Civil Liberties Group to Support Development of Anonymous Internet Communications System

San Francisco - Today the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) announced that it is becoming a sponsor of Tor, a technology project that helps organizations and individuals engage in anonymous communication online. Tor is a network-within-a-network that protects communication from a form of surveillance known as "traffic analysis."

Traffic analysis tracks where data goes and when, as well as how much is sent, rather than the content of communications. Knowing the source and destination of Internet traffic allows others to track a person's behavior and interests. This can impact privacy in obvious and secondary ways. For example, an e-commerce site could choose to charge you more for particular items based on your country or institution of origin. It could also threaten your job or physical safety by revealing who and where you are.

"EFF is a great organization to work with," said Roger Dingledine, Tor's project leader, who, along with Nick Mathewson, is also a core developer. "EFF understands the importance of anonymity technology for everyone -- from the average web surfer, to journalists for community sites like Indymedia, to people living under oppressive regimes. With their support and experience, we can focus on making Tor useful and usable by everyone."

"The Tor project is a perfect fit for EFF, because one of our primary goals is to protect the privacy and anonymity of Internet users," said EFF Technology Manager Chris Palmer. "Tor can help people exercise their First Amendment right to free, anonymous speech online. And unlike many other security systems, Tor recognizes that there is no security without user-friendliness -- if the mechanism is not accessible, nobody will use it. Tor strikes a balance between performance, usability, and security."

Using Tor can help people anonymize web browsing and publishing, instant messaging, Secure Shell (SSH) protocol, and more. Tor also provides a platform on which software developers can build new applications with built-in anonymity, safety, and privacy features.

Non-technical introduction to Tor.

Technical introduction to Tor.


Chris Palmer
Technology Manager
Electronic Frontier Foundation

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