US District Judge Richard Jones has ruled that Tor users lack a reasonable expectation of privacy and also revealed the government paid researchers $1 million to hack the Tor network. The Tor Project already knew they had been hacked but it is now official after Judge Jones’s ruling. A research team at Carnegie Mellon University were paid by the United States Department of Defense to undertake and execute the operation. The University was compensated with a cool million dollars and the Tor Project alleges the FBI used the data to troll for possible crimes. The DOD commissioned the hack in order to help the FBI deny involvement in the hack, CMU turned over the research to DOD and DOD in turn to the FBI.
“It is the Court’s understanding that in order for a prospective user to use the Tor network they must disclose information, including their IP addresses, to unknown individuals running Tor nodes, so that their communications can be directed toward their destinations. Under such a system, an individual would necessarily be disclosing his identifying information to complete strangers,” wrote Judge Jones.
“Tor users clearly lack a reasonable expectation of privacy in their IP addresses while using the Tor network. In other words, they are taking a significant gamble on any real expectation of privacy under these circumstances.”
The Tor Project believe Judge Jones is misunderstanding how the Tor system actually works and argue the opposite point of Jones.
“While it is true that users ‘disclose information, including their IP addresses, to unknown individuals running Tor nodes’, that information gets stripped from messages as they pass through Tor’s private network pathways,” they say.
It’s a new age of the Internet and the battle for individual privacy and expectation of privacy is just going to continue to be a hot button topic. With Apple currently battling the FBI over unlocking an iPhone used in a crime maybe it is time for a nationwide discussion on these matters. Decisions cannot be made in haste with one party pushing an agenda hard over the other, we all need to educate ourselves and new laws governing Internet privacy are likely going to be written.
What do you think of Judge Jones ruling? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.Source: Forbes