"I am the first operator of the Tor site under criminal prosecution and we are all watching to be the last one"

On the eve of the rally "For a free Internet!" We interviewed mathematician Dmitry Bogatov who was placed for 3 months in a jail , And is now under house arrest in essence for being the operator of the Tor exit node.

Details about the actual matter and the course of the investigation can be found in the following materials:
→ The Prisoner of the Torah: geektimes.ru/company/roskomsvoboda/blog/288398
→ Timeline: rublacklist.net/27642
→ Public campaign in support of Dima: freebogatov.org

Interpretation of the interview (with minor abbreviations) :

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

Sarkis Darbinian (RosKomSvoboda, Dima's lawyer) : The history of Dima has bypassed not only the whole country, it has already bypassed the whole world and large human rights organizations know About the criminal case, which is now in full swing and, of course, the public response was caused by the fact that Dima is accused of two grave articles, the responsibility for which is stipulated in the aggregate up to 22 years of imprisonment. Naturally, this raises questions, first, the adequacy of criminal justice in Russia and, secondly, the use of secure tools like Tor. Roskomfreedom 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 intimidated by this criminal case. They were outraged that an ordinary user was involved in two serious criminal charges for an act he did not commit. Currently, the investigation is ongoing. Until now, the defense has not been introduced to the conclusion of a computer expertise and we expect this. The good news is that Dima is now at home, and not in "Sailor's Silence," where he had to spend three months.

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

Dmitry Bogatov: I can not leave my apartment. I can not use the phone and the Internet. I can de-jure a computer, but considering how far the law-enforcement agencies always cut off from the shoulder, I do not experience fate. With the permission of the investigator, I have walks from 9 to 11, when I can not be within the apartment. I have a bracelet on it that fixes all this.

Artem Kozlyuk: As far as I know, during your search all your computer equipment, all your gadgets, were confiscated. Did you use any programs on them that provide the possibility of secure communications, encryption systems, secure messengers, and protected e-mail services? If used, then such? Maybe you will advise something, what means should be used to improve 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 use was to get information (web surfing, mailing lists, etc.). I would recommend Firefox with NoScript, disabling Java Script (to exclude the possibility of running programs that we can not control at all). I recommend cleaning cookies, using the Cookie Monster add-on, which allows you to control cookies ( apparently, this application was deleted by the developer himself, – commented ). Well, absolutely all the traffic I had through the system Tor.

Artem Kozlyuk: Ie. You were not only Tor's output node, did you actively use this network?

Dmitry Bogatov: Of course! I, in fact, was an exit hub as the return of the debt of the society, which gave me such an opportunity.

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

Dmitry Bogatov: Using VPN means an arrangement with some particular provider. And Tor is such a social system. And decentralization is good. Why not the usual Internet? I receive information as I need, but how I receive it, when, why – this is my business and I would not want my steps to be recorded, studied. In the jail, it was enough for me that every step is recorded and studied. Most people do not have such associations, but 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 … It's the same as sitting in jail, drinking Tea and every step you take is recorded.

Artem Kozlyuk: You touched on an important topic. It is important not only to give up the desire to control by the secret services, but corporations, the Internet company, and some intruders, scammers can follow us. And first of all, opposing them, we are trying to decentralize the network, we are trying to put protected tools and to prevent penetration into our traffic in some incomprehensible personalities.

Dmitry Bogatov: Yes, we can never be sure that if some information is available to someone, it will never go somewhere yet. Google – one of the leading IT companies and, nevertheless, and with them there were technical punctures and some information flowed away. I do not know about the special services, but how law enforcement agencies work in my business – there is nothing they can not trust.

Sarkis Darbinian: : You took the technique on April 6. You deny involvement in the incriminated act. But are not you afraid of the fact that the investigation can lay some files when the technician is physically in their possession and they can say that, here, please, is there evidence that illegal publications were carried out 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 am not accusing anyone, but the investigation rejected additional questions to the examination from lawyers and one of the questions was: "Have the files been changed since the time of the seizure?" And the investigation for some reason refused (to answer this question). Why the riddle was refused.

Sarkis Darbinian: : It's strange that the computer has been examining for 3 months already. For 3 months you can do everything: dismantle clusters, by pieces.

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

Artem Kozlyuk: But you can not be 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 that dragged on. 19459004

Sarkis Darbinian: When you did the Tor output node, you surely Knew about the risks that are associated with the content of such a node. Did you ever think about the risks when you made a node at home? Because many people say that this is pure madness? 19459004 19459002 19459010 Dmitry Bogatov: Yes, I understood that it might cause some questions. I even read about the precedents that one day the owner of the output node attracted the attention of state bodies, in my opinion, in Germany, but it ended up being asked questions, he gave explanations and everything.

Sarkis Darbinian: In Russia, too, there were such examples. In the FSB, it was not the first time that Tor was interested, but as far as I know, no criminal cases were brought.

Dmitry Bogatov: Well, in my case this is not so. When I was introduced to the prosecution, it immediately became clear to me why, and I immediately gave an explanation. Yes, I have an output node, do you understand what this means? That with this IP can go out any person. The investigators did not react at all, they said only: "Let's see!"

