Being brought in for questioning by authorities is nothing new to Tor exit node operators. When an operator receives attention from a government agency, it’s often in regard to serious crimes such as a child pornography ring or a potential terror threat: two examples that require investigation. Given that the users of Tor have their identity masked and the only visible I.P. address is that of the server that hosts the exit node, the operator is often the first step in an investigation.
This time, the motivation behind the police involvement was surprisingly different. Motherboard writes that Polish authorities have requested that British law enforcement pick up and question an exit node volunteer, Thomas White. The reason the node operator is being hassled by the authorities is unusual; there was an ‘offensive’ forum post insulting the ex-mayor of a small Polish town and White’s exit node was the I.P. address used. This is, as we discover, illegal in Poland.
The District Public Prosecutor’s Office in Bialystok, Poland, in a letter written to the UK Home Office explains this. Article 212, paragraph 2 of the Polish Penal Code says that someone who speaks of a person in a way that