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Re: [tor-talk] Historically speaking, what was the U.S. navy /military



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> On Jul 29, 2015, at 9:50 AM, Paul Syverson <paul.syverson@nrl.navy.mil> wrote:
> 
> Hi Virgil,
> 
>> On Wed, Jul 29, 2015 at 12:32:56PM +0000, Virgil Griffith wrote:
>> intending to use Tor for?
>> 
>> I know the classic story of US intelligence agents wanting to phone home
>> from Beijing hotels without Chinese intelligence knowing they were phoning
>> home as a partial motivation for open-sourcing Tor.
>> 
>> But what was the Navy/military originally hoping to use Tor-related
>> protocols for? It's unclear to me what their historical motivations were.
> 
> If I'm understanding you, it's a question with a presupposition
> failure. Nobody came to us and said, "We have this problem we're
> encountering in the field.  How would you solve it?" We (David,
> Michael, and I) thought of an interesting research problem and
> solution area that could also ultimately result in technology that
> would be useful to the Navy. We then applied for funding to research it.
> 
> We came up ourselves with potential application suggestions such as
> open source intelligence gathering or "phoning home" as you put it.
> We also came up with other ideas (some good, some bad) and also talked
> to people about how it might be useful.  As another example that I
> remember from an early briefing slide: We knew about the 1991 pentagon
> pizza channel
> http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/government/a/war_and_pizza.htm 
> and we speculated that maybe in the future people would even be doing
> incredible stuff like ordering food online (The Web was only two years
> old at that point.)  We had a picture where the ordering
> information went over the Web from the Pentagon to Domino's and was
> routed by an enemy (Iraq at the time of the putative pizza channel
> concern). I remember a point I would make during presentations was
> that the enemy could see the number of orders made by people at the
> Pentagon to Domino's even if he couldn't break the encryption to know
> if they were for pepperoni or extra cheese.  (And this was years
> before ShmooCon 2005 when Nick Mathewson uttered the immortal line:
> "Look. Dan Kaminsky has just fit an entire meat-lover's pizza inside a
> DNS request.")
> 
> There is some more discussion of the history
> of onion routing (including Tor) here
> 
> http://www.acsac.org/2011/program/keynotes/syverson.pdf
> 
> also, though the slides above are not in it (I'll have to look around)
> for some other application ideas see
> http://www.onion-router.net/Publications/Briefing-1996.pdf 
> (Note that in those slides we said onion routers were Chaum mixes
> because when we told more experienced researchers about onion routing,
> they told us these were a form of Chaum mixes (with which we were
> initially unfamiliar).  We didn't really articulate the important
> differences till much later.)
> 
> 
> HTH,
> Paul
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