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posted by takyon on Saturday September 12 2015, @03:03PM   Printer-friendly
from the land-of-the-free-and-home-of-the-easily-coerced dept.

The Kilton Library in Lebanon, New Hampshire, had been hosting an exit relay on the Tor network since July as part of a pilot program to safeguard citizens' privacy online.

After meeting with [local cops, tipped off by the US Department of Homeland Security], however, the librarians have taken the box offline over fears it was being used for criminal activity.

[...] Kilton's exit node was the pilot for an effort by the Library Freedom Project to equip local libraries in the US with Tor nodes that could be accessed by users in areas where internet traffic is censored and closely monitored.

ProPublica claims that the police did not threaten any action against the library, but merely informed them of the possibility that their Tor node could be used for criminal activity.

The library's board of trustees will vote later this month on whether to bring the node back online.

[...] The Electronic Frontier Foundation said it was starting a campaign to flood library trustees with letters of support for the node in an effort to get the Tor box back up and running in the Kilton Library.

Additional reporting here.


SoylentNews is available through Tor, as well. Here is our .onion link. -Ed.

Original Submission

Related Stories

A Dozen US Libraries Line Up to Run Tor Exit Nodes 22 comments

El Reg reports

A dozen libraries across the US have asked for details on how to host Tor exit nodes following a decision by the small town of Lebanon, New Hampshire, to [forgo] police warnings.

Following a decision by the library's board of trustees earlier this week to put the exit node back online, the founder of the Library Freedom Project, Alison Macrina, said that she had heard from a number of other libraries interested in hosting tor nodes.

"Between libraries and community leaders around the country, we've heard from probably about a dozen who are interested in joining this", she told Motherboard.

One of those people was present at the board meeting, having driven two hours to attend. As a library trustee at nearby Reading, she revealed that it was going to have its own meeting on the issue next month.

[...] Macrina now says that the DHS' efforts have put her project on the map. "This has catalyzed additional libraries and community members", she told Motherboard. "Folks have emailed me saying 'We don't care if it gets shut down, we want to push back against [the DHS]'."

Previous: Library Running Tor Exit Node Gets Visit from Cops; Takes it Down
Despite Homeland Security Opposition, Tor is back at New Hampshire Library


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by LowSpeedHighDrag on Saturday September 12 2015, @03:17PM

    by LowSpeedHighDrag (5592) on Saturday September 12 2015, @03:17PM (#235589)

    Criminals might use TOR - ban it!
    Criminals might use knifes - ban them! Just bite off a hunk of that steak.
    Criminals might use a baseball bat - ban them! No more baseball for you.
    Criminals might use cars - ban them! Just walk everywhere. Including the hospital in an emergency.
    Crimnals might use - oh FFS, lets just ban everything.

     

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Justin Case on Saturday September 12 2015, @03:24PM

      by Justin Case (4239) on Saturday September 12 2015, @03:24PM (#235593) Journal

      > lets just ban everything

      That which is not required is forbidden. We find if we leave people to make their own choices, they might make the wrong choice.

      • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Saturday September 12 2015, @05:21PM

        by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Saturday September 12 2015, @05:21PM (#235620) Journal

        Of course, consumption of mainstream products is required. You better go to the cinema at least once a week, or else you'll be arrested for economically damaging behaviour. Oh, and those independent films don't count, you must watch a Hollywood blockbuster.

        --
        The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 2) by PinkyGigglebrain on Saturday September 12 2015, @09:28PM

      by PinkyGigglebrain (4458) on Saturday September 12 2015, @09:28PM (#235699)

      Criminals might use knifes - ban them! Just bite off a hunk of that steak.

      They have actually proposed doing just that in the UK.

      http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-06-28/knife-murders-spiking-after-gun-ban-uk-urges-save-life-surrender-your-knife [zerohedge.com]

      --
      "Beware those who would deny you Knowledge, For in their hearts they dream themselves your Master."
    • (Score: 2) by VortexCortex on Sunday September 13 2015, @01:08AM

      by VortexCortex (4067) on Sunday September 13 2015, @01:08AM (#235745)

      Good News! The criminals are now using bans! BAN THE BANS!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 13 2015, @04:27AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 13 2015, @04:27AM (#235780)

      Criminals might use TOR - ban it!
      Criminals might use knifes - ban them! Just bite off a hunk of that steak.
      Criminals might use a baseball bat - ban them! No more baseball for you.
      Criminals might use cars - ban them! Just walk everywhere. Including the hospital in an emergency.
      Crimnals might use - oh FFS, lets just ban everything.

