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German Police Arrest Admin of Tor Anonymity Server 428

Posted by Zonk
from the good-guys-never-win dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In a recent blog posting, a German operator of a Tor anonymous proxy server revealed that he was arrested by German police officers at the end of July. Showing up at his house at midnight on a Sunday night, police cuffed and arrested him in front of his wife and seized his equipment. In a display of both bitter irony and incompetence, the police did not take or shut-down the Tor server responsible for the traffic they were interested in, which was located in a data center, over 500km away. In the last year, Germany has passed a draconian new anti-security research law and raided seven different data centers to seize Tor servers. While back in 2003, A German court ordered the developers of a different anonymity network to build a back-door into their system."
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German Police Arrest Admin of Tor Anonymity Server

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  • Typo? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    should it be from the good guys never win dept.? or am i missing something about the almightiness or Tor?
  • Securty vs Freedom (Score:3, Insightful)

    by downix (84795) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @01:41PM (#20626857) Homepage
    People that trade freedom for security shall recieve neither.
    • by m0ns00n (943739) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @01:44PM (#20626891)
      Germany is soon becoming a screwed up democracy like the USA. I wonder how far this will go until western rooted terrorism comes on par with middle eastern terrorism. If the western governments continue to assault their people like this, terrorism will only grow in scope and severity. Their war on terror will obviously only generate more of what they are fighting. Too bad the politicians slept in class.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by downix (84795)
        Too true. There comes a time when a government turns on the very people it was designed to nurture, and the results can be disasterous.

        Does anyone recall the French Revolution?
        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 16, 2007 @01:54PM (#20626987)
          I do.. took us weeks to get it to revolve
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by h4rm0ny (722443)

          Good luck to this guy. Tor is very useful in preserving our privacy. Electronic communication has been a massive free party for government and police surveillance as people have been sending their communications around in ways that are as secure as a postcard. Now people are catching on and taking their privacy back and these agencies are reacting with aggression. If they want to snoop on someone then they can go through the traditional channels and not crack down on the anonymity and privacy of all of us,
        • by Original Replica (908688) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @02:06PM (#20627083) Journal
          Does anyone recall the French Revolution?

          Our leaders, both in the EU and the US, paid careful attention to the lessons learned in the French Revolution, namely that as long as you keep your people well fed and entertained, you can do whatever you damn well please. In the French Revolution, the people storming the Bastille had nothing to lose. But our level of comfort is carefully maintained to keep actual violent revolt from ever happening. Even the poor in our countries have too much to lose (thanks to government programs)to risk anything angrier than waving a slogan on a posterboard sign.
          • by JackMeyhoff (1070484) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @02:43PM (#20627391)
            They only have the authority that YOU GIVE THEM. You can take that away just as easily. Turn your back on the government that you give authority to and they will go away. I have had the police knock on my door many times in a dispute with my neighbour, I never opened the door. Why? BECAUSE I DID NOT GIVE THE POLICE ANY AUTHORITY OVER ME to come in :) They have no power if I do not give it to them. Easy. Now get your act together, government is made up of people. People only have power of you if you let them. Ignore them, they don't exist.
            • by Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @02:48PM (#20627437) Homepage Journal
              You are a brave man.
              I gotta warn you, I know of localities where the cops break down doors. If that ever happens in your area, to your door, who are you gonna call? Or do you just plan to break out the ammo?
              • by unlametheweak (1102159) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @05:23PM (#20628725)

                I gotta warn you, I know of localities where the cops break down doors. If that ever happens in your area, to your door, who are you gonna call?

                The most realistic alternative is to call the news media (or anyone you know who has a video camera).
              • by z4ckpete (1108053) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @06:37PM (#20629285)

                who are you gonna call?
                Ghostbusters.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by OrangeTide (124937)
                it's considered suspicious when someone refuses to answer the door to the police. if they know you are there, they will bust down the door and drag you down to the station and eventually release you a few hours later. There is nothing you can do to stop them because in that scenario nobody is going to be on your side.
                • by Dun Malg (230075) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @09:44PM (#20631075) Homepage

                  it's considered suspicious when someone refuses to answer the door to the police. if they know you are there, they will bust down the door and drag you down to the station and eventually release you a few hours later. There is nothing you can do to stop them because in that scenario nobody is going to be on your side.
                  That's absurd. Nobody rational would consider failing to answer the door at midnight, even for peole claiming to be police, "suspicious".
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Daimanta (1140543)

          Does anyone recall the French Revolution?
          Does anyone recall the bloody results from the French Revolution?

