Tor and the censorship arms race: Lessons learned


First slide of 2012-04-28-montreal.pdf


Workshop on Computer Privacy in Electronic Commerce


Tor is a free-software anonymizing network that helps people around the world use the Internet in safety. Tor's 2500 volunteer relays carry traffic for upwards of half a million daily users, including ordinary citizens who want protection from identity theft and prying corporations, corporations who want to look at a competitor's website in private, people around the world whose Internet connections are censored, and even governments and law enforcement.

Through the Iranian elections in June 2009, the periodic blockings in Iran and China, the demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt, and whatever's coming next, we're learning a lot about how censorship circumvention tools work in reality for activists in tough situations. This talk will start with a brief overview of the Tor design and its diverse users, and then jump into the technical and social problems we're encountering, what technical approaches we've tried so far (and how they went), and what approaches I think we're going to need to try next.