Lumen Technologies (CenturyLink/Level3) Claims Tor Relays is "Against Our AUP"

I have CenturyLink Fiber in Seattle, WA, and when I was trying to debug an issue with the GPON ONT (basically a fiber modem).

This is mainly an issue with the number of concurrent TCP sessions is limited (which is an issue with Broadcom Packet Flow Cache I’m trying to get disabled) when I run a middle relay, some person said this about Tor:

Additionally, I need to advise you the Lumen Trust and Safety team has received notice of a potential violation of the Lumen Acceptable Use Policy. Specifically, use of the service to participate as part of TOR infrastructure is considered inappropriate actions by Lumen, and as such a potential violation of our AUP. As an example, inappropriate actions include violating or attempting to violate the security of the Services or the computers, accounts, or networks of another party, and circumventing the user authentication or security of any host, network, or account. You are hereby instructed to cease and desist any of the foregoing activities immediately.

Please see the Lumen AUP at: Acceptable Use Policy | Lumen

Violations of the Lumen AUP may result in suspension or termination of Service. Please note that if you use the Internet for Voice over IP services (VoIP) to support Internet based calling, you will not be able to make any incoming or outgoing calls, including 9-1-1 calls, from your service address unless you have Internet service. Also, disconnection of a bundled service may result in loss of your bundled discount.

Yet their AUP says nothing about Tor specifically, both the overarching Lumen one and the more specific CenturyLink one. The language is similar to that of other ISP/hosts AUPs which DO allow Tor say.

If Lumen/CenturyLink says Tor is against their AUP, they’d have to go after many other networks running Tor, such as OVH, DigitalOcean, Amazon, Microsoft, and MIT, since it appears this AUP is for ALL customers even enterprise ones.

I don’t see anything specific in the Lumen AUP that would prevent you from running a middle relay. I suggest to ask what specific paragraph/section of the AUP prevents you from running a Tor guard/middle relay and to start a dialog from there. It is possible that whoever you are talking to is assuming you are running an exit relay as soon as they see the term “TOR”.

Having said that, your chances are 50/50. They either come around and agree that this is acceptable or they refuse to provide services to you. I (and my ISPs with their upstream providers) have had both happen to me/us - especially in “the land of the free and the home of the brave”.

Good luck!

1 Like

I ran a guard relay with Centurylink for a long time and now run a bridge. I did not have an issue with either. I only moved to running a bridge due to some concerns related to my job.

I have been running four middle relays on CenturyLink for 18 months without issue now, along with five bridges via a special VPN which gives me a /29 (but only 5 Mbps and 70+ms pings).

I got CenturyLink to shut up mainly since (a) their parent Lumen also owns Level 3 (b) Level 3 is the biggest Internet backbone and (c) why go after me instead of OVH or MIT or AWS and (d) CenturyLink’s TOS doesn’t say anything against “servers” or “proxies”, which helps.

I’ve seen Frontier and Astound (RCN/Wave) run dry of Tor relays, but not CL. CL doesn’t have the best ONT in Seattle, but it’s easy to fix with ~$100.

In fact CenturyLink is listed as a “good” bridge/middle ISP.