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Re: [tor-talk] Are webmail providers biased against Tor?



On 2015-03-16 23:01, Richard Leckinger wrote:
On 2015-03-16 11:33, Sukhbir Singh wrote:

Mike Hearn from Google addressed this issue on the tor-talk mailing list
in October 2012, where he said this:

"Access to Google accounts via Tor (or any anonymizing proxy service) is
not allowed unless you have established a track record of using those
services beforehand."

(https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-talk/2012-October/025923.html)

The impression seems to be that Tor is ipso facto suspicious to Gmail irrespective of the exit node's location, whereas "abnormal" IPs (e.g. those from Nepal) are only suspicious if they originate from outside the usual geographical location of the user.

I can verify Hearn's (Google's) statement from my own experience at
least. I am a long time user of the privateinternetaccess VPN. If I
log into gmail from Germany, London, US East or US West or from home
in New Zealand, I no longer get asked for validation when using an
anonymous proxy. However, when I logged in via the new riseup.net VPN
(Seattle) recently, or whenever I use an unfamiliar PIA proxy, I have
been asked for validation.

So google is keeping track of which regions (IP ranges?) I'm coming
from, and adjusting my profile. It took google several months to stop
asking me if I wanted to change my default search engine country, but
their algorithm did eventually back off.

I think 'track record' is the relevant point. Everywhere is suspicious
until you have a track record of accessing google from there. Tor by
design is meant to prevent any track record from developing.


Thank you for this information. The other issue is whether the fingerprint of the TBB raises suspicions. The website http://whatsmyuseragent.com shows:

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; rv:31.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/31.0

I don't know if this is a common (non-TBB) string. Could this also cause Gmail's algorithms to request validation?

In terms of IP addresses, I would expect Gmail to object if a New Zealand user started to login from Nepal. My issue is whether Gmail should object if a New Zealand user (based in Auckland) logged in with a VPN or tor exit node based in Auckland.
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