Tor to release anonymous instant messaging service

28 Feb 2014

Tor has been one of the internet’s biggest proponents of anonymity online and is now looking to release its own anonymous messaging app to challenge the likes of WhatsApp.

With Facebook’s recent US$16bn takeover of the messaging service that has more than 450m monthly users, some of the more worried corners of the online communities have questioned the move and whether this will mean their messages will become more susceptible to being monitored, something Facebook has been accused of in the past.

That is why Tor has timed its announcement perfectly, and is due to release the Tor Instant Messaging Bundle (TIMB) on 31 March.

The service will use the InstantBird Messenger program with the aim of allowing users to chat in total anonymity and then bundle this with the established Tor Launcher some time afterwards.

Tor is a non-profit programming group headquartered in Reykjavik, Iceland, that uses software originally designed for the US Navy in securing its communications but is now used worldwide by militaries, journalists, law-enforcement officers, activists and many others.

For TIMB, it plans to make sure its software is never compromised through a series of watchdogs across the world, by “people in countries where communication for the purpose of activism is met with intimidation, violence, and prosecution will be able to avoid the scrutiny of criminal cartels, corrupt officials, and authoritarian governments.”

Networking image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic