Tag Archive: TOR

Escape From Political Control




” Frustrated with their political prospects, many libertarians are coming to the conclusion that instead of trying to change government, a better strategy might be to simply sidestep it entirely. Even self-described Democrats and Obama supporters, like startup founder and venture capitalist Balaji Srinivasan, seem to be concluding that in order to get space to experiment and innovate in today’s political climate, an “exit” might be in order.

  Exit over voice was the message of a great talk by Srinivasan in October, which prompted Silicon Valley’s naysayers and muckrakers to froth at the mouth, predictably charging that Srinivasan was advocating for an Elysium. Since then, he expanded on his vision in a couple of essays in which he proposed what he calls “inverse Amish” spaces. Like the Amish, such communities could exist within an existing political jurisdiction but set their own rules, yet quite opposite to the Amish the point would be to push the envelope of what’s allowed.

  Peter Thiel, the eminence grise of Silicon Valley libertarians, best articulated what motivates this search for exit over voice in a 2009 Cato Institute essay in which he wrote, “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.” He went on to explain that although in his youth he “naturally was drawn to the give-and-take of debate and the desire to bring about freedom through political means,” he has concluded by looking at the progress libertarians have made that “the broader education of the body politic has become a fool’s errand” and that “[i]n our time, the great task for libertarians is to find an escape from politics in all its forms.”


Continued …







The Agency Has Attacked Other Software, Including Firefox, In Order To Compromise The Anonymity Tool


” The U.S. National Security Agency has repeatedly tried to compromise Tor, the government-funded online anonymity tool, but has had little success, according to a new report in the U.K.’s Guardian.

The NSA has tried multiple strategies for defeating Tor, with its most successful method focused on attacking vulnerable software on users’ computers, including the Firefox browser, according to the report, published Friday. In the Firefox attack, NSA agents have been able to gain “full control” of targets’ computers, said the report, citing documents given to the Guardian by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

NSA documents provided by Snowden, which the Guardian began publishing in June, say the agency is collecting bulk phone records in the U.S. as well as Internet communications overseas.

But in many cases, the NSA has been frustrated in its efforts to target Tor users, an irony because the open-source project is largely funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, the NSA’s parent agency, and the U.S. Department of State.

We will never be able to de-anonymize all Tor users all the time,” according to one NSA document quoted by the Guardian. “With manual analysis we can de-anonymize a very small fraction of Tor users.” The NSA has had “no success de-anonymizing a user in response” to a specific request, the document said.

Tor is “the king of high-secure, low-latency internet anonymity,” the report quotes another NSA document as saying.”










Or At Least Make It More Difficult






Assuming that your data is being watched, what might you do to hide it?


First, consider not putting so much stuff out there in the first place. Wuergler devised a program he calls Stalker that can siphon off nearly all of your digital information to put together an amazingly complete portrait of your life and pretty much find out where you are at all times. Use Facebook if you must, but realize you’re making it easy for the government to track and find you when they choose to do so.

A second step toward increased privacy is to use a browser like DuckDuckGo, which does not collect the sort of information—say, your IP address—that can identify you with your Internet searches. Thus, if the government bangs on their doors to find out what you’ve been up to, DuckDuckGo has nothing to hand over. I have decided to make DuckDuckGo my default for general browsing, turning to Google only for items such as breaking news and scholarly articles. (Presumably, the NSA would be able to tap into my searches on DuckDuckGo in real time.)

Third, TOR offers free software and a network of relays that can shield your location from prying eyes. TOR operates by bouncing your emails and files around the Internet through encrypted relays. Anyone intercepting your message once it exits a TOR relay cannot trace it back to your computer and your physical location. TOR is used by dissidents and journalists around the world. On the downside, in my experience it operates more slowly than, say, Google.”