BREAKING: NH’s Kilton Library to Reactivate TOR Node!

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NH Library Approves TOR!

New Hampshire’s Kilton Public Library has been in the tech headlines in the last week after the Department of Homeland Security contacted them and “asked” them to shut down their TOR node. The library was the first to ever operate a TOR node, which stands for The Onion Router – an anonymizing system for internet traffic. Just one month after beginning their TOR operation, the DHS came calling and the library shut down the node until the board of trustees could meet and make a final decision.

Tonight, they decided to turn it back on! It’s a major victory for free speech and anonymity online and it’s also thanks to the dozens of people including Free State Project participants who came out to support TOR at tonight’s meeting.

UPDATE: The decision is being watched by other libraries around the country who will now be empowered to start their own TOR nodes, much to the chagrin of DHS and the federal government gang. According to Free Keene commenter Lee Sussman, Allison Macrina, the director of the Library Freedom Project mentioned tonight that there had already been several libraries that had stepped up and volunteered to join, and that all the recent press surrounding the situation at Kilton had prompted at least a dozen more to contact her!

Thanks, Kilton Library, for standing up for freedom of information!

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8 Comments

  1. Thanks for the coverage – it’s actually just an intermediate relay node, not an exit node, but they will consider establishing an exit node in the future. First public library Tor node in the U.S.

  2. I’m a Lebanon resident and was at the meeting, fantastic show of public support! There’s been a lot of talk about how the DHS and Lebanon Police “pressured” the library to shut down the node, but both the library board and the reps from the town of Lebanon and the Police Dept. were pretty clear that there was no strong-arming, it was just a respectful discussion raising concerns about making sure that the decision was an informed one. I don’t know whether we’ll ever know the real truth about what happened and whether there was any real pressure to shut down the project, but what I CAN say is that there was completely unanimous support for turning the node back on from every community member at the meeting, as well as from others who came from quite a ways to be there! One woman in particular touched me deeply, she was born in Columbia (now a US resident, and I believe a resident of Lebanon although I can’t remember for sure) and spoke (with tears in her eyes!) about what freedom here in America really is worth and how much she wished that TOR had been available 15 years ago in Columbia. It was one of the most moving and poignant statements of support for the Free Library Project and TOR in general that I’ve ever heard!

    All in all, it was a truly incredible thing to witness, and I am glad I was there to see it! I couldn’t be more impressed with the Library board for how they handled things, and I’ve never been more proud to be living in this town!

  3. Also, Allison Macrina, the director of the Library Freedom Project (she gave a presentation at the meeting, and was all around awesome!), mentioned that there had already been several libraries that had stepped up and volunteered to join, and that all the recent press surrounding the situation at Kilton had prompted at least a dozen more to contact her! TAKE THAT DHS!!

  4. Thanks, Jason. Carla had said on FTL tonight it was an exit node. I’ve updated the story to reflect your input.

  5. Lee, thanks for the details – I’ve updated the story.

  6. I wouldn’t’ count your chickens before they hatch. Remember, The department of homeland security “asked” then to shut down their tor node. It doesn’t sound like it was such a big deal in the first place.

    You said, “mentioned tonight that there had already been several libraries that had stepped up and volunteered to join” What libraries? Please post a list so I can look them up.

  7. So, as I mentioned in my comment, the Library Board was VERY clear about the fact that there had been no actual request for the node to be shut down, just information being provided and concerns being raised in a respectful manner. While I in NO WAY defend the DHS (far from it, honestly I’m sickened by the violations of our constitutional rights that the DHS perpetrates every day!), I also find it disturbing just how much the national media has inflated the claims of interference and pressure from the DHS and local police. It honestly confirms for me an opinion that I’ve long held, which is that every major news story needs to be taken with a heaping mound of salt and a healthy dose of scepticism! This is the second time that I’ve found myself involved in an incident that garnered national attention, and both times all accounts were extremely exaggerated, the first was the Keene Pumpkin Festival “Riots” last year, I WENT to the festival with my girlfriend and my daughter and we didn’t know anything about it until we saw it on the news the next day, where they claimed that there was fire and blood in the streets that we must have *somehow* missed! My point is just that I think the focus here should really be on the issues of personal privacy, the Library Freedom Project, and the huge public support behind the Lebanon Libraries for what they are doing, and all that the massive outcry over the “Big Bad DHS” is doing is obscuring things and taking away credibility. What they actually did is disturbing enough, it doesn’t need to be exaggerated!

    As to the specific libraries that have volunteered, Allison expressed hesitancy to give names until they had a chance to confirm details and to communicate with each of the libraries directly, which I completely respect. I’m sure that the information will be coming out as the project moves forward, and you can easily contact her and the Library Freedom Project directly through their website if you want to ask them yourself.

Care to comment?