Should the Tor network be shut down?

Originally published at: https://prostasia.org/blog/should-the-tor-network-be-shut-down/

It’s an open secret that the battle against illegal sexual images of minors will never be won through surveillance and censorship, for as long as tools to circumvent surveillance and censorship exist. The Tor browser is an example of such a tool. It allows users to browse the Internet without being tracked or identified. But…

Keep TOR as a browser. There are merits to being able to post things anonymously or to surf the net anonymously. It’s a very different thing when websites are involved though. Thanks to “hidden services”, indecent images of children are allowed to stay up with impunity. It makes it extremely difficult to shut these evil sites down because you can’t simply locate the location of the server.

Shut down “Hidden Services” Makes it too difficult to shut down many abuse websites.
Keep TOR as a browser. Anonymous posters and browsers do not make it impossible to shut down evil websites.

Hidden services provide a higher degree of privacy / anonymity for users using the service, than they would get if they were to connect to it through a regular Tor exit node.
A hidden service also lets you run a website without having to buy a TLD (top level domain). An example of a TLD would be prostasia.org

I’m using the TOR network so HELL no lol.

Not making yourself look any better

85% TOR traffic child sex assault video. No reason to permit TOR in my country. No tor relays allowed in my country.

That sounds like an excellent reason to use Tor in your country.

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While I’m skeptical of the benefits of “hidden services”, given that it makes it far more difficult to shut down a CSAM site, the other aspects of the TOR network gives the ability to circumvent authoritarian regimes for journalists are absolutely important. I don’t think you need hidden services to distribute secrets from authoritarian regimes without getting yourself busted. But the TOR network itself, yes it’s crucial. Many people don’t understand the benefits of the TOR network.

We do read about bad people get busted on TOR. Child sex assaulters and those who run CSAM sites getting busted. Cyber hacker that destroyed the small businesses of many getting caught. Criminal selling heroin laced with fentanyl leading to several deaths getting busted. You know, pretty despicable people. However, you know why we don’t hear much about the good people getting busted? It’s because they take precautions necessary to minimize risk of getting busted for leaking classified stuff of authoritarians. Many of the bad people don’t even do that.

So people hear all the bad stuff happening. The bad people getting busted. But they rarely hear about the good people who get busted by the CCP or despot states since those good people who use the TOR network don’t get caught.

As for hidden services, I’m skeptical if the benefits of this additional increase in security is even necessary. And at what cost. Perhaps one of you could run a cost / benefit analysis?