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Does Stack Exchange have an IP Block Exemption Policy?

There are countless at-risk users around the world who must use Tor for all Internet activity to protect themselves and/or their families. Examples of such groups include:

  1. Refugees (eg escaping gang, State, or domestic violence)
  2. Journalists (eg reporting on gangs, corruption, or oppressive regimes)
  3. Whistleblowers (eg providing information to journalists above)
  4. Activists (eg pro-abortion-rights or environmental activists)

Unfortunately, every year numerous people are assassinated in the the above at-risk groups [1][2][3]. As an Information Security consultant, I've trained such users to use TAILS so that all of their internet traffic is protected with Tor.

Using Tor is the best way for at-risk users to stay safe when using the Internet

Unfortunately it appears that Stack Exchange is misconfigured, and Tor users are being wholesale blocked from registering for new accounts on Stack Exchange.

Due to this issue, Wikipedia created the IP Block Exemption policy, where at-risk users could apply to have their accounts added to an exemption list, allowing them to use the website with Tor.

Does Stack Exchange currently have a procedure for new users to register on Tor and get their accounts whitelisted from false-positive suspensions?

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  • Use a VPN, maybe?
    – user1477137
    Commented Mar 8 at 19:16
  • 11
    A VPN is a tool for businesses to have remote workers connect to their Intranet. A commercial VPN might be helpful to prevent some advertisers from tracking you online, but it is absolutely not a tool designed to protect these at-risk users from their adversaries. Tor Browser is. Commented Mar 8 at 19:18
  • Is TOR free of cost?
    – user1477137
    Commented Mar 8 at 19:19
  • 2
    @CitizenandSociety yes.
    – VLAZ
    Commented Mar 8 at 19:19
  • 2
    Tor is free to use, yes. Tor Browser can be downloaded for free from the Tor Project website, but I recommend TAILS for at-risk users, which is also free tails.net Commented Mar 8 at 19:47
  • 10
    Relevant post explaining why Tor exit nodes were blocked back in 2022: Update on the ongoing DDoS attacks and blocking Tor exit nodes
    – Sal StaffMod
    Commented Mar 8 at 19:49
  • 2
    Yes, because of this we clearly need a system to exclude authenticated users who need to use Tor to protect themselves. Commented Mar 8 at 19:50
  • 3
    Note: Wikipedia's IPBE only regards editing. No users from any IP address are blocked from viewing WP AFAIK. Commented Mar 8 at 19:56
  • 7
    If the choice is between allowing a narrow subset of people to access the network (and I do believe that the people in the groups you identify are a very narrow subset of people who may be interested in engaging on this platform) and risking the integrity of the platform for everyone, why should we risk the integrity and stability of the platform for the vast majority of users and prospective users? Given the attacks that originated from Tor exit nodes, it seems like this is the choice. Commented Mar 8 at 20:18
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    @ThomasOwens It works fine for Wikipeida. Why would you think that creating an exemption process would be a risk to Stack Exchange? I see nothing in the 2022 report that indicates that the attack came from authenticated users. Commented Mar 8 at 20:22
  • 18
    If a user is not yet authenticated, how do they get to an authentication page unless at least some pages allow unauthenticated users? Commented Mar 8 at 20:23

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