Relay Operations Meeting


The different organisations under the TorServers umbrella as well as others need money to operate the servers. We discussed several possibilities to collect fresh money

  • applying for grants
  • getting donations
  • doing some campaigns


Basically we need to figure out what organisations would give money to TorServers or some similar organisation and someone(TM) needs to write a grant. Several participants have experience in grant writing (and also successfully received a grant :-)). So we can support each other in the process.

TorServers as a umbrella organisation wants to collect money and to reimburse other relay operators (like it was done in the past). The goal is that no single organisation runs a number of high-bandwidth relays, but that many organisation are enabled to run relays on their own. We definitely want to have more relay operators!

Donations gets some donations. Moritz criticized that they mostly disappear into a black hole. So the donor will not know what happens with its money. So one suggestion was to create some kind of information page and tell donors what we do with their money.

Another idea was to adopt a relay or bridge. This means that a donor could donate a specific amount of money and sponsor a relay or bridge. TorServers does this and offers the donor to select a name for that relay.

Legal fund

We discussed the creation of a legal fund. The purpose of this fund should be to help relay operators if they come into trouble because of running a relay. However it seems important that we must have a clear case to support. Assume someone is into $CRIMINALBUSINESS and additionally runs a relay. This is not the type of person we want to support. Our goal is to support persons or organisations which support Tor by running a relay and get into trouble because of that.

Find lawyers

The legal situation is different in different countries. So it would be good to have lawyers at hand who know about Tor and are capable of helping other operators. TorSevers or other organisations could host a list of possible lawyers.

Legal country guides

TorServers asked lawyers in the past to give a legal opinion about running relays in a specific country (IIRC it where Germany, Austria and Luxemburg. Where are the documents yet?). We could extend that to other countries and help relay ops in starting exit nodes in their country.

Insurance policy

I don't remember what was discussed here. So if anyone remembers please add some content.


Document current best practices

There is the wiki page about exit guidelines. They document the BCPs. If you have additions you are invited to edit the document.

Educating LEAs

Nowadays LEAs seem to have a good knowledge about what Tor is and even use Tor for their purposes. However sometimes local police stations and local LEAs don't have an idea what Tor is. So we should spend some effort into educating them.

Qbi tried to do something in Thuringia, Germany. While talking to local police stations the officers expressed interest in a talk/workshop about Tor. However this was basically blocked at the state criminal police office. Others were more successful and did workshops in the south of Germany, in the Netherlands and probably other countries.

ISP Relations

IPv4 availability

Dedicated WHOIS

At the exit guideline page it is recommended to have an own WHOIS/SWIP record. However this will only work if you own a network (like /24). So it was argued that having a /24 etc. is a waste of IPv4 space. Because you could only run a few relays (certainly not 254) on this machine. However while it is technically possible to do so, it would have a serious impact on the diversity of the network.

However one possibility is to run some relays and some number of bridges. However also this seems not optimal. owns some /24 and will try to keep them. So if you need one network it might be worthwhile to ask TorServers.

External abuse management

One thing which hinders some people to run a relay is the abuse. So some people abuse the service and you'll get requests from private persons, lawyers and LEAs. Moritz raised the idea that could offer you a central abuse management. So the TorServers contact address is put as contact and when we receive an abuse message, we can look what organisation is targeted and answer it in the name of this organisation.

Furthermore it was noted that also AccessNow does have a central abuse managment. They offered in the past that they also could manage abuse for Tor relay operators.

The wiki of also has some templates for abuse answers. If you like you can use them for your own abuse answers.


Original data

We made a relay ops meeting during the dev meeting. The table below is the rough outcome of the meeting. Above you'll find the more verbose version of belows data.

Funding Legal Educating ISP Relations Technical
Grant applications Legal fund Locally knowledgable persons (well-connected) IPv4-space availability exit policies
Donations Insurance policy? Document best current practises Dedicated whois AS geographically diversity
Reimbursements country guides (wrt legal framework) external abuse management Issue tracking for non-tech persons
campaigns like adopt-a-relay lawyer directory educate LEAs
reporting on donated relays legal advise (publish and provide more expertise )
Last modified 4 years ago Last modified on Sep 29, 2015, 8:52:32 PM