      You forgot one: Criminals might use guns - give everyone a gun!

    • (Score: 2) by K_benzoate on Sunday September 13 2015, @05:15AM

      by K_benzoate (5036) on Sunday September 13 2015, @05:15AM (#235794)

      Criminals will, and do, use Tor. But that's not my problem. That's not the library's problem. If I offer a legitimate service in good faith and that service is misused without my knowledge and without my ability to control it (other than just shutting it down) that's not my problem. I'm not liable. We can't and don't hold gun companies liable for murders. Tor exit node operators aren't liable for what users do on the network. They just aren't. Stand up for your rights and refuse to back down. Right now, the authorities are relying on voluntary cooperation and intimidation. If we all stopped complying, they'd be SOL.

      --
      Climate change is real and primarily caused by human activity.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by The Mighty Buzzard on Saturday September 12 2015, @03:43PM

    by The Mighty Buzzard (18) Subscriber Badge <themightybuzzard@soylentnews.org> on Saturday September 12 2015, @03:43PM (#235594) Homepage Journal

    When both gewg_ and I agree that something's fucked up, you can take it to the bank that it's pretty fucked up.

    --
    My rights don't end where your fear begins.
    • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Saturday September 12 2015, @05:04PM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday September 12 2015, @05:04PM (#235615) Homepage Journal

      It's government, bro. WTF can disagree that the government is fucked up? Each and every member of Soylent might be members of different schisms and political ideologies - and we could still all agree that government is fucked. I pretty much despise anarchists, but anarchists and I can agree on that one point.

      --
      "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @05:58PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @05:58PM (#235632)

      At some libraries, the thinking about the Internet seems to go like:

      "OK, we're going to make Internet access available. Should we let just anyone who comes into the library use the Internet, or only our patrons? If we limit it to patrons, we can make them log in using their library card. That way, if someone misuses it, we'll know who the miscreant was."

      "So, it's possible to block access to certain Web sites. Which ones are we going to block, just the pornographic ones or also sites that discuss illegal activity? Or should we not block any, but just ask patrons not to look at porn in the library?"

      "There's something called Bittorrent. People use it to share files, some of which are illegal and most of which are enormous. Should we block it, or just limit the bandwidth it can consume?"

      Ms. Macrina is trying to add to that conversation: "Hey, we have an Internet connection. Should we set up an anonymizing proxy on it to help people everywhere who don't want to be snooped on? Some of them are criminals, of course."

      Maybe this Library Freedom Project will fail to persuade other libraries to set up exit nodes (more likely, if the Lebanon library keeps its node turned off), but it's heartening that the attempt was even made.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by TheGratefulNet on Saturday September 12 2015, @04:36PM

    by TheGratefulNet (659) on Saturday September 12 2015, @04:36PM (#235601)

    what concerns me is that the library DID do research on this. how could they NOT have known what tor is all about, the so-called bad and the good? this isn't just including some new books, this is a whole new concept for a library and you'd think that an intellectual org (like a library!) would not be taking a position of ignorance or be easily flustered and scared.

    I have to assume - HAVE TO - that actual real threats were given to the library, perhaps even individuals involved. you can't easily scare a librarian; and so for that kind of person to be 'shut down' would take a direct threat. or even indirect, such as 'you better not go even 1 MPH over the speed limit or park more than 6" from the curb, EVER, or we'll be after your ass!'

    it has to be something like that. they fight dirty and they knew that unless they did, a librarian would not surrender free speech so easily. in fact, the right thing to do is to 'take not' of the cops bullshit, KEEP THE TOR NODE UP, and then discuss it with your board of directors. you already voted on it, you installed it and you are running it. the cops told you that you are NOT breaking any laws. so why did you surrender your rights so easily?

    it had to be a strong-arm. I'd love to hear more about what really went on. I suspect that since the surveillance state is all built on fear, lying and harassment, that's what they used as their 'tools' to shut this down.

    in the old days, if bad guys were giving you trouble, you'd call the cops. now, the cops are the main source of bad guys in our society (I truly honestly believe that; they are 99% thugs-with-badges and act entirely out of self interest and power-hunger) but we can't ask the criminals for help, can we? its like the old jackie mason joke, "if a crook is giving me trouble, I can call the cops; but if a cop is giving me trouble, what do I do? call the crooks??"

    when we can no longer trust our 'law enforcement' we are technically now lawless. there is no moral authority anymore from 'law enforcement'. everything they do - EVERYTHING - has to be looked at with a suspicious eye.

