Friday, February 09, 2007

Using TOR at Bowling Green State

This story, which was posted on the loveable Boing Boing, shows what can happen when you start anonymously using the web at work. A professor got a visit from the campus computer security expert and 2 of the campus police detectives. The trio was chasing an actual wrongdoer but thought the professor's use of the ubiquitous Onion Router (see the EFF's info and download page here) was enough to come and question the professor. They also felt it necessary encourage him to stop using TOR.

A good way to describe The Onion Router, and our current use of the internet, is to point to an obvious analog with postal mail, AKA snail mail. You usually put your letters in an envelope, right? Maybe an envelope made with opaque paper so no one can hold it up to the light and see what's inside? We seal the envelope, too, right? Why do you do this- to simply contain the pages, or because IT'S NOBODY'S FUCKING BUSINESS WHAT YOU DO WITH YOUR MAIL?

We live in an age, thanks to BushCo, where you can become a suspect- a suspect of nothing specific, mind you, for resisting violations of privacy. Furthermore, according to the ACLU, it is currently commonplace for the military and the police to spy on people who belong to peace advocacy and anti-war groups.

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