The Tor Project is one of the six organsations that recently won a big grant from Knight Foundation, as part of the Knight News Challenge. It’s easy to understand why it caught the eyes of the judges, and walked away with $320,000.
The project is a non-profit organisation that provides free, open-source software to allow users to act anonymously online. As the project’s website explains, Tor has created a series of “virtual tunnels,” which distribute users’ transactions to different locations around the Internet, so that they cannot be pinpointed to a single place. Tor hides users’ activity among that of other members of the network, so the more people using it, they more secure it becomes.
Tor was first developed in a US Navy lab, with the aim of securing government communications, as Nieman Lab explains. Now, however, the network has a wide range of uses for the general public, not least for journalists and whistleblowers.