While critics may chastise the Tor Network for its associations with online black-market dealings made in cryptocurrencies, the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) sees Tor as an opportunity to fight censorship.
The British news agency announced today that it is making its website available to Tor users by providing a “dark web copy” viewable on Tor browsers. The idea is to ensure access to its news stories in parts of the world where such information might be censored.
In the past, countries such as Vietnam, China and Iran have attempted to block viewers and readers from accessing the BBC, according to the news agency. Today, the BBC unveiled its Tor web address—bbcnewsv2vjtpsuy.onion—that puts an end to all that.
“The BBC World Service’s news content is now available on the Tor network to audiences who live in countries where BBC News is being blocked or restricted,” a spokesperson for the media company explained in a statement. “This is in line with the BBC World Service mission to provide trusted news around the world.”
Tor is a free and open-source communication software that allows for private web browsing. It can be used to shield the identities and private information of those who use it, thus preventing unwanted surveillance. For those living under oppressive, dictatorial regimes, it’s the sort of technology that can do wonders.
However, those same advantages to Tor have also been abused by malicious actors or individuals looking to get their hands on guns, illegal drugs, or other contraband. Hackers have also reportedly been able to manipulate the Tor browser to steal Bitcoin funds from unsuspecting users.
One such case was reported last week by Forbes. Cyberthieves successfully implemented malware into a version of the Tor browser to spy on users and steal their cryptocurrency. Roughly $40,000 in BTC has been taken thus far, primarily from Russian-speaking users.
But despite Tor’s associations to criminal activity, deserved or not, the software was, in fact, initially designed by U.S. Navy researchers. It still receives regular funding from the U.S. State Department, and most of its users fall into the “military” or “law enforcement” categories, according to the BBC.
The media platform reports that the international edition of its site will be available for viewing to Tor users. Content published predominantly in or for the United Kingdom will not be included as this would violate the company’s “broadcast rights.”