Twitter‘s decision to let its privacy and security protecting Tor service expire has raised concerns about its commitment to user privacy and security. The Tor service, which was launched last year, was designed to provide an extra layer of protection for users who use the network to access Twitter.
The Tor network is an anonymous and encrypted network that allows users to access websites without revealing their IP address or location. Onion sites, sometimes called hidden services, can only be accessed via the Tor network, and they offer an extra layer of security and privacy to users.
Twitter’s Tor-specific onion site was designed to provide users with even more protection, but the company has allowed the certificate for the site to expire, effectively killing off the service. Visitors to the site will now receive a warning that the certificate verifying the site’s authenticity has lapsed, and that proceeding past that point is not recommended.
The Tor Project has confirmed that the service has lapsed, and it has reached out to Twitter to try to bring the onion version of the social media platform back online. However, Twitter has not provided any explanation for its decision to let the service expire.
This move has raised concerns about Twitter’s commitment to user privacy and security, especially since the Tor service was launched just last year.
Why the Twitter Tor Service was Important?
The Tor network is widely used by activists, journalists, and dissidents in countries where internet censorship and surveillance are prevalent. The loss of Twitter’s Tor service is a blow to these users, who rely on the Tor network to protect their online activity and identity, keeping in mind the level of sensitivity that their job brings.
Despite efforts by the Tor Project to reach out to Twitter and revive the service, it seems unlikely that it will be brought back online. The service was introduced in the “pre-Musk era”, and Twitter’s financial struggles and layoffs have raised questions about its ability to maintain its existing services, let alone develop new ones.
The Role of Musk in Maintaining User Privacy
With that said, it not only this development that has led us to believe that Twitter has major security concerns. Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter has led to increased scrutiny by the FTC into the social media platform’s privacy and data security practices.
According to Bloomberg, the FTC has now requested documents related to Musk’s leadership, the company’s recent layoffs, and the “Twitter Files” project, which gave outside journalists access to internal Twitter information. As part of its inquiry, the FTC is considering taking Musk to court to face interrogation.
Twitter’s privacy policies are currently being monitored by the FTC as part of a consent settlement between the two parties. Concerns regarding users’ privacy and security on Twitter have been sparked by the FTC inquiry and the suspension of the service’s use of the Tor browser.
Musk has been vocal about his commitment to user privacy and security, but his leadership of Twitter has been controversial. As of now, the outcome of the FTC’s investigation and Twitter’s approach to user privacy and security in the future remain to be seen.
Twitter’s decision to let its Tor service expire is disappointing and raises concerns about the company’s commitment to user privacy and security. The loss of the service is a blow to users who rely on the Tor network to protect their online activity from surveillance and censorship.
While Twitter can still be accessed via a browser running Tor, users will miss out on the added benefits that the Tor-specific onion site provided. It remains to be seen whether Twitter will take steps to address these concerns and renew its commitment to user privacy and security.