The way I see it, it's their job* to determine whether the traffic in question was relayed, or whether it was the exit node operator himself generating that traffic. In an ideal world, they could just call him up and ask nicely - but if he was actually guilty, he'd say "No, no way it was me!" and immediately start destroying any evidence. On the other hand, raiding someone's home or server rack and confiscating all of their computers isn't a great solution if most exit node operators are not guilty themselves.
I'm not aware of a good solution that avoids inconveniencing exit node operators without giving them some kind of blanket immunity to investigation that goes beyond just relayed traffic.
* - I'm aware that this might be impossible, but you can't know whether it will be ahead of time. It's possible that they could raid him and find no proof, even if he's guilty. It's also possible that they could raid him and find exactly what they were looking for. Like many investigation tactics, there's no guaranteed payoff.
In the United States there is an analogous situation which is that of the 'high speed pursuit.' In the pursuit situation the officers have strong reason to believe the driver of a vehicle was involved in a crime and seek to arrest them. The driver of the vehicle doesn't want to be arrested and so they drive away quickly. If the officers give chase, they greatly increase the chance that harm will come to innocent bystanders. If they don't give chase they risk losing their suspect. Generally those debates come down to things like "what crime might they have committed?" and if it was failure to stop for a right turn, that is seen as not being as 'reasonable to chase' as hit and run vehicular manslaughter.
I tend to fall into the "Do the police work to figure out who the crooks are and if you need the co-operation of an end-node provider then get a warrant to compel that co-operation." But I also have spoken to officers who feel that such restrictions are 'red tape' and keep them from doing the job they were paid to do.
In this particular case we don't have the police version of the story. Perhaps they think this guy is complicit? Did they raid/seize any other end nodes? Did they have a warrant and what did it say? Had this person been involved in other questionable activities? "Presumption of innocence" is not a principle that extends outside of US borders so its always difficult to contextualize police action in other countries to Americans who take their constitution for granted.
Sorry, what? Within America, that principle ultimately derives from English common law (from which the legal systems of most former colonies are derived). Moreover, it is a specific part of the European Convention on Human Rights, to which all EU members are party.
Of course it doesn't necessarily apply everywhere in the world (though it'd be foolish to expect any legal doctrine to apply universally, although in this case the doctrine is part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which makes it about as close to universal law as is possible) - but it clearly extends beyond the borders of the US (and in fact, the notion of it 'extending beyond the borders' is pretty offensive, as it suggests the US as the origin of the principle).
From a recent New York State supreme court decision , citing federal law on page 12: "to possess the images in the cache, the defendant must, at a minimum, know that the unlawful images are stored on a disk or other tangible material in his possession". And on page 14, "a
defendant cannot knowingly acquire or possess that which he or she does not know exists".
Variations of the word "know" appear over and over again in the decision, particularly in the line "knowing the character and content thereof." All three judges concurred on this point -- possession requires knowledge.
What? There's nothing particularly American about the principle, it's an accepted core tenet of all democratic countries and many of the others.
The creator of the Winny filesharing program in Japan was dismissed from his Tokyo University Research Assistant position as he went to trial:
"On May 10, 2004, Kaneko was arrested for suspected conspiracy to commit copyright violation by the High-tech Crime Taskforce of the Kyoto Prefectural Police. Kaneko was released on bail on June 1, 2004. The court hearings started in September 2004 at Kyoto district court. On December 13, 2006, Kaneko was convicted of assisting copyright violations and sentenced to pay a fine of ¥1.5 million (about US$13,200). He appealed the ruling. On October 8, 2009, the guilty verdict was overturned by the Osaka High Court. On December 20, 2011, Kaneko was cleared of all charges after a panel of judges agreed that the prosecution could not prove that he had any intention to promote the software for illegal use. " (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winny#Criminal_procedure)
He was definitely treated by society as if he were guilty of the crime as soon as he was arrested.
No, many countries have "innocent until proven guilty" laws/standards.
e.g. Artictle 6.2 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_6_of_the_European_Conve... ) says:
> 2.Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.
The ECHR is more than just EU, e.g. Russia is bound by it. (USA is not and would be in breech of it because they have capital punishment).
Article 48.1 of the Charter of Fundamental Freedoms of the European Union ( http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Charter_of_Fundamental_Rights_... ):
> Everyone who has been charged shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.
I think any similarity in these situations is only superficial. In a high speed pursuit, the suspect is alerted to the police's interest in their actions and chooses to run, which is an indicator the suspect has something to hide as well as a crime in itself. The act of running from the police is breaking the law.
The exit node scenario is nothing like that--the person being raided is not aware of the police interest and there is no evidence the operator committed a crime. Even if the the suspect was notified in advance and refused to willingly submit their equipment for investigation, it still wouldn't be the same situation unless they were legally compelled to provide the equipment.
Not only that, but they increase the risk to the person they are pursuing. It is general policy for UK police not to pursue motorbikes whose riders aren't wearing helmets for this reason. Presumably causing the person to die in a crash is worse than most offences they would be pursued for. It would also cost the taxpayer a lot more.
Realistically, no. It's a fishing expedition -- it's like raiding the phone company's offices when someone has used a prepaid burner phone because they have the ability to spoof the IP address or phone number of any of their unidentifiable customers. There is no more reason to suspect that the exit node operator is at fault than any other ISP. Especially given the amount of harassment these raids cause for the victims -- can you reasonably state that the police should be able to enter a telco hotel and shut down and confiscate all of the equipment because not all of the traffic passing through it can be traced to an identifiable source? If not then what makes this different?
>I'm not aware of a good solution that avoids inconveniencing exit node operators without giving them some kind of blanket immunity to investigation that goes beyond just relayed traffic.
The solution is to rely on less disruptive investigative means until sufficient evidence is available to determine whether the exit node operator is the likely source of the traffic. For example, get a warrant and wiretap their phone and email and see if they're trafficking in illicit materials through those channels. Have an undercover cop chat them up and set up a sting if they're doing something illegal. Standard police work.
Defendant: "But I was merely running a Tor exit node!"
Judge: "What's that?"
Court-appointed expert: "It's a computer program that allows
pedophiles to exchange pictures online."
Judge: "I see. That'll be 10 years jail time plus court costs.
Also, please stand by for your copyright infringement trial
that came out of searching your computer equipment. Thanks.
In countries where you get a legitimate opportunity to make your case, cases like these get thrown out, because the prosecutor is almost always required to prove that you knew the nature of the material, which in the case of an exit node (where "he ran an exit node" is the only evidence), they can't very well do. For exactly the same reason that ISP employees aren't prosecuted for the same thing.
Which brings it back to the issue at hand: You have people who apparently (barring additional evidence beyond running an exit node) are not guilty of the offense in question, but still the police bust into their facilities and steal their stuff. That should not be allowed to happen.
Actually, depending on the laws of the country, the prosecutor might only need to prove that they "knew or should have known" the nature of the material. Or it might instead be sufficient to prove that the operator "had a reckless disregard" for the nature of the material.
Or perhaps the operator "failed to comply with the regulations for running an Internet service provider, including maintaining logs of customer connections." Which itself might not carry a very harsh penalty, but might also make him liable for criminal acts that others carry out using his illegal ISP.
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. These ideas are merely guesses. The things in quotation marks are not quoting anything in particular. I have no idea about which, if any, jurisdictions would accept the legal points my hyopthetical prosecutor makes.
Obviously we can theorize whatever laws we want and there may even be countries that have them that way, but I'm not sure how that distinguishes the Tor exit node from the ISP. Telecommunications services don't generally inspect the content of the packets they route. I wouldn't want to have to argue that that is "reckless disregard" or whatever, though you can certainly imagine overzealous bureaucrats doing so when it suits them.
>Or perhaps the operator "failed to comply with the regulations for running an Internet service provider, including maintaining logs of customer connections." Which itself might not carry a very harsh penalty, but might also make him liable for criminal acts that others carry out using his illegal ISP.
Or maybe there is a specific law in a particular country that outlaws anonymizing services. Or maybe a license is required to operate an information processing device. Your mileage may vary, etc. Consult an attorney.
But it's worth pointing out that keeping logs doesn't get the government anywhere: The only thing a Tor node has available to log is which nodes it's connected to, and those nodes have a high probability of not having any logs or, even if they do, of being in another country where you can't get access to them. That's kind of the whole idea. So if all you're achieving is to get exit nodes to keep useless logs to make them safe from prosecution under some kind of safe harbor, you just end up back at square one.
The question is, do you want to ban anonymizing services or not? And if not, stop harassing the operators.
I think it's closer to raiding someone who had their wifi unprotected and someone jumped on and did something illegal.
An ISP is a legal entity that has a certain relationship with its customers. This includes identity and at least some form of monitoring (logging and cooperation with authorities). Tor is opening your connection up to anyone in a totally anonymous and encrypted way. This is not to say that the guy is guilty or even that it's right to raid him, it's just saying that I don't think it's fair to argue he has similar legal protections. In the case of an ISP they don't have to raid them, they just show up with a subpoena and the ISP coughs up the info.