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reign_of_Terror [wikipedia.org]

          Don't sanctify it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Wowsers (1151731)
      Generally, we have no politicians with a degree in IT, but all useless subjects like politics, art, history etc. and these people are the ones pulling the technology strings of government (and hence your country). Many politicians don't even know how to send an e-mail!!!

      Politicians only believe in headline grabbing nonsense like we must crack down on internet porn, without understanding what they are saying and complexities. It helps that the masses are equally as thick so don't see right through the politi
      • Actually, politicians respond to "someone should make a law about that", or "someone should do something about that".

        The masses generally scream that "why doesn't someone do something about it"... whenever something is printed in a newspaper.

        Most people with IT degrees aren't very "social" and rarely run for office, if ever.
    • People that trade old memes for karma shall receive neither.
    • by mi (197448) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @02:57PM (#20627503) Homepage

      People that trade freedom for security shall recieve neither.

      The actual quote, which you failed to attribute, is by Benjamin Franklin and reads:

      They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.

      Note the adjectives "essential" and "temporary". To earn the "Insightful" moderations, which the clueless mods have given you already anyway, you must demonstrate, that the given-up liberty is essential, and that the gained security is only temporary.

      Can you? I don't think so...

      • by 1lus10n (586635)
        just because his statement is the exact one made by a famous dead guy doesnt make it any less true.
      • by BillyBlaze (746775) <tomfelker@gmail.com> on Sunday September 16, 2007 @03:37PM (#20627821)
        Franklin is not placing limits on the types of liberty and security that it's acceptable to trade, but rather making a blanket statement that liberty is essential and security is temporary.

        That said: anonymous speech is pretty darn essential. I hope we can agree that free speech is essential, and in the face of governments that happily restrict it, anonymity is a necessary tool to exercise that right without getting imprisoned or killed. And the security we would gain is temporary - if the ter'ists, pedophiles, Holocaust deniers, or pirates are using Tor, and we shut it down, they'll just switch to something else.
  • silly germany (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wizardforce (1005805) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @01:44PM (#20626899) Journal
    Do they not realize that the vast majority of people who use that software do not live under their laws and thus make the law utterly useless either way? of course they do, it isn't about actually solving problems, it's about looking like your trying to solve problems. it works in every country.
    • Re:silly germany (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ScrewMaster (602015) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @02:05PM (#20627075)
      it works in every country.

      Except in those countries which offer their people no accountability or transparency from the outset, and consequently have no need to rationalize their self-serving behavior to said people. I don't presently live in one of those places, but as things are going, I will end up in one of those places by simply staying where I am. There's something very wrong going on here.

      Whatever this is, it's not just the United States that is affected. A number of nations are going down this road ... I don't know if fear of terrorism is an adequate explanation. I agree, it's being used as a template for justifying all kinds of authoritarian activities, but there's a lot of high-level multinational power mongering going on and we're not privy to the details.

      The excessive desire for power (is there a medical term for it? Megalomania perhaps?) needs to be something for which politicians are regularly checked (much like high-end call-girls are regularly tested for disease), with not having it a prerequisite for holding public office.
    • by westlake (615356)
      Do they not realize that the vast majority of people who use that software do not live under their laws?

      If the users aren't German, then the users can be ignored. The geek seems to favor local authority only when it is convenient.

  • 500km? (Score:5, Funny)

    by flyingfsck (986395) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @01:44PM (#20626901)
    That puts the server in another country I guess. Anyhoo, it sounds like is time to escape Honecker and the Stasi and jump the wall... Uhh, what?
  • Suggestion (Score:5, Funny)

    by markov_chain (202465) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @01:45PM (#20626903) Homepage
    I propose to suspend Godwin's law for this article, because it will be really difficult to have a debate of any depth.
    • NAZIS! NAZIS! NAZIS!

