , and tell them that on that day i was working 200 miles from the place i supposetly stolen , i called and after explaining that my boss can give me an aliby ! prove my innocence !!! officer asked , so you claim that you were working ect . my answer was i do not know where i was on a given day over a month ago , but my boss and his wife do , lets face it how many people remember in order to prove that they are not guilty what they did on a given day , i was just lucky to have worked for great people

         

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      Jeff Rowberg (profile), Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 9:43am

      Re: arm waving frantic

      Uh oh, I guess that means bad news for SSL certificate, PGP/GPG, off-the-record IM plugins, whole-disk encryption technology, etc.

      Remember folks, a desire for privacy is the same thing as admitting guilt!

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 9:43am

      Re: arm waving frantic

      When you open your network connection as a TOR exit node, you do some with the understanding that the only people on TOR are people who want to do things and not get traced.


      Seriously?

      What about all the people who use Tor to bypass blocks? That's a common use of Tor: bypassing firewalls. The intent is not to hide their activities, the intent is to be able to do them at all.

      Knowing that, providing them with internet access helps facilitate whatever bad thing it is that they are trying to accomplish.


      Seriously?

      How did you do the jump from "hiding their activities" to "doing something bad"? Do you really think that only people who want to do bad things hide their activities?

      I hide my browsing of porn. Nobody knows I sometimes visit porn sites. But browsing porn is not something bad, it's something normal; it's just something that I feel self-conscious about.

       

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        Whatever (profile), Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 5:22pm

        Re: Re: arm waving frantic

        What about all the people who use Tor to bypass blocks? That's a common use of Tor: bypassing firewalls. The intent is not to hide their activities, the intent is to be able to do them at all.

        Read what you just said. They are using Tor to bypass blocks... in other words, they are trying to hide their identity in order to access material that is otherwise not available to them (for reasons like Geo blocking).

        The reasons don't have to be nefarious, they don't have to be doing truly bad things... but on a very basic level shows what Tor is used for. Helping someone bypass a GEO block is in itself potentially a legal issue, one that hasn't been pushed too hard yet. However, you can see recently Hulu working to block known VPN providers to stop their services from being used outside the US.

        I hide my browsing of porn. Nobody knows I sometimes visit porn sites.

        Yup, as always, there are some legit uses. Even then, some people may use it because the material they seek is not legally available in their country as an example. Big users of VPNs and such for porn are from the middle east, where it is very much illegal.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 6:53pm

          Re: Re: Re: arm waving frantic

          Your belief system sound very authoritarian. Even totalitarian. Did you grow up in the Middle East under Islam? Maybe in China or N. Korea?

          Just because something is "the law", doesn't mean people should blindly follow those law. Rosa Parks and the civil rights movement are a good example of standing up to bad laws.

          I also consider patents to be bad laws dictated by greed. Honestly, who tries to patent the worlds food supply? Greedy psychos, that's who. Who tries to increase the costs of life saving medicines by 500%? Greedy psychos.

          The list just goes on and on when it comes to patents. Who tries to lockup the knowledge and advancement of the human race? Patent maximalists, that's who.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 6:54pm

          Re: Re: Re: arm waving frantic

          Considering the Australian Government has advised the population of Australia to bypass Geo-Blocking, if they wish to purchase from overseas, it once again shows that you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

          Just because it upsets your corporate overlords, does not make it illegal, or even potentially illegal.

          AJ you are a moron. I take it you are still cheating on your exams, as someone this stupid would not pass without having the answers given to them

           

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            PaulT (profile), Jul 3rd, 2014 @ 12:49am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: arm waving frantic

            "Just because it upsets your corporate overlords, does not make it illegal, or even potentially illegal."

            Indeed. I use VPNs largely for work purposes, but I also use them to access my Netflix account. A legally paid for, fully authorised account that I can use anywhere on my regular trips to the UK and the US, but not from my home in Spain - because those corporations haven't given their blessing. No similar local competitor exists, to the best of my knowledge.

