"I am the first operator of the Tor node under criminal prosecution and we all make sure that I become the last one"

On the eve of the rally “For Free Internet!” We interviewed mathematician Dmitry Bogatov, who was placed for 3 months in the SIZO, and is now under house arrest as a matter of fact for being the operator of the Tor output node.

Details about the fact and the course of the investigation can be found in the following materials:

Prisoner of Thor
Public campaign in support of Dima

Interpretation of the interview (with small abbreviations):

Artem Kozlyuk (RosKomSvoboda): At first, in brief, why is Dmitry Bogatov under house arrest? What did he do?

Sarkis Darbinyan (RosKomSvoboda, Dima's lawyer) : Dima’s story went around not only the whole country, it went around the whole world and major human rights organizations know about the criminal case that is now in full swing and, of course, the public resonance caused Dima accused of two grave articles, responsibility for which is provided in the aggregate to 22 years in prison. Naturally, this raises questions, firstly, the adequacy of the use of criminal justice in Russia and, secondly, the use of secure tools like Tor. Roskomsvoboda has long been promoting the use of free products. And the case against Dima attracted the attention of not only lawyers, geeks, but also a large number of users who were scared by this criminal case. They were outraged that an ordinary user is attracted to two serious criminal articles for an act he did not commit. Currently, the investigation of the case continues. So far, the defense has not been acquainted with the conclusion of computer expertise, and we expect this. The good news is that Dima is now at home, and not in the “Matrosskaya Tishina”, where he had to spend three months.

Artem Kozlyuk: Dima, what does it mean for you to be under house arrest? You do not have the right to go beyond the threshold of your apartment, house, porch? Can you use phone, computer, internet?

Dmitry Bogatov: I can not leave my apartment. I can not use the phone and the Internet. I can de jure with a computer, but considering how much law enforcement agencies are always chopping off my shoulder, I don’t have a chance. With the permission of the investigator, I have a walk from 9 to 11, when I can not be within the apartment. I have a bracelet that fixes all this.

Artem Kozlyuk: As far as I know, during your search all your computer equipment, all your devices, and gadgets were confiscated. Did you use any programs on them which are provided by the possibility of secure communications, encryption systems, secure messengers, secure mail services? If used, then these? Maybe you will advise something, what means should be used to increase the level of your security in the network space?

Dmitry Bogatov: My main communications were public mailing lists. With some correspondents, I used the GPG encryption system. Most of the computer usage was getting information (surfing the web, mailing lists, etc.). I would recommend Firefox with NoScript, turning off Java Script (to exclude the possibility of launching programs that we can not control). I recommend cleaning cookies, using the Cookie Monster add-on, which allows you to control cookies ( apparently, this application was deleted by the developer, ed. ). Well, absolutely all the traffic I went through the Tor system.

Artem Kozlyuk: Ie you were not only the output Tor node, you yourself actively used this network?

Dmitry Bogatov: Of course! I, in fact, was the exit node as the return of the debt of society, which provided me with this opportunity.

Artem Kozlyuk: And tell me why you did it in principle? You could use other communications in a regular web or conduct them, for example, via VPN. Why did your eyes fall on Tor?

Dmitry Bogatov: Using a VPN means an agreement with a particular provider. And Tor is such a social system. Yes, and decentralization is good. Why not the usual Internet? I receive information as I need, and how I receive it, when, why, is my business and I would not like my steps to be recorded and studied. In the SIZO, it was enough for me that every step is recorded and studied. Most people do not have such associations, well, now I have even more such associations, that you are sitting on the Internet, and for example, Google or any other tracking systems record every step you take ... This is the same as you are in jail, you drink tea and every step you take is recorded.

Artem Kozlyuk: You touched on an important topic. Here it is important not even so much to give up the desire for control by the special services, but corporations, Internet companies, and some intruders, fraudsters, can follow us. And first of all, by opposing them, we are trying to decentralize the network, we are trying to install secure tools and counteract the penetration of our traffic into some incomprehensible personalities.

Dmitry Bogatov: Yes, we can never be sure that if someone has some information, it will never go anywhere else. Google is one of the leading IT companies and, nevertheless, technical punctures have happened to them and some information has flowed away. I don’t know about the special services, but how the law enforcement agencies work in my business ñ you don’t trust them.

