Author Topic: went black for Tor Browser users  (Read 1103 times)

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Offline ThomasPaine2008

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« on: September 11, 2018, 12:14:34 am »
Some weeks back, I came here to these forums in the Tor Browser, and I only got a notice that CloudFlare had blocked my access.  While Alex has warned against posting anonymously, many people, non-anonymously, know my general feelings about "the establishment," and I have found it a challenging enough undertaking to be interesting.  I can certainly imagine someone wanting to occasionally to leave "leaks" or tips regarding e.g. activity that might be unlawful, and that might be considered "un-American."

Tor users have been complaining bitterly about CloudFlare making large parts of the internet dark for them.  While it proposes to be software to inhibit DDos attacks and spam forum posts, in practice, it often works out to be anti-anonymity.  One doesn't need to block out, .e.g., even viewing a site with CloudFlare installed, in order to prevent DDos attacks and spam forum posts.  The effect of this is to make those browsing anonymously to be second-class Netizens.  Viewing several pages of a website does not equate to a denial of service attack, which consists of so many page loads as to cripple a website.  Indeed, over Tor, access is so slow, that it scarcely seems possible.

It may or may not be a fair criticism of the Tor network, that it allows for the posting of spam.  CloudFlare people present inflated-seeming statistics that a huge majority of Tor accesses are spammers.  Tor people cite other studies that do not have nearly so high a majority of spammers; although it does seem as if Tor people could do more to prevent spammer/kiddie porn/criminal access.  Still, even if all of CloudFlare's claims about Tor were true, it would not explain the inability to even see pages, even if one could not comment on them.  Furthermore, things could conceivably be set up so that one might have to have had an account for some time, and perhaps post some sample posts in a newbie forum, before being able to post over Tor, in order to make it harder for spammers to post.

CloudFlare often has Captcha's which need to be solved to view a page.  When I came to this forum previously, I got no Captcha, so the entire forum was dark over Tor!  I believe they use Google Captcha's, which decrease privacy.  Sometimes these Captcha's are unsolvable.  Early on, when Google introduced them, for what was probably years, you either had to solve them every time you did a search after 20 min. of not doing one; or you would solve them, and they would just keep coming up as if you had not.  Finally, they just quilt allowing you to access Google anonymously.  They try very hard to break YouTube for anonymous access, as well.  YouTube is still broken, although they have begun allowing Google to work with Tor connections again - but I'm done with Google and their patriot-blacking-out algorithms.

I'm glad that this forum has begun allowing Tor access again - whether intentionally or not.  I tried to access it today, and succeeded for the first time in weeks.  I am writing this over the Tor network.  I understand that webmasters can configure CloudFlare with how restrictive they want it to be.  Perhaps they will even throw Tor users a bone, and discourage blocking the very viewing of pages over Tor, even if not to comment.  I don't know if you've disabled CloudFlare, reconfigured it, or I am just slipping through the cracks on a new Tor node; but I do strongly support being able to access these forums in some fashion, over Tor.