            Of course, the moron's preferred solution to this is not to licence Netflix to service the other countries they cannot currently service. Nor is it to perform a desperately needed revision to the licencing structure so that service providers don't have to piss around on a country-by-country basis (DVD region codes cover the entire continent, why can't streaming licences?).

            No, his solution is to outlaw the mechanisms by which paying customers can access the content they wish to pay for. Genius.

             

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          PaulT (profile), Jul 3rd, 2014 @ 12:36am

          Re: Re: Re: arm waving frantic

          "Yup, as always, there are some legit uses"

          Funny how you admit this, but your "point" is always predicated on the idea that every use will be illegal.

          "providing them with internet access helps facilitate whatever bad thing it is that they are trying to accomplish"

          Yet, even you admit that they may well not be doing any "bad thing" at all...

          Sorry, dumbass, requiring privacy does not mean you are doing anything wrong. You know this, yet you simplify your argument to an outright lie every time you post here.

           

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            That One Guy (profile), Jul 3rd, 2014 @ 2:24am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: arm waving frantic

            Sorry, dumbass, requiring privacy does not mean you are doing anything wrong.

            While the insult was uncalled for, the point is valid, and there's a really easy way to counter the idea of 'the only reason someone would want to be anonymous online is if they have something to hide': offer the one claiming it the chance to post under their real name, first and last, with personally identifiable, and verifiable, information.

            If they decline, they are either admitting that they are engaged in 'bad'/illegal activities, or they're a hypocrite, holding others to standards they themselves refuse to match. If the first, well, at least they're honest about it, if the second, you can dismiss anything they claim out of hand as the useless prattle of a hypocrite.

             

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          btr1701 (profile), Jul 3rd, 2014 @ 4:04pm

          Re: Re: Re: arm waving frantic

          > in other words, they are trying to hide their
          > identity in order to access material that is otherwise
          > not available to them (for reasons like Geo blocking)

          Which is not a crime or even a civil offense. The fact that Warner Bros., for example, doesn't want me to watch a streaming video while I'm in France doesn't obligate me to abide by their wishes. They're free to try and block me, but if I bypass the block by making it appear I'm somewhere else, I've committed no offense.

          Same with region coded DVD players. I'm under no obligation-- either legal or moral-- to abide by the entertainment industry's marketing window strategy, and if I unlock my DVD player so that it can play discs from any region in the world, that's perfectly legal, even though it subverts their business plan.

          Business plans are not laws and they don't bind anyone outside of the business to abide by them.

          > The reasons don't have to be nefarious, they don't
          > have to be doing truly bad things... but on a very
          > basic level shows what Tor is used for.

          Yeah, it can be used to give a little power back to people to nullify the negative effect of a lot of corporate shenanigans. In other words, it can be used to negate the bad things that others are doing.

           

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      Anonymouse, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 9:51am

      Re: arm waving frantic

      The vehicle analogy is incredibly apt, its your understanding of TOR and other encryption networks that is flawed. Not only are vehicles routinely used in the commission of crimes, they have in fact enabled certain types of crime, such as the drive by shooting and vehicular homicide, to exist at all.

      TOR is used for anonymizing, for routing around political blocks, for routing around regional blocks, for routing around ISP blocks. None of that is inherently criminal and in fact several are lauded as enabling freedom in repressive regimes by both Western and Eastern media. It is not different from allowing your computer to be part of a poxy network (and in fact is exactly what it is, with an additional layer of routing and encryption on top of it).

      Nothing about the use of TOR is inherently good or bad, criminal or legal. Saying it is simply shows you have no idea what you are talking about.

       

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      Trevor, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 9:53am

      Re: arm waving frantic

      False.

      I am an attorney. I use Tor a lot.

