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After Paris Attacks, Proposed French Law Would Block Tor and Forbid Free Wi-Fi


After the recent Paris terror attacks, the French government is proposing to forbid and block the use of the Tor anonymity network, according to an internal document from the Ministry of Interior seen by French newspaper Le Monde.

That document lays out two proposed pieces of legislation, one around the state of emergency, and the other concerning counter-terrorism.

In the former, the French government is considering to “Forbid free and shared wi-fi connections” during a state of emergency. This comes from a police opinion included in the document: the reason being that it is apparently difficult to track individuals who use public wi-fi networks.

The latter piece of legislation, meanwhile, says the government is considering “to block or forbid communications of the Tor network.” The legislation, according to Le Monde, could be presented as early as January 2016.

Tor is a network of servers maintained by volunteers, which route a user’s traffic through several different points, obfuscating their original, and perhaps identifying, IP address. At first a project from the US Navy, and now attempting to diversify its funding, Tor has become more popular recently, especially after the 2013 Snowden revelations around various mass surveillance programs.

It is used by journalists, whistleblowers and people who just want to protect their privacy online, as well as terrorists, pedophiles, and cybercriminals.

The internal document reviewed by Le Monde suggests that the French government may propose legislative measures as well as technological ones against Tor.

The Tor Project, the non-profit that maintains the Tor network, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.