MPs Try to Ban Tor network for the Common Good, but Raise Concerns

Pierluigi Paganini March 16, 2015

Banning Tor network would bring a lot of public distress and would raise reactions, according to Governmental advisors and thus David Cameron is left without support on the matter of banning encryption.

The MPs know really well that the Internet is a really magnificent service that can be used in an excellent manner by simple individuals as well as by the worst cyber criminals. Based on these thoughts, MPs are trying to ban anonymity on the web and so they are trying to sabotage programs and services such as the Tor network.

Prime Minister of the UK, David Cameron, suggests and promotes the idea of the ban of encryption of any kind regarding communication through the web and through users who prefer to communicate using anonymizing services like the Tor network. When an expert heard about his proposal, he immediately thought about the public outcry. The same thing happened when the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, which cooperates with the MPs, found out about such an act. In fact, they said that there has been: “widespread agreement that banning online anonymity systems altogether is not seen as an acceptable policy option in the UK”.

“widespread agreement that banning online anonymity systems altogether is not seen as an acceptable policy option in the UK”.

David-Cameron Tor network

We cannot ignore that anonymizing services, in particular the Tor network, are precious instruments to circumvent censorship, aiding activism and journalism.

The Technical Challenges if anonymizing networks Like Tor network Were Banned

It is sure that if something like that happened, thus if services like Tor network were banned, some really technical issues would definitely appear. A report like that was published on Monday, 9 March. This report cited the example of the Chinese government and for those of you who do not know what happened there, you need to know the Chinese government tried to block and forbid the access to the Tor network and in this way they achieved to stop the visits on specific sites that were not approved by them. David Cameron insists on saying that there should be no “means of communication” that cannot be read from security services.

“In extremis, it has been possible to read someone’s letter, to listen to someone’s call to mobile communications.” sais C
“The question remains, ‘Are we going to allow a means of communications where it simply is not possible to do that?’ My answer to that question is, ‘No, we must not.'”

In this effort of his, he had listed the name of the greatest search engines such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo that they will help him find and withdraw images of child abuse.

Other Opinions about the Specific Matter

A book called The Dark Net, which has been written by Jamie Bartlett, was referred in the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (Post) report and states that this kind of Internet as it is called the Dark Internet is not indexed by the great search engines that were mentioned above. The author of the specific book actually agrees with the opinion of Cameron, thus that this kind of Internet should not be a place which criminals could hide but apart from the theory, it would be really difficult to become a reality.

The Services That No One Knows

It is known that the Post offers to the MPs office reports that have to do with science and technology in order to make them feel and be familiar with these subjects and make them fully understand them. In this report Post makes the difference of the dark Internet and the use of the web that acts in the public interest really clear.

So, based on this they have made it clear to the Parliament that some people have argued for an anonymous network but without any kind of hidden services, such as the Silk Road. This hidden service is mainly used for criminal purposes. In the report many other things were mentioned such as:

“However, THS also benefit non-criminal Tor users because they may add a further layer of user security,” “Sites requiring strong security, like whistle-blowing platforms are offered as THS.”

“Also, computer experts argue that any legislative attempt to preclude THS from being available in the UK over Tor would be technologically infeasible.” After all the above statements, no one from the Prime Minister’s office not even the Prime Minister responded to any of these comments. 

Written by: Ali Qamar, Founder/Chief Editor at

Author Bio:
Ali Qamar is an Internet security research enthusiast who enjoys “deep” research to dig out modern discoveries in the security industry. He is the founder and chief editor at Security Gladiators, an ultimate source for cyber security. To be frank and honest, Ali started working online as a freelancer and still shares the knowledge for a living. He is passionate about sharing the knowledge with people, and always try to give only the best. Follow Ali on Twitter @AliQammar57

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs –  Tor network, anonymity)

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