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    <a href="<page about/torusers>">Who Uses Tor</a>
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    <h1>Inception</h1>
    <hr />
    <p>
    Tor was originally designed, implemented, and deployed as a
    third-generation <a href="http://www.onion-router.net/">onion routing
    project of the Naval Research Laboratory</a>.  It was originally
    developed with the U.S. Navy in mind, for the primary purpose of
    protecting government communications.  Today, it is used every day
    for a wide variety of purposes by the military, journalists, law
    enforcement officers, activists, and many others. Here are some of
    the specific uses we've seen or recommend.
    </p>
    
    <a name="normalusers"></a>
    <img src="$(IMGROOT)/family.jpg" alt="Normal People" />
    <h2><a class="anchor" href="#normalusers">Normal people use Tor</a></h2>
    <hr />
    <ul>
    <li><strong>They protect their privacy from unscrupulous marketers and identity thieves.</strong>
    Internet Service Providers (ISPs) <a href="http://seekingalpha.com/article/29449-compete-ceo-isps-sell-clickstreams-for-5-a-month">
    sell your Internet browsing records</a> to marketers or anyone else
    willing to pay for it. ISPs typically say that
    they anonymize the data by not providing personally identifiable information, but
    <a href="http://www.wired.com/politics/security/news/2006/08/71579?currentPage=all">this
    has proven incorrect</a>.  A full record of every site you visit, the text of every search you perform, and potentially
    userid and even password information can still be part of this data.  In addition to your ISP, the websites (<a href="http://www.google.com/privacy_faq.html">and search engines</a>) you visit have their own logs, containing the same or more information.
    </li>
    <li><strong> They protect their communications from irresponsible corporations.</strong>
    All over the Internet, Tor is being recommended to people newly concerned about their privacy in the face of increasing breaches and betrayals of
    private data. From <a href="http://www.securityfocus.com/news/11048">lost backup tapes</a>, to
    <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/09/technology/09aol.html?ex=1312776000&amp;en=f6f61949c6da4d38&amp;ei=5090">giving away the data to researchers</a>,
    your data is often not well protected by those you are supposed to trust to keep it safe.
    </li>
    <li><strong>They protect their children online.</strong>
    You've told your kids they shouldn't share personally identifying information online, but they may be sharing their location simply
    by not concealing their IP address. Increasingly, IP addresses can be <a href="http://whatismyipaddress.com/">literally mapped to a city or even street location</a>, and can <a href="http://whatsmyip.org/more/">reveal other information</a> about how you are connecting to the Internet.
    In the United States, the government is pushing to make this mapping increasingly precise.
    </li>
    <li><strong>They research sensitive topics.</strong>
    There's a wealth of information available online. But perhaps in your country, access to information on AIDS, birth control,
    <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/12/03/tech/main531567.shtml">Tibetan culture</a>,
    or world religions is behind a national firewall.
    </li>
    </ul>
    
    <a name="military"></a>
    <img src="$(IMGROOT)/military.jpg" alt="Military and Law Enforcement" />
    <h2><a class="anchor" href="#military">Militaries use Tor</a></h2>
    <hr />
    <ul>
    
    <li>
    <strong>Field Agents:</strong>
    It is not difficult for insurgents to monitor Internet traffic and
    discover all the hotels and other locations from which people are
    connecting to known military servers.
    Military field agents deployed away from home use Tor to
    mask the sites they are visiting, protecting military interests and
    operations, as well as protecting themselves from physical harm.
    </li>
    
    <li><strong>Hidden services:</strong>
    When the Internet was designed by DARPA, its primary purpose was to be able to facilitate distributed, robust communications in case of
    local strikes.  However, some functions must be centralized, such as command and control sites.  It's the nature of the Internet protocols to
    reveal the geographic location of any server that is reachable online.  Tor's hidden services capacity allows military command and
    control to be physically secure from discovery and takedown.
    </li>
    <li><strong>Intelligence gathering:</strong>
    Military personnel need to use electronic resources run and monitored by insurgents. They do not want the webserver logs on an insurgent website
    to record a military address, thereby revealing the surveillance.
    </li>
    </ul>
    
