Ok this is dope! Thank you for sharing! I'm definitely going to try this out at some point! :D

I am scared to ever touch onion routing (tor). It's another name for the darkweb, and to view it you have to host it, with no control.

I admit I don't understand it that well, but as I understand it, it provides anonymity by routing things to everyone using it. Like layers of an onion. So, the FBI can't prosecute any single one of them. Everyones a blind messenger who had no idea whats in the package. So, if I install an onion browser, and go to a radfem forum, in the background child pornography and drug deals travel through my computer too, invisible to me. I remember around 5 years ago people were getting arrested who had nothing to do with the stuff, they just had some onion software running on their IP address.

I'm sure it's "safe" nowadays and the justice system now differentiates people using it and I'm wildly misunderstanding the tech, but I am never going to touch it anyway. Too scary.

[+] [Deleted] 4 points

If you're comfortable navigating all of the TOR configuration stuff you can "use" TOR yourself for your own connections without contributing your resources to it (you don't have to relay data for other people). Unlike something like BitTorrent, TOR does not have tit-for-tat mechanism. It runs essentially on donated bandwidth from people who believe in the anonymity goals/ideals (and unfortunately a few people who accidentally misconfigured it, but I think they're a minority. It doesn't (imho) trick users into signing up to share their bandwidth).

I was a strong believer in the anti-censorship powers of TOR and used to run relays for both TOR and I2P, but then I started poking around on what is actually served through these darkweb networks, and was saddened to learn that it really is almost all stuff like CSAI, not scrappy political refugees build safe spaces to assemble away from their oppressive regimes. I couldn't stomach contributing to the networks after that, so stopped supporting it... Complete anonymity and privacy is really a mixed bag...

unless im mistaken, one has to intentionally set up a relay node to contribute to the network? That if one justs download the tor browser or use brave, the default settings are just you connecting through the layers to get to the URL one typed in.

yes, if you just download and use the standalone Tor Browser or Brave's "Private Window with Tor" feature, you won't be relaying other people's traffic. Since Tor Browser got released, I think they've done a good job of making that the main path, so it looks like you now have to try fairly hard to get to a raw Tor client from which you can (potentially accidentally) configure to relay traffic on Windows and Mac. If you just went and downloaded the Debian Tor package though you're in that situation where some manual configuration is required, and you can potentially screw it up. That's what I do, but I see that that's now a hard to find path from https://www.torproject.org/ , so good news =)