Georg Koppen <> writes:

> [ text/plain ]
> George Kadianakis:
>> As discussed in this mailing list and in IRC, I'm posting a subsequent
>> version of this proposal. Basic improvements:
>> - Uses a new custom HTTP header, instead of Alt-Svc or Location.
>> - Does not do auto-redirect; it instead suggests the onion based on
>>   antonella's mockup: 
> I don't see that or any particular idea of informing the user in the
> proposal itself, though. I think more about those browser side plans
> should be specified in it (probably in section 2). Right now you are
> quite specific about the redirection part and its pro and cons but
> rather vague on the actual UX improvements (having the header is just
> half of what you need).


pushed another commit to the onion-location branch in my repo for
addressing the concerns in GeKo's email:

I was not sure what other stuff to put in section 2 but please let me
know if you don't feel fullfiled with the current ones!!!

Also, I wiped out the improvements section because i was not sure what
to put there.

As a side thing, I found this extension which does the bottombar part of
this proposal, but it gets the redirection list from a local file
instead of an HTTP header:


>> ========================================================================
>> UX improvement proposal: Onion redirects using Onion-Location HTTP header
>> ========================================================================
>> 1. Motivation:
>>    Lots of high-profile websites have onion addresses these days (e.g. Tor ,
> Tor,
>>    NYT, blockchain, ProPublica).  All those websites seem confused on what's
>>    the right way to inform their users about their onion addresses. Here are
>>    some confusion examples:
>>      a) does not even advertise their onion address to Tor 
>> users (!!!)
>>      b) throws an ugly ASCII page to Tor users mentioning 
>> their onion
>>         address and completely wrecking the UX (loses URL params, etc.)
>>      c) ProPublica has a "Browse via Tor" section which redirects to the 
>> onion site.
>>    Ideally there would be a consistent way for websites to inform their users
>>    about their onion counterpart. This would provide the following positives:
>>      + Tor users would use onions more often. That's important for user
>>        education and user perception, and also to partially dispell the 
>> darkweb myth.
>>      + Website operators wouldn't have to come up with ad-hoc ways to 
>> advertise
>>        their onion services, which sometimes results in complete breakage of
>>        the user experience (particularly with blockchain)
>>    This proposal specifies a simple way forward here that's far from perfect,
>>    but can still provide benefits and also improve user-education around 
>> onions
>>    so that in the future we could employ more advanced techniques.
>>    Also see Tor ticket #21952 for more discussion on this:
>> 2. Proposal
>>    We introduce a new HTTP header called "Onion-Location" with the exact same
>>    restrictions and semantics as the Location HTTP header. Websites can use 
>> the
>>    Onion-Location HTTP header to specify their onion counterpart, in the same
>>    way that they would use the Location header.
>>    The Tor Browser intercepts the Onion-Location header (if any) and informs
>>    the user of the existense of the onion site, giving them the option to 
>> visit
> s/existense/existence/
>>    it. Tor Browser only does so if the header is served over HTTPS.
>>    Browsers that don't support Tor SHOULD ignore the Onion-Location header.
>> 3. Improvements
> Did you plan to write anything here? I guess there are at least UX
> improvements to the ad-hoc things you mentioned at the beginning of the
> proposal.
>> 4. Drawbacks
>> 4.1. No security/performance benefits
>>    While we could come up with onion redirection proposals that provide
>>    security and performance benefits, this proposal does not actually provide
>>    any of those.
>>    As a matter of fact, the security remains the same as connecting to normal
>>    websites (since we trust its HTTP headers), and the performance gets worse
> s/its/their/
>>    since we first need to connect to the website, get its headers, and then
>>    also connect to the onion.
>>    Still _all_ the website approaches mentioned in the "Motivation" section
>>    suffer from the above drawbacks, and sysadmins still come up with ad-hoc
>>    ways to inform users abou their onions. So this simple proposal will still
> s/abou/about/
>>    help those websites and also pave the way forward for future auto-redirect
>>    techniques.
>> 4.2. Defining new HTTP headers is not the best idea
>>    This proposal defines a new non-standard HTTP header. This is not great
>>    because it makes Tor into a "special" thing that needs to be supported 
>> with
>>    special headers. However, the fact that it's a new HTTP header that only
>>    works for Tor is a positive thing since it means that non-Tor browsers 
>> will
>>    just ignore it.
>>    Furthermore, another drawback is that this HTTP header will increase the
>>    bandwidth needlessly if it's also served to non-Tor clients. Hence 
>> websites
>>    with lots of client traffic are encouraged to use tools that detect Tor
>>    users and only serve the header to them (e.g. tordnsel).
>> 5. The future
>>    As previously discussed, this is just a simple proposal to introduce the
>>    redirection concept to people, and also to help some sysadmins who are
>>    currently coming up with weird ways to inform people about their
>>    onions. It's not the best way to do this, but it's definitely one of the
>>    simplest ways.
>>    In the future we could implement with more advanced auto-redirect 
>> proposals like:
> s/with// maybe?
> [snip]
> Georg
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