    <a name="journalist"></a>
    <img src="$(IMGROOT)/media.jpg" alt="Journalists and the Media" />
    <h2><a class="anchor" href="#journalist">Journalists and their audience use Tor</a></h2>
    <hr />
    <ul>
    <li><strong><a href="http://www.rsf.org/">Reporters without Borders</a></strong>
    tracks Internet prisoners of conscience and jailed or harmed journalists all over the world. They advise
    journalists, sources, bloggers, and dissidents to use Tor to ensure their privacy and safety.
    </li>
    <li><strong>The US <a href="http://www.ibb.gov/">International Broadcasting Bureau</a></strong>
    (Voice of America/Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Asia) supports Tor development to help Internet users in countries without
    safe access to free media.  Tor preserves the ability of persons behind national firewalls or under
    the surveillance of repressive regimes to obtain a global perspective on controversial topics including democracy,
    economics and religion.
    </li>
    <li><strong>Citizen journalists in China</strong> use Tor to write about
    local events to encourage social change and political reform.
    </li>
    <li><strong>Citizens and journalists in <a
    href="http://www.rsf.org/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=554">Internet black
    holes</a></strong> use Tor to research state propaganda and opposing
    viewpoints, to file stories with non-State controlled media, and to
    avoid risking the personal consequences of intellectual curiosity.
    </li>
    </ul>
    
    <a name="lawenforcement"></a>
    <h2><a class="anchor" href="#lawenforcement">Law enforcement officers use Tor</a></h2>
    <hr />
    <ul>
    <li><strong>Online surveillance:</strong>
    Tor allows officials to surf questionable web sites and services
    without leaving tell-tale tracks.  If the system administrator of an
    illegal gambling site, for example, were to see multiple connections from
    government or law enforcement IP addresses in usage logs, investigations
    may be hampered.
    </li>
    <li><strong>Sting operations:</strong>
    Similarly, anonymity allows law officers to engage in online
    &ldquo;undercover &rdquo; operations.  Regardless of how good an
    undercover officer's &ldquo;street cred&rdquo; may be, if the
    communications include IP ranges from police addresses, the cover is blown.
    </li>
    <li><strong>Truly anonymous tip lines:</strong>
    While online anonymous tip lines are popular, without anonymity
    software, they are far less useful.  Sophisticated sources understand that
    although a name or email address is not attached to information, server
    logs can identify them very quickly.  As a result, tip line web sites that
    do not encourage anonymity are limiting the sources of their tips.
    </li>
    </ul>
    
    <a name="activists"></a>
    <img src="$(IMGROOT)/activists.jpg" alt="Activists &amp; Whistleblowers" />
    <h2><a class="anchor" href="#activists">Activists &amp; Whistleblowers use Tor</a></h2>
    <hr />
    <ul>
    <li><strong>Human rights activists use Tor to anonymously report abuses from
    danger zones.</strong>  Internationally, labor rights workers use Tor and other
    forms of online and offline anonymity to organize workers in accordance
    with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Even though they are within
    the law, it does not mean they are safe. Tor provides the ability to
    avoid persecution while still raising a voice.
    </li>
    <li>When groups such as the <strong>Friends Service Committee and environmental
    groups are increasingly <a href="http://www.afsc.org/news/2005/government-spying.htm">falling under surveillance</a>
    in the United States</strong> under laws meant to protect against terrorism, many peaceful agents of
    change rely on Tor for basic privacy during legitimate activities.
    </li>
    <li><strong><a href="http://hrw.org/doc/?t=internet">Human Rights Watch</a></strong>
    recommends Tor in their report, &ldquo;
    <a href="http://www.hrw.org/reports/2006/china0806/">Race to the Bottom: Corporate
    Complicity in Chinese Internet Censorship</a>.&rdquo; The study
    co-author interviewed Roger Dingledine, Tor project leader,
    on Tor use.  They cover Tor in the section on how to breach the <a
    href="http://www.hrw.org/reports/2006/china0806/3.htm#_Toc142395820">&ldquo;Great
    Firewall of China,&rdquo;</a> and recommend that human rights workers throughout
    the globe use Tor for &ldquo;secure browsing and communications.&rdquo;
    </li>
    <li> Tor has consulted with and volunteered help to <strong>Amnesty International's
    recent <a href="http://irrepressible.info/">corporate responsibility campaign</a></strong>.
    See also their <a href="http://irrepressible.info/static/pdf/FOE-in-china-2006-lores.pdf">full
    report</a> on China Internet issues.
    </li>
    <li><a href="http://www.globalvoicesonline.org">Global Voices</a>
    recommends Tor, especially for <strong>anonymous blogging</strong>,
    throughout their <a href="http://advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org/projects/guide/">
    web site.</a>
    </li>
    <li>In the US, the Supreme Court recently stripped legal protections from
    government whistleblowers.  But whistleblowers working for governmental
    transparency or corporate accountability can use Tor to seek justice
    without personal repercussions.
    </li>
    <li>A contact of ours who works with a public health nonprofit in
    Africa reports that his nonprofit <strong>must budget 10% to cover various sorts of corruption</strong>,
    mostly bribes and such.  When that percentage rises steeply, not only can they not afford the money, but they can
    not afford to complain &mdash; this is the point at which open objection can
    become dangerous.  So his nonprofit has been working to
    <strong>use Tor to safely whistleblow on government corruption</strong> in order to continue their work.
    </li>
    <li>At a recent conference, a Tor staffer ran into a woman who came from
    a &ldquo;company town&rdquo; in the eastern United States. She was attempting to blog anonymously to rally
    local residents to <strong>urge reform in the company</strong> that dominated the town's
    economic and government affairs. She is fully cognizant that the kind of
    organizing she was doing <strong>could lead to harm or &ldquo;fatal
    accidents.&rdquo;</strong>
    </li>
    <li>In east Asia, some labor organizers use anonymity to <strong>reveal information
    regarding sweatshops</strong> that produce goods for western countries and to
    organize local labor.
    </li>
    <li>
    Tor can help activists avoid government or corporate censorship that hinders organization.
    In one such case, a
    <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2005/07/24/telus-sites050724.html">Canadian ISP blocked access to a union website used by their own employees</a>
    to help organize a strike.
    </li>
    </ul>
    
