Regarding my posting probably unluckily named “Germany: Crackdown on TOR-node operators” (i wrote “on TOR-node operators” on purpose, not “on TOR“) I’d like to clarify a couple of things. Before i start blurbing around I’d like to quote Shava Nerad, executive director of the TOR-project:
“Last week, a few Tor exit-node servers were seized by the German police in a massive sting against child pornography. From our friends on the ground in Germany, we hear that dozens and dozens of machines may have been seized. So far as we know only six of those were Tor servers. We have heard from the server operators. None of them has been charged.
This is not a “crackdown” on Tor, as has been widely reported. We expect and hope that the volunteer Tor server operators in Germany will get their equipment back after this has blown over, and there will be no action against Tor.”
I have nothing to add here and I’d like to point out that we all should calm down a bit and to repeat what I said in my initial posting:
“Those servers were most probably configured to be TOR Exit-Nodes, so their IP-addresses might have shown up in the server logfiles of the child-porn servers in question.
I guess that the attorney of state is just after logfiles, they knew that those servers were operating as TOR-nodes. If you IP-address pops up in a child-porn case surely your IP looks interesting to the police.”
Maybe my words weren’t clear enough, maybe I underestimated the momentum of this news, and I probably didn’t take into account that lot’s of people didn’t actually read my posting completely and just picked up the news which seemed to be relevant to them. Also some people definitively interpolated those crippled news to justify their prejudices against Germany (“Nazis“), the police (“they’re after us!“), and the TOR-project (“They’re supporting child-porn and probably terrorists!“).
And clearly i made the assumption on Boing Boing where i said “Apparently it’s about the proliferation of child pornography, although no charges have been pressed against TOR operators yet.” I shouldn’t have written that.
So let me put it in other words, restating what i posted as a comment earlier:
- The seized TOR-servers were most probably TOR exit-nodes.
- Their IP-addresses most probably showed up in the logfiles of the alleged child-porn server.
- The police found out about that IP-address and the police must take action and seize the server.
- The fact that the server was running TOR is of no actual value for the process of forensics itself.
- So there’s no actual evidence at the moment which proves that this is a direct attack on the TOR-network or it’s operators in Germany.
- We still don’t know if any charges are pressed against operators. Basically we’re all speculating, so please, let’s keep calm until we really know more. If i find out more, I’ll post updates here.
I learned from all the feedback I got in comments and trackbacks that there’re actually people in China and other countries in the world specifically asking not to shutdown our nodes. They said that TOR is one of their very little possibilities to get a decent internet connection at all. Considering that other websites like Wikipedia are banned in those countries we should make it our responsibility to give people from oppressive states the support they need – free communication.
Famous last words: My TOR-server is still running, pushing 40GB/day around. I’m not going to shut it down for whatever reason. I ask all other TOR-operators in Germany to do the same. There’s no sign that we’re going to be sued for whatever reason at the moment.
Let’s keep calm and not become hysteric.