New Hampshire Library Rejects DHS Fearmongering, Turns Tor Back On

from the congrats! dept

Last week, we posted the story of how the Kilton Public Library in Lebanon, New Hampshire, had been pressured to turn off its Tor relay after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had reached out to the local police department to express concern over the library's decision, and freaking out because "criminals can use Tor." After being approached by the police, the library agreed to shut down the relay, while setting up a meeting to discuss if the library should turn it back on. Apparently, last week's press attention helped bring out lots of folks who very strongly supported turning Tor back on.

Boston librarian Alison Macrina, who runs the Library Freedom Project and helped the library set up Tor in the first place, was tweeting up a storm last night, and it sounded like a lot of people showed up to make it clear that (1) the DHS could go pound sand and (2) the library should turn its Tor node back on:
Multiple people apparently spoke about how this is absolutely the kind of project that libraries should support, and that protecting anonymous browsing was an important thing to have in the world. And, in the end, success:
This is amazingly good news, and as Macrina noted after: "This was a public referendum about privacy, free speech, and what libraries do." And all three of those things came out winners.

Oh, and even better: it appears that the publicity around this and the success last night may be inspiring other libraries to set up their own Tor relays as well.

Filed Under: alison macrina, dhs, law enforcement, library, police, tor, tor relay
Companies: kilton public library


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2015 @ 9:26am

    >may be inspiring other libraries to set up their own Tor relays as well.
    I think that's the most likely reason DHS was so concerned. Just like widespread encryption, widespread anonymity will become impossible to contain any longer.

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

    • identicon
      anonymous me, 16 Sep 2015 @ 9:48am

      Re:

      Hello, Barbra!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2015 @ 11:39am

      Re:

      Widespread anonymity will be expensive for them since they can save money by having machines do the work. It is the modern political fallacy: Save money and you have more wiggle-room for your ideological projects!

      Good old-fashioned targeted surveillance and spy-activity are the alpha and omega of investigations and the old methods still works with encrypted traffic and can get around almost all precautions from paranoid users.

      The fight against anonymity is a pyrrhic battle for everyone: If the services lose they have lost a lot of trust, but if they win they are losing their primary objective: To protect!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2015 @ 3:19pm

      Re:

      Windows 10.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2015 @ 9:30am

    Now we wait and see if the DHS tries the heavy handed approach to get what they want now that the library has spurned what they demanded

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2015 @ 9:34am

    Can anyone confirm if this is an exit node or just a middle relay?

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

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 16 Sep 2015 @ 9:38am

    The DHS probably thinks Dewey Decimal Codes are encryption and must be put to an end.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2015 @ 9:40am

    DHS will prob end up screwing them over via USAC.

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

    • icon
      scotts13 (profile), 16 Sep 2015 @ 10:27am

      Re:

      Yup. Same as everything else the feds want states (and down) to do - withhold any federal money until they comply.

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

      • icon
        Gabriel (profile), 29 Sep 2015 @ 9:09am

        Re: federal money

        New Hampshire already has a strong tradition of rejecting federal money with too many strings on it; witness their lack of an adult seat-belt requirement despite the cost to their roads budget.

        If they were several hundred miles farther south I'd definitely live there. I just can't deal with that much winter.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2015 @ 9:46am

    bloody good for them!
    now wait and see something like an FBI engineered terrorist plot reach fruition, even though that is nothing, but the Tor Library will get the blame!! not come across any government or it's security forces that go so far to try to get exactly what it wants as far as surveillance on the ordinary people! absolute scandalous!!

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

  • identicon
    mcinsand, 16 Sep 2015 @ 9:49am

    if the 'S' in DHS really stood for security

    If the DHS was actually about security, they would be pressuring everyone to use Tor. Yes, criminals use Tor, but what is more dangerous is that criminals also use any weaknesses in our information security. The more encrypted and anonymous we non-criminals are, the more difficult it will be for criminals to identify possible targets.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2015 @ 10:37am

      Re: if the 'S' in DHS really stood for security

      but what about that whole "if you have nothing to hide/fear" thing?
      what is it you are trying to hide from the bad guys?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2015 @ 12:31pm

        Re: Re: if the 'S' in DHS really stood for security

        Mother's maiden name, last four digits of social security number, bank account number.

        OMG, I have something to hide! I guess I need to fear.

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

  • icon
    Derek (profile), 16 Sep 2015 @ 12:12pm

    Bravo

    Bravo. 'nuff said.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2015 @ 12:24pm

    Whats the Difference

    The library books can also be be used by criminals. Why didn't DHS contact the local police to start a book burning.

    Congratulations to the library, glad they stand on principle.

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

  • icon
    Web_Rat (profile), 16 Sep 2015 @ 12:31pm

    DHS Logicspeak

    Let's follow along and further apply the logic used by the DHS.

    The library needs to remove all newspapers because coded messages may be placed by people with criminal intent.

    The library needs to remove all science, technology, and historical references because the information may be used by those with criminal intent.

    The library needs to remove all dvds from circulation because they may be loaned to people with the criminal intent of copying them.

    The library needs to remove all public access copy machines because they may be used by people to duplicate copyrighted materials.

    Better yet, close the library, DHS can proclaim another potential terrorist attack was thwarted.

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

  • identicon
    PRMan, 16 Sep 2015 @ 1:39pm

    My thoughts

    Live free or die!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2015 @ 1:45pm

    any indication of when the librarians will be arrested and charged with terrorism?

    they must be up to no good, wanting to use encryption!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2015 @ 3:55pm

    No toys for you

    Well the library security can forget about getting those bullet proof vests and grenade launchers now.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Sep 2015 @ 9:04pm

    I'm glad the library didn't get bullied around.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2015 @ 3:32am

    Yay!

    Live free or die.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2015 @ 4:00am

    Not so much about anonymous browsing as it is protecting yourself from people who dont respect boundaries


    Not something to hide as in more of a "its none of your godamn fucking business WHAT i do" so long as i respect the rights of others

    Invasion of privacy is not respecting the boundary rights of individuals, therefore those that do invade, have no right complaining about those that expose them, those that are angry at them, and those that complain about them

    Certainly no right to make up extreme laws that are obviously gonna be turned on these very people

    Make action>Upset people>People ask for change>Create extreme law>"Subdue" upset people

    Their opposition is born from their very actions, instead of stopping the action, their willing to force people to comply
    .......which makes the initial action pale in comparison to the realisation of the motives of those running things......certainly not freedom, certainly not "democracy"

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

  • icon
    Aussie Geoff (profile), 17 Sep 2015 @ 4:18am

    Aren't you misquoting the DHS's motto - Die Free Or Live"?

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

  • icon
    trevor999 (profile), 18 Sep 2015 @ 3:49am

    Based on DHS's logic, all books on the following subjects should be banned (burned?)
    Engineering
    Anatomy and Physiology
    Chemistry
    Firearms
    Religion (except of course Christianity)
    Electronics
    Military subjects
    The Law and Civil Rights

    since these subjects, and others, could be used by criminals and terrorists to their advantage.

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


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