Berkman 2007 Circumvention Landscape and Progress
The Berkman Center has released their report on the landscape of circumvention technologies as it was in 2007. Tor was included in this test and comes out as a secure tool with some improvements needed. Technology Review also picked up this report and wrote an article on the results.
Since the original publication of the report, we've responded to and improved a number of identified weaknesses. The main focus has been on usability of the software. Tor is easier to understand, configure, and install. We've worked on finding translators for the various parts of the suite of tools that comprise Tor. We developed and enhanced a Firefox plugin called Torbutton. The current Torbutton mitigates all known browser-based anonymity attacks. Torbutton is included in our bundles and is automatically installed into the user's Firefox browser configuration. Torbutton can be found at https://torproject.org/torbutton/ or https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/2275.
In response to the demand for portability and ease of use, we created the Tor Browser Bundle. The Tor Browser Bundle lets you use Tor on Windows without needing to install any software. It can run off a USB flash drive, or any portable media, and comes with a pre-configured web browser and is self contained. The Tor IM Browser Bundle additionally allows instant messaging and chat. The bundle contains the Tor controller Vidalia, a portable version of Firefox, a caching http proxy called Polipo, the instant messaging client Pidgin with Off The Record client to client encryption for secure chats, and of course, the Tor proxy software. The Tor Browser Bundle can be found at https://torproject.org/torbrowser/.
There is an arms race between censors and circumvention tools. We've developed a number of features to prepare for the next few steps in this race. Some of these features involve the ability to use non-public relays and normalization of the Tor traffic to allow those in content denied environments the ability to continue to reach the information and communities they need. Much more research and experimentation needs to occur in the next few years to further enhance these features.
As part of its dedication to transparency and openness, The Tor Project has published its three year development roadmap, focused on providing anti-censorship tools and services for the advancement of Internet freedom in closed societies. While Tor's original goal was to provide online anonymity, many people around the world use Tor to get around Internet censorship, as well. Human Rights Watch and Global Voices Online have both recommended Tor as a tool to circumvent censorship regimes in oppressive nations. The roadmap is focused on providing anti-censorship tools and services for the advancement of Internet freedom in closed societies. This roadmap can be found at https://www.torproject.org/press/2008-12-19-roadmap-press-release.