Japan's National Police Agency (NPA) is to urge ISPs to voluntarily block communications using anonymisation software Tor .
The move follows a case where PCs were remotely hijacked by computers using the Tor system, which allows users to mask their online identities and locations by routing connections through several servers. This case cause much embarrassment to the
Japanese who incompetently arrested, detained and extracted confessions under duress from the innocent victims of the hijacked computers.
A panel ofthe NPA, which was looking into measures to combat crimes using the Tor system, compiled a report on April 18 stating that blocking online communications at the discretion of site administrators will be effective in preventing such crimes.
According to the NPA, while the IP addresses of site visitors are normally known to the visited sites, the Tor system enables users to visit sites or dispatch information without revealing their identities. Over the past several years, the Tor system was
misused in a number of crimes including the posting of online murder threats on Internet bulletin boards, theft of money from accounts via illegal accesses to Internet banking sites, postings on dating sites by those seeking relationships with children,
and leakages of security information from the Metropolitan Police Department.
The police somehow neglected to mention the other side of the coin where the Tor system is utilized by citizens in pro-democracy movements in the Middle East to escape government suppression.
The planned access restrictions are therefore expected to be opposed by the internet industry. Communication privacy is our lifeline. We won't be able to accept such a request, said an industry insider.