Tor anonymity project looks to help Iranians sidestep Net ban

The privacy-focused Tor Project is working on helping Iranians sidestep increased Internet restrictions that were put in place by the country's government today in anticipation of protests this weekend.

Antigovernment protests are reportedly planned for Saturday--the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic revolution that toppled the Shah. In response, the government has blocked access to Web-based e-mail services such as Gmail and social networks like Facebook. Officials have also, reports Forbes' Andy Greenberg, cut Web traffic that takes advantage of the kind of encryption used by secure e-mail services and social networks.

That's where U.S.-based Tor comes … Read more

How SOPA's 'circumvention' ban could put a target on Tor

A little-noticed section of the Stop Online Piracy Act could make it illegal to distribute Tor and other software that can "circumvent" attempts by the U.S. government to block pirate Web sites.

The controversial Hollywood-backed copyright bill allows injunctions to be filed against "any" person, nonprofit organization, or company that distributes a "product or service" that can be used to circumvent or bypass blockades erected against alleged pirate Web sites such as

"It looks like SOPA would outlaw Tor," says Markham Erickson, an attorney with Holch & Erickson LLPRead more

Star Wars: The Old Republic release date revealed

Bioware and LucasArts have confirmed the official release date for the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Old Republic video game.

The Star Wars MMORPG will be available on December 20 in North America and on December 22 in Europe. After months of speculation, BioWare co-founders Dr. Ray Muzyka and Dr. Greg Zeschuk confirmed the release date at the Eurogamer Expo in London.

"This is an incredible moment for everyone at BioWare and our partners at LucasArts who have dedicated their lives to build this extraordinary game," said Dr. Muzyka. "We appreciate the patience from the millions of fans who have been waiting for the game's release."

Subscription fees are standard for a game of this type, starting at $14.99 (€12.99) for one month. Three month plans for $13.99 per month (total $41.97/€35.97), or six month subscriptions for $12.99 per month (total $77.94/€65.94). Bioware gives gamers 30 days of subscription time free with each purchase of the game.

Those who pre-ordered SW: TOR will obtain early game access, which could be up to five days before the official launch date. … Read more

A look at Star Wars: The Old Republic's end game

The highly anticipated Star Wars: The Old Republic MMORPG still lacks a release date, but Bioware isn't shying away from showing off some end-game content.

As a bit of background for the uninitiated, gamers can group together in SW:TOR and tackle challenges called "operations," which are similar to raids or instances found in World of Warcraft. These types of areas are critical to those who have reached the maximum level possible by offering intensive teamwork experiences and the chance to acquire high-powered items. Dallas Dickinson, Bioware's director of production, previews one of those operations, Eternity Vault, in a 10-minute video released a few days ago. … Read more

HTTPS Everywhere opens to all

The security add-on for Firefox called HTTPS Everywhere (download) that forces HTTPS encryption on numerous popular Web sites has graduated to its first stable release, about a year after it was released into public beta.

The tool does not let you force HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) willy-nilly on Web sites. Instead, it includes a series of rules that supports sites that allow HTTPS encryption. The Electronic Frontier Foundation said in the blog post announcing the release that it encompasses more than 1,000 popular sites, including Google Search, Wikipedia, Twitter, Facebook,, GMX, blogs, The New … Read more

Star Wars: The Old Republic preorders now available

A slight disturbance in the Force was felt this morning after BioWare, LucasArts, and EA announced that Jedi and Sith everywhere can now preorder Star Wars: The Old Republic for a limited time.

Three versions of the highly anticipated MMORPG are available: Standard ($59), Digital Deluxe ($79), and the whopping Collector's Edition ($149). A preorder FAQ answers some common questions for curious padawans. Those who order soon get access to the virtual world early and obtain special items to make questing easier.

Star Wars fans have clamored for the title since its reveal in late 2008, with an expected release date later this year. According to the official preorder site, here is a breakdown of the three editions: … Read more

Firefox add-on encrypts sessions with Facebook, Twitter

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Tor Project have released a public beta of a new Firefox extension that lets people encrypt their communications with Facebook, Twitter, and other sites.

The HTTPS Everywhere Firefox extension was inspired by Google's encrypted Web search option, the EFF said in announcing the tool on Thursday.

In addition to Facebook and Twitter, the Web sites that the software works on are Google Search, Wikipedia, The New York Times, The Washington Post, PayPal, EFF, Tor, and Ixquick.

The tool works by creating an HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) connection to the sites. But even … Read more

Buzz Out Loud Podcast 1150: Up the creek without a Bible

The FCC is coming for the schools and churches just like that crazy guy on the corner told you! On June 12, it'll require anybody using a wireless microphone that operators in the 700 MHZ spectrum to stop using that mic. That's right. The purge is coming! For microphones!. Actually, it'll affect Broadway shows, too. Will the FCC be able to round up the ne'er-do-wells? Will Google ruin U.S.-China relations? Well, that's another story. Literally.

Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 1150 … Read more

Mulling mobile broadband options

I've been thinking about buying a new gizmo, and it turns out I'm not the only one in the family having these thoughts.

My sister sent me an e-mail over the weekend:

I need a 3G card for my laptop and I'm going to get it from Verizon. What should I ask for? I just don't want them to try to sell me more or less than I need.

Coincidentally, I've been looking into the latest options for mobile broadband access for a couple of months now, ever since the two-year contract ran out on … Read more

Anonymous surfing comes at the price of slow surfing

This free Firefox add-on keeps you a mouse-click away from, a Web site that lets you browse anonymously by hiding your IP address. It works, but the trade-off in speed is noticeable.

Tor-Proxy.NET Toolbar doesn't have typical toolbar features, such as e-mail notification, and a weather forecast, and there's a lot of wasted space, but you can easily hide the toolbar. A shortcut button on the toolbar takes you directly to There also is a place to enter a URL, and two proxy options: JAP/JonDos and TOR. During our tests, we entered … Read more