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One of the greatest threats I can see to the anonymity of the Tor network and its users, is NSA/GCHQ (etc.)-operated Tor nodes.

No matter how state-of-the-art 'good practice' a Tor user adheres to - in not mixing modes of anonymity, keeping fingerprinting and trackability to a minimum, and using encryption to a maximum - if the NSA has enough nodes under their belt, then they can (some of the time), piece together the dots of the anonymity network and de-anonymize communications taking place in it.

The obvious best thing to fight such NSA compromise of the Tor network, is to use 'people power' (there are more of us than in the NSA), to create as many of our own non-NSA relays (even if on small pipes and not always having 24/7 up-time), and hold as much of our own stake in the network, as possible.

What can one do apart from already hosting a relay yourself?

Is there a foundation to which one can donate (or even partner on charity events) which then sets up Tor community-controlled nodes to expand the network outside of NS control?

What activism, evangelism, or community-building could one do, or join?

(This would be activism/evangelism specifically for more non-NSA nodes being hosted mind you, not so much more Tor users, even though that would be of great benefit to Tor anonimity and potentially indirect benefit to more relays being set up anyway.)

Further to this, is there some big decision that the Tor Project could make that automatically increases the amount of community-hosted relays (thus everyone outside of NSA's anonymity) - such as making all Tor users contribute a bit of (p2p-style) middle node bandwidth to the network whenever they're connected, which might be in such a way that the user's browsing isn't even slowed down?

Perhaps this final idea is one of the best we could do to truly combat NSA Tor network takeover: a vast increase in Tor Browser instances of end users hosting the middle node infrastructure, where there's by virtue of the size of the very Tor user base, more control of it by the community, than by malicious sniffing adversaries such as the NSA.

  • This is a related question: tor.stackexchange.com/questions/4858/… – Roya Jan 9 '15 at 5:46
  • Are you sure? I think you posted wrong link (that's about number of circuit hops)? Anyway if it's the two or three ones with 7 or more votes above that I'd expect someone to point out, I know about them and they were helpful reading, but this is a bit more specific and pointed to really doing something about: increasing middle nodes on the network (and exit nodes for the capable, but more middle). – user1006 Jan 9 '15 at 5:50
  • Dear foregon, the link is correct: tor.stackexchange.com/questions/4858/… If you would please read the question and express your opinion. I appreiciate the time and effort you put on this in advance. Warm Regards, – Roya Jan 9 '15 at 8:49
  • You'll have to be clearer Roya, as I already read that question (and the answers) a couple of days ago actually, and learned useful things from it - still don't know what you mean by linking to it! – user1006 Jan 9 '15 at 11:55
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    Wow, interesting info, once you read it (now) and comments, sure it does relate to this question!...it's about middle node security and anonymity rubustness. Only makes this question all the more important, I guess. – user1006 Jan 9 '15 at 20:56
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I think it is important to continue to spread the word. I can see my peers opening up to Tor after they understand it is not 'just for criminals' but serves a greater purpose for everyone.

My way of helping is to run my own relay, even though my bandwidth is not very high, and to use it as my own entry point. I believe this helps my browsing be more secure.

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