Tor, trust and the NSA

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Tor is an anonymizing network that’s designed to protect you by “bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location.”

That’s cool, but does Tor really guarantee you what you think or assume it does? I can’t say for sure, but when facing a state-sponsored entity with time and resources on its side, you cannot be too careful. At least if pays to know what other people think about Tor, especially when what they have to say runs counter to what you know, or what you think you know.

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That’s why I chose to link to an article published by Bill Blunden at Counterpunch. The gist of the article is that Tor may not be as save as you think.

Here’s an excerpt:

Tor proponents often make a big deal of the fact that the NSA admits in its own internal documents that “Tor Stinks,” as it makes surveillance more work-intensive[ii]. What these proponents fail to acknowledge is that the spies at the NSA also worry that Internet users will abandon Tor: “[A] Critical mass of targets use Tor. Scaring them away from Tor might be counterproductive”

Go back and re-read that last sentence. Tor is a signal to spies, a big waving flag that gets their attention and literally draws them to your network traffic[iii]. Certain aspects of Tor might “stink” but ultimately the NSA wants people to keep using Tor. This highlights the fact that security services, like the FBI[iv], have developed sophisticated tools to remove the veil of anonymity that Tor aims to provide.

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Interesting stuff. You may read the complete article here.

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