>The question is, do you want to ban anonymizing services or not?
I think that is precisely what they want to do.
That's what I'm saying. In what world is that a reasonable thing for the police to do? A raid is a thing they should do last, after they already know who they're dealing with and are just sewing up an already strong case against them, not the first thing to do with a suspicious IP address.
>In the case of an ISP they don't have to raid them, they just show up with a subpoena and the ISP coughs up the info.
They could do the same thing to the operator of the exit node and it would get them the same result as the raid (which is to say really nothing useful) without the harassment, at least in the case that the operator wasn't the perpetrator. Which is the same case for the ISP. Nothing stops criminal ISP employees from responding to a subpoena by destroying the evidence and then fingering some ISP customer known to have open WiFi.
>I think that is precisely what they want to do.
Then they ought to stop pussyfooting around and actually come right out and propose legislation to that effect. And if it subsequently gets (or already has been) defeated in the legislature or struck down by the courts then they ought to stop pretending it wasn't.
1. Criminal activity is observed from an IP address.
2. The ISP is contacted, proper permission is received and a wiretap is set up
3. Further traffic patterns are observed
4. A raid is conducted on the owner of the IP address.
At this point there is no need to raid the ISP because the traffic can be traced back farther than the ISP to a more specific place. In the case of the IP, the traffic essentially ends at the owner of the IP. It can't be tracked back any further so a raid is conducted to move the investigation to the next level. If the ISP didn't log or wouldn't turn over information, the ISP would be raided, I imagine.
Obviously running a TOR exit node, open wifi or ISP can't be a blank check to get away with crime. Once the investigation was stopped, the next logical level was to get more information from the last place it was seen (the IP owners equipment).
>Then they ought to stop pussyfooting around and actually come right out and propose legislation to that effect.
This assumes that "they" is a single unified entity with a single, unified goal. Very likely there are people who want to discourage this sort of activity without the trouble of actually legislating it. That's obviously wrong, but it happens all the time, often totally benignly, in this case much more maliciously.
It seems like you're still not distinguishing it from the exit node: In order to set up a wiretap, the ISP is going to know about it (it's their equipment). If the ISP employees are the criminals then getting a wiretap for the customer's IP address that they've been spoofing is going to tip them off. If you're not worried about that for the ISP then stop worrying about it for the exit node -- in which case you could do the same thing, require the exit node operator to install wiretapping software on the exit node and trace the traffic "back farther than the [exit node] to a more specific place" (i.e. the next Tor node in the chain). It still doesn't get you anything, but neither does a subpoena to the ISP that just leads you to an otherwise-clean exit node.
>Obviously running a TOR exit node, open wifi or ISP can't be a blank check to get away with crime.
People keep saying this -- it's wrong twice. First, just because you can't do a smash and grab police raid doesn't mean you can't do an investigation. Digital forensics are crap anyway -- way too easy to forge. (Criminal installs remote control software on some poor sap's PC to do dirty work, secure removes it when finished and everything ends up pointing to the sap.) Try doing some actual police work, interview suspects, look at the illicit materials to see if there are clues from the background, on and on. And after you've done your homework, if the evidence still points to the exit node operator (instead of just the exit node's IP address), then you do a raid.
But perhaps more importantly, how is it the operators of the anonymizing thing who we are worried about getting away with something? If you know enough about Tor to set up an exit node and you're a criminal, you can just use somebody else's exit node instead of setting up your own. Or hop on some public wifi, or break into some sucker's PC to use it as a proxy, etc. If the police have successful methods to catch those criminals, then use them against the criminal who hides under an exit node instead of raiding it.
And if not, well, that's life. A police state is very helpful to the police. The cost of not having a police state is that some criminals get away with it. It's the cost of doing business in a free society.
>That's obviously wrong, but it happens all the time, often totally benignly, in this case much more maliciously.
Which is why they ought to be stopped. Government malfeasance is all but universally a more serious problem than private malfeasance, because a good government can often save you from bad private actors, but almost nobody can save you from a bad government.
Furthermore, it's not really the police's job to interject possibilities into this situation. Phrases like "digital forensics are crap -- way to easy to forge" and "If the ISP employees are the criminals then getting a wiretap for the customer's IP address that they've been spoofing is going to tip them off" and "if you know enough about Tor to set up an exit node" don't really enter into their though process. The investigation reached a dead end, they got more evidence.
I would like to point out that I don't know the specifics of this case either. I will say, however, that in the US, raids and seizures like this are subject to judicial review. Probable cause is shown and permission is granted or denied. It's not as if the police can just walk in there and take what they want. I also don't feel that police work needs to be held up in the face of new technologies. As the public's access to technology increases, so must law enforcements access to tools to investigate crimes. This is not to say there should not be checks and balances, but that getting a warrant already is a check.
This a truth that is really bad for society, and goes against every form of common carrier principles made over the last few hundred years (ever since the postal service started). Is't it a bit odd that as soon humanity was able to identify and monitor everyone, it suddenly became the moral obligation to do so?
He claimed to be able to prove with near certainty that one of the defendants wrote some letters and articles whose real authors were named in the trial, by using contrived (and obviously error-prone) text analysis methods some real linguistics experts called absurd.
The defendants were all acquitted by the judge, who was subsequently moved to a much less prestigious job, while the prosecutor was promoted.
So yes, there are show trials in Austria and the defendant in the Tor case hopefully wasn't a political activist.
I would challenge you to point to a specific law that actually says that. I'm not saying you can't (there are a lot of countries in the world with a lot of ridiculous laws), but what you're saying would prohibit internet cafes, public libraries with computer terminals, coffee houses or hotels with wifi, etc., because none of them are telcom companies and they allow unauthenticated or poorly authenticated members of the public to use their IP address.
The truth is complicated. But if we're trying to get things to work how they should work, raiding Tor exit nodes just because they're Tor exit nodes is not in the cards. Even if the existing laws are defective in some jurisdictions, they can be fixed, and in the meantime police and prosecutors are very often allowed the discretion to not go out of their way to harass potentially innocent suspects. I may be asking too much asking for them to actually exercise it.
What are you basing that on, exactly?
That made sense some decades ago when they took mostly binders with paper, now it in itself can act a lot like a punishment. Computers are not just vessels containing data, they are also tools. It’s unreasonable for the police to take away tools for months.
So they punish him extrajudicially by taking as much stuff as they can, delaying as long as they can sending it back, and sending it back in as poor condition as possible.
If they Google him and realize he's begging for legal defense funds online, they'll know he's not strong enough to sue them.
What the government in this case, just like all similar cases is doing is essentially as if the FBI came busing into your house and had goons investigating and randomly milling around your house continuously for months if not years. It, at least in the USA, does not hold up against Constitutional protections of reasonable search and seizure. I just don't think it has been tested thoroughly enough.
There is a reason you are not legally just allowed to seal off and load up someone's house, office, business, and cars and keep them hostage indefinitely because some random person may have committed a crime on your property. The precedent for physical evidence has been set and it equally applies to the digital, if tested properly, whether gov't or their corrupt henchmen can wrap their puny, deranged, atrophied, and primitive minds around it or not. Why don't we just go back to the "BAD.....SMASH!" system of legal jurisprudence if blanket taking of everything plus the kitchen sink is ok.
I mean, the president (and other members) of the association can still be charged with criminal offence, but having a legal structure might help. At least they should raid the association's office instead of the member's homes.
I can say that in 2006, in San Francisco, the police took just the hard drives out of a tower PC in my apartment. They left the tower itself. (They were after my roommate, but since I had hardware in the "shared spaces", it was impounded along with all of his stuff. It sucked.) They also took all of the laptops whole (including my girlfriend's).
The police held on to the equipment for months. We tried everything short of hiring a lawyer to get it back, but they would not release it until they actually finished the case against the guy and he got out of jail. Then, magically, our hardware was available to come pick up.
Given that they had been working the case for months, I imagine that they were just sitting on the hardware long after forensics was done with it. Punitively, I suppose. Luckily, my employer at the time was very gracious and loaned my girlfriend and I hardware so we weren't completely out of pocket.
When the hardware was returned to us, we had to go pick it up. The guy handing it back over made some asinine comment about "you shouldn't be copying music", and we were free to go. Everything was in bad shape. There was tape all over things, one power adapter never came back, and my girlfriend's external hard drive enclosure was cracked and clearly had been dropped.
Pro tip: if you share space with someone, make sure your hardware lives in your private space. Don't leave your computers in the living room, or they will become confiscated if the people you live with get in trouble.
That doesn't mean that the seizure is "justified", but there are no simple answers either.
I imagine that they have the technology to rebuild the drives, but I have always smiled at the thought of some tech sitting there trying to rebuild this and wasting weeks of his time trying to figure out exactly how everything went. (It was actually a really terrible partitioning setup that was non-intuitive, with a "dead" partition that wasn't part of the RAID and used for reduced redundancy storage.)
