Orbot app

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Tor browser has carved a reputation as the best browser to go online if you want to be anonymous. And there is this Internet myth about the ‘dark web’. It is said that most of what we do online is only a tiny percentage of the whole Internet. The bulk of the Internet is difficult to access mostly because a lot of illegal things are perpetrated there. You can only access the dark web anonymously. And the best browser for that is Tor.

Orbot app
                                                                                                                                                                                photo: gadgets.ndtv.com

The myth about the dark web is actually not a myth. It is true. For android users, Orbot app is the android smartphone version of Tor to use if you desire to be seriously anonymous while using the web. The collaboration between Facebook and Tor has being on for a number of years now. The facebbok/Tor collaboration worked like a sort of plugin on the pc client to enable users get access to Facebook through Tor. Though Facebook claimed otherwise, most people believed the service was included to enable people in countries like China and Iran to access Facebook easily without fear of detection by the authorities.

Orbot app
                             photo: idigitaltimes.com

Apparently, the feature on Tor provided by Facebook worked like a charm. It has grown so popular that Facebook is now bringing the feature to Android devices. So in the coming days or weeks, Facebook would enable a new feature in its android app that would enable us to use Facebook on our android phones and stay anonymous while we are at it.

This is how you can set it up
1. Download  and install Facebook app for Android in your smartphone if you don’t have it already.
2. Download and install the Orbot app from Google play store.
3. Open your Facebook app and go the the app’s settings interface
4. Click on ‘use Tor via Orbot’

And you are now live on Facebook anonymously. In practical terms, this means nobody can track your location using your IP address while using the Facebook app. Orbot app works by sending all your traffic through the Tor network. And the Tor network makes you anonymous by bouncing all your traffic through several computers (acting as servers) around the world effectively masking your identity or location.

Orbot app
                               photo: astronyu.com

Speaking with Reuters, Kate Krauss, the spokeswoman for Tor had this to say on the new feature on Facebook that integrates Orbot app into Facebook for android smartphones,

“Everybody in the world needs more privacy online and almost everybody is on Facebook, Krauss said via Signal, an encrypted messaging service. “This will allow people to choose whether to share their location or not. For some people, this is convenience. For others it is lifesaving.”

For now there is no plan to develop a version of the Orbot app for users of the iPhone.

For Facebook, though it never specifically mentioned countries like China and Iran, the new feature ensures that it can get access to a population of close to 1.5 billion people in these two countries. This makes a lot of sense for a company that needs large number of users to stay ahead in the game of online ads.

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