Sarkis Darbinyan:: You took the technique on April 6. You deny involvement in the alleged offense. But you are not afraid of the fact that the investigation may enclose some files when the equipment is physically located with them and they can say that, here you are, there is evidence that the illegal publications were made from this computer?

Dmitry Bogatov: Yes, unfortunately, there is such a technical possibility - this is the weak link of this entire expert system. Yes, I have such doubts, suspicions that the investigation had such thoughts. I do not blame anyone, but the investigation rejected additional questions for the examination from lawyers and one of the questions was: “Were any changes made to the files, starting after the withdrawal time?”. And the investigation for some reason refused (to answer this question). Why the riddle was denied.

Sarkis Darbinyan:: Yes, and it’s strange that computer expertise has been underway for 3 months. For 3 months, you can do everything: disassembled into clusters, in pieces.

Dmitry Bogatov: Yes. Even in 4 months. During this time, you can take each batik with tweezers, look at it and put it back and place another one. You can really do anything. I even recently wrote a petition to the investigator that I wish to participate in the examination, but so far I have not received a response.

Artem Kozlyuk: But from you it will be impossible to wait for independence in this matter ...

Dmitry Bogatov: Certainly. I want to be an observer and I can give explanations, clues to speed up the process, which has been very long.

Sarkis Darbinyan: When you made the Tor exit node, you probably knew about the risks associated with the content of such a node. Did you even think about risks when you made a node at home? Because many say that this is pure madness?

Dmitry Bogatov: Yes, I understood that this might cause some questions. I even read about precedents that once the owner of the exit node attracted the attention of government agencies, in my opinion, in Germany, but it ended up being asked questions, he gave explanations and that's all.

Sarkis Darbinyan: There were such examples in Russia too. The FSB was not the first time interested in Tor `th, but, as far as I know, no criminal cases were initiated.

Dmitry Bogatov: Well, in my case, this is not the case. When I was acquainted with the accusation, it immediately became clear to me what, why, and I immediately gave explanations. Yes, I have an exit node, do you understand what this means? That from this IP can leave any person. Investigators did not respond, said only: "We will understand!"

Artem Kozlyuk: It is possible to bring an analogue, which is the same as making your wi-fi public and someone will go online using it. And you can be attracted, in fact, just for open wi-fi.

Dmitry Bogatov: In fact, it is even wider: if you put a bad password on your email or on your page on the social network or in any other place where it can be identified with you, if someone is using this mail or means of communication wrote ...

Artem Kozlyuk: Yes, for example, if someone from your VKontakte page someone zastopostil information that is recognized as extremist, and we know that a huge amount of criminal and administrative cases are already being brought for posting or reposting information mainly from VKontakte , you too can be attracted for it.

Dmitry Bogatov: Yes, you can be attracted not for what you did, but for what you did not do, because you simply did not protect your communications. And that is why they need to be protected more seriously. Otherwise, you will already prove that you are innocent. This is how the presumption of innocence works so poorly.

Sarkis Darbinyan: Since you were in “Matrosskaya Tishina”, a number of serious events happened and, above all, the President signed the information security doctrine . The doctrine says that anonymity is perceived as an absolute evil and government agencies must de-anonymize all users. After that, we saw the bill "on the prohibition of VPN" and everything else. What do you think you yourself, what are you facing today is all a coincidence? The investigators did not understand? Or maybe there is some malicious pattern, and this is such a compromise of the Tor network? What is your understanding?

Dmitry Bogatov: It is difficult to say. I do not know the whole kitchen. But I usually refer to the fact that there is no need to explain with malicious intent something that can be explained by stupidity. I have seen enough nonsense enough, therefore I am inclined to write off on it. But it is quite possible that the investigator was instructed, some kind of general directive that anonymity must be fought. And so he began to do it to the best of his rather modest forces and capabilities.

Artem Kozlyuk: A huge range of legislation is being introduced, which increases the pressure on the Internet. New criteria for censorship are introduced, Internet surveillance of users is introduced, which explicitly violates our constitutional rights: the prohibition of censorship, the secret of communication, the prohibition of the collection of personal data, and so on. How do you feel about such a legislative series? How can users and IT companies influence the situation? How do we reverse this trend in a more positive direction?