    I weep for the country called USA that once was. perhaps it was always just a fantasy idea, but it sure looks like its pretty much a dead-in-the-water idea. land of the free has ceased to exist when cops can come in, shut down a fully legal privacy-based operation and get away with it.

    --
    "It is now safe to switch off your computer."
    • (Score: 5, Informative) by Justin Case on Saturday September 12 2015, @04:41PM

      by Justin Case (4239) on Saturday September 12 2015, @04:41PM (#235603) Journal

      > land of the free has ceased to exist

      When some sounded the warning, one or two decades ago, they were met with accusations of paranoia and stupidity.

      Today other warnings are sounding, and being similarly shouted down.

      It seems the masses enjoy the boot to the face. There's really no other explanation.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by tangomargarine on Saturday September 12 2015, @06:28PM

        by tangomargarine (667) on Saturday September 12 2015, @06:28PM (#235638)

        It seems the masses enjoy the boot to the face. There's really no other explanation.

        Oh, don't be silly. It's the Somebody Else's Problem field. All these rules are used to catch Bad People. I'm not a Bad Person so I don't care. And if I speak up, maybe they will decide I am a Bad Person.

        That is the reasoning.

        --
        "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Mr Big in the Pants on Saturday September 12 2015, @07:26PM

        by Mr Big in the Pants (4956) on Saturday September 12 2015, @07:26PM (#235651)

        Not that I disagree with the main thrust of your statement about privacy (and never did) but let's not allude to the ol' fallacy of "I was right about something and others were wrong so I am now proved to be right about everything."

        The 'I' in this case are all conspiracy nuts...

        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @08:17PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @08:17PM (#235674)

          > lthe ol' fallacy of "I was right about something and others were wrong so I am now proved to be right about everything."

          Also known as the "even a stopped clock gives the right time twice a day" maxim.

          • (Score: 2) by Mr Big in the Pants on Sunday September 13 2015, @09:58PM

            by Mr Big in the Pants (4956) on Sunday September 13 2015, @09:58PM (#236015)

            No, its not. That refers to claiming something static and being right as a shifting context makes an unfounded statement true.

            This is about making many unfounded claims and then once one of them becomes true you claim all the others are now also correct and you are some sort of genius.
            Similar to Nostradamus...but without the requirement of horrific vaguery and an army of people mangling what you actually said to try and make it fit.

            Nice attempt (NB: extreme sarcasm) at "reduct and dismiss", but you lack of depth on this one is embarrassing...

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Saturday September 12 2015, @05:17PM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday September 12 2015, @05:17PM (#235619) Homepage Journal

      Yes - there is research, and then there is research. And, when that doesn't suffice, there is yet more research.

      It's one thing to do some Google searches to see how things work - at least in theory.

      It's another thing to go out and make something work - that is, testing the theory.

      It is quite another thing to have two, six, twenty or more armed men come into your sanctum, and to issue veiled threats about the disposition of your body and worldly goods - not to mention the fate of your loved ones.

      Librarians are generally admirable people. I've known a few, some more intimately than others. I've met few librarians that I didn't respect. But, librarians and armed men aren't a really good match. Unless you're a criminal, a cop, or a soldier, you probably won't mix well with armed men, either. I have mixed with armed men, but then, I'm a lot less civilized than the typical librarian. *

      Local cops. Always remember that the cops are armed. Always remember, as well, that cops generally don't like armed people who aren't cops. When a cop approaches you, it is almost always an adversarial confrontation.

      I will disagree with your assessment of cop's responsibility for evil in our society. There are plenty of other evil mofos out there. An evil cop, of any rank, is just small fry compared to the Clintons and the Bushes of the world.

      *This is the point at which I expect my fan club to chime in, and sing my praises, LMAO!!

      --
      "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by frojack on Saturday September 12 2015, @07:57PM

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Saturday September 12 2015, @07:57PM (#235661) Journal

        When was the last time six or twenty cops entered a library and shot a librarian?