    <a name="spotlight"></a>
    <h2><a class="anchor" href="#spotlight">High &amp; low profile people use Tor</a></h2>
    <hr />
    <ul>
    <li>Does being in the public spotlight shut you off from having a private
    life, forever, online?  A rural lawyer in a New England state keeps
    an anonymous blog because, with the diverse clientele at his prestigious
    law firm, <strong>his political beliefs are bound to offend someone</strong>.  Yet, he
    doesn't want to remain silent on issues he cares about.  Tor helps him
    feel secure that he can express his opinion without consequences to his
    public role.
    </li>
    <li>People living in poverty often don't participate fully in civil society
    -- not out of ignorance or apathy, but out of fear.  If something you
    write were to get back to your boss, would you lose your job?  If your
    social worker read about your opinion of the system, would she treat
    you differently?  Anonymity gives a voice to the voiceless.
    To support this, <strong>Tor currently has an open Americorps/VISTA position</strong> pending.  This
    government grant will cover a full time stipend for a volunteer to create
    curricula to <strong>show low-income populations how to use anonymity online for
    safer civic engagement</strong>.  Although it's often said that the poor do not use
    online access for civic engagement, failing to act in their self-interests,
    it is our hypothesis (based on personal conversations and anecdotal
    information) that it is precisely the &ldquo;permanent record &rdquo;
    left online that keeps many of the poor from speaking out on the Internet.
    We hope to show people how to engage more safely online, and then at
    the end of the year, evaluate how online and offline civic engagement has
    changed, and how the population sees this continuing into the future.
    </li>
    </ul>
    
    <a name="executives"></a>
    <img src="$(IMGROOT)/consumers.jpg" alt="Businesses" />
    <h2><a class="anchor" href="#executives">Business executives use Tor</a></h2>
    <hr />
    <ul>
    <li><strong>Security breach information clearinghouses:</strong>
    Say a financial institution participates in a security clearinghouse
    of information on Internet attacks.  Such a repository requires members
    to report breaches to a central group, who correlates attacks to detect
    coordinated patterns and send out alerts.  But if a specific bank in St. Louis is breached, they don't want an attacker watching the incoming
    traffic to such a repository to be able to track where information is
    coming from.  Even though every packet were encrypted, the IP
    address would betray the location of a compromised system.  Tor allows
    such repositories of sensitive information to resist compromises.
    </li>
    <li><strong>Seeing your competition as your market does:</strong>
    If you try to check out a competitor's pricing, you may find no
    information or misleading information on their web site.  This is because
    their web server may be keyed to detect connections from competitors,
    and block or spread disinformation to your staff.  Tor allows a business
    to view their sector as the general public would view it.
    </li>
    <li><strong>Keeping strategies confidential:</strong>
    An investment bank, for example, might not want industry snoopers to be
    able to track what web sites their analysts are watching.  The strategic
    importance of traffic patterns, and the vulnerability of the surveillance
    of such data, is starting to be more widely recognized in several areas
    of the business world.
    </li>
    <li><strong>Accountability:</strong>
    In an age when irresponsible and unreported corporate activity has
    undermined multi-billion dollar businesses, an executive exercising true
    stewardship wants the whole staff to feel free to disclose internal
    malfeasance.  Tor facilitates internal accountability before it turns
    into whistleblowing.
    </li>
    </ul>
    
