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Tor: Bringing Online Security to The Next Level and Leaving Big Brother in a Conundrum

Posted on March 23, 2011 by bcowan No Comments

A few months back I read Rolling Stone’s profile piece on WikiLeaks Hacker Jacob Appelbaum,  the piece was more about the man himself, but I was taken by his motivations and beliefs that led him to construct the Tor Project.  I had heard of the Tor Project before, but had always thought of it as subversive and of little use to individuals who are not Terrorists, Counter Terrorists, or black hats.  Something resonated with me after reading the article weeks later, perhaps a little of Appelbaum’s paranoia  had begun to rub off on me, but I couldn’t help but shake the thought of how much of ourselves we expose daily to corporations and government entities, perhaps not knowingly or willingly but at least passively accepting the fact that somewhere, somebody has the ability track and record your online activity.  Most people would not consider themselves a big enough blip on the radar to expect to have to one day account for their online behavior but  what if their wrong.

Their is a comedic level of irony to me that Appelbaum created Tor to circumvent government surveillance and the government in turn, began using  Tor to secure it’s own Communications and Intelligence. What’s more, Appelbaum seems to have a legitimate reason to wish to avoid interaction with Federal Authorities while they should be thanking him for protecting their necks.

Appelbaum’s collabrative efforts have brought about additional major innovations in the web security, such as HTTPS Everywhere; A plugin that will SSL encrypt your visits to many major websites such as:

  • Google Search
  • Wikipedia
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • bit.ly
  • GMX
  • WordPress.com blogs
  • The New York Times
  • The Washington Post
  • Paypal
  • EFF
  • Tor
  • Ixquick


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