The simple way to install Tor for online anonymity

Image of Tor onion networkingThe bad news is that the National Security Agency (the US authority that spies on internet users) targets anyone searching for privacy tools.

NSA classifies Linux Journal readers, Tor and Tails Linux users as “extremists”

“Months of investigation by the German public television broadcasters NDR and WDR (ARD), drawing on exclusive access to top secret NSA source code, interviews with former NSA employees, and the review of secret documents of the German government reveal that not only is the server in Nuremberg under observation by the NSA, but so is virtually anyone who has taken an interest in several well-known privacy software systems,” said the ARD report.

The program marks and tracks the IP addresses of those who search for ‘tails’ or ‘Amnesiac Incognito Live System’ along with ‘linux’, ‘ USB ‘,’ CD ‘, ‘secure desktop’, ‘ IRC ‘, ‘truecrypt’ or ‘ tor ‘. It also refers to the Tails Linux distribution as “a comsec mechanism advocated by extremists on extremist forums”.

The good news is that it’s never been easier to install tor anonymity software. Just head over to Torproject, grab the tor browser bundle and follow the instructions.


edit: I support the Tor project by running a Tor relay.

Continue ReadingThe simple way to install Tor for online anonymity

Want to make a worthwhile donation this Solstice?

I’m going to suggest some worthwhile causes for donations here.

< more may appear here >

I am willing to receive anonymous donations or bequests. Bequests are ok because I can’t serve or be seen to serve somebody who is dead. It’s – of course – up to you to decide if I’m a worthy cause or not. I’m advised that used, unmarked notes are a good way to ensure anonymity.

Image of a Hunter 19 sailing boat

What I’d really like is a small sailing boat – something that I can learn to sail in but that can also be sailed long distances single-handedly. A nice Hunter 19 sailing boat (like this one [25/12/13 I’ve come to realise that this is far from an ideal trailer-sailer because of that fin keel and would avoid it. Imagine trying to launch that from a launching ramp. The one in the image above is fine.]) with outboard, etc on a trailer would be ideal and not too expensive. A Hunter 19 has crossed the Atlantic. I’m sure that it could be delivered anonymously on a trailer.

Continue ReadingWant to make a worthwhile donation this Solstice?
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Continuing analysis of David Cameron’s web censorship

David Cameron spoke on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour at 4p.m. today. I didn’t listen to it although it will be on iplayer later. I’m commenting on this article instead.

Cameron’s comments are more nuanced e.g. not confusing Tor’s “dark net” and peer-to-peer, and have advanced from earlier this week. While the original announcements on Monday were about preventing access to illegal, child pornography Cameron is now talking of preventing children “stumbling across hardcore legal pornography”. So which is it? Wasn’t it 100,000 “unambiguous” search terms which lead to illegal content? Now it’s about children happening across legal hardcore porn? It’s not the same.

Cameron disagreed with the former head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop), Jim Gamble who said this would not have a big impact as paedophiles did not use search websites to find these images, but instead go to the “dark corners of the internet on peer-to-peer websites”.

This part is alarming: Mr Cameron said GCHQ were helping the National Crime Agency (NCA) to find people who use the “dark net” – stand-alone networks that sit separate to the web but are accessible to those that run the right software.

The problem is that it’s not illegal to use Tor and it has legitimate uses for political activists and dissidents and to evade censorship in oppressive regimes (as Cameron is intending for UK?). I use Tor and – as I have said before – I run a Tor relay.

Being a Tor user is most definitely not the same as being a paedophile accessing child pornography – so why target Tor users? I personally don’t use it as much as I used to – what does it matter if Cameron, Clegg, Miliband et al have half an hour’s notice of what to expect? This blog is pretty predictable unless I’ve got an exclusive. I’ll use it if I’m researching something sensitive or to access Pirate Bay which is blocked by court order in UK. The majority of internet traffic is peer-to-peer, probably sharing copyrighted material. So what?

“One of the things that came out of the meeting that gave me hope was that actually when people talk about these sites on the dark web where people are sharing revolting images, one of the experts said it’s not totally dissimilar to people downloading movies and music.”

I think that Cameron is responding to my criticism that Tor is not peer-to-peer. It is exactly like downloading movies and movie clips from a normal webserver. The only practical difference is that it takes longer.

“I’ve talked to parents who’ve had very direct experience of this happening, where the children were looking for something totally legitimate but ended up with, you know, some pretty horrible things in front of them …” I honestly don’t think that this happens.

Cameron is welcome to check things with me first … I won’t charge much. I’m sure that he knows many people that have my email address …

Continue ReadingContinuing analysis of David Cameron’s web censorship