Tor’s Snowflake Proxies

Tor’s Snowflake system uses a browser extension for Chrome or Firefox to create proxies to Tor bridges to route around censorship in countries that block access to Tor guard services and Tor bridges.

Oppressive regimes can and have blocked the IP address of guard servers and bridges, but the idea with the Snowflake proxies, as Catalin Cimpanu aptly summed it up for ZDNET is to,

. . . create a constantly moving mesh of proxies that no government could ever block.

If someone from Iran or China or another country does use your Tor Snowflake proxy to connect Tor, their traffic will run through your Internett connection. However, the Tor Project notes,

There is no need to worry about which websites people are accessing through your proxy. Their visible browsing IP address will match their Tor exit node, not yours.

A Tor-Only Sim Card for Mobile Phones?

Interesting article about an ISP working on a Tor-only SIM card.

With that in mind, one UK grassroots internet service provider is currently testing a data only SIM card that blocks any non-Tor traffic from leaving the phone at all, potentially providing a more robust way to use Tor while on the go.

“This is about sticking a middle finger up to mobile filtering, mass surveillance,” Gareth Llewelyn, founder of Brass Horn Communications, told Motherboard in an online chat. Brass Horn is a non-profit internet service provider with a focus on privacy and anti-surveillance services.

. . .

“The key point is that it is a failsafe, if you don’t have Tor up then nothing can get to the internet,” Llewelyn said.

Does DRM Prevent Piracy?

Back in April 2012, Tor books decided to abandon DRM schemes and begin releasing all of its books DRM-free. A year later, in 2013, Tor summed up its approach to piracy and the results after a year (emphasis added),

But DRM-protected titles are still subject to piracy, and we believe a great majority of readers are just as against piracy as publishers are, understanding that piracy impacts on an author’s ability to earn an income from their creative work. As it is, we’ve seen no discernible increase in piracy on any of our titles, despite them being DRM-free for nearly a year.

The move has been a hugely positive one for us, it’s helped establish Tor and Tor UK as an imprint that listens to its readers and authors when they approach us with a mutual concern—and for that we’ve gained an amazing amount of support and loyalty from the community. And a year on we’re still pleased that we took this step with the imprint and continue to publish all of Tor UK’s titles DRM-free.

At least one company gets it.