Processing Distortion with Peter B. Collins: Tor Encryption- Created by Spooks, for Spooks

Peter B. Collins Presents Journalist Yasha Levine

Ed Snowden, Glenn Greenwald and the Electronic Frontier Foundation tout Tor as an encryption system to protect your privacy on the internet. Pando’s scrappy investigative reporter Yasha Levine returns to explain the origins and funding of Tor. Developed by the Naval Research Lab and DARPA, its main clients are in the intelligence community, and Levine explains the need to draw other users to the system so the spies don’t stand out. Tor is not fully immune from NSA snooping, and Levine reports that in 2004, the project was handed over to EFF. Tor is now a stand-alone nonprofit that gets funding that appears to be laundered through the State Department’s Internews arm. Levine reveals that Ed Snowden, who was running Tor servers in Hawaii, compromised his own anonymity just months before he contacted Greenwald, by requesting Tor stickers to share with his co-workers.

*Yasha Levine is a reporter for Pando Daily. Read his articles on Tor here and here

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  1. mariotrevi says:

    Really interesting, especially the Harvard student anecdote.
    I’m reminded that Anna Chapman, Mikhail Semenko and other Russian deep-cover operatives were “found” to be non-registered Russian Agents (of influence, etc.). This, by FBI counter-intelligence. So, hiding from the US agencies is pretty hard, I think.
    Link to Chapman & Semenko June 2010 story:

  2. Having listened to interviews with a Tor rep on democracy now, i was surprised by content of this podcast regarding development & main intended beneficiaries of Tor. FYI: the other day, i got a tweet blasting paranoia about Tor that said why don’t people read the Tor web site. So I did & it is totally upfront about Tor’s development as a tool of intelligence, DOD & law enforcement. This podcast was so informative & interesting (of course all of your pidcasts are) that I wish to thank you.

  3. mariotrevi says:

    From thinking about the Harvard student case, it appears to me that while the traffic might be pretty hard to decrypt, surveillance of the Internet could reveal e.g. that someone connected to gmail, Wikileaks, or what have you: this could draw attention to some Tor user, or maybe not, depending on who connects to who, or who connects to what, over several months or more.

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