      Just because someone wants to avoid being traced does not mean they are involved in criminal acts. This is along the same lines as "If you have nothing to hide..."

      By your analogy, because some people use cars to commit crimes, then all people use cars to commit crimes, and therefore, not only the owners of Volkswagen, but the car dealers that sell Volkswagen cars (they provide the vehicle...) are just as liable as the Tor node operator.

       

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        SolkeshNaranek (profile), Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 10:32am

        Re: Re: arm waving frantic

        Re: arm waving frantic
        False.

        I am an attorney. I use Tor a lot.

        Just because someone wants to avoid being traced does not mean they are involved in criminal acts. This is along the same lines as "If you have nothing to hide..."

        By your analogy, because some people use cars to commit crimes, then all people use cars to commit crimes, and therefore, not only the owners of Volkswagen, but the car dealers that sell Volkswagen cars (they provide the vehicle...) are just as liable as the Tor node operator.


        I guess the O.P. of this particular thread would surmise you are a "criminal" attorney.

        /s

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 10:23am

      Re: arm waving frantic

      I'm anonymous.

      TD chose to permit me to post.

      Ergo, by your reasoning, TD is guilty of abetting whatever the crime is that I'm committing by saying that you are the sort of submissively boot-licking toady, the copyright industry and federal spying shops hope to make out of us all.

       

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      Ninja (profile), Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 10:34am

      Re: arm waving frantic

      You might have a valid point if VW's customers were all engaged in criminal activity or covert acts, but they are not, plain and simple.

      So aren't TOR users. There are entire sites dedicated to academic research inside the TOR network. It would do you a lot of good if you actually knew about what you are talking about.

      When you open your network connection as a TOR exit node, you do some with the understanding that the only people on TOR are people who want to do things and not get traced.

      Because there are no reasons to want anonymity other than criminal activity. The Founding Fathers (of the US) would beg to differ.

      He would only have to know that his action (to open the node to anyone and everyone) is likely to lead to some sort of criminal activity being conducted over it.

      Much like every single service out there. Close everything, let's go back to the stone ages because someone might engage in criminal activities over something that's available to the public!

      Gosh, you are a moron.

       

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        King George, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 12:30pm

        Re: Re: arm waving frantic

        > Because there are no reasons to want anonymity other than
        > criminal activity. The Founding Fathers (of the US) would
        > beg to differ.


        the founding fathers were very much criminals thank you very much

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 3rd, 2014 @ 1:40am

        Re: Re: arm waving frantic

        let's go back to the stone ages because someone might engage in criminal activities over something that's available to the public!

        The stone ages? Heaven forbid! The TOR users would just start hitting everyone else over the head with rocks!

         

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      Ninja (profile), Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 10:35am

      Re: arm waving frantic

      In time: you are hiding your real name here. Means you are up to something, no? Shall we send the police your way?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 2:09pm

        Re: Re: arm waving frantic

        when they came for the anonymous users, i said nothing because i signed in.

        when they came for those who didn't read the EULA and/or Privacy Policy, i said nothing because i had.

        when they came for me, there was nobody left to provide snarky commentary on the stories of my arrest

        (irony of posting as AC not missed)

         

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      Gwiz (profile), Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 10:43am

      Re: arm waving frantic

      You might have a valid point if VW's customers were all engaged in criminal activity or covert acts, but they are not, plain and simple.


      You might have a point if users of Tor were all engaged in criminal activity or covert acts, but they are not, plain and simple.

      More and more people are using Tor/I2p/Freenet/YaCy/proxies/etc.. for the simple reason that they don't like their private internet activities being monitored 24/7 by invasive governments and corporations.

      Anonymity is traditionally considered a natural right in the US. Being anonymous isn't a criminal act in itself, nor is it even a true indicator of criminal activity.

       

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      Digger, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 10:47am

      Re: arm waving frantic

      A tor exit node is infrastructure - whether or not it's owned by big business or not is irrelevant, it's still infrastructure.

