I've recently started running a Tor relay. However, upon further investigation I realized that I enable criminals and people of poor moral character to host hidden tor services where they publish pictures/videos of rape, child pornography, GF revenge photos, stolen credit cards and goods, botnet cnc, etc, with impunity and without legal consequences.

How can I prevent my Tor node from being used to access all hidden services? I run Tor so people in less fortunate countries have full access to information (like news, Wikipedia, etc) and avoid total government surveillance. But I don't want to support criminal behavior.

  • Are you set up as an exit node? Do you want to allow users to exit to public HTTP/HTTPS websites? Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 12:02
  • @AndrewLott No, I'm not an exit node.
    – Matrix
    Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 12:23
  • 1
    Supporting the Tor network is an unsuitable endeavor for people who want to control access to information. Tor is used for good things and bad things, and you can't pick and choose.
    – ruief
    Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 20:55

4 Answers 4


I've searched around and I'm not sure if such a thing is possible (please correct me if I'm wrong).

Instead of running a regular relay you may want to run a bridge relay instead. Bridges aren't advertised in the main Tor directory, so their likelihood of being used as rendezvous points for hidden services is little to nothing. Additionally, their purpose, to help people for who regular Tor access is blocked, aligns with your beliefs.

  • The problem with a bridge relay is that a user needs to know a bridge relay to use one. So running a bridge relay is pointless when you don't advertise it to people who have use for one.
    – Philipp
    Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 13:51
  • That's not quite true; the Tor Project will provide these via email to those who need them. Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 17:05

You may run an exit node. Hidden services do not go through exit nodes (I believe, correct me if I am wrong). This may alleviate your concern.


I don't think you can control whether a relay is used in circuits to hidden services vs. only in circuits to exit nodes.

But also..

[...] I enable criminals and people of poor moral character [...] I run Tor so people in less fortunate countries have full access to information [...]

By running a relay, you enable people who don't want to be identified or located and who don't want anyone other than the intended recipient see their data. It is important that this can be achieved, so therefor it is a Good Thing to run Tor relays.

It is a little bit of a stretch that access to a HS enables criminals and access to non-hidden services does not. It follows the logic that something must be bad if it is hidden, otherwise why would you hide it? (*) Not only is this logic flawed (if A implies B and B is true, you can not conclude that A must be true) is it also very scary when it comes to privacy and freedom. (You could apply that same logic to those people in those less fortunate countries, who by the way may well be criminals from the point of view of their own governments.)

My personal take is to not speculate or pass judgment on the data that may flow through my relay. There may be some nastiness in there but that doesn't mean it should be impossible to keep your identity / location / traffic / data private.

*) ..altho you're probably correct that HS' would on average have a higher percentage of content that you would object to than the web as a whole.


It's a little bit useless because most of "criminal activities" do occur in the clear net, not the dark net, so that will not solve your problem and would not prevent anything.

If you live in China and visit the site of Amnesty International, you do commit a crime according to their laws, the notion of crime is a very confuse one.

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