      Ok, now that we can all move on with a more in-depth discussion.
    • by patio11 (857072) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @02:01PM (#20627039)
      He was arrested. He will now go into extended negotiations with a prosecutor, during the entirety of which he will have a lawyer present. If the negotiations don't go favorably for him, he will have a fair trial. He will probably be convicted of it, which is an occupational hazard of doing things which the government has illegalized. After being convicted, he will be given a first-time-offender wrist-slap, probably a few months of probation and a stern warning not to do it again. Perhaps he will spend a few months of not-terribly-rigorous time in jail -- I'd bet against it but I'm not German. He'll lose quite a bit of money to attourney fees, less whatever the Tor community raises for his defense (I'm not optimistic), and probably have some equipment seized.

      You know what doesn't happen?

      He doesn't get summarily executed.
      His wife doesn't get raped at gunpoint.
      His child doesn't get burned in an oven.

      People throw around the word fascist to describe any policy they don't like (that core observation is the heart of Godwin's law). Excepting the geographical accident that places both of them in Germany, there is NOTHING analagous between Nazism and the actions of the government in this case. If you want to convince people of the rightness of deploying a Tor network, keep a cool head and do not use any goose-stepping analogies, because they will brand you as a perspectiveless fanatic who is not to be taken seriously.
      • by Scudsucker (17617) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @02:11PM (#20627151) Homepage Journal
        But I don't see any reasonableness in prosecuting an inherently reasonable law. Like that (black) high school student who had the book thrown at him for having sex with his (white) girlfriend because she was a couple years younger than him and broke an asinine law in Georgia [go.com].

        People throw around the word fascist to describe any policy they don't like (that core observation is the heart of Godwin's law). Excepting the geographical accident that places both of them in Germany, there is NOTHING analagous between Nazism and the actions of the government in this case.

        So what? Was Mussolini German?
      • by erlehmann (1045500) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @02:17PM (#20627217)

        He will probably be convicted [...], which is an occupational hazard of doing things which the government has illegalized.
        as i pointed out, the thing he did isn't a crime. [slashdot.org]

        the point is, that this is either
        a) police stupidity
        b) scare tactics

        i'd safely bet on the latter.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by DaedalusHKX (660194)
          There are two types of crimes.

          Malum in se --> Bad in and of itself. These are true crimes. Anyone who has them done against them will object to these... they have victims that can always be identified. These crimes can always be identified as the initiation of force against a victim of some sort. Even the dumping of chemicals into the water supply has human victims.

          Examples of things that are bad in and of themselves...
          --rape (physical invasion), murder(deprivation of life), kidnapping(deprivation
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Chandon Seldon (43083)

            Malum in se --> Bad in and of itself. These are true crimes. Anyone who has them done against them will object to these... they have victims that can always be identified. These crimes can always be identified as the initiation of force against a victim of some sort. Even the dumping of chemicals into the water supply has human victims.

            Not all crimes that, as crimes, appear to meet the criteria for this category are crimes in themselves. Consider a law against fat guys going shirtless at the beach. If t

            • by DaedalusHKX (660194) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @04:32PM (#20628305) Journal
              Yes, but in any free society, you can also pick on the fat guy.

              Maybe if it happened, more fat guys would get in shape. I did it. Long story, but if a man wants to do something, nothing stops him. Same for the ladies.

              On the other hand... who's the idiot who came up with the idea to teach our kids that seeing something will traumatize them? It is the fear of excelling that makes most people complacent. Afraid of blood? Take a class on first aid. Afraid of sharks? Go shark fishing. Afraid of guns? Take a rifle or pistol class. Afraid of freedom? Try it :) Challenging fears and beating them down is more liberating than all the fancy documents written by our ancestors. Hence why I love coming on here now and arguing in my free time.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Chandon Seldon (43083)

                On the other hand... who's the idiot who came up with the idea to teach our kids that seeing something will traumatize them?

                This is actually more important and basic than that. The question is this: What sort of idiot parent would *ever* let their kid be told that they should be mentally traumatized over anything? I don't care if your kid just stepped on a land mine and lost his leg - you tell him "you'll be fine" and smile at him as you apply the tourniquet. Hysteria or "omg that's so horrible" will just

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Lord Kano (13027)
        Excepting the geographical accident that places both of them in Germany, there is NOTHING analagous between Nazism and the actions of the government in this case.

        Except, of course, for the fact that the Nazis made something illegal that was perfectly legal in the rest of the sane world.

