Thursday, February 12, 2015

Tor and ExitServers

There seems to be an added interest in the use of Vidalia TOR (The Onion Router) and the selection of  Exit Servers.

My pages on detail the use of Tor for the access of the BBC iPlayer programming from locations outside the UK. It is not known if the interest in the selection of a Tor server that is located in the UK is connected to this interest.

I describe the topics of what to place in the torrc (TOR Configuration file) and the determination of what computers that are part of the Tor Network that "exit" in a specific geographic location. Choosing a Tor participant that provides a connection to the Internet in the UK will allow the user to access the BBC servers and iPlayer programs. However, Tor will be too slow to allow streaming of media.

To determine whether a computer on the Tor Network is an EXITSERVER you can access a Torstatus report. To do this you can either read what I have posted on or you can consult the Vidalia TOR website. The TorStaus report will tell you if a server actually connects to the Internet or if it is just one of the computers that provides a (somewhat) random connection to other computers on the network that effectively provides an obfuscation of how an Internet user connects to Internet services.

I may be wrong, but in today's age of surveillance the use of Tor to obscure your identity may be the reason that this topic is of interest. Accessing Web content that was originally intended to be accessed from a specific geographic location, such as the UK for the BBC, is not a reason for using Tor.

I am also surprised that there is so much out-of-date information relating to the removal of DRM from BBC downloads. The notion that all you need to do is to find a program or software to perform the appropriate file conversion it will overcome the restrictions that you find when you download using iPlayer is common.

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