We are recommending the use of the TOR Browser when it comes to browsing the web anonymously, with the bonus of enabling the user’s capability to browse the Dark Web with confidence. TOR, an acronym for The Onion Router, is a system of browsing the web through multiple nodes, to a point where the user’s original ISP-supplied IP address is not easily visible. Anonymous browsing can also be achieved by using a VPN, but of course, the caveat is the VPN provider is a simple court order can legally compel them to release the personal contact information of the VPN user.
For the longest time, TOR browser is a desktop-only app. The Beta program for Android was not yet complete, not reliable to maintain the anonymity of the user due to then unknown bugs in the program. That is about to change with the recent release of the TOR Browser for Android, with the TOR Project team announcing the app making its way out of Beta.
Also known as TOR Browser version 8.5, the Android version is available free from Google Play Store. The TOR Browser is a highly customized version of Firefox designed to tap to tap the very mature Onion router network, providing the end-user the anonymity as provided by the multiple nodes before the packet arrives to its destination.
“Tor Browser 8.5 is the first stable release for Android. Since we released the first alpha version in September, we’ve been hard at work making sure we can provide the protections users are already enjoying on desktop to the Android platform. Mobile browsing is increasing around the world, and in some parts, it is commonly the only way people access the internet. In these same areas, there is often heavy surveillance and censorship online, so we made it a priority to reach these users,” explained the TOR Project team in their official blog.
The TOR Project team would love to have an iOS version of the TOR Browser available in Apple App Store, however, the team emphasized that with the restriction imposed by Cupertino, the development of TOR Browser is not technically possible. This is because of the universal rule of Apple of forcing browser vendors to use iOS Webkit, that means all browsers under iOS are just shadows of their real browser versions in the desktop and in Android. The TOR Project team cannot assure full anonymity if the team will force itself in developing the TOR Browser using the Webkit engine, instead of the Gecko engine of Firefox.
“Mobile browsing is increasing around the world, and in some parts, it is commonly the only way people access the internet. In these same areas, there is often heavy surveillance and censorship online, so we made it a priority to reach these users. 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,” added the TOR Project team.
The team will continue to strive of making TOR Browser for Android to reach feature parity with the desktop TOR Browser one day. But this news is good for those that use TOR in order not only be anonymous online but also used for communications for those who try to avoid government censorship.