A freeware program called Tor is a network of virtual tunnels designed to improve privacy and security on the Internet.
Use Tor to keep websites from tracking you or to connect to news sites, instant messaging services, or the like when these are blocked by local Internet providers. Tor also lets users publish web sites and other services without revealing the location of the site. Individuals also use Tor for socially sensitive communication: chat rooms and web forums for rape and abuse survivors, or people with illnesses.
Journalists use Tor to communicate more safely with whistleblowers and dissidents. Non-governmental organizations use Tor to allow their workers to connect to their home website while they're in a foreign country, without notifying everybody nearby that they're working with that organization. Activist groups recommend Tor as a way for maintaining civil liberties online. Corporations use Tor as a safe way to conduct sensitive business.
A branch of the U.S. Navy uses Tor for open source intelligence gathering; law enforcement uses Tor for visiting or surveillance of web sites without leaving government IP addresses in their web logs, and for security during sting operations.
So why would a private individual need this program? It protects you against a common form of Internet surveillance known as "traffic analysis." Traffic analysis allows others to track your behavior and interests. Some attackers spy on multiple parts of the Internet and use sophisticated statistical techniques to track the communications patterns of many different organizations and individuals. Bottom line: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location.
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Whether you're a regular user of Web privacy tools like Tor and Tails, or you've just checked out their websites, the NSA could be tracking your online movements, a new investigation reveals. The NSA surveillance program called X-Keyscore, first revealed last summer in documents leaked by Edward Snowden, has been found to contain selection rules that potentially add to an NSA watch list anybody who has not only used, but visited online privacy-protection tools such as the Tor Network for anonymous Web browsing and the Linux-based Tails operating system…. Read the full C-Net Report
So, now I’m probably on some watch list as a potentially dangerous threat to the US government.