        LK
      • First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me. -- Pastor Martin Niemöller
      • by xtal (49134)

        Excepting the geographical accident that places both of them in Germany, there is NOTHING analagous between Nazism and the actions of the government in this case.


        Perhaps if more people spoke up sooner, the camps might not have happened. The rise of the third reich did not happen overnight.

      • I think you have completely missed the points of people who make comparisons between the fascists of the 1930's and today's western governments. It isn't about the actions of the fascists of the 1940's... summary executions, rape as a weapon of the state, state sponsored genocide being perpetrated now, today but rather people fear that the signs we see today will metastasize as they did in the 1940's.

        One can see in the news and on the internet these changes in Character of the United States:

                * Nationalism in the United States has turned to nasty xenophobic bigotry with splash of jingoism with a patriotic veneer.
                * Human Rights so important to the founders of this country have been reduced or abandoned.
                * Many right of center Americans have identified Muslims as enemies of the state and immigrants as the cause of financial hardships and increased violent crime in their community.
                * The US spends more money, today on its military than the rest of the world *combined*.
                * The US media has changed in recent years, the is one outlet which is a blatant propaganda arm of the current administration and the others are controlled by select few very, very wealthy men.... today the news reported in the US is markedly different than the news reported in other nations (and the assessment of freedom of the press has plummeted in the last 15 years).
                * The national obsession with security is also remarkable... many experts decry the stupidity and ineffectiveness of this yet nearly monthly there are reports of egregious and or silly interference of security officers.
                * Religion has become a remarkably scary thing in the US. Politicians are expected to profess belief in Christianity, yet politicians of other faiths are viewed with suspicion and men who profess no beliefs are reviled. A sizable minority of Christians today believe that the United States should not be a secular national but rather a Christian nation and there are Christian Reconstructionist groups in government today furthering this goal.... it's a plank in ideology of the NeoConservative group the Project for a new American century whose members have been in power in the US for the last 7 years.
                * Corporations are held above citizens in todays America. The interests of corporations are promoted within the government by a byzantine system of lobbyists and special interest groups who wield far more power than any citizen's group.
                * Cronyism within the administration of George W. Bush has been significant and harmful. Do I really need to list all the incompetent people in positions of power, or can I just say "Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job".
                * The elections today have significant irregularities and those people in government irresponsible for them have done little to ensure and accurate and fair count.

        Now it's true that to date there are a few examples in the above list that equate to violence seen in 1940's Europe. As it is also true that United States of America does not demonstrate all the qualities of Fascist States.

        However it's also true than everything on that list is worse than it was 10 to 15 years ago. So I my opinion it's time to stop objecting to the comparison.
      • You're right.

        The Nazis were german socialists. The Italians were fascists, Spain at the time was Fascist, and 1900-1930 America was prone to glorifying fascists and pretty much anyone that opposed communism. Hence why whoever studies history will find that many newspapers and radio broadcasts gushed all over Hitler at the time. Course sometime later they did a remarkable "about face" and gushed socialism... prodded the populace to fight on England's side.
      • by Skapare (16644)

        No, Germany has not slipped back into being a facist state. But it is slipping. There are elements in the government trying to give it a push in that very direction, just as there are similar elements in the USA. The problem is not enough people are pushing back. Until it becomes widely recognized what is happening, not enough people will. This is what happened in the 1920's and 1930's. People who warned others about what was to come were not taken seriously.

        I agree: analogies to activities of the Sc

      • by kocsonya (141716) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @06:25PM (#20629187)
        People throw around the word fascist when they see something charactersitically fascist. For example, when the 'state' trumps anything 'civil'. When the individual does not matter any more. When the state and the corporate world become intimately intertwined.

        Fascism is *not* summary executions, torture, rape and pillage. Fascism is an ideology which values not human beings but abstact constructs such as the state, glory, heroism, nation and whatnot.

        However, fascism, since it states that the individual is nothing, tends to constantly evaporate any civil liberties still remaining and of course more and more strictly dictate what the citizenry can (or must) do. Keeping people in fear is a very efficient way to achieve the above. Now you can use all sorts of things to plant fear in people, starting from the 24/7 propaganda about the dangers of an imminent nukular ter'ist attack, through the black car with people in dark leather coats at your doorstep at 3 in the morning, to the less subtle police SWAT raids on your home, to publicly executing innocent people on the Underground, up all to the more extrame cases of child rotissery you mentioned.

