back to article Japanese Feds urge ISPs to support Tor ban plan

Japan’s technology-illiterate police have put themselves in the firing line once again after recommending what amounts to a blanket ban on the use of the Tor anonymiser network in the country. The FBI-like National Police Agency is set to ask ISPs to "help site administrators" to block communications if the customer is found …


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  1. Turtle


    "It might not be particularly popular among Japanese law enforcers, but Tor has a more laudable reputation elsewhere, having been used to good effect by pro-democracy activists in the Middle East during the Arab Spring."

    Just as a matter of logic, that Tor was useful in the Middle East is not going to have a profound effect on Japanese policy considerations.

    1. LarsG

      Re: Logic.

      'The panel claimed it has been used in the past to commit internet fraud, help paedophiles groom kids online and, tellingly, enabled leaks from Tokyo's Metropolitan Police Department.'

      1. Most fraud is committed by politicians, where it is deals behind closed doors, expenses or abuse of position.

      2. The Japanese have a penchant for schoolgirl porn and domination sex so what does that tell you that encourages?

      3. The justice system and Police department is not fit for purpose.

      So the best way to prevent this and divert public attention is to blame Tor.

      1. Vimes

        Re: Logic.

        1. Most fraud is committed by politicians, where it is deals behind closed doors, expenses or abuse of position.

        I still say that the Discworld solution is the best: lock politicians up as soon as they're elected. It saves time in the long run...

        1. Oninoshiko

          Re: Logic.

          That's actually just a minor extension of what the Romans did. When a Roman consul left office, he would be tried for what he did while in office.

          Skipping the trial is only there because we already know the result.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Logic.

      Tor might not be as secure as you think.

      If you are re-directed to a compromised entry node then you have no security

      or if law enforcement agencies have access to the certificates.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Logic.

        Its not difficult for an ISP to redirect an IP address.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Logic.

          Does anybody know who controls the certificate authority for TOR.

  2. frank ly

    Using Japanese logic.

    " ... arrested four suspects who turned out to be victims ..... – and even managed to extract false confessions."

    Some Japanese police are incompetent and corrupt - therefore all Japanese police should be banned.

    1. stanimir

      Re: Using Japanese logic.

      Actually, it's a common practice to extract forced confession in Japan[1]. The conviction rate is extremely high according to wikipedia as well[2] mostly due to the mentioned confession rate and lack of jury.

      So the logic is right on the mark.



      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Using Japanese logic.

        Police brutality, cruel & unusual punishment...

        Stories like this make me glad we have the policing we do in the UK..

        I had planned to visit Japan, but now instead of looking at a policeman with respect, i'll look and see corruption...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Using Japanese logic.

      Last year they got a confession from a blind quadriplegic that he was the getaway driver in a robbery.

      His appeal has been turned down.

  3. stanimir

    cyber savvy?

    Well, good luck w/ that blocking. Unless they block almost anything that locks like p2p and install the better version of the great wall of China they might as well show some competence.

  4. Ole Juul

    Cat scan finds culprit

    . . . they captured a cat carrying a memory stick in its collar containing the source code for the virus. Thirty-year-old IT worker Yusuke Katayama was finally arrested soon after once the cops studied CCTV footage . . .

  5. xyz Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    I always wondered how long it was going to take...

    If you live in a "freedom loving democracy" and use TOR you are a terrorist or kiddy fiddler, or if you live in a "freedom loving democracy" and use TOR you are a freedom fighter or an oppressed victim.

    In both cases, your government determines what "freedom" is and someone else's government determines your status.

    1. WonkoTheSane
      Big Brother

      Re: I always wondered how long it was going to take...

      To summarize:- Tor is anti-Gubmint.

  6. g e

    Typical government response

    If you can't control it then outlaw it.

    Bitcoin next. Assuming the current DDOS isn't actually the CIA, Swiss bankers or the Mafia (I leave you to draw your own distinctions between them)

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Typical government response

      They don't have to outlaw Bitcoin. It is a self resolving issue & will go away if left to its own devices.

    2. Old Handle

      Re: Typical government response

      Speaking of which, the largest Bitcoin exchange happens to be located in Japan...

  7. yossarianuk

    Pointless idea - Tor already has a fix

    All I can say is 'try it' - its pointless - it will be be a waste of money to even try.

    "Computer scientists have released a tool that disguises communications sent through the Tor anonymity service as Skype video calls, a cloak that's intended to prevent repressive governments from blocking the anonymous traffic."

    Tor is still used in Iran/China (even though there has been a recent attack against obfuscated bridges -

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pointless idea - Tor already has a fix

      to those who wish to try the freedom enhancing capabilities of TOR why not host your own TOR exit server?

      (I'd suggest unlocking the doors of your server room, as replacing the locks (& door) when the intelligence police come to have a chat gets expensive after a while_ but that response might just be in the UK?

      Tor is fixed? It's fairly well assumed that TOR currently gives you a 'tolerated' level of freedom - e.g. if you're in a repressive middle eastern governed state which is ON the list of nations to be 'churned' - but I personally wouldn't trust TOR with my life if I was in quite a few repressive middle eastern governed states which are NOT on the current 'churn' list.

      I do use TOR, as without it my random web-browsing is geo-profiled instantly and I don't get the 'internet' but a de-Phormed type of internet

  8. Badvok

    "the implication is that if someone is using it they must be up to no good."

