Privacy Blog

“By continuing the process of inflation, governments can confiscate secretly and unobserved an important part of the wealth of their citizens.” – John Maynard Keynes, writing about the effects of a seemingly small amount of inflation every year.

What is TOR and How Does It Work?

TorTOR (The Onion Router) is a valuable tool for protecting your privacy and identity on the Internet when don’t want to share your private information. It also protects your identity and personal information from government and corporate snoops.

With Tor, the sites you visit won’t even know who you are unless you log in and tell them. In fact, Tor was invented in the mid-1990s by United States Naval Research Laboratory employees for use by government agents for U.S. intelligence communications online when they had to use public networks. It has since been adopted by other government agencies, law enforcement personnel, journalists, tourists, activist groups, and private citizens alike.

The Tor Project web site says:

Journalists use Tor to communicate more safely with whistleblowers and dissidents. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) 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.

Groups such as Indymedia recommend Tor for safeguarding their members’ online privacy and security. Activist groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recommend Tor as a mechanism for maintaining civil liberties online. Corporations use Tor as a safe way to conduct competitive analysis, and to protect sensitive procurement patterns from eavesdroppers. They also use it to replace traditional VPNs, which reveal the exact amount and timing of communication. Which locations have employees working late? Which locations have employees consulting job-hunting websites? Which research divisions are communicating with the company’s patent lawyers?

A branch of the U.S. Navy uses Tor for open source intelligence gathering, and one of its teams used Tor while deployed in the Middle East recently. Law enforcement uses Tor for visiting or surveilling web sites without leaving government IP addresses in their web logs, and for security during sting operations.

Tor also works well not only to block government snooping but also to block corporations from tracking you as you use the web in order to display targeted ads to you.

You can learn a lot more about Tor at the Tor Project web site at, in Wikipedia at, and in a You Tube video at which is also shown below:

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