        Nevertheless, those are just methods from which a fascist state can choose from. Torture is not an indication of fascism; torture happens where fascism is not involved and fascism can be instated without any sort of torture. A state which marches on the way of taking away individual rights while empowering the state/corporate elite *is* fascist, whether it does summary executions on the spot or not.
      • by hackus (159037) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @11:14PM (#20631671) Homepage
        "He doesn't get summarily executed.
        His wife doesn't get raped at gunpoint.
        His child doesn't get burned in an oven."

        Mmmm....mighty fine line there what you describe.

        How many times in history can we define where governments take small steps up to the above, and each time citizens proclaim it fascism?

        Right now in the USA, the constitution of our country is looked upon a merely a "historical" document, nothing really practical to base a government on.

        I mean, right now you have people arguing that the right to bear arms is really not needed anymore, and that it causes too many problems for example. Even arguing that the only people who should have the right to arms is the military or police.

        These people honestly believe that the USA government couldn't possibly turn on its citizens, or its systems of law and justice could not either.

        I point this out because the government has already marginalized most of the population in this country as both the democratic and republican parties themselves are widely known to be corrupt and simply corporate fronts to tame the populace. (i.e. as long as the population THINKS voting is making a difference and they THINK they are choosing candidates, they will not interested in what is really going on.)

        Small steps to fascism do not need to be compared against its extremes. History shows us they are all the same and have the same tragic results.

        Almost all of it is due to human greed, and the lust for power.

        The only sure thing we can count on, is that in the end all governments, with no exceptions, crumble to dust and the tyranny they leave behind form better lessons for us to begin again.

        The USA will not be any different.

        -Hack

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jc42 (318812)
      I propose to suspend Godwin's law for this article, ...

      Heh; good suggestion.

      In high school, I took a couple years of German from a teacher who was born here in the US, of German immigrant parents. She taught us a lot of German proverbs, and one of the first (also the title of a well-known folk song) was "die Gedanken sind frei" [wikipedia.org], or "[my/our] Thoughts are Free". Her point was that the sort of repression recently imposed by the Nazis wasn't at all an aberration in German-speaking society; it was really just
  • Chilling effect (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jc42 (318812) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @01:53PM (#20626971) Homepage Journal
    We can now easily predict that the German government will soon find it difficult to hire people with an admitted knowledge of computer security topics. If you were German, would you admit to such knowledge to an official questioner?

    Sorta like how the US government has been complaining about the difficulty of hiring Arabic translators, despite the statistics from a few years back saying that there were several million US residence who were fluent in Arabic. (And, contrary to the jokes going around, they aren't all gay. ;-)

    It's commonly known as "shooting yourself in the foot".

    • by sco08y (615665)
      Sorta like how the US government has been complaining about the difficulty of hiring Arabic translators, despite the statistics from a few years back saying that there were several million US residence who were fluent in Arabic.

      Try 600,000, by the last census. I've worked with Arabic linguists before. The problem in recruiting is that the pay isn't all that great, the job is incredibly boring and has no career advancement. You basically have to be smart, but not too smart (or you'll already have a better pa
      • by jc42 (318812)
        Try 600,000 [US Arabic speakers], by the last census.

        Such numbers are notoriously variable, as they depend on your definition. Here's an interesting article on the general topic [ignatius.edu]. They mention that different studies differ by around a factor of two for the number of "speakers" of English, Spanish and Hindi. I've read a number of similar discussions that mention such problems as whether children are counted (probably not if you're counting voters or looking to hire translators) or whether there's any sort
    • Sorta like how the US government has been complaining about the difficulty of hiring Arabic translators, despite the statistics from a few years back saying that there were several million US residence who were fluent in Arabic. (And, contrary to the jokes going around, they aren't all gay. ;-)

      I think there's a key difference between the security law and the US translator issue. It's not illegal to speak Arabic, be an Arabic translator, have any number of Arabic books and training aids, nor is it illegal t
  • by Nimey (114278) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @02:06PM (#20627087) Homepage Journal
    But... but... doesn't he have any First Amendment rights?
    [/merkin]

    But to go to ha-ha-only-serious land, our laws seem to extend to other countries anyway. When it suits us.
  • by Splab (574204) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @02:13PM (#20627175)
    yesterday when the powers that be introduced the logging act. All data connections, emails and phone calls has to be logged and kept on record for at least a year. Beat that!
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Arkan (24212)
      Easy: 2 years of retention in France for any internet connection. And the ISP are the one footing the bill for processing power/storage/whatever it takes to comply.