Artem Kozlyuk: It's possible to give an analogue that this is the same as making your wi-fi public And someone will go to the Internet using it. And you can be attracted, in fact, just for an open wi-fi.

Dmitry Bogatov: Actually even wider: if you put a bad password on your electronic Mail or to your page in a social network or in any other place where it can be identified with you if someone wrote something from this mail or a means of communication …

Artem Kozlyuk: Yes, for example, if someone from under your VKontakte page someone has registered information that is considered extremist, and we know that there is already a huge hype ie the number and criminal and administrative cases for posting or reposting information mainly from VKontakte, then you can also draw for it.

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

Sarkis Darbinian: Since the time you were in the "Sailor's Silence", a number of serious events occurred and, above all, the president signed the information security doctrine. The doctrine says that anonymity is perceived as an absolute evil and state agencies must deanonimize all users. After that, we saw a bill "on the prohibition of VPN" and everything else. You yourself, in general, what do you think, what did you face today, this is all an accident? The investigators did not understand? Or can there be some kind of malicious pattern and this is such a compromise of the Tor network? What is this your understanding?

Dmitry Bogatov: It's hard to say. I do not know the whole kitchen. But I usually refer to the fact that there is no need to explain by malice what can be explained by stupidity. I've seen enough nonsense, so I tend to write off on it. But it is quite possible that the investigator was instructed, some kind of general directive about what to do with anonymity. And now he began to do it to the best of his modest forces and capabilities.

Artem Kozlyuk: Now a huge range of legislation is being introduced, which increases the pressure on the Internet. New censorship criteria are introduced, Internet surveillance for users is introduced, which explicitly violates our constitutional rights: the prohibition of censorship, the secrecy 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 can we turn this trend more positive?

Dmitry Bogatov: The only thing you can say is that you can not adapt. Tor browser has become the norm of life. But this is not the way. We need to resent, organize rallies. I know that this does not sound very optimistic, but then I remember how life is arranged in jail. A person there must comply with the rules, how else and by and large, what rights do they have? But even there we could demand something, knock on the doors of the cells. And if so knock 16 cameras – it's very noisy. And there are only six punishment cells, you can not send all of them there. And at UFSINovtsa with a small number of asterisks – he has this boss and he does not want this boss to ask him: "Why is it so noisy?" And the UFSINovets should make a compromise. I'm not saying that this is a universal method. But if we look at this legislative, executive and judicial power as a single whole, then, yes, of course, it is all-powerful. But this is not so! It consists of people, each person in this system has a boss who has his own interests. We must demand that someone's boss say, conditionally: "Do it calmly!", And, perhaps, then our demands in this and that volume will be satisfied. It will not be easy, but that's all we can do.

Artem Kozlyuk: Would you go to the rally "For Free Internet"? And why is this important?

Dmitry Bogatov: Yes, this is important and necessary. This is the only thing that we can count on. Technology will not help us in conditions when every new technical achievement is outlawed. It is useless to put on technology, when when you are coming in full violation with the CPC. It is necessary to demand just legal, law enforcement changes. Yes, it is difficult, yes, it will work slowly, but in the end it is possible to seek revision of the laws. Artyom Kozlyuk: Yes, there are examples, of course, in the past

Even when separate rules of laws are repealed, as happened with the "bloggers register", which was introduced in 2014. Already small examples of how this can change the situation and remove from it some 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, state structures are obliged to consider applications of citizens within 30 days by law. Why is it important? Because if they do not have time, it's administrative responsibility, and if they do not meet for six months, then it's 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 send mail? Many state agencies have access pages on their websites. And do not go anywhere, it's much easier. The main thing is to identify yourself and the 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 can not use the Internet.

Artem Kozlyuk: By the way, your supporters, friends, students are probably attacked by words of support. How do you feel it? Is it important for you, does it motivate you? Or the raised sensation in mass-media and network communities you in an incorrectly correct stream excites you?

Dmitry Bogatov: Of course it's nice! When you got into an unpleasant situation "on your knee" to the accusation made, it's nice that people express their support and that they really care about what's going on. Therefore, sent letters and postcards – it's very nice!

Artem Kozlyuk: It should be noted 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 all over the world go to pickets in support of Dima. And on the procession, which was at the end of July "For Runet", many also came out in your support with posters. This motivates you to fight and not lose heart?

Dmitry Bogatov: Certainly! Despite the fact that in Russian legislation there is no such term as a precedent, on a global scale – this is really a precedent. I am the first operator of the Tor exit node, which has drawn the criminal prosecution and we are all making sure that I become the last.

Artem Kozlyuk: Thank you, Dima, for your answers and for your position. We hope that you will be completely free in a short time, and it's no wonder we took up your protection and will try to ensure that you were with us and continued that business, those right hobbies that you are doing for the benefit of society.

And come to the meeting on August 26 "For free Internet"!
Where will it take place (currently known): Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yaroslavl, Izhevsk, Voronezh, Vladivostok, Barnaul and Yekaterinburg.

The rally groups →
FB: fb.com/events/1451432884936378
VK: vk.com/freedomrunet
Telegram: t.me/freeRUnet

Как сказал Дима, это то, что мы можем реально сделать, чтобы постараться повлиять на сложившуюся печальную ситуацию с государственным регулированием интернета и IT.