Talk:Tor (anonymity network)

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partial impartiality[edit]

"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"."

"As of 2012, 80% of The Tor Project's $2M annual budget came from the United States government,"

hahaha. oh dear. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:12, 7 October 2014


"Tor" means "gate" in German. Then I first learned of Tor, I assumed that this was the reason for the choice of that name. I don't know much about this, but my guess is that, when people came up with the acronym for "The Onion Router", it immediately occurred to them that this would be a great name because of the meaning in German. I would be interested to see whether anyone can shed more light on this. ---Dagme (talk) 09:34, 9 July 2017 (UTC)

To my knowledge "Tor" is not an acronym (although it is commonly taken to be a backronym); in proper usage it is "Tor" and not "TOR," to such in extent that reportage using the latter form is evidence that someone had not done their homework. That said, the inadvertent German meaning is really neat, given logic gates and all that. kencf0618 (talk) 05:09, 30 November 2017 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Arm renamed[edit]

Hi lovely Wikipedia folks. Concerning section 3.3 of the tor article (Arm status monitor) the project was renamed in November 2017 to Nyx. I've been asked to leave leave maintenance of this article to others since I'm a Tor dev and author of Nyx/Arm. If you have any questions just let me know. :)

Atagar (talk) 20:10, 19 June 2018 (UTC)

Updated. Are you aware of any articles about Nyx that are not on the Tor site? O3000 (talk) 20:24, 19 June 2018 (UTC)
Thanks Objective3000! My blog and Tor's had release announcements but I'm unaware of what other articles there are out there. Quick search presented a how-to and a German snippet. Atagar (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 20:49, 24 June 2018 (UTC)

Onion Services[edit]

The name "hidden service" has been deprecated in favor of "onion service" (at least in part due to the fact that, at least by volume of traffic, most of them are things like Facebook, which aren't hidden at all). [1] Since almost everyone affiliated with the Tor Project, related projects, and researchers have all switched over to the new terminology,[2][3][4] I'm going to switch the name used here in this article (as well as other places on Wikipedia.) I figure this change should be pretty non-controversial, since it is so universal by now, but wanted to explain more why I'm doing it, since I know there are still a few holdouts who use the older terminology (either because they don't know, or just old habits die hard, I suppose).


  1. ^ "Tor: Onion Service Protocol". Tor Project. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  2. ^ "Onion Services". Whonix. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Best Practices for Hosting Onion Services". Riseup. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  4. ^ "Introducing the Cloudflare Onion Service". Cloudflare Blog. Retrieved 13 December 2018.

Tga (talk) 04:48, 13 December 2018 (UTC)

Recommended Edits HiddenServAuth[edit]

Would Recommend Editing to include mention of the HiddenServiceAuthorizeClient / HiddenServAuth commands within Tor which could plausibly give rise to what is popularly known as the "shadow net", as opposed to the "dark net". See The Tor Manual for more information on this. (talk) 13:22, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

Wikipedia is a summary of sources which people cite. We typically do not cite primary sources like manuals. Can you provide a third party source, like research or journalism, which explains the significance of what you are saying? Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:27, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

Wording of TOR Usage[edit]

The article currently has this:

"Tor is also used for illegal activities, e.g., to gain access to censored information, to organize political activities, or to circumvent laws against criticism of heads of state. "

But this is problematic. For example, it does not explain why "gain access to censored information" would be an illegal activity.

Any random state could make any random law that would prohibit something, at any moment in time.

Then the comment about "circumvent laws against criticism of heads of state". Well, in any dictatorship-like setup criticism is usually forbidden.

I think the wording is problematic. It's fine if the wording is changed to explain it in more detail, while retaining the general aim of the sentence, but the way it is currently worded is very peculiar. After all, what constitutes an "illegal activity"? This is also different from country to country. I don't think the wording can be correct in the general sense without being explicit about the country at hand and the laws there. 2A02:8388:1604:CA80:0:0:0:2 (talk) 09:29, 8 March 2019 (UTC)