      If the cops do not seize the assets of the big corporate fiber networks and ISPs, then it is purely an illegal arrest with prejudice.

      Return the operator's equipment, release them, a couple million in "oops, we're sorry we trampled all over your rights and fucked you over" money and we'll call it good.

      Otherwise, we'll see your tor exit operator arrest, and raise you by cutting your entire country off from the rest of the world for all communications equipment.

      Reroute all outgoing traffic to your shithole's government switchboard.

       

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      art guerrilla (profile), Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 11:44am

      Re: arm waving frantic

      @ whatever:
      urine idjit...
      i have used tor approximately 5-6 times, mostly just to play with it, and EVERY SINGLE USAGE was 'legal' and had NOTHING to do with criminal activity of any sort...

      was using some torrents to download stuff manufacturers SHOULD HAVE PROVIDED, but did not: a repair manual for a car, a manual for something else, a couple musicians giving away their music, etc...

      really, HOW FUCKING STUPID ARE YOU: IF your criteria is 'someone onceded did something not-nice with a tor (or fill in the blank) so we must banhammer it to smithereens, THERE WOULD BE NOTHING LEFT ON THE PLANET...

      in fact, oog once hit boog on the head with a rock, so we can't even have the planet, its simply too dangerous...

      go curl up in a ball and pee your panties; the rest of us want to live a life unencumbered by the stupidity of the lowest common denominator...

       

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      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 11:46am

      Re: arm waving frantic

      "The TOR exit node operator here doesn't even have to know of a particular case or situation. He would only have to know that his action (to open the node to anyone and everyone) is likely to lead to some sort of criminal activity being conducted over it."

      So you agree that VW is liable for criminal actions committed in their cars. They don't have to know of a specific case, they just have to know that their cars are likely to lead to some sort of criminal activity being conducted in them.

      Why didn't you just say that in the first place instead of the gibberish you did say?

       

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      John85851 (profile), Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 12:06pm

      Re: arm waving frantic

      And I suppose protesters in the Middle East shouldn't use Tor to get their messages out of the country? After all, it's illegal for them to protest in their country.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 2:14pm

      Re: arm waving frantic

      Yeah, with that reasoning, there is no distinction of Crime and "crime". The latter being say, some 20 year old from the other side of the world who got through that relay randomly ordering a 1/4 of weed from someone on tsr.

      Everything can be twisted into being a crime these days, welcome to 1984.

       

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      DC, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 3:18pm

      Re: arm waving frantic

      And the biggest missing reply: Didn't AJ spend a really long time a while back ranting that he was using use TOR to post to techdirt to avoid Mike censoring him?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 6:27pm

      Re: arm waving frantic

      You are a moron..

      So you are saying that the Broadcasting Board of Governors, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory,DARPA and U.S. State Department are all criminal organisations ( You are aware who created TOR right and the purpose behind them creating it?

      once again, you are an absolute moron

       

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      TtfnJohn (profile), Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 9:12pm

      Re: arm waving frantic

      What this does do is provide a novel definition of the legal phrase of "accessory before the fact" by which Austria assumes as do you that every user of TOR is as criminal. The TOR exit node operator here doesn't even have to know of a particular case or situation. He would only have to know that his action (to open the node to anyone and everyone) is likely to lead to some sort of criminal activity being conducted over it. yet criminal activity occurs even without TOR, or Mibbit even. SO at best linking a TOR exit node to criminal activity is a stretch at best. There are more anonomyzing sites and software freely available out there, have a peek at Source Forge if you like . And you don't know any more than I do if every operator of a TOR exit node allow connection to it without restriction. The user of the node isn't anonymous until they use the node. In other words, they can be logged and, if necessary traced as long as they are on my server. (It's not impossible or even hard to do it on an Apache server. I don't know about a MS server cause I'm not fool enough to run one. Still some people have a legitimate reason to be anonymous on the Internet or believe they do and that does not automatically translate into illegal or anti-social behaviour.

