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Tor (The Onion Router)

I spent a few minutes this morning installing TOR (The Onion Router), a package of open source software that:

aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security.

And Traffic analyis is the web surveillance that the Republicans admit they've gotten the NSA to do.

But ya know? I just can't think of a good reason why I'd want to let NSA help the Republicans ratfuck me. Hence, tor. Here's how it works:

Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves.

Now for the caveats:

1. No software is perfect. But since Tor is open source, there are no "secret rooms" with "backdoors" where that the corporations can use to sell you and your data to our Republican overlords.

2. Because tor imposes a layer of protection (that "bouncing around" they talk about above) your browsing experience may become a bit more, shall we say, contemplative than it was. At least on my Verizon DSL--Verizon being one of the companies that sold my data to the Republicans--the speed was still acceptable. I wouldn't want to play Doom through tor, or watch an online movie, but that's not what I do anyhow.

3. Also, tor offers a way to speed up the system, and help yourself by helping others, by contributing bandwidth. Now I'm off to set that up.

If any privacy geeks are reading Corrente, I'd like t know what they think about tor, and what measures they're taking against unwarranted search and seized of their own personal data.

NOTE 1 I'm using OS X. If there any gotchas there, I'd like to hear.

NOTE 2 Any Democratic consultant who isn't raising these concerns with his or her clients should be sued for malpractice. You can trust the Republicans to be Republicans, and ratfucking is not just something Republicans do--Ratfuckers is what they are.

NOTE 3 One way to beat the speed penalty is to just get more RAM. I did, and it really helps.

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