1) Some raids take PCs while they're still on, in order to preserve things like encryption keys in memory or cached passwords. It's possible to transfer a running PC over to a battery-powered outlet for transport, then to lab power for analysis. This would be very useful if the machine was using full-disk encryption.
2) Having a full disk image gives you the data, but the easiest way to see how the data behaves is to actually boot up the machine (after imaging the drives, obviously) and see it as the suspect would. There might be subtle differences in behavior if you use lab hardware rather than the actual hardware, and there's even a chance of something crazy like the suspect using a modified Linux kernel that wipes his drives if it detects different hardware.
3) It's a pain in the ass to remove hard drives in some guy's living room when you can just haul the whole thing back to the lab and do it there. I suspect that laziness generally wins over the inconvenience to a potential suspect.
Hopefully the irrelevant stuff can be returned quickly.
It'd be good if forensic images could be taken quickly and then all the equipment returned.
As Tor becomes a part of more and more investigations, courts and lawmakers will begin to address the issues such networks present. Based on the unsavory reputation of the Tor network as a whole, prosecutors will begin arguing that the exit node operators know of the strong likelihood that they are enabling criminal activity, and will start asking juries to convict them as co-conspirators. If that doesn't work, they will begin lobbying their lawmakers to codify criminal responsibility for them.
But it doesn't happen that way. If Austria is anything like the US, he will never get his property back. So it isn't a temporary inconvenience, he's been punished permanently before even getting a trial. And when this case does go to court, even if he wins he'll be very lucky to get his property back.
Seizing equipment for at least some period of time is absolutely necessary for any kind of forensic examination. It's part of the cost of having laws, and the imperfect nature of human justice means that that cost will occasionally be paid by the innocent as well as the guilty. I agree that that cost should be lower so that innocent people are not unduly punished, but there will always be a cost.
"He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither." -- Benjamin Franklin
I choose freedom.
> Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.
The idea that some particular speech is protected in the interests of democracy does not mean that all speech is in the democratic interest.
I don't think that is as clear cut as you make it out to be.
But yes, child porn, hate speech and a few other things might not be "essential for democratic discourse". I'm still not convinced censorship is the best tool to help fight the underlying problems. And I do believe the underlying problems (hate, violence, in some cases mental disease) should be dealt with -- I'm unconvinced the media files actually do much harm on their own -- due to the nature of their contents in general.
Now we need laws to limit speech that attacks and harms people (such as being able to prevent people from (legally) distributing pictures and film on the Internet against our will) -- and it is natural that government does that on behalf of those that are not adult and/or have guardians that can do it for them.
But there is a difference between that, and a blanket ban on media based on the imagery contained within.
Child porn would at least be relevant as evidence in a trial, and possibly (with victims not recognizable) in media cover of such a trial.
The relationship between speech, particularly political speech if the distinction matters to you, and Tor should be plain.
So far, the people on your side of the argument have only been able to draw lines in the sand and insist that ISPs and exit nodes are the same. They, and presumably you, claim without justification that "bad" speech cannot be pursued without chilling "good" speech. Your comment adds no real world understanding of this fact: people don't want child porn to be traded over the Internet. Your case that political speech cannot be free unless child porn is free, is uncompelling and lacks nuance.
>They, and presumably you, claim without justification that "bad" speech cannot be pursued without chilling "good" speech.
> Your case that political speech cannot be free unless child porn is free,
Sigh. Yet another senseless, dangerous, and borderline libellous misrepresentation.
Allow me to strongly state this in no ambiguous terms: I do not oppose laws banning the production, distribution, or possession of child pornography. People who participate in any of those acts should be arrested and given a fair trial by a jury of their peers. I support these laws. I am not, IN ANY WAY, saying, suggesting, or attempting to appear as though I am suggesting, that I think child pornography is protected speech.
Is this clear now?
What I am arguing [snip]
Edit: You know what? Forget it. I am not participating in this discussion at the risk of being so thoroughly misunderstood. Not with this topic. It is not worth it.
So, less yelling, less sanctimonious wailing over how you're so misunderstood -- say how you think your priority of theoretical free speech isn't a de facto endorsement for transmission of child porn.
I support the reasonable enforcement of the law. You accuse me of endorsing illegal activities for throwing in the word "reasonable"?
I am not defending myself further against your absurd and vile allegations.
I'm not saying you support it, I'm saying your position has the effect of defending or perpetuating its mode of transmission.
It does have the effect of meaning that some bad guys will get away, but that is how we as a society have agreed that our justice system should work. This is not a de facto defence of crime, nor endorsement.
Imagine how much easier catching bad guys would be if we did not require warrants before searches. Would you accuse someone who insisted that warrants were necessary of in effect endorsing or defending crime?
This is the real world, not a cop movie. We don't get to catch all the bad guys, and we don't get to break the rules to try to catch all the bad guys.
Recognition of this reality is neither a de facto defence nor a de facto endorsement of crime. People calling for proper conduct and moderated response to crime are not, unlike the internal affairs guys or judges who throw out cases for technicalities in movies, secondary antagonists.
I don't mind if you disagree with me when I say that in this case there is a line that should not be crossed without great care. That is a statement of opinion. Justice is an imprecise art, disagreement is to be expected. What I do have an issue with is you accusing me of endorsing or defending the crime, in a "de facto" manner or otherwise. I simply am not, and with this particular crime allegations like these can be incredibly damaging. It is not a joke to me, I have to take it seriously.
B) You haven't shown that there is something gained by letting child porn traders go, which is worth the cost. With due process, courts and warrants, we know what the upside is -- it's not clear what real benefit Tor provides us in exchange for letting this kind of activity go on. (Well, to me it's clear what the supposed gain is, and that it's not a fair trade)
How about letting people in countries like Iran and China have a fighting chance of getting the word out about what's really going on there? Does that count?
How about letting people who are being stalked by creepy ex-spouses or ex-significant others have a chance of doing things online without being tracked? Does that count?
How about letting people who are afraid of reprisals speak inconvenient truths without being silenced? Does that count?
Basically you are saying these kinds of benefits aren't worth the chance of letting someone distribute child porn using Tor. That seems ridiculous to me.
In my opinion saying that there is something so valuable to be preserved that we should countenance the perpetration of a crime to achieve it, is endorsing that crime as a necessary component of the goal. People who endorse due process admit that allowing criminals to escape justice is a necessary feature, and in some sense are endorsing a system where some criminals avoid capture. So are free speech purists endorsing the necessity of a means for conveyance of child porn, so as to facilitate other speech.
That's not the same as saying that free speech purists endorse the porn itself, only the necessity of the freedom to transmit it.
Free speech does endorse the freedom to commit a crime, but does not endorse the criminal activities themselves.
"Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power."
I've always found it oddly fascinating that that was originally published under an alias.
Absolutism on this issue is nothing more than intellectual cowardice. Turning the other cheek.
I may not have freedom of speech in the US, but I sure as hell can demand it. I expect to be given that freedom, even though I do not expect that will ever happen.
People have a choice. A person can demand freedoms while obeying existing laws, or they can ignore existing laws and demand freedoms while they're in jail.
Absolutist freedom of speech is not, even in the US, something that everyone wants. Most people are reasonably comfortable with governments restricting access to some items. The list of items and the amount of resistance varies, but restricting speech by preventing people distributing images of child sexual abuse is pretty much established.
In theory, you are right and the police would probably need to examine his servers to determine whether Tor was involved in this. In practice, they will probably just harrass people in the hope that they will confess and keep his servers for a long time (or forever) because they lack the expertise for such an investigation.
There will always be a place for these tools because there will always be people not just governments, who disagree with you and are willing to show you how much.
My point is that if you feel they are a problem then you need tools to protect yourself while you work to change those "root causes".
Hence, why anonymous speech is important. You cannot influence the norms of a society that will kill you or otherwise ostracize you for voicing opposition to them.
Also, if you feel the best way to make your point is to Godwin the topic, it's time to take a step back.
What pure unmitigated bullshit. Read this article:
I never said anonymous speech wasn't important so I don't know whose arguments you think you're addressing.
Everyone throws a few €£$ in a pot and a few volunteers administer it and do a bit of due diligence to ensure cases are valid. I guess in the US this is the EFF, but there are plenty of cases outside their remit.
It'd be like social security but for legal battles - but I don't think contributing/not should entitle or exempt anyone from funds.
I think one of the biggest benefits of such a fund is that it could employ a lawyer who could look at cases like this to determine who is "worthy" of receiving funds.
I don't want to be that guy, but all I know about this is that a guy claims that the child porn that was found was due to him running an exit node.
I don't want to say the porn was his, but it's possible that the porn was his.
I'd feel better about donating if I knew a lawyer had investigated and found his story to be credible.
Hypothetically, what if it was his porn, and then internet raise 1000's of dollars for him and then have this info come out. I'd imagine most people would be like me and never donate to people like this again. After all who wants to knowingly help someone escape justice when they actually deserve jail time.
All I said was:
1) it would be useful to have independent verification of this and similar claims
2) The reason is that if people were fooled into supporting a child pornographer then they'd be less likely to donate to worthy causes in the future.
I don't see how that's in anyway a debatable point:)
Tor did not once come up in my reply.
You really seem to be reaching for something to argue about here. Calm down:)
Combined with your jumping to the "think of the children!" example of a child pornographer, and your framing your argument in the form of concern trolling, it's hard to assume good faith of any kind on your part.
I assure you there is no misunderstanding on my part.
> Combined with your jumping to the "think of the children!" example of a child pornographer, and your framing your argument in the form of concern trolling
Umm, this was from the article, not me:)
> it's hard to assume good faith of any kind on your part.
Wow, I have no words..... just wow...
That's why I thought that a group to help pay legal fees for people like this was a good idea.
I fully support TOR and would like to support people who run exit nodes and get sued by the government just for hosting exit nodes.
What I don't want to support is people who personally collect and distribute child porn.
Which is why independent verification of the claims by this new entity would be beneficial.
I'm not sure how much clearer I can make this:)
While tor might have some legitimate uses, I think 99% of the time it's used for trolling or illegal stuff. It's a pain in the ass for me because I have to keep reblocking it when the ips change.
I'd very much like to see some protection for carriers, be they network operators, or "softer" Tor etc operators.
Yes the most heinous things on the Internet will crawl through. I'm not a supporter of child pornography -- but shouldn't we focus on finding those making porn, actively abusing kids, rather than those distributing it?
Is there even a real economic incentive to distribute that filth?
I'm not a predator, and I'm not really trained or experienced in criminal justice or psychology, so everything I say about how they think is pure speculation.
But I'd suppose that there is economic incentive:
(1) Direct payment. I'm sure some people are probably willing to buy such content. I'm also sure that, if somebody else can figure out how to charge buyers and receive money, without leaving a trail back to themselves, some people are willing to sell such content.
(2) Reciprocation/barter. Instead of trading money for content, they could trade content for content between individuals. For people who publish to message boards and the like, I assume they're trying to reciprocate for value they receive from others' posts. Or encourage others to post more, perhaps even saying they'll post an image from their collection for every image posted by someone else.
(3) Enjoyment of the act of posting itself. One of the reasons people choose a criminal lifestyle -- or any extreme lifestyle, really -- is the pleasure of taking risks. Distributing illegal content is risky and some people may enjoy it for that reason.
But then that would have to be conclusively proved (another possibility is that paedophiles are less likely to prey on real children if they have access to child porn. Based on studies of porn in general, I'd doubt that, however).
Regardless on how you stand on distributing child pornography, a person actively distributing it from their connection and a person allowing others to route CP via their connection are logically equivalent in my opinion.
Someone can simultaneously support anonymous communication without supporting CP (philosophically, if not practically).
They're not specifically allowing distribution of CP, they're allowing distribution of all anonymous communication.
(Though I agree that Deep Packet Inspection and Ad Injection may technically be considered a form of "looking at users traffic", albeit an automated one.)
The real offence is the making of porn that involves kids.
Also; I think it is really weird that possessing (or distributing) any media file can carry a minimum 6 year sentence. That's more than manslaughter. If for no other reason that it pretty much renders everyone vulnerable to blackmail by very easily planting evidence.
The act of murder is illegal.
Why is this different for child molestation films? I think we can put both murder and child abuse as horrible crimes.
Murder is rare. Films of actual murder are even rarer. Brutal snuff type films can be faked.
Child sexual abuse is not rare. Films and photographs of child sexual abuse are not that rare. Films and photographs of children being abused are hard to fake.
People who are caught with images of child sexual abuse tend to have large collections - tens of thousands of images. People need images to trade with other collectors. Researchers think that the collecting aspect drives creation of images of child sexual abuse.
What is a picture of child exploitation? Perhaps, a picture of a baby naked? Or how about a kid doing somewhat lewd acts fully clothed? Or how about pictures by others of those child beauty pageants?
Who actually describes lewd? Or is it in the eyes of the beholder of the picture for those gray areas?
Next, "child porn" pictures are a possess-only crime, no mens rea required. So, how do we tell if a picture is a legal 18 yr old, instead an evil completely morally corrupt (but legal to fuck) 17 year old?
via http://www.nycourts.gov/ctapps/Decisions/2012/May12/70opn12.... and quoted in more depth elsewhere in this thread.
Notice when the controversy is about our "normal" kids, all of a sudden everyone thought the law was too harsh. For everyone that thinks any criticism of CP possession laws is support for pedophiles, do you support every 17 year old girl becoming felons for sexting their boyfriends?
Text messages are push, so how would you defend against this as a receiver?
Text and pic messages are push, but (at least on my phone) pictures aren't downloaded until you access the message, at which point it's marked as "read". So at least one valid defense is to have not accessed the message -- you can't knowingly possess it in that case.
What if you've already accessed it? US CP laws explicitly allow an "affirmative defense"  if you possess only a small number of images and, upon discovering this possession, either immediately destroy them or immediately turn them over to law enforcement . So if you receive a sext message from someone underage, quickly deleting it should shield you from prosecution (IANAL TINLA .)
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affirmative_defense - in essence, affirming the facts of the case, but offering a justification/excuse that demonstrates one is not culpable.
 http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2252A section (d)
SCOTUS ruled* that children photographed not engaged in lewd acts does not commit a crime.
In other words:
Children nudists are legal to photograph.
Kids in bathtub are legal to photograph.
A 13 year old "seductively" sucking on a banana, fully clothed, is illegal. ?
A guy fapping to pictures of legal children nudists makes those pictures illegal?
So... What rules would be appropriate for the spirit of the law?
I personally don't agree with this line of thought, as that line of thinking leads down a dark road. I think Jessie Slaughter, the Star Wars Kid, and relatives of those beheaded/executed publicly abroad likely suffered measurable emotional damage from the spread of those videos, but we'd be idiots make that illegal. The mass media in general profits immensely off of the embarrassment and emotional suffering of individuals, and while the practice is abhorrent, censoring such media is not the right thing to do.
So far as I know, there has been at least once case where the victim of child porn successfully sued a person for damages because he was in possession of her photos and videos. I don't know the case name, but I read about it on the "cyb3rcrim3" blog, which I highly recommend for people wanting/needing to know about the law plays out with regard to such issues.
Why? Because I don't see viewing bad stuff as a crime. But I believe that most people who want to see a snuff film are not murderers, while I believe that most people who are interested in child porn are pedophiles who likely offended.
Are loaded questions like these really necessary? As opposed to your misinformed comment below, ISPs are generally not required to keep logs in many jurisdictions and even if they are and fail to do so, they aren't made responsible for the crime that was committed over their infrastructure. The same standards should apply to Tor operators.
> While tor might have some legitimate uses, I think 99% of the time it's used for trolling or illegal stuff.
This number is pulled out of thin air.
> It's a pain in the ass for me because I have to keep reblocking it when the ips change.
Exit node IPs are documented on a public list for exactly that reason.
You mean you'd like to shutdown all of core routers on the internet?
Or UPS for that matter.
Also UPS maintains logs of who sends and receives stuff, so they can easily track down anyone sending child porn or whatever through their service.
Someone else's child porn is going in your taxi when you are a taxi driver.
Someone else's child porn is being recorded at your house when you rent your house to someone unknown to you.
By your line of logic we should all sit still and do nothing because otherwise we may be helping a pedophile.
Interesting how many downvotes I got here...
Maybe you should stop spreading misinformation then: ISPs are not generally required to log IPs, neither on global scale, nor on European scale, nor on Austrian scale. The last two ISPs I've used, for example, were both exempted from the recently passed data retention law.
The irony is that the raided guy owns an ISP himself that (as far as I know) wouldn't be required to log IPs. If the data would have been distributed directly over that equipment, he would not be liable. Even if I'm wrong and he would have been required to keep logs and didn't, he could only be charged with that particular offense. But since the traffic went over Tor he is now at risk to getting his life ruined.
People seem to care more about this guy's life being ruined than all the kids' lives ruined.
The real child pedo rings, the ones that are the real danger, are composed of powerful people who work in corporations, levels of government, the judiciary, and royalty. As they say, this one goes right to the top.
Sorry to ruin your day, but the global pedo ring will never be stopped until the the system allows powerful and connected perpetrators to be prosecuted. Busting some ISP Tor supporter, guilty or not, is going to do nothing to the real global child crime networks.
You can go on spouting your nonsense about Tor just being for CP and downloading media, but the internet is getting more and more censored every day. Someone went to jail in India for clicking "like" on a post that spoke out against a politicians. How long until this comes to your country? Things like Tor are the only thing that will keep the internet free over the long term, if it can be done at all.
But no, let's just shut the whole thing down and go back to smoke signals because some asshole out there might otherwise see a picture of a naked kid that was taken 20 years ago.
I guess you're right though. Children being victimized is a small price to pay for free movies on bittorrent.
If you're going to go straight to the "hurr this is just about piracy" stupidity there's no need to waste any time talking with you.
The fact that some politician out there has tried to push a bill that he shouldn't under the guise of protecting children has NOTHING to do with a raid on a Tor operator here.
>has you somehow convinced that child pornography isn't a big deal
How the hell did you draw that conclusion? Where did I say it wasn't a big deal? I said that civil liberties are a bigger deal than child abuse (which is a statement I absolutely stand by) for a couple of reasons.
First, you'll never get back a lost right whether that be privacy or freedom of speech or bearing arms or what have you - once its gone, it takes a revolution to claw it back. And the fact that government overreach is usually passed in the guise of flag or child safety makes losing civil liberties a real threat that deserves to be objectively evaluated.
Second, a child that's been molested will grow up with some serious issues, granted - then they become an adult with fewer rights than their grandparents, ostensibly to protect other children. If you're following along at home and want to count the injustices, overreach + abuse is worse than abuse alone.
>The fact that some politician out there has tried to push a bill that he shouldn't under the guise of protecting children has NOTHING to do with a raid on a Tor operator here.
Except for the fact that it's "some politician" or "some detective" following their emotions when enforcing the law instead of following common sense which causes these bad raids in the first place. An exit node is a public service used by other people. You don't fucking seize someone's means of communicating (and very potentially livelihood) with that knowledge in mind. It's shoddy police work at the absolute least, and downright malicious (great way to discourage Tor nodes) at worst.
How about you answer the question I asked you in the other post? Are you willing to silence an undefined number of innocent people to make a failed attempt at banning the transfer of data (not the abuse of children, which will continue even if the internet were to go away tomorrow)?
Make sure you understand that, please, even if you disagree with everything else I've said here. Even if you go full reductio ad absurdum, raiding every person on this planet who has ever downloaded an image of child abuse still isn't going to stop child abuse. With that knowledge in mind, you should ideally take a more balanced look at the law and its unintended consequences.
Now, would I get rid of the internet if it meant getting rid of Child Pornography? Obviously not. I wouldn't get rid of handguns if it meant attempting to stop murder in the United States as well.
Here's the issue with your outlook: You act as though it is one or the other. You must take down the internet entirely or you must allow all child pornography to flow freely through your computer. Your outlook on the law isn't balanced at all. You won't give up any civil liberties because you feel you shouldn't compromise on it.
Supply emerges to meet demand. There are people out there who want child porn, and others who provide it to them.
Governments clamping down on Tor exit nodes doesn't affect that demand, but it does have a harmful effect on our means of private communication online.
There's practically no privacy left on the Internet anymore. Everything we do is logged and analyzed somewhere somehow (Google, Facebook, NSA, local ISPs and governments etc), and we're being gradually stripped of our rights everywhere.
It really is important that there's at least some privacy-providing tool available to all of us online. Child porn being transferred through the same tool is not really even a "price to pay" for that privacy, because as long as there is demand, it will get transferred somehow in any case.
>It's not the 'transfer of data'. Abuse of children might still happen, but this promotes it. You're creating a 'market' for it, where as before it might not have existed.
Downloading (not buying) CP doesn't facilitate its production anymore than downloading a blockbuster movie facilitates its production.
>You won't give up any civil liberties because you feel you shouldn't compromise on it.
You think I should? How and why? You seem to think that curtailing the use of an anonymous communications tool because evil people use it is a reasonable solution, and I think that's preposterous.
Me? Personally? I don't have a use for Tor. (Yet.) I can't speak for any other user though. I've never had some information that I wanted to get out that could get me in serious trouble or needed to access some information my government deemed punishable for accessing. I haven't ever required anonymity beyond what a simple proxy can provide.
What about people in oppressive regimes? China? Korea? Various middle east countries? Do you really think you can speak for every user in the world?
More importantly, are you ready to silence an unknowable amount of people to prevent people from jerking off to a picture? Do you really think that if some AI was spun up tomorrow that could completely erase child porn from the internet transparently, that children would stop being abused?
I like how you handwave "civil liberties" too. Really if you're a user of this site you should be well aware of the expansions of government power attempted and passed in the cloak of "stopping the molestation of children" (which is a bit like stopping piracy actually, in that both are endless battles that can't be won).
Want to drastically curtail civil liberties or give police a ton of power? Name your bill the "anti child abuse and pornography prevention act" or similar and it becomes untouchable.
Many police use Tor on a day-to-day basis in their investigations. It's just as useful for the police to need anonymity as it is anyone else. Tor provides an easy-to-use system to identify the exit nodes.
Ignorance of the reality is no excuse.
You're abandoning central pillars of modern law here, namely the presumption of innocence as well as the right not to incriminate oneself.
I agree so far.
> Until proven otherwise, the 'tor' user [operator?] is a suspect
The burden of proof lies with the police, not with the suspect. If the police fails to come up with reasonable evidence, the operator is to be acquitted, furthermore the operator has to do nothing to aid the police. It's definitely not up to him to prove the child porn isn't on his computer.
This is an important point. Consider what happens if the seized hard drives were encrypted (I don't know whether this is the case). Then it's virtually impossible for the police to prove that the operator was downloading the data himself. The operator on the other hand is not required to give up his passwords. In the end it all comes down to the question of whether relaying data via Tor is in itself enough to constitute an offense. And this is the question we all care about so much, because it will have implications for all exit node operators in the area.
> watch a few episodes of CSI if you want to get a rough idea how it works.
Oh come on.
Please don't watch CSI if you want to see how anything works. CSI is bullshit from top to bottom. If you want to see reality, watch "The Wire".
How about we legalize child porn? The vast majority of the time when it gets brought up is in the context of using it as a pretext to attack civil liberties of law abiding citizens.
When there is a child porn arrest it almost always ends up being a honey trap run by the FBI using decades old photos, so it's not like there are many children being protected by these laws.
EDIT: ok, it's almost insurance.
You are fairly optimistic about the ease of administering a charity which gives out free money.
Reason #1 why I will never run a tor exit node. I don't want to make it easier for child predators to get off nor do I want the legal issues they bring.
I mean, yeah, don't run a TOR exit node because of the legal risk - that makes sense. Or because you're afraid it makes it easier to hurt kids... well, I don't know if it really does, but at least your heart is in the right place. But what business is it of anyone else who gets off?
Furthermore, the reason you hear of child porn rings is because those are what form - people share it with each other in a tit-for-tat sort of way. It absolutely incentivizes the production of more, which means more abused kids.
God damnit HN, I should have known a thread on a Tor node being shut down would bring out all the child porn apologists. Funny how that happens, eh?
> Are you seriously defending child pornography right now?
Please don't do that. There's rarely hard and fast boundaries between what is X and what isn't X (e.g. what about someone who looks like a child, but is a perfectly normal adult in all other respects), so one must be able to discuss issues without it escalating into every party involved proposing tougher and harder punishments for more and more borderline cases. http://lesswrong.com/lw/ls/when_none_dare_urge_restraint/
> Pedophilia is a paraphilia. The desire grows as it is fed.
"Furthermore, the reason you hear of child porn rings is because those are what form - people share it with each other in a tit-for-tat sort of way. It absolutely incentivizes the production of more, which means more abused kids."
You believe in driving pedophiles in corners, and are then surprised that they group together in said corners you just drove them into. I'm not sure how that was an unexpected result?
"God damnit HN, I should have known a thread on a Tor node being shut down would bring out all the child porn apologists. Funny how that happens, eh?"
I should have known a thread on a TOR node being shut down would bring out all the irrational witch hunters. Funny how that happens, eh?
Where did I defend child pornography? I advocated finding harmless sexual outlets for pedophiles. Not the same thing.
Here's a really good rule of thumb you can use when examining your own reasoning: if you find yourself attacking a point because you think it could serve as a premise in an argument for a conclusion you don't like, then your objectivity has been compromised. Arguments must be judged on the merits of their premises, never the other way around.
In any case, research (e.g. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10508-010-9696-y) suggests that legal possession of child pornography is linked to a decline in child sexual abuse rates. That does not imply that we should legalize the possession of child pornography, but it does strongly suggest that benign outlets for pedophiles are helpful in reducing child abuse.
In contrast, the only evidence available that such outlets would encourage child abuse is a number of longitudinal studies on convicted child molesters. Such studies are incapable of establishing a direction of causation, and it is extremely likely in this case that the relationship is spurious (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spurious_relationship). Both child molestation (A) and consumption of child pornography (B) are caused by the lurking variable of pedophilia (C).
But this is crucial: real child pornography is not a benign outlet, and I never suggested that it was. What I said was that the problem is children getting hurt, not pedophiles getting off.
This does not make sense. A video of a crime != crime. And no, I am not defending pedophiles - but I am defending the stance that you should not be sent to prison for any kind of video you might have in your possession, as long as its not a video of you committing a crime,in which case, well, it's just an evidence against you.
I'd imagine it's like any other prohibited material or substance; drugs, counterfeit goods, pirated works, etc. Of those implicated, a small minority are involved in production, while the vast majority are simply consumers.
I assume you are willing to at least acknowledge the existence of the latter group; people who simply consume child pornography and play no part in the production, or any sexual abuse of children for that matter.
Do you really think it is appropriate to ruin these peoples' lives — splash their names across the newspapers, lock them in jail, destroy their career, their relationships, make them a social pariah — for mere possession of child pornography? For having a certain sequence of 0s and 1s on their computer?
Their demand of it CAUSES IT TO BE MADE.
Jesus, I've never seen so much bending overbackwards over CP. Hey guys, we still have the first amendment and SCOTUS always rule sensibly on speech issues. No one is going to start a police state over CP enforcement. The slippery slope doesn't always happen, in fact, its rare that it does.
I mean, you can shout it in all caps, but I don't know if we can really say that's established as fact.
But it's pretty disingenuous to claim that people in this thread are defending CP. The issue is far more nuanced than that, but we all agree that people taking pictures/video of themselves hurting children is terrible. It's just that from there the discussion moves into pragmatism and how we should actually be dealing with it as a society. Pedophiles are a fact of life, and it's better for everyone if we can find ways for them to satisfy their urges without hurting anybody, instead of waiting for them to do something horrible so that we can punish them for it.
Just to be very specific because people love to misinterpret me on this point: legalizing CP is not a solution that I am advocating. A
benign outlet" will, by definition, have to be something that does not harm children.
>Hey guys, we still have the first amendment and SCOTUS always rule sensibly on speech issues.
Same applies to indecent exposure laws, I guess. At what point did we decide the human form is indecent in its unclothed state, and people should be deprived of their freedom for exposing their natural form in public?
At what point did we decide people should be deprived of their freedom simply for looking at images of children in their natural, unclothed state?
But when we're talking about images and video depicting child abuse, that's a different situation altogether.
So what happens if a spammer sends millions of CP images to inboxes? What do you think of a situation that instantly makes millions of people felons? Is that a reasonable law?
Here is my, I believe, moderately informed opinion.
As http://anthonydamato.law.northwestern.edu/Adobefiles/porn.pd... makes clear, evidence that we now have says that widespread availability to porn has coincided with a massive decrease in rapes. Caused? Very hard to prove (as with most social statistics). But definitely coincided and there likely is some causal effect.
If that happens with regular porn, the natural expectation is that it is likely to happen with specific kinds of porn as well. If so, even though we don't have proof (and proof will be very hard to come to), we should be inclined to believe that the "harmless outlet" concept is likely valid.
Moving on, let's address your "paraphelia" comment. My opinion is that paraphelias are sexual orientations that we dislike for fairly good reasons. However all evidence that I'm aware of says that sexual orientations exist, have poorly understood causes, and are permanent. Penalizing homosexuality did not stop it, nor did allowing it create more. When we didn't have operations to allow transgendered people to become their mental gender, they still wanted it just as much. And so on and so forth.
Pedophilia is just another sexual orientation. (Actually many subdivisions exist, some are interested in girls, some in boys, some in both, some also are attracted to adult women, etc.) You aren't attracted to men or women, you're attracted to children. As with homosexuality, it isn't likely to ever be cured. Unlike homosexuality, there can be no possible consent, and expressing it is fundamentally against our moral values. Unfortunately sex is a very strong urge, and denying tends to fail in the long run.
There is no evidence that any sexual orientation is affected by availability of stimulating materials. Therefore it is unlikely that child porn contributes to the existence of pedophilia. As for incentivizing - anyone who thinks that sexual beings need to be incentivized to try to do what they are wired to do doesn't understand sexual drives. Full stop.
I give it better than even odds that if you get to this point, you'll think that I'm a "child porn apologist". You'd be wrong about that.
Because, as I said, child porn is interesting to pedophiles. Evidence that I've seen says that pedophiles actually will abuse children. Repeatedly. If you can track them down through child porn, and book them for that, you're probably doing the world a service.
It is kind of like going after Al Capone for tax invasion. It is not exactly what we didn't like him for, but it was what we could get him on.
Incidentally my opinion on whether child porn should be criminalized will change very quickly if I ever run into evidence that some combination of therapy and availability of child porn can allow pedophiles to remain in society and abuse at an acceptably low rate. (The idea of an "acceptable" risk of child abuse is revolting to many, but public policy accepts the idea of an "acceptably low" risk of all sorts of things, like death, dismemberment, etc. And, honestly, we're implicitly accepting that there is an acceptable risk of abuse every time we underfund programs to find and help people who are at risk...)
Evidence suggests that sexual attractions undergo changes throughout life. Different specific urges can strengthen or weaken or shift in focus, based on various inputs. People only rarely go from "attracted to men" to "not attracted to men", but it's pretty common to go from "primarily attracted to 12 year olds" (when you're 12) to "primarily attracted to adults" (when you're an adult).
There is some truth to the claim that "outlets" correlate to reduction in violent crime; there is also truth to the claim that "outlets" can increase desire for specific types of stimulus. As far as I know, there aren't any studies that explore the net effects of "outlets" on pedo/hebe/ephebo-philia or sexual abuse. So we don't really have evidence one way or another as to whether legalizing CP or other "outlets" would increase or decrease abuse. (Virtual CP could be considered a harmless outlet, but it's illegal in both the US and EU, and appears to be unstudied as a treatment option.)
One of the most unfortunate things is that possession of CP, even if it's virtual or fake, can result in larger penalties than actual abuse. While I understand nailing Capone for tax evasion, it would be inappropriate for tax evasion to be a more severe crime than multiple execution-style murders.
I also note that sometimes people only belatedly come to accept their attractions. For instance I know multiple lesbians who were able to live heterosexual lives well into adulthood before first experimenting. In the cases that I know, afterwards they claimed to have always had the attraction, but never followed up on it.
To me also there is a world of difference between "attraction to people with adult bodies" (even though young) and "attraction to sexually immature people". A grownup who strays with a 15 year old girl has committed a crime, and it likely should be a crime, but that's likely not a person who will commit crime after crime. But a person who has sex with a 10 year old boy, probably is going to be a serial criminal, and should be treated very differently in my opinion. However in US law the two are treated the same.
I would add that there's a world of difference between "attracted to" and "has sexual contact with", regardless of the level of development. This ties back to the question of whether there are ways to create safe outlets for those with strong attractions to young people -- can the attraction be indulged in a way that reduces abuse? Can the attraction be treated by harmlessly redirecting it away from real children?
In terms of whether it is a crime, I am inclined to agree. But then we get into thorny issues such as whether people who are mentally retarded can ever consent.
In terms of biology and mental wiring, the level of physical development matters a lot. I personally cannot be attracted to a woman without breasts. I separately could not stomach the idea of a relationship with a 15 year old, but I can notice that one is attractive. My mental block for, "Never have any hint of a sexual response," is missing.
Complicating everything is that youthfulness is strongly associated with attractiveness, particularly in women. Most men would prefer a 25 year old woman who looked 18 to a 25 year old woman who looked 32. This may be biological and might have important consequences on our history. For example read http://www.davidbrin.com/neoteny1.html (go on to parts 2 and 3 as well) for some reasonable speculation on this.
I should also note that there is a huge disconnect between what I'd cite as facts, and emotional reactions. And emotional reactions vary a lot by person. For instance I personally am disturbed that so many men want women to not have pubic hair - a characteristic that only naturally occurs in prepubescent females. To me that is uncomfortably close to pedophilia. However I believe that most of the American public does not see this desire as particularly grotesque.
I would add that there's a world of difference between "attracted to" and "has sexual contact with", regardless of the level of development. This ties back to the question of whether there are ways to create safe outlets for those with strong attractions to young people -- can the attraction be indulged in a way that reduces abuse? Can the attraction be treated by harmlessly redirecting it away from real children?
I have heard of no efforts into redirection. (Not that I would have.) But we definitely do try to reduce opportunity. This is the point of the existence of laws forcing convicted sex offenders to be in a public register, not work with children, and to live away from schools. Unfortunately "convicted sex offender" and "pedophile" are two different things. Also we wind up with problems like the only legal place for sex offenders to live being under a bridge. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Tuttle_Causeway_sex_offen... for confirmation of that.)
There is a well-known saying among lawyers that difficult cases make for bad law. Unfortunately everything about this topic is rife with difficult cases, and the law that has sprung up reflects this. :-(
I personally cannot be attracted to men. I think dudes are icky. But I don't think this gives me a valid claim to say that nobody else should be, or that those who are have something wrong with them (indeed, I'm glad my wife does not share my aversion to males.) As you say, emotional reactions vary a lot by person. They don't form a very solid basis for law or morality.
Some people are attracted to children. Regardless of how gross that seems, it is reality. And the major problem with this reality isn't that the attraction is gross, but that it places children in danger. So how do we best prevent abuse? Certainly reducing opportunity is a part of it, both through (better) sex-offender laws and through policies that make it hard for adults to be alone with single children (many schools, scouts, etc. have strong policies to this effect.) Having strong legal punishments for such abuse might also be valuable. It seems important to also identify and treat those with such sexual attractions, and there are a few options , but it appears they're not terribly successful. At least one prominent researcher thinks there could be greater success if the medical community put more resources into it . But society has been trying to "cure" other types of sexual attraction for quite some time with limited success, so I'm a bit dubious.
The end result is that we have a fairly bad set of laws, and little in the way of effective treatment, for something that tragically affects far too many children. So I must agree with your final statement -- :-(
No, it is a mental illness. I claim that there are zero pedophiles who were not subject to heavy abuse as children, and that this abuse was almost certainly sexual.
(I'm talking about attraction to young children in particular; there's a world of difference between 2 and 16 years old.)
Yet it is true that pedophiles often come in families with a history of pedophilia.
Glancing up I caught the phrase "just another sexual orientation." There's no point in arguing with this crap.
You people need to get out of this virtual bubble where child pornography is somehow a divisive issue and into the real world, where real children suffer real abuse at the hands of real people so they can get their rocks off. The lack of empathy is just stunning.
Pedosexual acts are forbidden because there is no possibility of free, informed, consent. There is an asymmetric power relationship between an adult and a child that the adult is probably not aware of. For this reason, and this reason alone, pedosexual acts are forbidden.
It's entirely reasonable to believe an adult and a child could have a healthy sexual relationship and some people will testify they had such relationships as children. The crucial point is that it is never possible to ascertain this was actually the case and is ever actually the case. If you are a pedophile in a sexual relationship with a child, it is entirely unreasonable to believe your relationship is a healthy one. To be on the safe side and because we cannot possibly differentiate, there is a blanket ban on such relationships.
Pedophilia is not forbidden. Like homosexuality, it is a minority sexual preference. However, unlike in the case of homosexuality, society is unlikely to ever allow relationships in which the physical acts to which this preference leads can have a place. As such pedophiles need to learn to ignore their feelings. They need help in doing that and we should support every single one that acknowledges his problem and seeks help.
Pedophiles are not people that abuse children. People that abuse children are criminals. Usually they are also pedophiles, but that doesn't mean you may interpret it the other way around. Most thieves are heterosexuals.
Now as to the issue of the Tor exit node. The fact that this instance deals with child pornography is entirely irrelevant. It may as well have been illegal medicine sales, exchanging stolen information or other illegal activities.
Coincidentally, most of opinions here are being expressed with the help of the (optional) pseudo-anonymity allowed by Hacker News. Few would be willing to have such discussions with the same level of honesty offline or on Facebook given the public's level of hysteria. It would put a person in real physical danger.
I should also note that I have personal reasons for having investigated this topic. Details are private. But I would be moderately surprised if you, for all your righteous outrage, have as much relevant background on this topic...
It doesn't make that thing wrong.
A sexual orientation is simply, "This pattern sets off the circuits in my brain telling me to get turned on." You can have an orientation that results in normal heterosexual relationships. You can have one that results in unusual relationships that harm nobody. You can have one that results in a desire to do very, very bad things.
The outcomes of those orientations are very different. But, fundamentally, they are similar feedback loops. And therefore our expectations for what causes them, and how difficult they are to change, should be similar.
Before disagreeing, review my words and find where I've said anything indicating that I consider pedophiles a "victimized group". Please don't miss the part where I said that I personally am OK with criminalizing child porn because most of the people you find consuming that material are likely to be pedophiles, who probably have offended.
I personally view pedophilia as a mental disease, but beating the shit out of them or burning them on the steak isn't going to fix anything. If people didn't react like you do when it comes to pedophilia maybe we'd have an easier time working with them to isolate what goes wrong to create this and begin to work on a fix.
Child pornagraphy is not an abstract concept. Child pornography isn't outlawed simply because it's obscene. Child pornography is outlawed because it is depraved, frequently violent imagery or videos of real children actually being violated. This is not speech. This is one of the most horrific, most sadistic acts that a human being is capable of perpetuating against another. It is worse than murder; these victims usually survive what happens to them. (There are a few situations where images are faked, i.e., by photoshopping children's faces on adult bodies, but this represents a drop in the bucket.)
This idiot was dumb enough to run a anonymizing network that he knew could be involved in illegal activities. He ran several nodes despite this, knowing and accepting that the Tor network would shield the identities (for the most part) of the actual criminals using his systems as through-ways, leaving behind his IP address as the sole traceable link.
Will he be convicted of possessing and/or distributing child pornography?
Probably not. Tor is not as anonymous as people think it is; an FBI forensics team will probably be able to track down the real criminal. In such case, this idiot will probably be off the hook. But if they are unsuccessful in backtracing to the real criminal, he will be the sacrificial lamb offered up by the prosecutors for this crime. His conviction (and trust me, there will be a conviction if this goes to trial) will serve as a warning to others: if you want to use Tor, make damn well sure you aren't a pass-through for child porn.
Please reread my comment and tell me where I defended either of those things. You seem to be saying that you're a lawyer. I'd have thought that line of work would require a modicum of reading comprehension skills.
>It is worse than murder; these victims usually survive what happens to them.
Oh for fuck's sake. Do you know how incredibly demeaning and psychologically harmful it is to victims to tell them that they'd be better off dead?
>This idiot was dumb enough to run a anonymizing network that he knew could be involved in illegal activities. He ran several nodes despite this, knowing and accepting that the Tor network would shield the identities (for the most part) of the actual criminals using his systems as through-ways, leaving behind his IP address as the sole traceable link.
Yes, because there are obviously no legitimate and noble reasons to have anonymizing networks.
>if you want to use Tor, make damn well sure you aren't a pass-through for child porn
I'm not sure you understand how Tor works.
The book (and The World Tomorrow interviews at http://assange.rt.com/ from whence it spawned) go on to explain why these arguments are extremely bad for the internet. We have to protect the freedom of speech for everyone, or there is no freedom of speech.
Making bad laws unenforceable is the point of anonymity. But you've got to take the end of good laws along with the bad.
The same way we've been catching criminals for years. Surveillance, warrants, legal due process, etc.
I really don't feel that some reasonable tools in the hands of law enforcement but also checked by the justice system need to encroach on anonymity, TOR or any existing technology. Because despite these technologies, it's remarkably easy for a person to get caught if law enforcement is determined to catch him if they use the same tools they’ve used for generations.
 Kubricks Lolita could be illegal in germany now http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056193/
Possessing a certain sequence of 0s and 1s does not cause harm.
A knife can be used to cut a chicken, it can also be used to kill someone. You would not deny your neighbour when he asks to borrow a knife because "you could kill someone with it".
The risk that your neighbor will use your knife to kill someone is far lower by comparison. Additionally, the risk that there is a legal threat should they choose to do so is also quite low.
I'm an admin on a social/gaming site (a MUD with appendant forum, blogs, and other community elements), and we have had to make a few decisions about Tor in the last couple of years.
Some background: the site is quite old, and we have historically encouraged users to sign up without needing to provide a unique ID such as email address. They _can_ provide one, but don't have to. In the last few years we have had the problem of occasional griefers log on and cause whatever social havoc they can.
Now, my personal feelings about Tor are generally quite positive, and I like the freedoms it provides people who are otherwise restricted by their ISPs or governments from accessing legitimate resources. Like many others have said, Tor is a tool that, while it can be used to do illegal things, is also used to provide a very useful service to people who need it to get on with things you and I take for granted.
Now, back to our griefers: We have a number of banning mechanisms based on IP or domain, and they tend to be successful because griefers usually get bored when they can't access the site for a couple of hours. However, because a tiny minority of griefers are more persistent, more technically adept, and figured they could use Tor to damage our community, we did a little bit of analysis and found that few if any legitimate users of our site came from Tor exit points, and we chose to block them. The alternative was to require a unique identity during the sign-up process, and frankly we wanted as few hurdles as possible to new users (anyone who knows the MUD community knows that it's in decline, and low-friction signups are pretty desirable). So we blacklist Tor exit points from our signup process.
The unfortunate fact is that some Tor users do bad things with the fantastic tool at their disposal, and end up spoiling it for the legitimate (and extremely valuable) use cases that make it such an amazing tool. Yet its very anonymity means that there is no easy way to allow one set of uses while disallowing others. This is a hard problem, and one I'm not smart enough to solve.
What we need is a distributed, pseudonymous reputation system. In this way, honest users would have no problem signing up for services such as yours, but griefers would have much more trouble, because there would be a very real cost each time they destroyed one of their pseudonymous identities.
