[tor-talk] Tor and P2P

Mike Perry mikeperry at torproject.org
Wed Sep 26 17:52:41 PDT 2012

Thus spake adrelanos (adrelanos at riseup.net):

> grarpamp:
> > Given that these services are surely coming in force... and from
> > directions that see these networks more as a raw transport than
> > say, primarily for the purposes outlined on their respective web
> > pages... it seems the usual echo of "we're a nice project, don't
> > do that, too much load" may not be useful. This should not imply
> > fault, but merely suggest that it's dated and hopeless.
> I tend to agree but I am not sure. At the moment I don't believe the Tor
> project will die soon. It's fine with me if we can continue use it for
> anonymous browsing, circumvention and so on for the next years.
> It's also questionable if the Tor project should try to get a big share
> of the people interested in anonymous p2p. I tend to think no, because
> this opens up the project for a lot negative press. That increases the
> risk for a new law to forbid the whole network in even more countries.
> Let other networks try that out.

Yeah. Due to my distributed systems background, I read "P2P" in this
thread as "peer to peer", not "filesharing". I assume that was the case
for most of the other Tor people commenting in this thread.

I would love it for Tor to support ways for people to communicate
without revealing either their social network or message content to the
network or infrastructure. I literally cannot stand the fact that there
are no ways to communicate right now without handing your social graph
to someone who wants to datamine it or sell it, or both.

I do think it is important to devote thought even to something as simple
as P2P chat, or we could end up destroying the network as soon as it
becomes popular, as Nathan and Robert said. Hidden services in Tor are
quite expensive: ~3-4X more expensive than exit circuits in terms of CPU
usage during connection setup, and 2X as expensive in terms of bandwidth
consumption during usage.

Because of this, I would be annoyed if people wrote bittorrent clients
that used hidden services the way I2P does. I would prefer it if people
focused such efforts on networks other than Tor, because I like Tor to
remain useful for things other than simply filesharing.

I recognize we don't have a whole lot of options to prevent such abuse,
but I am not opposed to stopgaps such as throttling loud clients and QoS
mechanisms to impact the popularity of resource-intensive filesharing

I suspect most of the other Tor folks in favor of "Tor and P2P" are in
the same boat.

Mike Perry

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