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[tor-talk] Tor Weekly News — February 4th, 2015



========================================================================
Tor Weekly News                                       February 4th, 2015
========================================================================

Welcome to the fifth issue in 2015 of Tor Weekly News, the weekly
newsletter that covers what’s happening in the Tor community.

Mozilla’s Tor relays go live
----------------------------

Late last year, Mozilla announced [1] its partnership with the Tor
Project in the Polaris Privacy Initiative [2], a program aimed at
“giving users more control, awareness and protection in their Web
experiences”. One of the two Tor-related “experiments” Mozilla planned
to carry out was the operation of several high-capacity middle relays,
and last week Mozilla’s Network Engineering team announced that the new
nodes [3] had been running for several weeks, in a blog post [4] that
explores the technical decisions and challenges they faced in setting
them up.

The team discussed the hardware and infrastructure chosen for the
relays, configuration management using Ansible (publishing their
playbook [5] at the same time), and security practices, as well as
announcing their intention to continue posting about their experiences
and findings during the experiment.

Thanks to Mozilla for this contribution to the Tor network!

  [1]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-news/2014-November/000071.html
  [2]: https://blog.mozilla.org/privacy/2014/11/10/introducing-polaris-privacy-initiative-to-accelerate-user-focused-privacy-online/
  [3]: https://globe.torproject.org/#/search/query=mozilla
  [4]: https://blog.mozilla.org/it/2015/01/28/deploying-tor-relays/
  [5]: https://github.com/XioNoX/moz-tor-relays/

Monthly status reports for January 2015
---------------------------------------

The wave of regular monthly reports from Tor project members for the
month of January has begun. Juha Nurmi released his report first [6],
followed by reports from Philipp Winter [7], Damian Johnson [8], Sherief
Alaa [9], Georg Koppen [10], and David Goulet [11].

  [6]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-reports/2015-January/000748.html
  [7]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-reports/2015-January/000749.html
  [8]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-reports/2015-February/000750.html
  [9]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-reports/2015-February/000751.html
 [10]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-reports/2015-February/000752.html
 [11]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-reports/2015-February/000753.html

Miscellaneous news
------------------

meejah announced [12] version 0.12.0 of txtorcon, the Tor controller
client in Twisted; please see the announcement for a full list of
improvements.

 [12]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-dev/2015-February/008227.html

Nick Mathewson submitted a draft of proposal 241 [13], which aims to
protect users against adversaries who are able to attack their
connectivity to the Tor network and force them to use malicious guard
nodes. Roger Dingledine offered [14] some further thoughts.

 [13]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-dev/2015-February/008223.html
 [14]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-dev/2015-February/008226.html

Nick also set out the schedule for the Tor 0.2.6 feature freeze [15].

 [15]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-dev/2015-January/008216.html

After reports from users that Tor Browser’s default obfs4 bridges are no
longer usable in China, David Fifield estimated [16] the time it takes
for the “Great Firewall” to react to new circumvention systems as lying
“between 2 and 10 weeks”, and asked for additional data to narrow the
range further.

 [16]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-dev/2015-February/008222.html

Isis Lovecruft “would be super stoked if we could make it as easy and
seamless as possible for the bridge operators who are still running
obfs2 (!!) to move to supporting better, newer pluggable transports”,
such as obfs4, and wondered [17] how to make it possible for operators
running Debian stable to get the necessary dependencies onto their
system without extensive backporting: “If someone has done this, or has
another simple solution, would you mind writing up some short how-to on
the steps you took, please?”

 [17]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-relays/2015-February/006346.html

The Tails team continued to discuss [18] the advantages and
disadvantages of removing AdBlock Plus from Tails’ version of Tor
Browser.

 [18]: https://mailman.boum.org/pipermail/tails-dev/2015-February/008003.html

Sadia Afroz compiled a timeline of Tor blocking events, and shared [19]
it with the ooni-dev mailing list, along with a request for missing data
points; Collin Anderson responded [20] with some additional information.

 [19]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/ooni-dev/2015-February/000241.html
 [20]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/ooni-dev/2015-February/000242.html

Patrick Schleizer announced [21] that the Whonix team is looking for “a
sponsor who is willing to donate a suitable sized virtual or root
server”, and gave a list of planned requirements. If you can meet this
need, please see Patrick’s message for next steps.

 [21]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-talk/2015-February/036675.html

Konstantin Müller shared [22] a report written as part of a Master’s
degree, offering an introduction to “the past, present, and future” of
Tor hidden services.

 [22]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-talk/2015-February/036709.html

News from Tor StackExchange
---------------------------

Windy wanted to know how often a client fetches consensus data from a
directory server [23]. Jens Kubieziel provided some information by
walking through the source code, and concluded: “every minute it is
checked if the consensus document is too old. If it is older than the
current time a new one will be fetched.”

 [23]: https://tor.stackexchange.com/q/6087/88

Upcoming events
---------------

  Feb 04 13:30 UTC | little-t tor development meeting
                   | #tor-dev, irc.oftc.net
                   |
  Feb 09 18:00 UTC | Tor Browser online meeting
                   | #tor-dev, irc.oftc.net
                   |
  Feb 09 18:00 UTC | OONI development meeting
                   | #ooni, irc.oftc.net
                   |
  Feb 10 18:00 UTC | little-t tor patch workshop
                   | #tor-dev, irc.oftc.net


This issue of Tor Weekly News has been assembled by qbi and Harmony.

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 [24]: https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/wiki/TorWeeklyNews
 [25]: https://lists.torproject.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/news-team
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