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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: 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.

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  • (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.