If you control enough of the Tor network, it’s possible to get a kind of bird’s eye view of the traffic being routed through it. It was clear that Tor thought the Carnegie Mellon researchers were responsible. The researchers refused to talk to the press, but a conference spokesperson told Reuters the talk was canceled because the researchers hadn’t cleared the release of their work through their department, the Software Engineering Institute, which is funded by the Defense Department.
At the time, many assumed that the university pulled the plug on the talk because of the gray legal zone it was in, with the researchers casually intercepting Web traffic. But maybe it got pulled because the researchers were revealing a law enforcement technique that the government did not want publicized. If nothing else, it’s highly likely the information the researchers collected about “drug dealers and child pornographers” made its way into law enforcement hands. McCord said he was “unable to comment on the matter.” Carnegie Mellon’s SEI declined comment about the canceled talk and about whether it had provided information from the research to law enforcement.
Via Gust MEES