The Tor browser has been an essential component to remaining anonymous online and also accessing censored content. No matter where you may be in the world, chances are you can benefit from the Tor Project’s namesake to combat government surveillance and censorship. Until this moment, the Tor browser has only been available on desktop. While the Guardian Project, a partner of the Tor Project, has done its best to bring the mobile Onion browser to the world via Orbot and Orfox, there have always been shortcomings that even the developers admit (though it is better than nothing).
According to Threatpost, the Tor Project has taken the first step in creating a fully functional Tor browser for Android devices. The news article explains how the mobile Tor browser is currently on Google Play in an alpha version. As a longtime privacy advocate, I have downloaded this and will admit that it is quite buggy, at least compared against the third-party variant via the Guardian Project (which I use heavily). The whole point of an alpha build, however, is to test every aspect of an unstable piece of software and improve it until it moves to beta stage and finally stable release. It is very bare bones, but there is a lot of promise considering the Tor Project plans to phase out the Guardian Project’s Orfox by 2019.
In an interview with Threatpost, representatives for the Tor Project explain the goals they have for the Android release, as well as its function. They state that “we believe everyone should have private access to an uncensored web, so bringing protections on par with Tor Browser to Android is a critical step in protecting privacy, globally.” In the blog post announcing the Android alpha version, the organization gives an extensive overview of the browser and also voices their desire for as much input from users as possible. The Tor Project seems to be committed to making its official mobile browser as efficient as their desktop version.
Stay tuned for more information on the mobile Tor browser as developments emerge.
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