Opened 2 years ago

Last modified 8 weeks ago

#24527 assigned enhancement

Inform users in Tor Launcher of which settings are best for them based on their country

Reported by: hellais Owned by: mcs
Priority: Medium Milestone:
Component: Applications/Tor Launcher Version:
Severity: Normal Keywords: ux-team, s32-o32a2, TorBrowserTeam202005
Cc: brade, mcs, antonela, phw, cohosh, tbb-team Actual Points:
Parent ID: #31283 Points:
Reviewer: Sponsor: Sponsor30-can

Description

Tor Browser Launcher would, for countries where we know Tor to either work for sure or not work for sure, advise users on whether to use a bridge or not.

This does open the question of "How does Tor Launcher know the country of the user"?

I think this is at the end of the day a UX question, that can have various ways of doing it. For example you can have the user input their country (but that is maybe a bit sketchy from the users perspective) or you could show them a list of countries where tor is known to work OK and a list of where it's known to not work.

Child Tickets

Change History (18)

comment:1 Changed 2 years ago by gk

Component: Applications/Tor BrowserApplications/Tor Launcher
Owner: changed from tbb-team to brade

comment:2 Changed 2 years ago by mcs

Cc: mcs added

comment:3 Changed 2 years ago by arma

Keywords: ux-team added

Adding the ux-team keyword to get their attention, since *how to inform the user* is one of the biggest questions here.

I think the approach where we tell the user a list of countries that need special configuration, and then the user can notice that they're in one of those countries, is a pretty compelling approach. Especially while that list of countries is 3 or 4, not 15 or 20.

comment:5 Changed 2 years ago by cypherpunks

The degree of censorship often varies more within a country between networks than between countries. Consider the typical user (many/most censored Tor users) on a restrictive surveilled network but in a country without filtering at the tier 1 Internet backbone level. If Tor Launcher tells them Tor works fine for them without bridges that is a false statement, and if it auto-selects vanilla Tor with no bridges that is unhelpful and useless at best.

Or someone could be in a country with national DPI but using a network whose route to the Internet is already tunneled through the DPI.

If there's a place to tell users in for example China that Tor is unlikely to work in their country, maybe on the download page? But it isn't a dynamic page.

comment:6 in reply to:  5 Changed 2 years ago by cypherpunks

Replying to cypherpunks:

If there's a place to tell users in for example China that Tor is unlikely to work in their country, maybe on the download page? But it isn't a dynamic page.

To the best of my knowledge meek-amazon does work in China and it's what is recommended on irc when someone from China wants their tor to work. Also I guess most Chinese people download their Tor Browser from Github (I tested at the time in 2017 with a proxy in mainland China and I found that Github didn't censor TB (the gettorbrowser repository), unlike something like this: https://qz.com/718465/chinas-fierce-censors-try-a-new-tactic-with-github-asking-nicely/ https://web.archive.org/web/200139239209390239230294439439944398349849843984398439if_/https://i.imgtc.com/uEO7sYR.jpg but it could well be the case that this has changed).

Edit: Yay, TB repository isn't blocked: https://github.com/github/gov-takedowns

Last edited 2 years ago by cypherpunks (previous) (diff)

comment:7 Changed 2 years ago by antonela

Cc: antonela added

comment:8 Changed 12 months ago by pili

Cc: phw added

Might be interesting for anti-censorship team

comment:9 Changed 12 months ago by pili

Sponsor: Sponsor30-can

comment:10 Changed 10 months ago by pili

Parent ID: #31283

comment:11 Changed 8 months ago by gaba

Keywords: s32-o32a2 added

comment:12 Changed 6 months ago by phw

This ticket is similar to #28531, in which we're trying to publish a snapshot of how one can get Tor to work in different countries. Tor Browser could use this snapshot to decide that's best for the user.

comment:13 Changed 6 months ago by pili

Keywords: TorBrowserTeam202004 added

comment:14 in reply to:  12 Changed 6 months ago by phw

Cc: cohosh added

Replying to phw:

This ticket is similar to #28531, in which we're trying to publish a snapshot of how one can get Tor to work in different countries. Tor Browser could use this snapshot to decide that's best for the user.


Following up on this comment: We briefly discussed this ticket during our Sponsor 30 kickoff meeting in Stockholm. In summary, we need 1) a way for Tor Browser to figure out where it is (ideally, we want to know the client's country and autonomous system number) and 2) data that can tell Tor Browser what to do, once it knows where it is.

To accomplish 2), we could curate a censorship measurement snapshot (see #28531) and put it into Tor Browser. This snapshot maps countries and/or autonomous system numbers to circumvention methods. For example, the snapshot can tell Tor Browser that if a user is in ASN1234 in Egypt, Tor Browser requires a bridge from BridgeDB to bootstrap. Equipped with this information, Tor Browser can then immediately make a moat request without any assistance from the user. This will decrease the friction for users because they don't need to figure out what does and does not work in their country. As cypherpunks pointed out above, we won't always get it right, so Tor Browser should try to be helpful if our circumvention snapshot is incorrect.

Does this sound reasonable? If so, the anti-censorship team can start populating this snapshot with whatever we know about censoring countries.

comment:15 Changed 6 months ago by mcs

Cc: brade added
Owner: changed from brade to tbb-team
Status: newassigned

I changed the owner to tbb-team to raise awareness across the entire browser team. But I don't think any of us are thinking about Sponsor30 work yet.

comment:16 Changed 8 weeks ago by pili

Owner: changed from tbb-team to mcs

comment:17 Changed 8 weeks ago by pili

Keywords: TorBrowserTeam202005 added; TorBrowserTeam202004 removed

comment:18 Changed 8 weeks ago by boklm

Cc: tbb-team added
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