       

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      techflaws (profile), Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 9:52pm

      Re: arm waving frantic

      I have to shake my head when you write things like this, I know you know this just isn't the case. Just because someone wants to stay anonymous doesn't mean he's doing something illegal.

       

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      •  
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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 3rd, 2014 @ 1:50am

        Re: Re: arm waving frantic

        I have to shake my head when you write things like this, I know you know this just isn't the case.

        I used to wonder about this, too. Then I figured it out:

        Whatever is actually Stephen Colbert.

         

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      tim, Jul 3rd, 2014 @ 10:41am

      Re: arm waving frantic

      "Knowing that, providing them with internet access helps facilitate whatever bad thing it is that they are trying to accomplish"

      This is where your argument falls apart, you are asumming that everbody wishing to hide thier identity are up to no good, thats like assuming that everybody who wants to drive a VW only wants to do it to get away from bank robberies. Wanting privacy does NOT imply criminality.

       

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      btr1701 (profile), Jul 3rd, 2014 @ 3:53pm

      Re: arm waving frantic

      > You might have a valid point if VW's customers were all engaged
      > in criminal activity or covert acts, but they are not, plain and simple.

      Neither are Tor's users all engaged in criminal activity, and being 'covert', i.e., private, is neither criminally nor morally wrong.

      You seem to be suggesting that it's some kind of offense to not want total strangers to have access to your private communications.

       

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      btr1701 (profile), Jul 3rd, 2014 @ 3:56pm

      Re: arm waving frantic

      > He would only have to know that his action (to open
      > the node to anyone and everyone) is likely to lead to
      > some sort of criminal activity being conducted over it.

      That same standard could be applied to hold ISPs criminally liable for anything customers do. Given the amount of crime conducted on the open internet, an ISP would have to know that by offering the public internet access, it would likely to lead to some sort of criminal activity being conducted over their network at some point.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2014 @ 6:31pm

      Re: arm waving frantic

      Some day you will be charged with terrorism for using Tor and no one will lament the tragedy that befalls you.

       

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    SolkeshNaranek (profile), Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 9:40am

    V.W.

    Under this sort of thinking, Volkswagen would be liable if someone drove a VW as the getaway car in a bank robbery

    Good thing they weren't using a G.M. vehicle. A failed ignition switch would have thwarted the getaway before it began.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 9:59am

    Re: arm waving frantic


    The TOR exit node operator here doesn't even have to know of a particular case or situation. He would only have to know that his action (to open the node
    to anyone and everyone) is likely to lead to some sort of criminal activity being conducted over it. He wasn't forced to run a TOR node, it's not the ISP
    default, it's not a bug in a router or wireless setup. It's someone purposely downloading and installing the TOR software and allowing people to use his
    internet connection without restriction.


    So by the same reasoning, anyone offering anonymous internet access to a third party is an accessory because it's inevitable that someone will use the resource to commit a crime.

    This is not how accomplish liability works in the US, and the consequences of such a theory would be disasterous.

    Also this tortured logic makes any online platform responsible for allowing anonymous user generated content.

    You can base64 encode a child pornography image and store it in a Wordpress blog or in an anonymously created Dropbox account.

    So Dropbox and Wordpress are accomplishes to crime, because they allow anonymous users to submit any data and must know that some will use the anonymity for illegal purposes.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 10:56am

    Re: arm waving frantic

    The Austrian Constitutional Court has struck down the mandatory data retention law in the wake of the CJEU ruling holding the EU Data Retention Directive void.

    So what we have is the parardoxical contradiction, that established ISPs aren't no longer required to keep logs because such retention violates user privacy, but Tor exit nodes are now accomplishes to crime committed through their infrastructure.

