Going dark. International BBC news website can now be accessed via the Tor network, to thwart censorship
The BBC has announced that the international version of its news website is now available on the dark web, via the Tor web browser.
The Tor browser is commonly used to surf the dark web, as it is used to navigate web pages without disclosing the user’s identity. That said, it has also been linked to criminal websites selling contraband such as drugs or outlawed weapons.
But the Tor browser is also used by people who are seeking to avoid government surveillance and censorship, found in countries such as China and Russia.
The BBC made clear that its decision to create a ‘dark web’ version of its news website was intended to help those people seeking independent news, free from government restrictions.
The BBC said that countries including China, Iran and Vietnam, among others, have tried to block access to the BBC News website or programmes.
The dark web address for the BBC news can be found here.
The BBC said that the website would be the international edition, as seen from outside the UK.
It will include foreign language services such as BBC Arabic, BBC Persian and BBC Russian.
But the BBC said that UK-only content and services such as BBC iPlayer will not be accessible, due to broadcast rights.
Countries such as China of course have its ‘Great Firewall’ to weed out online content the Chinese government doesn’t like.
Russia meanwhile has imposed tough new online laws of late, and its lawmakers recently drafted legislation that would permit authorities to block individual email or online messenger users who circulate content that the Russian state has banned.
It should be remembered that Russia under President Putin is seeking to disconnect the country from foreign Internet servers.
In May he signed a controversial bill that routes Russian web traffic through points controlled by the Russian government.
The law had already been approved by lawmakers in the State Duma, the Russian equivalent of the Houses of Parliament, despite the protests of thousands of people, concerned it would tighten government controls of the Internet in Russia.
It goes into force next month, in November.
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