Russia Takes Out Contract to Unlock the TOR Network
Russia is in a weird place right now. After months of unfavorable international gaze on the geographically giant nation and ex-superpower the country intends to crack down on dissenting opinions. With the incursion into Ukrainian territory and supporting separatist group in that country who recently shot down the Malaysian Airline MH 17, the country has constantly been under negative light.
The country’s Interior ministry has taken out a tender to 3.9 Million Rubles ($111,290) to try to identify the anonymous users of the TOR network. The decision came to light when a group of human rights activist began protesting against the tender.
TOR network hides the identity of the user by encrypting the data and sending user information through thousands of random pathways, therefore, making it harder to trace. This pathway is also used to access the unarchived Dark Net. Though the system has been used by anti-social elements too, but the anonymous features have helped information activists to reach their audience without being identified for persecution.
Russia has enacted some major regressive laws to contain unfavorable opinions within territories. The nations new blogging law ask all bloggers with a daily audience of over 3000 have to register their identity. The ones protected by the decision are those bloggers who use the TOR network, and this is the government’s way of uncovering such hidden bloggers.
The fact is that only a small number of internet users in Russia use the TOR network, but their burgeoning number has the Kremlin worried. It is estimated by Apparat.cc magazine that the number has grown from 80,000 in May to 200,000 by the month of July. Russian contemporary politics seems as a decisive factor that is encouraging people to opt an anonymous route to address their displeasure with their government.
It is not the first time that there have been steps taken by the government to track anonymous service users. The world’s gossipy aunty who always wants to overhear every conversation, A.K.A the NSA has invested resources to uncover the network, but that involves a lot of time and expense. The anonymous network stands quite resilient in the face of opposition.
This whole scenario is also a reminder that internet needs to be protected from prying eyes and its independence needs to stand. Information and dissent go hand in hand. A free internet has the potential to change the world of tomorrow.