The UK Parliament has published a report on the future of the darknet and online anonymity, and it came to the heartwarming conclusion that it would be “not seen as acceptable” to ban online anonymity systems. Furthermore, speaking specifically about Tor, the parliamentary report says it would be “technologically infeasible” to block people from using the service in the UK.
This report comes a couple of months after UK Prime Minister David Cameron said that encryption should be outlawed unless backdoor access is given to the government. “Are we going to allow a means of communications which it simply isn’t possible to read?” Cameron said. At the time his comments were in response to the January attacks in Paris; strong encryption, so the argument goes, prevents intelligence and security agencies from foiling the plots of terrorists and other bad actors.
The new report, prepared by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST), mentions terrorism briefly—but it mostly focuses on how Tor Hidden Services allow for the creation of criminal markets (like Silk Road) and aid in whistleblowing, journalism, and circumvention of censorship. The report says that even if the UK government wanted to ban online anonymity, it isn’t clear how it would go about doing it. “For example, when the Chinese government attempted to block access to Tor, Tor Project Inc. introduced secret entrance nodes to the Tor Network, called ‘bridges,’ which are very difficult to block.”
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