Tor Project battles Russian censorship through the courts

The Tor Project has filed an appeal against a Russian court’s decision to block the Tor website in the country. 

The Tor network is an open source system for anonymizing online communication. Also known as the onion router, the network is used to circumvent censorship and is widely accessed by civil rights activists, whistleblowers, lawyers, human rights defenders, and those under oppressive regimes.   

On Monday, the developers of the network said an appeal has been filed regarding a decision by the Saratov District Court to impose a block on the website in Russia. 

The appeal has been filed between the Tor Project and RosKomSvoboda, a Russian digital rights protection outfit. 

On December 6, 2021, the Tor Project was told that its website would be blocked in accordance with Article 15.1 of the Law on Information. Public proxy servers and some bridges were also blocked in the country and Tor developers have noticed blocks across Russia in the past month. 

According to Tor, the decision by the court was not based on any particular content. Instead, Russian authorities decided the website needed to be blocked as it permits “the download [of] an anonymizer browser program for subsequent visits to sites

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