        Come on. Librarians use to standup for freedom and privacy, they even lobbied and got laws against police seizing someone's library reading history, and stopped keeping histories in many cases. They will reserve meeting rooms for Numismatic Societies and Nambla without batting an eye. They won't kick greasy old geezers off the computers for viewing porn.

        These particular librarians were none of those fine things. They should have sent the police away.
        I suspect the library board will reverse this decision.

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @08:12PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @08:12PM (#235670)

          > Come on. Librarians use to standup for freedom and privacy, they even lobbied and got laws against police seizing someone's library reading history

          (1) Librarians as a professional organization did some of that, there have always been individual librarians who disagreed with the official policies of the american library association (ALA).
          (2) They failed to get those laws passed. What they did succeed at is redesigning their circulation databases to delete the lending history of a book as soon as it was returned.

          BTW, congress was super efficient at getting video store rental records protected, after a member of the political class got Borked. [wikipedia.org]

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 13 2015, @05:59AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 13 2015, @05:59AM (#235805)

            I just realized I left out an important word which could make that post misleading, it should read:

            (1) Librarians as a professional organization did some of that, but there have always been individual librarians who disagreed with the official policies of the american library association (ALA).

        • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Sunday September 13 2015, @02:44AM

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 13 2015, @02:44AM (#235761) Homepage Journal

          See AC's response. He helps to point out that librarians are pretty smart, but they aren't "men of action" - or women in most cases.

          Enter a library and shoot a librarian? I can't think of one single time. But, you've missed the point, I'm afraid. Librarians are smart enough to understand a veiled threat, no matter how subtly it is delivered.

          --
          "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @08:04PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @08:04PM (#235667)

      > I have to assume - HAVE TO - that actual real threats were given to the library, perhaps even individuals involved.

      Or the librarians involved in deciding to set up the Tor exit node have been over-ruled by people higher up the food chain who are administrators and politicians, not librarians. Libraries are funded from county and city taxes after all.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by number11 on Saturday September 12 2015, @11:10PM

      by number11 (1170) on Saturday September 12 2015, @11:10PM (#235724)

      I have to assume - HAVE TO - that actual real threats were given to the library, perhaps even individuals involved. you can't easily scare a librarian; and so for that kind of person to be 'shut down' would take a direct threat. or even indirect, such as 'you better not go even 1 MPH over the speed limit or park more than 6" from the curb, EVER, or we'll be after your ass!'

      I would suggest something much simpler. According to the minutes of their June meeting, the Library Board of Trustees was aware of the issues before the project began. However, these are people (7 elected and 3 appointed) who presumably like libraries and books and privacy, but are more accustomed to dealing with securing funding and purchasing furniture and complaints from the public about books, they're not techies, they're more like your mom. Lebanon is not a big city, it's a rather small town (under 15K). Presumably the librarian (or Library Director, who may or may not be a librarian) wasn't expecting DHS to hassle them, and decided to get the Library Board (their supervisor) involved again. I understand that the issue is going before the Library Board at its next meeting.

      I sent them a polite email setting out some reasons why running a Tor node was a good idea wrt personal liberty, free speech, fighting censorship, privacy, and assistance to people living under repressive regimes. I acknowledged that "bad people" might make use of the service, just as the same bad people use telephones, highways, and grocery stores, but suggested that was the price society pays for providing any service whatsoever.

      This is not for the benefit of the librarian, who I expect knows all that (they have talked to the EFF and . I received a polite response thanking me for my input, and saying that they'd pass my email on to the Library Board. If you do write them, please be calm and factual. They are not the enemy, it's ignorance that is the enemy. And maybe the widespread police view that there are terrorists under every bed, and think of the children.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 13 2015, @01:31AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 13 2015, @01:31AM (#235751)

        > According to the minutes of their June meeting
        > ...
        > I sent them a polite email

        Thanks for doing that. Its good that there are willing to do the research and take measured action rather than just shitposting here without even reading TFA like myself.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @04:38PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @04:38PM (#235602)

    Why did they take it down? It sounds like they weren't forced to at all. Were they really convinced by the "Criminals might use X!" argument? Because that could apply to literally anything in existence, as the AC above showed.

  • (Score: 1) by SomeGuy on Saturday September 12 2015, @04:53PM

    by SomeGuy (5632) on Saturday September 12 2015, @04:53PM (#235609)

    Let's get rid of this entire Internet thingy... because criminals might use it.

    While we are at it, let's get rid of air... because criminals are known to use that too.

