I found out about Tor four years ago and it was love at first sight
I studied how the network works, which is run by volunteers
From that day on I made all my researches with Tor and kept using Firefox for the shallow mass media entertainment (the more I come across as shallow to the surveillance, the better)
I want to respect and protect this wonderful network, I don't want to be a burden to it
Keeping that on the back of my mind, I watched on a daily basis Youtube videos using Firefox
Problem is, most of the videos I watch are very likely to fall into the category of "fake news"
Here I am four years later: Youtube (aka Google) has created a complete profile of my political preferences and my doubts about the "universally accepted mainstream truth"
My extreme care for the Tor network costed me to miss the benefits of it

Said that: Should I use Tor to watch videos?

5 Answers 5


I'd argue that it isn't particularly unethical. The reason TOR is slow to access regular sites isn't that many people are watching videos through TOR exit nodes, it's that the vast majority of traffic TOR exit nodes deal with is traffic produced by malware (according to Cloudflare, more than 90%). You watching a video will have a miniscule impact. That said, why would you? In my experience, you can only watch 144p videos and the connection constantly breaks. And YouTube identifies people not by their IP address but by the cookies in their browser. Just delete cookies and YouTube won't be able to identify you. No reason to use TOR.

  • 1
    IP address DOES identify your HOUSEHOLD when on broadband. IP address DOES identify YOU when using mobile data on your phone
    – adnev
    Apr 3, 2020 at 15:26

The Tor network isn't limitless. If you feel bad about about streaming video, then compromise. Do you need to watch video at 1080p or even 720p? How about limiting your resolution to 480 or 240 as a compromise.

A good rule of thumb is, use as much (bandwidth) as you need and no more.

Also, YouTube is currently blocking many exit nodes so you many not be able to use it with Tor anyway.


This is less technical and more of a moral view on the predicament. One of the points of Tor and free open source software in general is that the creators of said software may not dictate what you use their making for, and that the creators may not exempt you from usage of their software because they believe what your doing with it is "wrong". The only thing you can do that is objectively "wrong" and at which point measures would and should be made to stop you would be to break the law. But this is just streaming videos. If it bothers your conscience that much then as another user said you can watch in lower quality or even donate to the Tor project, maybe a even host a node yourself.


Have you tried using Youtube in a private window (an incognito mode window for chromium-based browsers)? Youtube/Google will track you through cookies/your sign in/other browser storage (indexeddb, localstorage, etc) (as FlatAssembler mentioned), so Tor will only help initially, and won't work at all if you are logging in. As has been in the media a lot, the algorithms will quickly tailor suggestions for you based on what you watch, but if you close and reopen a private window, you should start from fresh each time.

In regards to is streaming videos over Tor ethical, Tor's mission is:

To advance human rights and freedoms by creating and deploying free and open source anonymity and privacy technologies, supporting their unrestricted availability and use, and furthering their scientific and popular understanding.

As you mentioned, they are a non-profit organisation and the software is maintained by volunteers... Ethics are a personal choice. I have always thought if I am asking the question is it ethical for me to do this, the answer is probably no (sub-conscious alarm bells). Is it videos that everyone should be able to access but you can't due to blocks, them yes, Tor can help. Is it videos that are blocked due to production rights/copyrights... personal choice.

You can always donate to help "keep Tor robust and secure for millions of people worldwide"


Absolutely - you can and you should in a situation like yours! there's nothing bad even in torrents over Tor - if they're done properly

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