My question is similar to What's the extent of the problem of information leaking to exit node, but the answer there isn't sufficient for my question.

If I send unencrypted information through Tor, e.g. if I send an email (without PGP) which contains personally identifying information, is my privacy compromised? I am worried about the following scenario: suppose I send an email

Hey [recipient],

I was thinking about setting up a [sensitive issue] advocacy rally on [date] at [place]. Let me know if you would be interested in supporting the cause.

Best wishes,


If I send this email through Tor and it happens to go through a corrupt exit node that is watching for and capturing plaintext, is my privacy compromised? I know the exit node wouldn't know my IP address, but the email directly contains identifying information. Could an exit node read this email?

  • Why are you using tor for this?
    – puser
    May 13, 2014 at 9:55
  • 2
    Tor is not for security, it is for anonymity. if you are giving out personal details, you are not anonymous OR secure.
    – puser
    May 13, 2014 at 9:56

2 Answers 2


Yes, your privacy will be compromised. Please, don't ever rely on unencrypted protocols. This is also true when not using Tor. Your message will not be read.

Also the E-Mail header (sender address, used mail software (usually containing version and operating system) etc.) might identify you, just like your style of writing.

Your use case sounds like it isn't really made for Tor though. From what I understand it is not exactly about anonymity, but more about secure, untracked communication. You might find technologies like RetroShare to fit your use case better. It provides secure chats, emails, forums, instant messaging, etc. Being based on a Friend to Friend network topology it makes it really hard for an attacker to track your communication.


You need to accept that all things flowing through an exit node are most likely analyzed by big brother government. Everything you send must keep your anonymity. If you are deploying sensitive information, you need to use encryption.

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