      --
      Arkan
  • Scare tactic. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @02:29PM (#20627289)
    People are making a big deal out of supposed incompetence of the German police in that they didn't even get the actual Tor server. Who cares? That's irrelevant. This is not about taking down a single Tor node. This is about sending a message ... run one of these and you are at risk, and when we decide to confiscate your property we're not going to be too careful about what we take. They probably figure that will be enough to keep a bunch of nerds in line.
  • Fire that lawmaker (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jonfr (888673)
    However wrote that securty "law" sould be fired and never allowed to write anything close to a rules or laws. This laws are ofcourse only going to make Germany the favorite spot for virus makers, since securtie flaws dont get fixed.

    Happy new computer virus infected Germany!

    (Or rather, to hell with it.)
  • by mi (197448) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @02:52PM (#20627455) Homepage

    In a recent blog posting, a German operator of a Tor anonymous proxy server revealed that he was arrested by German police officers at the end of July.

    Had it really been the Nazi's Gestapo, he would not be posting anything in September...

    Zonk et al. really need to glue a nicely printed and framed quote of the Godwin's Law [jargon.net] on their beds' footboards, to make it the first thing they see waking up...

    Godwin's Law /prov./ [Usenet] "As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one." There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress.
    • by temcat (873475)
      There is a cowardly tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress

      There, fixed it for you.
    • by unity100 (970058) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @04:35PM (#20628327) Homepage Journal
      with that tradition :

      There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress.


      nazis are one of the biggest lessons that have happened to mankind. if some bunch of idiots can not realize that there are places that this example should be recalled, then its not worth to waste words with them.
  • by SiliconEntity (448450) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @02:58PM (#20627513)
    Tor users should run Trusted Computers. This is a technology that lets remote observers check the software configuration of the system they are connecting to. Most people think it is only for DRM but actually it has many privacy-protecting uses. If a Tor system were a TC, remote Tor clients could check that the Tor server was not logging connections, running a version of Tor with a back door, or doing other things to infringe privacy. Then if you were asked by a court why you didn't add features to your Tor software to log users and such, you could explain that if you did so, remote clients would be able to tell (due to Trusted Computing features) and so they would refuse to connect to your system and refuse to use it. Likewise if you were ordered to run a backdoored version of Tor it would not be effective, because people could see what you were doing.

    Ironically, Trusted Computing, hated by the larger Internet community, can actually play an important part in protecting privacy. It is unfortunate that uninformed opposition has slowed the adoption of this potentially very useful and helpful technology. I am working hard to advance Trusted Computing and I can't wait for the day when I can run transparent servers which remote clients will be able to validate and trust. Someday I expect that all Tor servers, anonymous remailers and other privacy protecting technologies will run on Trusted Computers.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by domatic (1128127)
      The problem is that Trusted Computers will have keys built in that the owner of the machine doesn't control. These will be used by major software vendors and the entertainment industry against their own customers. If the TPM was a blank slate utterly under the owner of the PC's control then I'd agree with you that TC has beneficent uses. Unfortunately, TPM is slated to be used as a built-in universal super dongle and that overshadows any positive use of the technology; I only tend to favor technology tha
  • by aepervius (535155) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @04:09PM (#20628097)
    But did ANY OF YOU read the frigging article ? Let me quote it for you with relevant part in bold.
    The police were investigating a bomb threat posted to an online forum for German police officers. The police traced one of the objectionable posts on the forum to the ip address for Janssen's server. Up until his arrest, Alex Janssen's Tor server carried over 40GB of other random strangers' Internet traffic each day. Showing up at his house at midnight on a Sunday night, police cuffed and arrested him in front of his wife and seized his equipment. In a display of both bitter irony and incompetence, the police did not take or shut-down the Tor server responsible for the traffic they were interested in, which was located in a different city, over 500km away. Janssen's attempts to explain what Tor is to the police officers fell initially on deaf ears. After being interrogated for hours, someone from the city of Düsseldorf's equivalent of the Department of Homeland Security showed up and admitted to Janssen that they'd made a mistake. He was released shortly after.

