Tags: anonymity

02/05/13

  08:10:00 am, by The Dreamer   , 428 words  
Categories: General, Networking

Pinterest supports Internet Censorship

It has been about 20 months since I took the EFF Tor Challenge:

Operate a Tor relay to help Tor users all over the world!

Activists worldwide use Tor to protect their anonymity online and to circumvent Internet censorship. But they all rely on a limited number of user-provided "relays" to protect themselves and communicate with others. Internet users worldwide need your help to make the Tor network stronger and faster, so take the Tor Challenge today!

From this I initially set up two Tor relays....initially one with a limited set of exits and one with no exits (middle relay). For more info see: What is a Tor relay?

But, FreeNode blocks exit relay IPs that could access any of their systems....that includes port 80/http. Instead they run a hidden service that would allow a Tor user to connect to IRC via Tor....and say:

We appreciate your accessing Freenode via the Tor hidden service. If you'd like to help us maintain quality access, please consider providing "middleman" bandwidth to the Tor network. Just set your host up as a Tor server and specify how much bandwidth you want to provide.

I did irssi connecting to the hidden service as an experiment....while waiting for the exit relay block to expire. I continued to run irssi this way for a while, until I got tired of doing so.

Since then, Tor wise, I'm playing around with running an anonymous bridge in AWS.....currently costing under $1 each month on the free tier...for bandwidth overages. I'm wondering what it'll be after my free-tier expires, and what would happen if I were to move to another region. Though I guess its deploy new in another region and remove old, since the images have updated a number of times since my initial deployment that there have already been occasions where my image has had trouble staying current.

And, then recently I got stopped from accessing Pinterest, with "the we've detected a bot!", "because Bots may be resource-intensive and slow down Pinterest for other users."

After some email exchanges, they responded that:

Pinterest blocked access because the IP address originating traffic hosts a public Tor node. If you are knowingly hosting a public Tor node, we cannot ensure continued access if traffic coming through your node is malicious.

But, since its a middle relay, the only traffic originating from my IP address to Pinterest is me. So, they're censoring anybody that supports Tor and its use "as a method for whistleblowers and human rights workers to communicate with journalists"....

Guess, they're a strong supporter of Internet Censorship!

Now instead of subjecting some poor random forum to a long rambling thought, I will try to consolidate those things into this blog where they can be more easily ignored profess to be collected thoughts from my mind.

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