    Those that want to take away privacy are the real criminals.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by TheGratefulNet on Saturday September 12 2015, @05:04PM

      by TheGratefulNet (659) on Saturday September 12 2015, @05:04PM (#235614)

      mark my words, in 5 years or less, we'll have an 'internet license' forced on us where anonymity is stamped out as best the authorities can, and we'll all be fear mongered into always 'signing in to the internet' for any i/o to flow thru the inter-tubes.

      if it even takes 5 years, I'd be surprised. but you watch, we'll see more motions by various interest groups to convince the unwashed masses that its for their own 'safety' that they always login 'to the internet' with their real names before they can do anything.

      with DPI and other forms of 'network mgmt' I fully expect edge routers to deny i/o unless the right stateful info is set first, such as a login. I'm not involved in this space anymore (I used to be employed in network mgmt, but have not worked for quite a long time in that area (various reasons...) but I'm aware of the advances in hardware packet decode and user tracking that goes on inside the many levels of router and switch we have today.

      --
      "It is now safe to switch off your computer."
  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @04:55PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @04:55PM (#235610)

    For fucks sake, they took it down, pending a vote later this month. That's how things are supposed to work (when real potentially dangerous things are involved.)

    This is no different than an injunction you get pending the outcome of a trial, only done voluntarily and not under legal threat. If someone says you're doing somehting more dangerious than you realize, it's good to stop and think. Esp. if the costs for waiting are low (and they are low... or even negative here).

    Imagine the states after the vote. One, reimplemented. You get two news cycles for TOR, the second one being that a group of people decided it was well worth it. Worth two weeks of one less exit. Two, left deactivated. Then not waiting was the right thing to do.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Runaway1956 on Saturday September 12 2015, @05:23PM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Saturday September 12 2015, @05:23PM (#235621) Homepage Journal

      "For fucks sake, they took it down, pending a vote later this month. That's how things are supposed to work"

      Not quite. Not exactly. I do note the ending portion of your statement, but come on, an exit node is not "real potential danger". Not unless the librarian was threatened with, "I can't guarantee the length of your life, unless you cooperate with us."

      But, back to the quoted part of your sentence. The way things are SUPPOSED TO WORK, in a democratic society, is that the status quo remains status UNTIL THE VOTE. That is, the prior authorization and authority isn't hastily trampled on, then put up for a vote. The vote comes first.

      --
      "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @09:57PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @09:57PM (#235710)

        the status quo remains status UNTIL THE VOTE

        To paraphrase a post up the thread, when Runaway1956 and I agree that something is being done all wrong, it's a sure bet they're doing it wrong.

        -- gewg_

    • (Score: 2) by Anal Pumpernickel on Saturday September 12 2015, @10:43PM

      by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Saturday September 12 2015, @10:43PM (#235721)

      That's how things are supposed to work (when real potentially dangerous things are involved.)

      Neither privacy or free speech are "real potentially dangerous things", so I guess that's not how things should have happened in this case.

    • (Score: 1) by number11 on Wednesday September 16 2015, @04:21PM

      by number11 (1170) on Wednesday September 16 2015, @04:21PM (#237021)

      For fucks sake, they took it down, pending a vote later this month. That's how things are supposed to work (when real potentially dangerous things are involved.)

      And today, news is that the Tor exit node is up and running again.

      Thanks, Lebanon Library Board!

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @05:04PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @05:04PM (#235613)

    Real questions are:

    1. Is Tor completely broken?
    2. How broken is Tor?
    3. Can it be fixed?
    4. Is Mozilla willing to massively expand the Tor network? [dailydot.com]
    5. Is there a better alternative? [arstechnica.com]

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @07:09PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @07:09PM (#235648)

    Books contain information that could be potentially used in a criminal enterprise. Better tape them all shut, pending a meeting to be held later.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by linkdude64 on Saturday September 12 2015, @08:01PM

    by linkdude64 (5482) Subscriber Badge on Saturday September 12 2015, @08:01PM (#235665)

    Those same criminals might use the books in your library to educate themselves and become even more dangerous. You'd better burn them.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @11:41PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 12 2015, @11:41PM (#235734)

      Yes, lots of books aren't in libraries and stores, because think of the children who might become terrorists and look at porn and not get married and pay a 10% tithe to a white church.

      The smart ones blame macguver when they get caught learning something. Otherwise the books get taken away and quickly get banned from the community, or larger if it makes more than the local news.