    One possible distinction between a Tor exit node and an official ISP could have been that the later are by law required to keep logs in order to assist the police, but this is no plausible distinction if neither must keep logs.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 12:21pm

    "Should I run an exit relay from my home?

    No. If law enforcement becomes interested in traffic from your exit relay, it's possible that officers will seize your computer. For that reason, it's best not to run your exit relay in your home or using your home Internet connection.

    Instead, consider running your exit relay in a commercial facility that is supportive of Tor. Have a separate IP address for your exit relay, and don't route your own traffic through it.

    Of course, you should avoid keeping any sensitive or personal information on the computer hosting your exit relay, and you never should use that machine for any illegal purpose."

    https://www.torproject.org/eff/tor-legal-faq.html.en

     

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      TtfnJohn (profile), Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 10:12pm

      Re:

      THE reality is that for police to seize anything (with or without a warrant and I assume you're citing something done without a warrant) they need a minor little legal concept known as probable cause. This is how police get to pull over everyone driving even mildly erratically should they wish,given the probable cause is imparement of some nature. It's entirely possible than an undiagnosed person with epilepsy could be pulled over by an officer for imparement early on in the seizure process as the person is distracted by or in the aura phase of a seizure. I'm not saying the person isn't impared, they are and more dangerously so than a drunk or drug user. Which is why in many states and Canadian provinces we epileptics can't drive till we establish that our seizures are well under control and we aren't a danger to the lives and well being of others. I am as I've hinted an epileptic as well and while not being able to drive is inconvenient my life is simply more ordered that it was previously because I have to make plans and can't just take off on impulse. Before the police come barging into a home they have to have reasonable probable cause to do so and if they do without a warrant there had better be a very good reason for the police to do that. This kind of legalese and legal hoops to jump through keep the police as servants of broader society rather than just doing what they want at any time. Further, the police and ISP need probable cause to intercept and "read" what is coming out a wired connection or a wireless one. Just having a TOR exit node isn't probable cause unless and until some crime is committed nothing illegal has occurred and under the British legal system with both Canada and the United States have inherited we are innocent until we are proven guilty or (in common law cases such as lawsuits,) until on "balance of probability" we have caused or enabled some non criminal act to occur. Austria, like most other parts of Europe which suffered under Napoleon Bonaparte have inherited the Code Napoleon which assumes, in criminal cases, that one is guilty until proven innocent. Countries that were, at one point a part of the British Empire have inherited the presumption of innocence and all that goes with it. Counties once a part of the French Empire and European nations once ravished and conquered by Napoleon, operate under the civil and criminal laws he developed as Emperor. The Austrian Empire elected to use the Code Napoleon in the early 19th Century. Other counties have developed their own legal systems which may or may not have the vital presumption of innocence which guards against what the USA Constitution describes as unreasonable search and seizure and forbids which the rest of the English speaking world and those parts of the world using a version of British Criminal and Common Law have also adopted and use including Great Britain. So I can't see anyone being raided by the police because they are running a TOR exit node just because the have a TOR exit node unless and until that becomes illegal. Even at that, the server operator, from a home operator to a business cannot be reasonably be held as an accessory before the fact until after a crime is committed. Of course there are other things that come into play such as the amount of traffic you cause on your home ISP link (wired or wireless) which violates your contract with them. And just about all of them loosely cap bandwidth a home user can use and forbid servers of one type or another. The contract with the telco or cableco may in fact, forbid the running of a TOR exit node that you signed which may result in you just being cut off with or without notice. Normally without.

      Anyway, until a crime has actually occurred it is very very hard under the Criminal legal system used in places like Canada, the United States and so on to be held or even investigated as accessories before the fact which is what Austria is pulling here. It's all very interesting and a fascinating discussion to have but it's all theoretical until it lands in a criminal court where the presumption of innocence holds sway rather than a presumption of guilt. It will be interesting to follow such a case if it is ever prosecuted.

       

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    identicon
    Bob Wartell, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 12:23pm

    Can the whole postal service go to jail?

