TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In an attempt to thwart censorship efforts in certain countries, the BBC has launched a “dark web” mirror version of its website.
The BBC’s Chinese-language website reported on Thursday (Oct. 24) that its international news website has been launched on the Tor network, which is privacy-focused software used to access the “dark web.” The “mirror” page is available for browsing in countries such as China, Iran, Myanmar, and Vietnam that have blocked BBC content.
In a statement, the BBC said: “In countries where the BBC News network has been banned or restricted, audiences can now obtain news from BBC World through the Tor network. This is in line with the BBC’s mission to provide reliable news around the globe.”
The dark web mirror copy of the BBC News website is the international edition. It includes foreign language services such as BBC Arabic, Persian, and Russian.
However, due to broadcast rights restrictions, BBC iPlayer and other content not playable outside the UK has been excluded from the dark web mirror site. Furthermore, the page can only be accessed using the Tor browser.
Rather than going to bbc.co.uk/news or bbc.com/news, users of the Tor browser can access the new bbcnewsv2vjtpsuy.onion web address.
Tor is free, open-source communication software with multiple encryptions that can block user identity and personal information. Originally designed by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, it is U.S. State Department-approved.
The Tor browser conceals the data being accessed and the identity of those using it, which can circumvent government surveillance and censorship. Most Tor users include the military, law enforcement officers, and journalists, as well as members of the public wishing to surf the Internet anonymously.
However, Tor has also come under criticism for enabling illicit activities, such as sale of illegal drugs and weapons, cybercrime, and child pornography.