Tor is a web service that allows users to surf the Internet, use IM, and other services while keeping themselves completely anonymous, but Japan's National Police Agency wants ISPs to block access to Tor if users are found to have abused it.
The push by Japanese authorities is because they’re worried about an inability to tackle cyber crime enabled in part by anonymizing services such as Tor. Japanese police is having a hard time when it comes to crimes in the cyberspace. Just last year a hacker, going by the name Demon Killer, took remote control of systems across the country and posted death threats on public message boards.
The panel claimed it has been used in the past to commit internet fraud, help paedophiles groom kids online and, tellingly, enabled leaks from Tokyo's Metropolitan Police Department.
Tor has proven to be an invaluable tool for pro-democracy campaigners in the Middle East while censorious regimes such as the Chinese authorities have attempted to block users from using the system. Japanese ISPs have not welcomed the recommendation.
The Tor system was utilized by citizens in pro-democracy movements in the Middle East to escape government suppression, while Wikileaks also recommends Tor to information providers.
Activists on the Internet or those living in countries with oppressive regimes use Tor to carry out their online whistle blowing activities anonymously.
One can understand the zeal of the Japanese police to stamp out cyber crime, but someone might have to tell them that they’re going about it the wrong way. Tor is not all the web evil that it is painted to be democratic activists under repressive governments have used it to achieve good effects.