An illegal activity is an activity that violates the laws of the jurisdiction in which you reside. It is a pretty intuitive definition. I don't what is problematic about this. VQuakr (talk) 16:31, 8 March 2019 (UTC)
I think there actually is a problem with this wording, and with the article as a whole, to be honest. The article plays very heavily into the sensationalist "dark web/deep web" framing, despite the fact that onion service traffic makes up ~1% of Tor traffic, and about 50% of that is Facebook. The problem is that nobody writes news articles about Tor that give these actual statistics, you have to dig through research papers to learn this sort of thing, and we're not supposed to cite primary sources here. I have a half a mind to gut this entire article and start over though, because as of right now, this whole "Bitcoin! Silk Road! CP!" roadshow is largely deceptive nonsense, and paints Tor traffic as being significantly different from the internet at large, when there's basically no evidence that's actually the case, because nobody will pay for a story that says otherwise. As such, the point made by 2A02:8388:1604:CA80:0:0:0:2 is just scratching the surface. The wikipedia article on the internet has one sentence about criminal activity on it, why should Tor be treated any differently? Tga (talk) 20:35, 8 March 2019 (UTC)
Because we follow WP:WEIGHT and not your unsourced opinion (which, incidentally, is quite tangential to the question raised by the OP). VQuakr (talk) 00:30, 9 March 2019 (UTC)
First of all, that was unnecessarily antagonistic — let's try to keep this from falling into WP:AVOIDABUSE territory. :) Secondly, it is directly related to the point being made: the article is clearly making value judgements about the legality of Tor's usage, and simply stating "it violates laws in the jurisdiction the user resides" doesn't address that point. Finally, this isn't a matter of my "opinion"; Tor measurements is the area of research I work in for a living. If you want more sources from academic papers, I'm willing to give them, the only reason I didn't before is this is a talk page, not an article, and didn't think it would be necessary for having a basic discussion about this issue. In any case, here are a few sources that demonstrate the problem:
Measured by bandwidth, Onion Services make up approximately 1% of the Tor network.[1] Measured by connections, Onion Services make up approximately 1% of the Tor network.[2] Half of all Onion Service traffic is Facebook traffic. (I don't have a direct source for this unfortunately, it seems to be a fact that has slipped though the cracks. Will Shackleton mentioned this fact multiple times at the last Tor meetup, which was in October, but they don't seem to ever mention it on any of their blog posts. At that meetup they switched over to alt-svc headers,[3][4] so that even more Facebook traffic uses onion services now, which means if anything the number is now much higher, as evidenced by the sharp rise since October. If need be I could at least ask him for an official post from Facebook attesting to this, but once again, nobody writes articles about that sort of thing so it would still have to be a primary source being cited.) Connections from Tor IPs are not statistically different from non-Tor IPs with regards to malicious behavior.[5]
To be clear, I understand why this is a rule on Wikipedia. I'm merely pointing out that in this case, the rules are preventing the information pretty much every expert in the field agrees is factually correct, simply because that story isn't interesting enough to the general public to become widely known, while an alternative story with less truth to it is widely told. Tga (talk) 00:30, 10 March 2019 (UTC)
The sentence in question states "is used for", not "is exclusively used for". It is neither inaccurate nor a value judgement. VQuakr (talk) 05:20, 10 March 2019 (UTC)
I'm sure you'll notice there is no such sentence in, e.g., shipping container, despite being equally true there. Its inclusion, when left without explanatory context, is precisely a value judgement (as is the original point was made in this topic). In any case, my point was that it is exemplary of a large portion of the article's content, which is a problem in that it does not accurately reflect reality. Tga (talk) 06:14, 10 March 2019 (UTC)

Not verifiable and relevant to topic[edit]

Current wording of Wikipedia block on Tor (anonymity network) at the lead of the article (as described at WP:LEAD) is unable to get verified. Need a good source (not a WP:BLOG, WP:USG, WP:UNRELIABLE, ect) to verify content and that weird link to Wikipedia:Advice to users using Tor completely unrelated. Wikipedia is not being discussed and there is no reference in body to verify lead. User:Saschaporsche what rule did you apply here? Would discuss this out. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:38, 6 July 2019 (UTC)

Current wording of lead:

For example, the MediaWiki TorBlock extension automatically restricts edits made through Tor, although Wikipedia allows some limited editing in exceptional circumstances.[6]

References cited to support inclusion:

A New York Times article is being cited which discusses about a current situation of Wikipedia block in Turkey, which has received extensive media coverage. The news article discusses about the Virtual Private Network block on Wikipedia which is discussed extensively on the article, not Tor's block on Wikipedia. A link to Wikipedia namespace does look problematic as it is not being well aligned to WP:WIKILINK which states to use Mainspace links instead of Wikipedia: namespace links.

Text of reference is (NYT; attribution of fair use to demonstrate unverifiability and incorrect reference):

ISTANBUL — Baris Dede, a game design student, had a question: How easily did Viking longboats glide through the water? Dilara Diner, a psychologist, wanted to double-check a symptom of hysteria.

But these Turks were not able to quickly find out what they wanted. Since late April the Turkish government has blocked one of the world’s go-to sources of online information, Wikipedia.

After Wikipedia refused to remove unflattering references to Turkey’s relationship with Syrian militants and state-sponsored terrorists, officials simply banned the whole site.

