Tor (anonymity network)

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Developer(s) The Tor Project, Inc
Initial release 20 September 2002
Development status Active
Written in C
Operating system Microsoft Windows | Unix-like
(Android, Linux, OS X)

Tor is free software for enabling anonymous communication. The name is an acronym derived from the original software project name The Onion Router.

Tor directs Internet traffic through a free, worldwide, volunteer network consisting of more than six thousand relays to conceal a user's location and usage from anyone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis.

Using Tor makes it more difficult for Internet activity to be traced back to the user: this includes "visits to Web sites, online posts, instant messages, and other communication forms". Tor's use is intended to protect the personal privacy of users, as well as their freedom and ability to conduct confidential communication by keeping their Internet activities from being monitored.

An extract of a Top Secret appraisal by the National Security Agency (NSA) characterized Tor as "the King of high-secure, low-latency Internet anonymity" with "no contenders for the throne in waiting", and the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology deemed it, with approximately 2.5 million users daily "by far the most popular anonymous internet communication system."

Furthermore, a July 2015 NATO analysis opines that "the use of anonymisation technologies such as Tor will continue to thrive. Despite the attention that Tor has received worldwide, the technical and legal questions surrounding it remain relatively unexplored."