Who's to say where the blame stops? Can the relay operators passing the packets along be convicted too? I hope for the sake of the TOR network that he gets off on the charges because if he does not, less and less people will be willing to be exit nodes which essentially means the end of the TOR network.
This doesn't say anything. I can "believe" anything that I want, but it doesn't make it so. I'm looking for articles with sound legal rationale and previous case outcomes that argue on the legality of a defendant's culpability as it pertains to a crime being committed on said defendant's Tor exit node.
That's why we have to go on the beliefs of lawyers familiar with the area, instead. You could read about things like the Safe Harbor provisions of the DMCA to see why Internet service providers are generally not considered responsible for their users' actions, in the U.S.
I don't know why you'd think it wouldn't be protected just like an ISP from users who view kiddie porn or FedEx for shipping drugs. So long as you cooperate when the law comes knocking you should be fine.
I'm interested to see why you don't think he'd be breaking any laws.
If he leases the hardware to a third individual and that third person/organization runs an exit node, then he is at a safe harbor.
I have experience running Tor nodes and can help if he is interested.
...for a super long time. My bet (admittedly founded on nothing) is that they book you regardless.
Well, not go to prison. You go to jail while you're presumed innocent, right?
If you want to run a tor exit node, create a new corporate entity for only that purpose, put it in its own cabinet, and put your lawyer on the corp documents.
If you can't do these things, just run a relay and be done with it - an exit node is not for you.
ISPs aren't generally liable for the things that their customers do over their network.
I really hope this is fake because its really sad to see people like William get caught in the middle of a situation like this. However, with my gut feeling this is real, I will be waiting for confirmation to submit my donation.
A complete stranger knocks on your door and asks you if it's ok for FedEx to deliver an unmarked parcel of DVDs to your house, and he will collect them from you later.
You do not know his name or address. The package arrives. You open it and examine the DVDs, but find that they are encrypted. You pass them on as agreed.
Next day the feds knock on your door, saying they have a tip-off that some child porn, bomb-making manuals and stolen bank account details were delivered to your address. You tell them exactly what happened. They seize your laptop and search it for said materials, but find nothing incriminating.
Have you committed a crime?
I hope not (in both cases) but at the same time I think if the tor exit node operator is protected from prosecution for illegal material passing through the node, then the person passing on the mysterious package should have exactly the same protection.
I run a node as well and noticed other (far less severe) downsides of doing so. Registering on certain forums won't work and purchasing games on Steam doesn't work. These parties just blacklist the entire list of IPs published running exit nodes.
I know that people like to pretend otherwise, but as long as there are crossover points between the Tor network and the public internet, there will be non-anonymous people in the real world who will have to deal with things like this. "I'm running a Tor exit node" is not (and should not be) a magical pass that makes you immune to any kind of investigation.
But, if he is found guilty and the traffic did come from tor than this is a lot like sending drugs through the mail and convicting the post office.
Most of us would probably agree that convicting the post office would be crazy, yet there's an entire continuum of package delivery services including the government postal system, private delivery services like UPS, professional couriers and asking your friend Steve to drop something off on his way home from work. If Steve gets caught delivering a package that contains drugs, his claim of being an unknowing "relayer" would likely be viewed with more suspicion than the same claim coming from a UPS truck driver.
That reasoning makes sense to us because we know how package delivery systems work, and have a vague idea of the probabilities involved. However, Tor is new and niche enough that you can't rely on an arbitrary person (or even a police officer or judge) knowing enough about it to make those same judgments. They don't know whether Tor is more like Steve or the postal service, and it'll take time before that knowledge is assimilated.
The laws need to be changed so that you're not responsible for someone routing something through your PC if you're not aware of what is being routed, and it should be done at the EU level. I hope at least the Pirate Party starts working on pushing for this law.
I think the authorities know exactly what they doing: they don't want people to anonymously surf the internet, so the prevent it by making it impossible to run Tor nodes or Wifi networks. I don't like it...
BTW plenty of IRC-based botnets already do something similar, though usually without proper encryption.
If it weren't "think of the children", it would be "al Qaeda was organizing anonymously". They need a reason to create a hostile climate for privacy and anonymity.
If every tor exit node vanished today, tor's darknet half will thrive and the network would still be valuable. It's trivial to set up a hidden service. If you want to whistle-blow to the media, you'd set up a http or ftp share and drop the .onion URL in the mail to your journalists of choice.
The open Wi-Fi analogy doesn't fly here. It's more than pure unawareness, you need to purposefully install Tor and route anonymous traffic to the internet. That entails being held accountable for what this traffic is used for.
If an analogy is needed, the right one is giving the key for your P.O. box to anyone with a mask, then complaining you're being charged because they've found child pornography there.
I'm not sure analogies are very helpful.
The evidence is on him now, so he has to prove it wasn't. Given Tor's anonymity, that's rather difficult, but it's his problem. Which is stupid in the first place, because he dug himself on this hole, and that's why I can't empathize.
If I wanted to distribute illegal content safely, I could just run a Tor exit node and claim that the illegal content originated from somewhere within Tor instead of from my machines.
This is utterly ridiculous. An ISP has to go to a hell of a lot more effort than that. Does that also entail being held accountable for what the traffic is used for?
The guy most likely installed Tor imagining helping groups like wikileaks, not Jimmy Savile.
William has received more than $1300 in Bitcoin donations in the past 3 hours.
Now i need to think how i can pay Bitcoins back when this is done (as i don't know if the source addresses are valid then still (if they ever were and not just a proxy source) and who sent what amount at mass sends...)
Tricky, probably can't pay bitcoin back :(
You probably can't pay them back.
Your argument seems to be: "Don't make waves. Don't do anything out of the ordinary."
To many people, having Linux installed on a computer is something that people have no legitimate reason for.
No innovation or individuality. Everyone has to be exactly the same.
Also, your line of reasoning goes against presumption of innocence. The suspect doesn't have to explain why he has that much storage. The police/prosecutor have to explain what criminal acts he's doing with that storage.
Raw captures (e.g., digitized home movies) can take up a lot of space, even if they're losslessly-compressed with a codec like Huffyuv or Lagarith.
I have five raw captures of the same 2-hour VHS movie sitting on my HDD, as I plan to average them to reduce the appearance of artifacts due to tracking differences. Each capture is losslessly-compressed with Huffyuv and approximately __50GB__.
That's ~250GB right there.
You know, money isn't that hard to get. For me, a few weeks of coding got me a few thousands of euros. He was running an ISP apparently, and selling VPSs. I've been sysadmining a few boxes for a few VPS hosting companies and got enough money to run a few Tor exits pushing over 2Gbps for months.
(Also, I think that it's hilarious that me having my 15-year-old girlfriend pics is considered illegal, thanks to CP laws. )
I truly believe in this: http://datalove.me/
(and btw., WW was not running the ISP, he wrote somewhere in this thread that he is just a normal employee)
The average bandwidth price I got from all the ISPs I used in the past was ~1 dollar/megabit. The ISPs I used for my Tor relays were ISPs I was using already for bandwidth-intensive HTTP hosting, so I already had quite a few deals for dirt cheap bandwidth.
I've been paying ~600€ per box (1Gbit, of which I was using at least 60% 24/7, getting to 100% during day hours).
> you basically claim to have enough spare change lying around at the age of 15 to pay €2000-3000/month just for Tor traffic because you're an idealist
Yep. I got it mostly by selling iOS Tweaks on Cydia Store, private consulting with a few companies, freelancing, and sysadmining.
> and after buying all the stuff a 15 year old normally buys first? ;-)
The only thing apart from my tech equipment and servers that I'm interesting in buying is weed anyway.
> (and btw., WW was not running the ISP, he wrote somewhere in this thread that he is just a normal employee)
Thanks for clarifying that he was not running the ISP. I misread it, probably.
Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.
Did he rob the bank? No. He may have just been at home, not involved in planning at all, you show up with $50,000, ask him to hide it and tell him it's stolen.
He was just used to transfer the goods, but he's still breaking the law.
Likewise laundering the stolen money is illegal, even though you didn't steal it.
Your point being?
My real objection was groby_b stating something that is almost certainly incorrect (taxi ratio is 1:1) - I would bet money on this - as a means to refute something that is perhaps incorrect / unknowable (Tor ratio is 1:1).
I have no idea what the Tor ratio is, but it is "perhaps" 1:1. And what does legitimate mean anyway? Some of the work on Tor is funded by the US government so that people in oppressive states can speak out, which means that in those countries that speech is "illegitimate" whereas in the US it is not. Or did we mean morally illegitimate? Whose morals are we talking about? Or did mean we mean child pornography? And is that still illegitimate in all of the nation states that repress speech?
I think my ballpark estimate for taxis is reasonable, and that if motivated you could certainly find a lower bound on that ratio from taxi rides per capita per annum, crimes per capita per annum, and the assumption that all crimes used a taxi driver as an accessory.
If you had written your response here to swalsh, who defined a statistic of 1:1 for Tor, I wouldn't have anything to post.