The TOR Project is a company invested in sustaining a browser that helps users retain anonymity when surfing the internet. Today, TOR claims the FBI gave 1m$ to CMU to remove anonymity of users in order to locate criminals around the globe.
The browser works by simply rerouting the location of one user and changing it with someone else, making someone from New York appear as they are using the internet from Berlin. This helps keep strict privacy and anonymity between users and it is highly sought after by criminals and ordinary people alike.
A group of students and researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, CMU for short, proposed an idea last year at an exhibition that TOR could be broken down in order to remove anonymity with only 3.000$.They didn’t go public with their discovery and cancelled their exhibit all-together. But this caught the attention of the Federal Bureau of Intelligence pretty fast and they allegedly approached the group with a much larger sum in order to break down TOR.
The findings of the CMU group were used back in 2014 by the FBI, some reports say, for operation Onymous, an operation that removed the privacy of over 50 websites dealing in drug distribution and acquirement. One of these websites was the notorious Silk Road 2.0, an infamous marketplace where you could keep your anonymity when dealing in various items, such as drugs, basically creating a black market on the internet.
TOR has stated that it has no problem in participating with the FBI in order to help them with ethical investigation, but by employing CMU in order to hack them is a strict violation of their basic rights. If the agency came with an ethic reason in order to remove the anonymity of certain users, TOR would have gladly backed them up.
This situation comes at a poor time for the US government, considering that it already faces accusations from various parties of breaking the 4th amendment, some companies like Microsoft and Amazon opting to move their data centers to Europe in order to maintain their policy concerning the privacy of their clients. Other claims that phone tapping and internet surveillance from the NSA and FBI are not uncommon in our time, making people more and more paranoid as time moves on.
Even though TOR claims the FBI gave 1M$ to CMU in order to remove anonymity of users, it still lacks further proof in order to back up their claim, but the circumstances in which they were hacked right after the CMU unveiled their project are suspicious to say the least.