Netuxo and Tor
Some Netuxo services (such as webmail and this website) are accessible via Tor, and we are happy to provide Tor Onion hosting for websites on request. Here, we want to provide a very basic explanation about Tor, what it is and why we make our services available via Tor and provide Tor Onion hosting.
What is Tor?
According to the Tor Project, "the Tor network is a group of volunteer-operated servers that allows people to improve their privacy and security on the Internet. Tor's users employ this network by connecting through a series of virtual tunnels rather than making a direct connection, thus allowing both organisations and individuals to share information over public networks without compromising their privacy. Along the same lines, Tor is an effective censorship circumvention tool, allowing its users to reach otherwise blocked destinations or content. Tor can also be used as a building block for software developers to create new communication tools with built-in privacy features."
Tor therefore is often used by activists, whistleblowers and journalists, but also by governments, the police and the military to protect their privacy too while browsing the web: that is, to hide their IP address - which would identify them.
What is a Tor Onion service?
Tor Onion services are mostly websites (or other services) hosted entirely on the Tor network - this is often referred to as the dark web. Tor Onion services are named with a special top-level domain (TLD) name in DNS: .onion. Since the .onion TLD is not recognised by the official root DNS servers on the Internet, these domains can only be accessed via the Tor network. On 9 September 2015 .onion was officially designated as a 'special use domain', giving the domain an official status following a proposal from Jacob Appelbaum of the Tor Project and Facebook security engineer Alec Muffett.
Besides Netuxo's webmail and website, Facebook (facebookcorewwwi.onion), the US NGO ProPublica (http://www.propub3r6espa33w.onion/), Riseup (instructions here), The New York Times (https://www.nytimes3xbfgragh.onion/), and many others, are available as Tor Onion services via the Tor network.
If you want to know more about Tor generally, see:
- the Wikipedia entry on Tor (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tor_(anonymity_network))
- the Tor Project FAQ (https://www.torproject.org/docs/faq.html.en)
Why does Netuxo provide Tor Onion services?
We care about internet privacy. We work with NGOs and social movements - some of which might be of interest to the police, military or other authorities and some of which reach out to human rights and social justice activists in less democratic regimes. Allowing access to our services or to a hosted website via a Tor Onion service helps to keep these social activists safe(r). The often-cited idea that "If you have nothing to hide..." is predicated on a) benign authorities and b) the principle that we are all obligated in some way to state power. Neither of which are true.
We know our clients and we understand their work and whilst we will happily help any of them make their hosted website accessible as a Tor Onion service, we will be hesitant to provide hosting as an onion service only, unless a client can provide us with good reasons as to why the website or web-service should not be publicly accessible at all.
Our ethical principles apply as much to any hosted onion services as to our work in general.