Sunday, June 17, 2012

Getting Tor to exit in a specific country

I have in the past configured Vidalia Tor to exit to the Internet in a specific region. Initially it was the UK so that the BBC iPlayer programming could be accessed from outside the UK.

This technique can be particulaly useful if you want to gain access to information that is destined for a specific geographical location. This type of restriction is often called GeoIP restrictions and it is used widely by Internet content providers and ISPs to control the content that subscribers in a region have access to.

This technique, of control, can be enhanced to provide protection on a much wider scale of IP control and the mere circumvention of making your source appear to be in the desired location will be insufficient to overcome this type of control. An example of this is the use of programs such as Cleanfeed by the UK government (an imposition on various ISPs) that was initially used to control access to child abuse content and have subsequently been applied to the blocking of The Pirate Bay in the UK.

 I have subsequently determined that Tor was too slow to allow access to iPlayer programming from the UK and I now use a VPN that is based in the UK for that purpose. It is interesting to note that when I tried it just recently access to TPB was not blocked when I accessed the Internet using the VPN. Either the VPN is used one of the non-affected ISPs or the block is not yet in effect.

Back to the point of this post. I have also configured Tor to allow access in other countries. I had a personal requirement to find prices in Rupees from and Indian website and I have also attempted to assist a visitor from Sweden to access Swedish TV from the US. Again the problem with access speed proved to be too slow to allow the streaming of video although access to the desired website was gained.

Also the reason for this post is that I still see those that are looking for information on how to use Tor to access the BBC. I observed a search from Dublin today that was searching for "tor browser bbc". The search found my post on Using the Tor Browser Package - I am not sure if the visitor found anything useful on my post. I have in the past, on my website, described in great detail how I managed to do this.

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