Twitter Improves Access For Russian Citizens With Launch Of Tor Browser

The company created Tor to circumvent Russia’s growing restrictions on Twitter in the country.

For users who downloaded Tor’s free browser, the service is now available. Although Twitter was previously available via Tor, the new service improves security and is specifically designed for Twitter.

This service uses a modified version of Enterprise Onion Toolkit. Alec Muffett (security expert and leader of the 2014 launch team for @Facebook Onion) announced the news. He said that the announcement was perhaps his most significant and long-awaited Tweet.

Twitter added Tor directly to their site. listThe official browsers supported by the company, however it did not make an announcement.

He says that based on past experiences with Facebook and BBC Onion, large-scale announcements can lead to load spikes. And given @TwitterSafety’s 3.6 million followers, it wouldn’t be prudent in times of crisis.

Tor — The Onion Router — encrypts internet traffic and routes it through a series of thousands of servers around the world, run mostly by volunteers. This provides extra anonymity as well as privacy and freedom from surveillance, enhanced integrity, and tamperproofing.

It is better to create a particular onion site than browsing through Tor. This protects you against security threats.

“If you are running Tor Browser and if you click/type in exactly the proper Onion address, you are guaranteed to be connected to what you expect — or not at all,” says Muffett.

He adds: “Running an onion site is a commitment by the platform to deal with people who use Tor in an equitable fashion; in the normal way of using Tor the users are intermingled with everyone else coming in from the unwashed Internet, and (let’s be honest) some bad people sometimes use Tor for scraping sites and other unpleasant behaviour.”

This launch comes after increasing efforts by the Kremlin in Russia to block internet access. Last Friday, Twitter was severely curtailed and Facebook has been blocked. The Kremlin has blocked all access to the BBC, Voice of America, and Deutsche Welle news services.

But, it will be accessible anywhere on the planet, even in countries blocking Twitter such as China and Iran.

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