Stand by your Library!

First Library to Support Anonymous Internet Browsing Effort Stops After DHS Email by Julia Angwin.

From the post:

In July, the Kilton Public Library in Lebanon, New Hampshire, was the first library in the country to become part of the anonymous Web surfing service Tor. The library allowed Tor users around the world to bounce their Internet traffic through the library, thus masking users’ locations.

Soon after state authorities received an email about it from an agent at the Department of Homeland Security.

“The Department of Homeland Security got in touch with our Police Department,” said Sean Fleming, the library director of the Lebanon Public Libraries.

After a meeting at which local police and city officials discussed how Tor could be exploited by criminals, the library pulled the plug on the project.

“Right now we’re on pause,” said Fleming. “We really weren’t anticipating that there would be any controversy at all.”

He said that the library board of trustees will vote on whether to turn the service back on at its meeting on Sept. 15.

See Julia’s post for the details but this was just the first library in what was planned to be a series of public libraries across the United States offering Tor. An article about that plan in ArsTechnica tipped off law enforcement before nationwide Tor services could be established.

The public statements by law enforcement sound reasonable, need all the issues on the table, etc., but make no mistake, this is an effort to cripple making the Tor service far more effective than it is today.

There isn’t any middle ground where citizens can have privacy and yet criminals can be prevented from having privacy. After all, unless and until you are convicted in a court of law, you are a citizen, not a criminal.

There is a certain cost to the presumption of innocence and that cost has been present since the Constiution was adopted. Guilty people may go free or perhaps not even be caught because of your rights under the U.S. Constitution.

If you are in Lebanon, New Hampshire, attend the library supervisor’s meeting and voice support for Tor!

If you can’t make the meeting, ask your library for Tor. (See the ArsTechnica post for more details on the project.)

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