[...] use [of] Tor [...] makes me a terrorist supporter, a cybercriminal wanna be, and the NSA has a case file on me. [...]
Not wanting to pick on @Daniel here, but I'm not sure how he and many other people get these ideas? It's preposterous to imagine that merely
using Tor causes anything like this
to happen at the NSA. Somehow people ascribe both almost-magical powers of access and detection, and yet at the same time nursery-school levels of deduction and insight, to intelligence agencies like GCHQ and NSA.
Now obviously it's interesting to use data mining to find the intersection of (say) people who:
- use Tor, cryptography, or steganography
- have posted tweets with violent political sentiments
- have actively researched bomb-making on Google
- are connected closely by one or two calls in the phone network to known terrorist group members
- have travelled to Yemen or Afghanistan recently
- their pattern of activity on the Internet has suddenly changed
- made recent withdrawals of large amounts of cash recently
- have had their car numberplate seen in the vicinity of an industrial fertiliser plant
This could be indicative of someone in a terrorist cell embarking on the active part of a bombing campaign, and I imagine would be the sort of selector that would be used by GCHQ or MI5 et al to trigger active surveillance or other action directed at finding out what is going on.
Now, someone will almost certainly now reply listing a set of innocuous reasons for each of these items, and suggesting that since there is some conceivable innocent circumstance they are or could be involved in that would trigger these, therefore they are obviously a terrorist (ha ha!) and it is wrong, unethical, unconstitutional, invalid, stupid etc. for anyone to use these criteria to find threats.
But a single false positive is no reason to discard techniques that can result in genuine true positive. Of course any mechanism with enormous false-positive rates should be discarded, but it is pretty childish to assume that agencies like GCHQ or NSA are unable to do the obvious filtering that would discard Bob who is using Tor to access porn that his ISP normally filters, and otherwise uses the Internet to access Facebook and cat videos on YouTube, and Alice who is a member of a radical eco-warrior group and has a history of violent direct action, backed up by posts on radical forums and a suspicious amount of encrypted traffic to other known eco-terrorists. Alice's use of Tor is therefore also certainly suspicious, particularly combined with other indicators of the kind I enumerated earlier.
As I say, there's a sort of black-and-white boolean mindset around people (often, but not always, the mathematically-minded) where they see a criterion and then search for and find a counter-example. No matter how convoluted or unlikely, they imagine that its existence makes the criterion useless, the same way that a mathematical theorem is disproved. But this just doesn't work (or matter) in the fuzzy and confusing real world. These sorts of things can be used to add weight to a hypothesis and are just one part in a chain of evidence.
TL;DR - Using Tor will not automatically cause the NSA or anyone else to open a case file on you. Intelligence agencies use more than a single criterion to select persons of interest, and must employ complex chains of inference and deduction to sift through the mountains of data they collect to reduce it down to useful, actionable product.