A win for privacy: Tor Project releases Android browser full version

For quite some time, the Tor Project has been working on bringing its Onion router-based browser to Android phones. Initially the service utilized a combination of Orbot and Orfox. Orbot was the connection to the Tor global network and Orfox was the official browser (based on Firefox code) used in conjunction with it. There were flaws with this system, but it worked well enough as Orbot also allowed users to route all of their Android applications through the Tor network. This was, however, just a test run of what was to come as the Tor Project worked for months to create the browser with integrated network connection.

After releasing the alpha version of Tor in the Google Play store eight months ago, the Tor Project finally released its full version recently. As quoted in an article by Catalin Cimpanu for ZDNet Isabela Bagueros, executive director of the Tor Project, had this to say about the full release:

We made it a priority to reach the rising number of users who only browse the web with a mobile device... These users often face heavy surveillance and censorship online, so it is critical for us to reach them... We made sure there are no proxy bypasses, that first-party isolation is enabled to protect you from cross-site tracking, and that most of the fingerprinting defenses are working... While there are still feature gaps between the desktop and Android Tor Browser, we are confident that Tor Browser for Android provides essentially the same protections that can be found on desktop platforms.

As I am a privacy advocate, I have been utilizing the Tor Project’s resources for Android ever since they were released. While I am disappointed that Orbot is getting phased out (I loved its application routing function), it is a small price to pay for a true-to-form Tor Browser. Over the time that I have had to spend with the full version of the Tor Browser for mobile, I have to say the application seems incredibly stable. The connection to the network takes about the same time as its PC counterpart, and using my personal settings, I have not noticed any major issues.

This is a step in the correct direction for privacy and all who should wish to employ it in their online actions.

Derek Kortepeter

Derek Kortepeter is a graduate of UCLA and tech journalist that is committed to creating an informed society with regards to Information Security. Kortepeter specializes in areas such as penetration testing, cryptography, cyber warfare, and governmental InfoSec policy.

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