Civil Liberties

NSA Assistance

Online anonymity


The Tor Project offers software that allows people to cover their tracks on the Internet. Because of this, some officials in the National Security Agency (NSA) really dislike Tor. So it may come as a surprise that a Tor executive says some NSA agents are helping the project.

Andrew Lewman, who handles operations for the Internet-anonymizer tool, claims that he receives tip-offs on "probably [a] monthly" basis that he believes come from the NSA and its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters.

"There are plenty of people in both organizations who can anonymously leak data to us to say-maybe you should look here, maybe you should look at this to fix this. And they have," he explained to the BBC in August. "You have to think about the type of people who would be able to do this and have the expertise and time to read Tor source code from scratch for hours, for weeks, for months, and find and elucidate these super-subtle bugs or other things that they probably don't get to see in most commercial software."