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I currently have a home server that I'm using to learn more and more about servers. There's also the advantage of being able to run things like a Minecraft server (Yeah!).

I recently installed and setup a proxy service known as Squid. The main reason was so that no matter where I was, I would be able to access sites without dealing with any network content filter (like at schools).

I wanted to make this public but I had second thoughts on it. I thought last night that if people were using my proxy, couldn't they access illegal materials with it? What if someone used my proxy to download copyright material? Or launched an attack on another site via my proxy? What if someone actually looked up child pornography through the proxy?

My question is, am I liable for what people use my proxy for? If someone does an illegal act and it leads to my proxy server, could I be held accountable for the actions done?

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closed as off topic by squillman, Zoredache, Ben Pilbrow, Sven, EEAA Apr 18 '11 at 19:30

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You'll need to refer to a legal expert in your region for this. Whereas there are undoubtedly participants here with experience in such things, it's not a legal-centric site. SF focuses on the technical aspects of system administration. – squillman Apr 18 '11 at 18:37
I would bet the answer is maybe. I know my agreement with my ISP states that they believe I would be responsible for everything that originates from my system. While you may not be liable I suspect that running open proxy may make your life a lot more difficult. Instead of 'them' having to prove you did it, you would have to prove that you didn't do whatever the man wants to accuse you of. – Zoredache Apr 18 '11 at 18:46
@squillman Thanks for a reply and I'll research into it on my own. Like you said, I knew this site would have had many people who would have gone through the same thought-process as me, hence the reason I asked here. – NessDan Apr 18 '11 at 18:47
BTW, if you want to access your proxy from outside side your network then setup SSH port forwarding or some other VPN to access your proxy. – Zoredache Apr 18 '11 at 18:48
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The simplest answer is yes. Although this is a localized legal situation, there are more than just legalities involved because even if the law does not, your ISP will hold you accountable for the usage.

Also here is the deal: if you leave an open proxy it WILL get used by spammers. I promise. Just don't do it.

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This isn't LawyerFault. Having said that, there's a basic tenet of system administration hiding in the answer to your question that's worth addressing.

It's generally a bad idea to allow the public to make arbitrary use of your computing resources (be it bandwidth, storage, CPU, etc). Legal implications aside, you can't create scalable public-facing services of any kind without taking into account resource allocation and starvation. So, putting aside any legal ramifications, offering a public proxy service that was actually a valuable service would need to have these considerations addressed (and Squid isn't necessarily the best platform for that).

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