Why TOR isn’t equal to the Darknet

On 15.3.19, the Federal Council of Germany passed a bill to criminalise the use of the TOR network. Only the draft, not the final law. Just in advance. Since I find this topic very interesting and I have already dealt a lot with the topic TOR and Darknet and/or Deepweb privately. There are also more and more rumors about TOR and Darknet, which I just want to clean up with.

The darknet is evil. There are only weapons sold and child pornography spread!

Yes and no. Of course, many criminals use the Darknet to offer their services, stolen goods or the like. However, especially in authoritarian regimes, the darknet is used for communication, for example with journalists from abroad. Since the Darknet cannot be controlled by any government or organization, everyone can move anonymously, which is done by TOR among others.

What is TOR actually?

TOR stands for “The Onion Routing”, which also explains how TOR works. A TOR connection is routed through many different servers, which can be anywhere on earth, and which only know who their direct predecessor and direct successor is. Because of this very complex connection, like an onion, it is very difficult to track who the connection really comes from.

What do we need TOR for?

In authoritarian regimes, the purpose of TOR is elementary for the population. Through TOR, they can be in contact with the world without anyone knowing who they are in contact with. In countries like Germany, where everyone has the greatest possible freedom, TOR is mainly used to surf anonymously. Although the redirection slows down the connection, you can surf on data-hungry platforms such as Facebook and Google without leaving much data behind.

What does the Federal Council have against TOR and Darknet and what does it want to do now?

The German Bundesrat wants to initiate an amendment of the penal code, according to which already the offer of limited usable platforms, over which the committing of criminal offences is made possible, can be punished with a term of imprisonment up to 3 years. (Current draft: https://www.bundesrat.de/SharedDocs/drucksachen/2019/0001-0100/33-19(B).pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=1, German language) This makes it illegal, for example, to work on TOR end nodes.

For all those who want to get more involved with the TOR network and Darknet, I recommend this video from the CCC: https://youtu.be/dTQAO7M5Gp8?t=1680 (With timecode, in german, with english subtitles).

This post is licenced under the creative commons licence CC-BY-SA 4.0. More information you can find here: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode.de.

Author: Florian Boden

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