    Summary : somebody saw his server was the originator IP, somebody reacted quickly, a bit like the US homeland departement IMO could have done, and fell on the face because 1) they gathered the wrong PC 2) once the dust settled they recognized their error after being interrogated for horus. Not DAYS. Not MONTH. Hours. Sure it sucks but it was a bomb threat, in other word there was urgency, and they did not torture him, they did not water board him and pretend afterward it ain't torture. They interrogated him for hours and released him and admitted mistake.

    And people here are taking comparison to loss of liberty and Nazi ? Hellllooo ? Knee jerk reaction ?
  • Dont.... (Score:3, Funny)

    by PrimeNumber (136578) <PrimeNumberNO@SPAMexcite.com> on Sunday September 16, 2007 @05:34PM (#20628809) Homepage
    ....turn around, uh-oh
    Der Kommissar's in town, uh-oh
    And if he talks to you
    And you don't know why
    The more you live
    The faster you will die
  • by vorlich (972710) on Sunday September 16, 2007 @05:34PM (#20628815) Homepage Journal
    We have been through all of this Red Herring before and it won't make any difference. There is no point trying to understand how unimportant this discussion is if you don't understand today's Germany. Germany is the biggest exporting nation on Earth and it is the biggest player in the EU - which is the biggest market on Earth. Post war Germany actively chose the social democrat model for their economy and political system. It has the finest constitution in Europe (modelled on the US but containing substantially more pages!) the welfare state supports everyone and the growing economy provides the work that creates the wealth that pays for all this. It is normal for such a society to create a bunch of laws odd to English speakers - but then my own country doesn't even have a written constitution and our councils tax the individuals home. The present day German is focussed on career, personal improvement and health and very little else.

    It is an unusual characteristic of Germany that everyone suffers from angst (fair enough, they invented the word) but the angst is all about really unlikely events (acrylimide in barbeque food causing cancer for example) and yet they throw caution to the winds the moment they get in a car.

    This angst condition is so endemic I have christened it "Fright Club". Only a few weeks ago they were obsessed with "wifi smog" people were switching of their routers and phones to protect themselves from this new scourge. It didn't appear to stop them from watching television or listening to the radio, but there you go - science and magic confused or just interchangeable.

    Coupled with this angst is another curious condition called Gründlichkeit or thoroughness. Gründlichkeit is just so much part of the German character. Back in Scotland you could read the important parts of the Blue Book tax guide in the bookshop and easily identify any new legal tax avoidance strategies. You couldn't do that with the German Tax Books because there are about 127 of them (the last time I tried to count them). My accountant just photocopies pages out and sticks them in the tax return. You have to pay canal tax but there's no canal and you don't get one either.

    In Germany when you change your address, you have to inform the special municipal department -Wohnamtmeldegung- (department of names and addresses)of the change and fill in three forms. A group of students could not understand how this did not exist in Britain or USA. "What's to stop you getting on a plane, flying to the UK, robbing a bank and then flying home?" was their completely serious question and my answer: "Even German bank robbers don't normally use their identity cards or leave a forwarding address during the robbery," leaves them completely unconvinced.

    Conversation with Wohnamt Official:

    Official:"What is your father's occupation?"

    "He's dead, what difference does it make?"

    Official:"I have a space in the form for it"

    "which job would you like?"

    Official:"His last one..."

    Official:"What religion are you?"

    (proudly) "Agnostic"

    Official:"You can have: Catholic, Protestant or atheist."

    "But I'm an agnostic"

    Official: Ticks 'atheist'

    As for thoroughness, Non-German partners are often very surprised when they clean the entire house from top to bottom only to have their partner point out that they forgot the single cup they drank their post cleaning coffee in which is standing on the immaculate sink - dirty. There is no mention of all the good work, because the concept of balancing good things against negative things (one good thing outweighs loads of bad things) is rather specific to English speakers. German anthropology uses the concept of a linear measure of perfection (or distance from it!) and the streets are so clean you could eat your dinner off them. Well, almost but this is the real reason behind this action, more national character than conspiracy.

    Germany has these laws and they pale into insignificance compared to the UK's
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      So why exactly do you make the same off-topic post any time there is an article on Slashdot that is unfavorable to Germany?

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

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