THE ONION ROUTER (Tor) network has suddenly become much more popular following the recent internet surveillance revelations by US National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden.
According to internet news website Parity News, Tor user numbers have more than doubled during the month of August, and usage has reached record levels.
The Tor network supports internet privacy by enabling anonymous web browsing through a series of encrypted relays. It typically has about 500,000 users, but recently as many as 1.2 million users have been connecting to the network. Previous peak usage was in January 2012, serving up to 950,000 users.
The US witnessed a jump of over 50,000 users from 100,000 to 150,000; the UK witnessed a nearly 100 per cent jump from 175,000 to 350,000; and Germany registered a rise to 880,000 from 450,000.
Edward Snowden revealed in early July that GCHQ is collecting all internet traffic in Britain, so that might have had something to do with the rise in Tor utilisation in the UK.
India and Brazil registered the steepest rise of 426 per cent and 566 per cent, respectively. Apparently people in those countries really don't like internet surveillance.
It reported that Mozilla is likely to include Tor support as an optional feature of its popular Firefox web browser. µ