Privacy Internet browser Tor is low on servers

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That Tor browser, probably best privacy internet browser available to most people is running out of bridge servers. The decline in servers is affecting the browser’s ability to combat censorship and provide a gateway to the open Internet in places where governments and other entities closely control access to information.

In a blog update published this week, the nonprofit organization Tor Project, the organization that maintains and develops the Tor software, said it currently has approximately 1,200 bridge servers or bridges, 900 of which support the obfs4 obfuscation protocol. Bridges are private servers providing access to users living in places where the Tor network is blocked. Tor gives users anonymity by forwarding connections to a server multiple times and in some cases through multiple countries.

Nevertheless, it should be noted that Tor is not only used by people who can not access the Internet in their country. It is also used by people who want to hide their IP address or who do not want to track their browser activities.

The Tor project said the number of bridges operated by volunteers has been declining since the beginning of the year.

“It’s not enough to have many bridges: eventually they could all find themselves on blockchain lists,” the nonprofit said in his blog post. “We therefore need a constant flow of new bridges that are not blocked anywhere yet.”

According to Tor project‘s measurements, since mid-August to date, the 5 best countries with users connecting via bridges (in order of users) include Russia, with an average of 12,480 daily users; United States, with an average of 10,726 daily users; Iran with an average of 3,738 daily users; Germany, with an average of 2,322 users; and Belarus with an average of 1,453 users.

To counter the decline in bridge servers, the Tor project is launching a campaign to bring 200 obfs4 bridges online before the end of the year. It has rolled out modest “reward sets,” consisting of Tor hoodies, T-shirts and stickers, to volunteers who run bridge servers for at least a year. (Remember, this is a non-profit organization). The project’s campaign ends on January 7, 2022.

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