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Monday, September 11, 2006

A Dozen Tor (The Onion Routing) Servers seized

More than ten dedicated servers have been seized by the German police last Thursday. Some servers were running a version of the popular anonymising software Tor (The Onion Routing) which leads to the conclusion that those Tor Servers were most likely configured to run as Exit Nodes as well as normal nodes. As you may know a request runs through different Tor Servers with each only knowing the adjacent servers but not the starting node (you) and the destination. Only the last node in the chain knows the destination.

The seizure was justified by the fact that those end node IPs did appear on forums that were spreading child pornography. You might think that the states attorney simply did not know that those Tor servers were merely the exit node but this is not the case. What needs to be discussed now is wether the seizure of those tor servers was done deliberately to crack down on anonymizing services in Germany and the European Union or if the states attorney simply wanted to be thorough by seizing the servers.

The only information that he is receiving from analysing the logs (if logs exist) is the next node in line. If that next node is not located in Germany or the European Union he will have no means of investigating this chain any further.

This means they will not be able to trace the user who made the requests in first place. Is that good, or bad ? Public Opinion is really sensitive when Child Pornography is mentioned and it is really easy to turn the opinion that way that something legal looks to be something illegal. “Why would someone want to hide their tracks if he is not doing something illegal ?”, a common question from those who choose not to think, here is the answer:

Every step on the web is tracked nowadays and if you are really unlucky even released to the public, AOL anyone ?