    By definition this is certainly the case, I doubt anyone would bother using Tor for perfectly legitimate activities. Of course it is the definition of what is legitimate that varies by country. Even the definition of kiddie porn varies by country.

    Personally I'd like to see things like Tor self-abolished, i.e. persuaded to shut themselves down rather than through legislation (which would just lead to circumvention), I don't think the possible good out-weighs the possible bad. I doubt the kiddie-fiddlers would be able to organise something like this without the well-meaning techies who turn a blind eye to the abuse.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      The old "if you have nothing to hide" arguement, eh?

      Never been falsely accused of anything, have you?

      Never had some nosy busybody stick it in your business, either?

      Never been target for theft?

      There are MANY legitimate reasons for staying anonymous when going about life. Those three are the biggest.

      1. Badvok

        Re: The old "if you have nothing to hide" arguement, eh?

        @ecofeco: "The old "if you have nothing to hide" arguement, eh?"

        Err, no, might I suggest you learn to read (and write).

        1. ecofeco Silver badge

          Re: The old "if you have nothing to hide" arguement, eh?

          ""the implication is that if someone is using it they must be up to no good."

          By definition this is certainly the case, I doubt anyone would bother using Tor for perfectly legitimate activities."

          I would be interested to see how you think this means anything other than stated.

          1. Badvok

            Re: The old "if you have nothing to hide" arguement, eh?

            @ecofeco: "I would be interested to see how you think this means anything other than stated."

            As I said before, maybe you need to learn to read. Saying that Tor is used only by people who actively set out to hide what they are doing, and are therefore up to something that even they believe they probably shouldn't be, is in no way similar to the 'invasion of privacy' argument used by people to justify snooping on normal non-hidden communications. If you can't understand the difference then fair enough, I had thought it was fairly clear.

            As an extra point of clarification, legitimate is not the same as lawful in English.

    2. yossarianuk


      We have detected https/vpn usage on your internet connection.

      Please deposit your harddrive to the local police station for full investigation...

      I take it your happy for dissidents in Iran/China, etc to be rounded up (due to not having Tor)?

      This country is only a few steps away from anyone who wants *any* privacy online from needing systems like Tor.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I use TOR occasionally, the signal to noise ratio on some forums is better than on the "clearnet", and you can have some really good conversations without the usual trolls or idiots jumping in and causing arguments. However, there is the "other side" to it which I'm not comfortable with, and I wouldn't really want to test how "anonymous" TOR is for broswing the nasty stuff. Mostly I use it to get around country specific website restrictions, but I wouldn't really cry if it did get taken down.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Was a little surprised at how technically illierate the Japanese Plod seem here (assume better from Plod in Japan). But after careful consideration (the time it takes to shrug my shoulders) I realised that being a bunch of technology-illiterate fuckwits is par for the course for ANY Police force.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Didn't they

    Release the man that liked cats because they couldn't force a confession out of him? Then arrest him for something else for another 20 odd days in the hope that they'd force a confession out the second time?

  12. BornToWin

    In denial

    The pirates are in denial as is assnonymous. Anyone who thinks that those who use Tor or other means to pirate will be allowed to go unpunished, are naive.

    1. Badvok

      Re: In denial

      Tor isn't about piracy/copyright avoidance, although it could certainly be used like that, there are faster and easier ways of doing it.

      Tor is about creating a dark-net, a network where there is no control, no rules and no identity - or in other words complete and utter anarchy. It is used by those who seek to operate without their parents/guardians/family/school/work/council/state/government knowing about or being able to control what they are doing. This can be useful for political activism but it is also ideal for numerous activities that most would consider criminal and hugely damaging to society. It also attracts a number of delusional people who might be classed as paranoid schizophrenics if they ever subjected themselves to analysis.

    2. stanimir

      Re: In denial

      Here [1] is the list of Tor sponsor, I'm just you'd bet your balls off they do to support the piracy!


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In denial

        Gosh, you really don't care about loosing your gonads, do you? I personally don't want a pair of human testes. However, perhaps someone will take you up on your offer - pervert.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think this is a great idea.

    Hopefully the UK will follow suite.

  14. Old Handle

    I'm left a little bit confused by that article. I'm not sure if it's due to the translation or because of the technological cluelessness of the original request. But I didn't get the impression they were necessarily asking ISPs to block access to the Tor network by users. It sounded like they were mainly concerned with blocking exit nodes ("the third in a chain"), but the details remain fuzzy. To give them the benefit of the doubt, some possible interpretations are not that unreasonable (though not anything I could personally get behind).

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Are you kidding me? In Japan? They'll just bend over. Nope, they'll just bend over like the others who they forced a confession out of. I should give it a try just to involve them coppers. I'd love to have them show up at the office if it becomes illegal to use Tor.

  16. edmundedgar

    They're probably not blocking ISPs

    This story seems to be a game of Chinese Whispers. Like Old Handle says, the original article everyone is sourcing this from doesn't actually say they're blocking ISPs. This is just the conclusion overseas journalists have jumped to, based on the traditional, time-honoured technique of pulling things out of their arses.

    This person: [Japanese]

    ...went back to the original minutes of the meeting the article was based on, and says it seems like the plan is to offer to help sites that host online comments or email sending to prevent people commenting from known Tor exit nodes. Obviously the advantage of this approach, compared to the one being reported, is that it's actually technically possible...

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