Computing Profession

CFP: Tor: Online Privacy and Anonymity

The Computer, Freedom & Privacy Conference logo
The logo of the Computers, Freedom & Privacy Conference.

Next up I'm attending an interesting panel on the Tor Project for Online Anonymity. Tor is a tool that allows users all over the world to browse the Internet anonymously and securely. You can find out more about the Tor Project on its website here.

Tor's goal is to hide who's communicating with whom and to make every single Tor user the same so each looks like part of a bigger crowd. Originally designed by the U.S. Naval Research Library, Tor's source code was released in 2002.

Unlike a VPN that only goes through one server, Tor encrypts the information its user sends and the information packet goes through three separate servers. Each server can only unencrypt one layer, so by the time the third server receives the packet, the server only knows the destination of the packet and not the source user or computer.  For tech experts, and even for the casual user wanting more info, the Tor website does an excellent job of explaining how the product works here.

If you are interested in more security and privacy as you use the internet, Tor is a great product to check out. And it's free and open source!

Join the Discussion (0)

Become a Member or Sign In to Post a Comment

The Latest from CACM

Shape the Future of Computing

ACM encourages its members to take a direct hand in shaping the future of the association. There are more ways than ever to get involved.

Get Involved

Communications of the ACM (CACM) is now a fully Open Access publication.

By opening CACM to the world, we hope to increase engagement among the broader computer science community and encourage non-members to discover the rich resources ACM has to offer.

Learn More