Mexican authorities endorse the use of unsafe anonymous browser

Mexican authorities endorse the use of unsafe anonymous browser
The SFP suggests downloading TOR - Photo: Taken from TOR's Twitter account

Mexican authorities endorse the use of unsafe anonymous browser

Mexico City
Víctor Ortega y Sandra Mack
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This browser is used to access the Deep Web, where there is human trafficking and other crimes

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The Ministry of Public Administration (SFP) endorses the use of a controversial anonymous browser called TOR, which is used in countries where governments restrict internet use but also by criminal organizations since it prevents tracking users. The SFP endorses its use in order to guarantee anonymity for people who report serious corruption cases.

According to the SFP's General Information Technologies Management, the use of TOR has been successful to file these types of reports. This department explains that in Spain and the UK people use TOR and similar browsers so that they can report crimes anonymously.

And although browsers like TOR is among those websites that contain illegal content, it has also been a platform for freedom of speech and a tool to report human rights violations.

Nevertheless, browsing the internet without restriction and not being tracked by companies or the government is not always positive since this is the door to the deep web. There, users can find images depicting extreme violence, hire gunmen, buy drugs, hire kidnappers, tax fraud sites, buy fake IDs, and sites that facilitate anonymous reports such as WikiLeaks. In fact, WikiLeaks worked as an example for the SFP to launch its website to report crimes anonymously on July 25. Since the SFP launched the website, it has received around 1,800 reports.

The institution explained that this website is a platform to report serious corruption cases, human rights violations, sexual harassment inside the government; nevertheless, when using conventional browsers, the ministry recommends downloading TOR to “protect your identity.”

Read about the malware that threatened Mexican banks.

Despite the criticism by experts, Luis Gutiérrez, the general director of the SFP's Information Technology department, told EL UNIVERSAL that the system is completely safe for users if they follow the instructions given by the ministry.

And although the SFP already had an Integral System for Citizen Reports, which receives around 30,000 reports every year, according to Gutiérrez Reyes, the current administration decided to create a new platform for people who are afraid of being identified. Nevertheless, although the ministry considers that this mechanism is “safe”, the web designers said they wouldn't promote the use of TOR in other ministries and government departments, because there would be “security loopholes.”

After being questioned if there are risks for inexperienced users at TOR, the expert says that there are no risks unless the users search certain content.

In regards to the recommendation to download TOR, experts explain that having the software is a risk in itself.

In contrast, others support the use of TOR because it adds “security layers” to anonymous reports.


Mexican institutions are heavily targeted by cyberattacks

Mexican ministries, public banks, legislative bodies, autonomous entities, as well as public universities report over 45 million attempted cyberattacks during the current administration
Mexican institutions are heavily targeted by cyberattacksMexican institutions are heavily targeted by cyberattacks


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