    All I need to do is commit mail fraud in Austria, and the Postal Service is also guilty.

     

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      Michael, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 1:02pm

      Re: Can the whole postal service go to jail?

      No.

      Actually all you need to do is use the mail system to facilitate a crime. The use of the mail system itself can be totally legal. If you hire a hitman, or use the mail system to plan a heist, it apparently has facilitated your crime.

      I would think the postal service (at least the US one) would find itself on shaky ground with this kind of thinking. Mail transactions are more anonymous than electronic ones. If you add to it companies that let you rent a mailbox - come to think of it, they tend to be used by people seeking anonymity.

      However, I think the device that facilitates the most crime via anonymity is, in fact, government currency. If you want to hire someone for nefarious purposes, cash is king. When is the last time you handed a strung out hooker your American Express Platinum card? I think the Austrian treasury department should be watching carefully.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 12:53pm

    I'm posting this via tor. sorry.

     

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    ECA (profile), Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 1:57pm

    WOW..

    So..
    Yahoo, MSN, Excite, Ventrilo, Mumble, and 1000 other chat programs..
    THEN ADD any ONLINE video game with ANY sort of CHAT feature...
    And you make a suggestion that IT should FLOOD in a vertain place, MAKES you liable for it raining??

     

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    Padpaw (profile), Jul 2nd, 2014 @ 4:16pm

    when anything and everything makes you a criminal that's when you need to overthrow the people making the laws. As your going to end up labeled a criminal no matter what at that point. Might as well try to change things for the better before it is too late.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 3rd, 2014 @ 1:29am

    "Hopefully there is some way to fight back on this ruling and take it to a higher court"

    According to the guy who got sued he won't go to a higher court.
    First he is broke and couldn't afford it.
    Second during the investigation his family, friends and even his boss (if I understood it correctly) were questioned and followed. He doesn't want that this happens again.
    And third he can live with the outcome because there won't be anything in his records. Afaik he had to choose between 3 months in prison or 3 years probation and took the probation.

    german summary
    https://network23.org/blackoutaustria/2014/07/02/kein-einspruch/

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 3rd, 2014 @ 1:41am

    But why only one accomplice?

    There is also a telecom company, that provided the internet connection - it's role is crucial, as committing a crime without an internet connection would be impossible at all.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 3rd, 2014 @ 7:02am

    Austria's beloved native, A.Hitler, still holds all the official honors there.

    Ruling does not shock me. They would still rubber stamp orders sending Jews to gas chambers, if possible. That seems to be part of their DNA.

     

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      identicon
      Buttsecks, Jul 12th, 2014 @ 12:36am

      Re:

      hitler should rise from the dead and take over austria again and put all the worthless government officials into work camps to die slow and painful.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 4th, 2014 @ 1:47pm

    An IP adddress is not a person, it's only a evidence.

    A Tor relay is an IP address...

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2014 @ 2:50pm

    ... or maybe not...

    As Weber’s case went on, though, things became murkier.

    The court noted that experts had found and reconstructed image files from the “lost cluster” of a hard disk containing pornographic depictions of minors. However, it found the accused not guilty of knowingly accessing those images, since it could not be established with the certainty required in criminal proceedings that they had been downloaded by him rather than by the automatic action of a Web browser.

    But there was more: In its verdict, the court cited transcripts of chat sessions uncovered during the investigation in which the defendant told an unidentified correspondent “You can host 20TB child porn with us on some encrypted hdds” and, in German, “You can host child porn on our servers” and “If you want to host child porn ... I would use Tor.”


    So I'm not necessarily mad about the court's decision here.

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/2452320/tor-exit-node-operator-convicted-of-abetting-spread-of-c hild-porn.html (July 9, 2014)

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Tch, Jul 31st, 2014 @ 6:13am

    judgement

    DO someone have the judgement and can send it to me, please?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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