Tor project asks supporters to set up virtual Tor bridges in Amazon's cloud

The Tor project, whose network tool helps people avoid online censorship, works by bouncing traffic around several different computers before it reaches its destination. The more computers there are in the Tor network, the better it works. Now, Tor's developers want its supporters to set up Tor "bridges" on Amazon's cloud computing platform, EC2. EC2 has a free introductory offer and there's an easy Tor image that is configured and ready to go -- but if you don't qualify for the free offer, you can donate a powerful Tor bridge for as little as $30 a month, and help people all over the world who want to be more anonymous and more private.

Setting up a Tor bridge on Amazon EC2 is simple and will only take you a couple of minutes. The images have been configured with automatic package updates and port forwarding, so you do not have to worry about Tor not working or the server not getting security updates.

You should not have to do anything once the instance is up and running. Tor will start up as a bridge, confirm that it is reachable from the outside, and then tell the bridge authority that it exists. After that, the address for your bridge will be given out to users.

Run Tor as a bridge in the Amazon Cloud


    1. Yeah, and I liked the quote in that BBC piece “Studies suggest that most of the bandwidth is taken by pirated content.”  I’d quite like to know how they established that…

  1. Amazon also offers a free usage tier that allows 750 hours of a linux micro instance that might be usable for a Tor server.

  2. It seems like it actually weakens the Tor network to have huge numbers of nodes centralized in the hands of one provider.  Amazon ultimately has access to all the traffic and even potentially the machine states of all those virtual servers.  So it’s less like everyone setting up their own Tor node, and more like everyone paying the government (or corporation, if you like) to set one up on their behalf.

    Of course, I’m sure the folks at the Tor project have considered this already.  I wonder what their reasoning is?

  3. Anyone who does this has my respect, since — have I got this right? — any content that exits the bridge into the internet proper, will look as if it has originated with you, and not with the hidden originator?

    I seem to remember the story of one guy that lost his job because the police thought he was distributing child abuse images?

  4. Well, it may be associated with an Amazon account that has your name on it, but I don’t think it would be fair for people to say it is associated with you.  It’s clearly not “your” traffic.  At best, it’s traffic via a service which you support.

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