Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    Use Tor browser for extra privacy

    Onion router adds several layers of protection for web-savvy surfers

    By Brian Howey

    We don’t need heroes to protect our privacy, just some sound advice on how to protect ourselves. With that in mind, we’re on to the newest edition of Privacy Protector.

    Tor is a free, open-source internet browser that creates a connection through the Onion router: a series of encrypted signals on a virtual circuit bounced off international, volunteer-run nodes.

    I’ll repeat that in plain old English.

    Tor bounces your internet signal to volunteer-run servers all over the world. Each bounce equals a new, encrypted IP address.

    This means you have several layers of privacy between you and anyone who wants to know what you’re doing on the internet.

    One drawback of using Tor: the NSA pays special attention to Tor users.

    If you use Tor with your VPN, you get an extra layer of protection.

    Because Tor is bouncing your signal around so much, it can cause your internet connection to slow down, sometimes considerably.

    But if you’re concerned about privacy, Tor is a great browser to check your email or social media accounts without giving away your location.

    There are some drawbacks to using Tor. The National Security Agency (NSA) pays special attention to people who use Tor and looks for weaknesses in the routing system.

    Tor doesn’t hide its unique fingerprint when in use, so a careful observer (like the NSA) can tell when it is used to visit a web page.

    In areas where Tor isn’t widely used, this information can be used to pinpoint the location and computer of the Tor user. Rural areas are typically bad regions to use Tor.

    Here in the Bay Area, there are thousands of Tor users, so it’s much safer to use. The more people who use Tor, the harder it is to pinpoint individual users, so tell your friends to start using it.

    The Tor browser is designed for Mac, Windows, and Linux. You can download it at

    You can get Tor for Android devices at your favorite app store. Installation instructions are at

    Apple iOS systems don’t allow an official Tor browser, but iPhoners can use the Onion Browser, an unofficial Tor app in the App Store.

    Brian Howey is News Editor the Laney Tower. Contact him at deathandtaxes(at)

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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