A note to Tor users:
If you didn't already know, Tor is a distributed anonymity network that allows anyone to use the Internet to both browse the web and publish information without giving away his or her identity. It's a wonderful step in the direction of privacy and it serves an increasingly important role in today's world. As far as usability goes, Tor clearly has more potential than any anonymity network that I've ever seen. Tor could very easily be the most powerful tool that we as everyday people have to combat the gradual removal of our personal rights and freedom.
However, as of right now its most likely cause of death is not an organization or government, but rather its own users who in some cases, perhaps out of ignorance, take advantage of privacy the Tor network affords them by hiding behind it to steal software, movies, and music. I'm not going to sit here and claim that I haven't pirated my fair share of all of the above; that's not what this is about. Before you use BitTorrent on Tor, please stop and consider the effect this has on the Tor network.
When you use BitTorrent on Tor, you're placing an incredible amount of burden on the network and sucking up the bandwidth that could have otherwise been used for the purpose of freely spreading information. You're discouraging people from donating their bandwidth to running the exit nodes that allow the Tor network to function. You're destroying everyone's ability to publish information without being persecuted by their government. You're destroying the privacy that so many people worked so hard to give us.
Besides, if you want to download files from a torrent, there are much more efficient and much faster ways of doing it.
See this article for example. Using Tor for your BitTorrent download will undoubtedly take much longer than any other method around.
A note to Tor Exit Node administrators:
You have the power to prevent people from using your exit node to waste your bandwidth and destroy Tor. Simply add the following lines to your exit policy and restart your exit node. This will in no way impact people who are using Tor for legitamate reasons.
ExitPolicy reject *:1214
ExitPolicy reject *:4661-4666
ExitPolicy reject *:6346-6429
ExitPolicy reject *:6881-6999
A note to all BitTorrent users:
It is, in theory, possible to slow down the abuse of Tor by configuring your BitTorrent client to block traffic that's going to or from Tor exit nodes. This will in turn slow down torrent download for people using the Tor network and will discurage people from abusing Tor in that matter. This is something I'm currently researching. What I'd like to do is offer a BT client-compatible block list that auto-refreshes based on known Tor exit nodes. This would allow BitTorrent users to block all torrent traffic to Tor users. If anyone has a better idea on how to combat torrent-related Tor abuse, by all means, please let me know.
Let's all work together to preserve the wonderful privacy Tor and the EFF has allowed us to enjoy!
Thanks for listening.