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September 23, 2015

Russia’s attempt to out Tor users faces failure

Rostec’s subsidy is trying its best to abandon the project.

By CBR Staff Writer

After winning the contract to identify the users of the anonymous browsing network Tor, the Central Research Institute of Economics, Informatics, and Control Systems are seemingly looking to abandon the project.

Russia’s interior ministry offered to pay RUB3.9m ($59,000) to anyone who can crack Tor to obtain technical information about users of the anonymous network.

Tor is free software that sends individual user’s network traffic across various nodes around the globe with proper encryption which makes it difficult to track.

The software has attracted hackers and criminals worldwide who use it for illegal purposes. Former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden is an avid Tor supporter.

The Tor Project was originally developed by the US Naval Research Laboratory, and is funded in part by the US government. The network reported $3.53m in revenue in 2013.

The Central Research Institute of Economics, Informatics, and Control Systems is a part of Rostec, a state-run maker of helicopters, weapons, and other military and industrial equipment.

According to a database of state-purchase, the company is now willing to pay RUB 10m ($150,000) to hire a law firm to get the project off its back.

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Lawyers from Pleshakov, Ushkalov and Partners are expected to work with Russian officials to put an end to the Tor research project, reported Bloomberg.

The research project was part of a wider campaign to regulate the internet, which included the blocking of websites and blogs that opposed the ruling government, which raised questions regarding online freedom in the country.

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