    <a name="bloggers"></a>
    <h2><a class="anchor" href="#bloggers">Bloggers use Tor</a></h2>
    <hr />
    <ul>
    <li>Frequently we hear about bloggers who are
    <a href="http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB112541909221726743-Kl4kLxv0wSbjqrkXg_DieY3c8lg_20050930.html">sued</a> or
    <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/money/workplace/2005-06-14-worker-blogs-usat_x.htm">fired</a>
    for saying perfectly legal things online, in their blog.</li>
    <li>We recommend the <a href="http://www.eff.org/issues/bloggers/legal">EFF Legal Guide for Bloggers</a>.</li>
    <li>Global Voices maintains a <a href="http://advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org/projects/guide/">guide to anonymous blogging with Wordpress and Tor</a>.</li>
    </ul>
    
    <a name="itprofessionals"></a>
    <h2><a class="anchor" href="#itprofessionals">IT Professionals use Tor</a></h2>
    <hr />
    <ul>
    <li>To verify IP based firewall rules: A firewall may have some policies that only allow certain IP addresses or ranges. Tor can be used to verify those configurations by using an IP number outside of the company's alloted IP block.</li>
    <li>To bypass their own security systems for sensitive professional activities: For instance, a company may have a strict policy regarding the material employees can view on the internet. A log review reveals a possible violation. Tor can be used to verify the information without an exception being put into corporate security systems.</li>
    <li>To connect back to deployed services: A network engineer can use Tor to remotely connect back to services, without the need for an external machine and user account, as part of operational testing.</li>
    <li>To access internet resources: Acceptable use policy for IT Staff and normal employees is usually different. Tor can allow unfettered access to the internet while leaving standard security policies in place.</li>
    <li>To work around ISP network outages: Sometimes when an ISP is having routing or DNS problems, Tor can make internet resources available, when the actual ISP is malfunctioning. This can be invaluable is crisis situations. </li>
    </ul>
    
    <p>
    Please do send us your success stories. They are very important because
    Tor provides anonymity. While it is thrilling to speculate about <a
    href="<page docs/faq-abuse>">undesired effects of Tor</a>, when it succeeds, nobody notices.  This is
    great for users, but not so good for us, since publishing success
    stories about how people or organizations are staying anonymous could be
    counterproductive.  For example, we talked to an FBI officer who
    explained that he uses Tor every day for his work &mdash; but he quickly followed up with a request not to provide
    details or mention his name.</p>
    
    <p> Like any technology, from pencils to cellphones, anonymity can be used for both good and bad.  You have probably seen some of the vigorous
    debate (<a href="http://www.wired.com/politics/security/commentary/securitymatters/2006/01/70000">pro</a>,
    <a href="http://www.edge.org/q2006/q06_4.html#kelly">con</a>, and <a
    href="http://web.mit.edu/gtmarx/www/anon.html">academic</a>) over anonymity. The Tor project is based on the belief that anonymity is not
    just a good idea some of the time &mdash; it is a requirement for a free and functioning society.  The <a href="http://www.eff.org/issues/anonymity">EFF maintains a good overview</a> of how anonymity was crucial to the founding of the United States.  Anonymity is recognized by US courts as a fundamental and important right. In fact, governments mandate anonymity in many cases themselves:
    <a href="https://www.crimeline.co.za/default.asp">police tip lines</a>,
    <a href="http://www.texasbar.com/Content/ContentGroups/Public_Information1/Legal_Resources_Consumer_Information/Family_Law1/Adoption_Options.htm#sect2">adoption services</a>,
    <a href="http://writ.news.findlaw.com/aronson/20020827.html">police officer identities</a>,
    and so forth. It would be impossible to rehash the entire anonymity debate here &mdash; it is too large an issue with too many nuances, and there
    are plenty of other places where this information can be found. We do have a <a href="<page docs/faq-abuse>">Tor abuse</a> page describing some of
    the possible abuse cases for Tor, but suffice it to say that if you want to abuse the system, you'll either find it mostly closed for your
    purposes (e.g. the majority of Tor relays do not support SMTP in order to prevent anonymous email spamming), or if you're one of the
    <a href="http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2005/12/computer_crime_1.html">Four Horsemen of the Information Apocalypse</a>,
    you have better options than Tor. While not dismissing the potential abuses of Tor,
    this page shows a few of the many important ways anonymity is used online today.</p>
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