Several weeks into the ban, some Turks are still struggling to remove Wikipedia searches from their muscle memory.

Yaman Akdeniz, a law professor, turned by habit to Wikipedia to find out when the latest “House of Cards” season was released.

“You forget that it’s blocked, and then you click on it and then — boomph, nothing: You realize you can’t access it,” said Professor Akdeniz, describing his personal form of digital whiplash. Many people didn’t realize until after it was blocked, he said, that Wikipedia “was so much a part of our lives.”

Mr. Dede said he mourned the loss of “part of your memory.” Even in his academic world, where Wikipedia is sometimes scorned, the website was secretly seen as a good starting place for research, he said.

But beyond the problems it has created for the curious, Turkey’s Wikipedia ban is a reminder of something darker, government critics say: a wholesale crackdown on free expression and access to information, amid wider oppression of most forms of opposition.

Wikipedia is just one of 127,000 websites blocked in Turkey, estimated Professor Akdeniz, who has led legal challenges against the Wikipedia ban and other web restrictions. An additional 95,000 pages, like social media accounts, blog posts and articles, are blocked on websites that are not otherwise restricted, Mr. Akdeniz said.

Some of these sites are pornographic. But many contain information and reporting that the government finds embarrassing. Sendika, an independent news outlet, is now on the 45th iteration of its website. The previous 44 were blocked.

For web activists in Turkey, Wikipedia is simply the latest victim of a wave of online censorship that grew steadily from 2015 onward and then surged significantly after last year’s failed coup.

The coup attempt gave President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the political cover to expand a crackdown on his opponents, including in the traditional news media. Since the coup, 190 news organizations have been banned and at least 120 journalists jailed.

“The international community noticed this issue by reference to the Wikipedia block, but it’s not a new thing from our point of view,” Mr. Akdeniz said. “Critical media is under stress on a daily basis — and what made that visible is the Wikipedia ban.”

For students, the ban could not have come at a worse time: just as they were knuckling down for exams.

“It’s a big obstacle,” said Ege, a 17-year-old high school student, whose surname has been withheld at the wishes of his headmaster. “Wikipedia is the source of the sources — you can find everything there.”

While studying Jean Anouilh’s French adaptation of a Greek tragedy, “Antigone,” Ege’s friends had wanted to know more about the heroine’s father: the mythical King Oedipus, who mistakenly married his mother.

“The Oedipus bloodline, what he did, the curse that was put on his family,” Ege’s classmate Yusuf said. “Reaching that information wasn’t exactly easy.”

Wikipedia use has fallen by 85 percent in Turkey since April, but some have managed to circumvent the ban with a VPN, or virtual private network, a tool that helps web users gain access to blocked websites.

According to GlobalWebIndex, a group that researches worldwide internet activity, Turkey has the third-highest VPN prevalence in the world. More than 45 percent of Turks ages 16 to 64 who have web access used a VPN in the first quarter of 2017, and the practice has become second nature even for some beginners.

“My mom learned to send an email two years ago,” Mr. Dede said. “The next thing, she’s learning how to access a VPN.”

But VPN use comes with an unwelcome side effect. Because Wikipedia does not allow VPN users to edit articles, Turks are unable to correct or update information posted on the site or write new articles.

“Turkey has lost its voice online because of its inability to edit Wikipedia,” said Alp Toker, a co-founder of Turkey Blocks, a group that tracks Turkish internet censorship.

In addition, some VPNs are also banned. Those that remain are often slow, particularly on cellphones, so using one is sometimes not worth the hassle.

As a result, some students are getting desperate about their final exams.

“Dear President of the Republic, the Leader, open up Wikipedia at least until the end of the finals week,” one wrote on Twitter. “President, I am overwhelmed, hear me out.”

No mention of Wikipedia's block of Tor (although it has a article and a extension to enforce them).

  1. ^ "Onion Services – Tor Metrics".
  2. ^ Jansen, Rob; Juarez, Marc; Gálvez, Rafa; Elahi, Tariq; Diaz, Claudia (21 February 2018). "Inside Job: Applying Traffic Analysis to Measure Tor from Within" (PDF). Network and Distributed Systems Security (NDSS). doi:10.14722/ndss.2018.23261.
  3. ^ Shackleton, Will. "Making connections to Facebook over Tor faster | Facebook".
  4. ^ "AltSvcOnions".
  5. ^ "Akamia's State of the Internet / Security". Akamai. Akamai. 5 April 2016.
  6. ^ PATRICK KINGSLEY (June 10, 2017). "Turks Click Away, but Wikipedia Is Gone". The New York Times. Retrieved June 11, 2017.