For many years, Tor is having issues with malicious relays.
Verifying/contacting operators via their email addresses seems to be not an option.
Wouldn't it be feasible for the Tor project to set up a certificate authority and provide certificates to operators, so they can run relays with certificates, and thus relays without certificate (i.e. malicious relays) are not used for routing anymore?
Those certificates/operators could have different trust levels, which e.g. allows operators with a high trust level (e.g. personal acquaintance) to run many nodes, and operators with limited trust level (email contact) to run less nodes/bandwidth.
I think from a technical perspective that could be a solution for removing malicious relays, but I'm sure that I'm the first person to come up with such an idea.
So I assume there are other reasons for not following such an approach, and I'd like to learn about them. I could think of
- effort for the Tor project (the process to set up/operate a CA, decide on trust levels, and to provide certificates). At the same time, it might save effort for finding ways to identify and remove malicious relays
- additional computing resources needed for nodes to sign/verify challenges