Dmitry Bogatov: The only thing that can be said is that it cannot be adapted. Tor browser has become the norm of life. But this is not the way. We need to resent, arrange rallies. I know that this does not sound very optimistic, but here I am reminded of how life is in the SIZO. The person there has to follow the rules, how else and by and large, what rights does he have? But even there we could demand something, knocking on the doors of the cells. And if 16 cameras are knocking so much - it is very noisy. A total of 6 punishment cells, you will not send everyone there. And for UFSINovtsa with a small number of asterisks - he has this boss and he doesn’t want the boss to ask him: “Why is it so noisy here?” And UFSINovets must make a compromise. I am not saying that this is a universal method. But if we look at this legislative, executive and judicial power, as a whole, a single whole, then - yes, of course, it is all-powerful. But it is not so! It consists of people, each person in this system has a boss who has his own interests. It is necessary to demand that someone’s boss said conditionally: “Do it calmly!”, And, perhaps, then our requirements in this and that volume will be satisfied. It will not be easy, but that is all we can do. It's too late to hide.

Artem Kozlyuk: And you yourself would go to the rally "For the free Internet"? And why is this important?

Dmitry Bogatov: Yes, this is important and necessary. This is the only thing we can count on. Technologies will not help us in conditions when every new technical achievement is outlawed. It is useless to put on technology when they come for you in complete violation of the Code of Criminal Procedure. It is necessary to demand legal, law enforcement changes. Yes, it is difficult, yes, it will work slowly, but in the end you can seek revisions to the laws.

Artem Kozlyuk: Yes, there are examples where even certain legal norms are abolished, as happened with the “register of bloggers” , which was introduced in 2014. Already small examples of how this can change the situation and remove from it all very very frank nonsense. That is, it works through public opinion, incl. through public discussion on the Internet on official state portals (regulation.gov.ru) And even sometimes it works.

Dmitry Bogatov: Yes. In addition, government agencies are required to consider applications from citizens within 30 days by law. Why is it important? Because if they do not have time, this is administrative responsibility, and if they don’t meet for six months, then they are already criminal. This is their biggest nightmare. We can act, we can write, if each of us comes to the post office and writes a letter ...

Artem Kozlyuk: Why the mail? Many government agencies have pages on their sites. And do not go anywhere, everything is much easier. The main thing is to identify yourself and state bodies are obliged to consider your appeal, if this is not an anonymous letter.

Dmitry Bogatov: Yes, my perception is shifted (after the SIZO), and I should not use the Internet.

Artem Kozlyuk: By the way, your supporters, friends, students are probably attacking you with words of support. How do you feel it? Is she important to you, does she motivate you? Or raised hype in the media and online communities you in the not quite right way excites?

Dmitry Bogatov: Of course it's nice! When you got into an unpleasant situation on “on the knee” of the accusation, it is nice that people express their support and that they really care about what is happening. Therefore, sent letters and postcards are very nice!


Artem Kozlyuk: It is worth noting that Dima is supported by many network communities and developers: The Tor Project, Debian, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Access Now, many international digital rights groups. People around the world go to pickets in support of Dima. And on the procession that was at the end of July “For the Runet”, many also came out in your support with posters . Does it motivate you to fight and not lose heart?

Dmitry Bogatov: Of course! Despite the fact that in the Russian legislation there is no such term as a precedent, on a global scale - this is indeed a precedent. I am the first operator of the output Tor node, who has been prosecuted and we all make sure that I become the last one.

Artem Kozlyuk: Thank you, Dima, for your answers and for your position. We hope that you will soon be completely free, it’s not for nothing that we have taken up your defense and will try to be with us and continue that work, your right hobbies that you do for the good of society.

And come to the rally on August 26, “For Free Internet”!
Where it will be held (currently known): Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yaroslavl, Izhevsk, Voronezh, Vladivostok, Barnaul and Yekaterinburg.

Rally groups: FB | VK | Telegram

As Dima said, this is what we can really do to try to influence the sad situation with the state regulation of the Internet and IT.


Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/406161/

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