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I wrote a book about Tor, and my proud grandma wanted to have a copy. So she got it, said "What a beautiful picture on the cover!" and - "What is this, Tor?".

She doesn't know a word about cryptography, never used a computer. But she uses a web browser from her smartphone. How can I explain what makes Tor special to a non-technical person? I don't mean introducing in using, and the existing question "What is Tor?" with its answers is still much too technical.

Such challenges are not rare. I need to explain to my boss why I request some days off to go to a Tor conference, and soon my daughter will want to know why daddy is so excited about his Tor Browser. My girlfriend needs to understand why I spend so much time researching Tor.

Does anyone know eye-opening words? Perhaps an analogy or a metaphor would help? So grandma, girlfriend, daughter, boss - all may roughly understand and say "Ah, such a thing? Useful indeed!"

closed as too broad by cacahuatl, Andrew Lott Jan 9 '17 at 21:17

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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The nearest analogy may be the telephone, and assuming you wouldn't like persons unknown knowing who you are calling and what you are talking about. So if you consider using the Internet to be like "calling" a website with your computer, then Tor is something you can plug in that makes sure nobody knows what websites you are viewing.

Of course, you may say that you don't have anything to hide and so have no interest in hiding who you are "talking" to. But that is a different matter.

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