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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.

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  • (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."
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  • (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.