According to the Tor FAQ and the answer to a different question on this site, Tor is not illegal anywhere, but some countries, e.g. China, are censoring Tor. Why don't these countries ban Tor, and punish the people who try to circumvent the censorship? [Don't get me wrong, I do support Tor, I just want to understand the censoring countries].

  • I think the FAQ is misleading. In countries where the use of encryption is illegal, then as an extension Tor would also be. Have a look at the cryptolaw.org website for a better understanding of what is allowed where. Apr 2, 2016 at 20:43
  • It is censored in China because of communist system that bans "private business" as we can say. If you read a little about communist USSR, then you'll understand better what is Communism. link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communism
    – C noob
    Dec 29, 2018 at 13:01
  • Probably better asked in law.stackexchange.com
    – U. Windl
    Feb 22 at 8:33

5 Answers 5


Simple explanation could be - for the same reason that although it is not illegal to keep secrets, it becomes illegal if the secret endangers a person / place / nation.

another example - courts are using facebook posts & punishing people who put up illegal posts but are not banning facebook itself (a search string, and read this ruling by a judge).

TOR or any other security / privacy enhancing tool is just that, a tool. Banning its usage is not going to stop it. Also, it is an extremely bad PR from a nation's point of view (if the leaders want to be elected again).

Also, theoretically speaking, it is far more better to be able to listen to a secret than trying to stop speaking at all. People will NOT stop sharing secrets, they will just go elsewhere, leaving you behind (bad case for secret services)!


well, for example in China Tor is blocked! you can also call it censorship or banning... the only way to use Tor in China is over a Bridge!

  • maybe there is no law against Tor because it is anyway nearly impossible (if the usage of Tor is done right) to locate/catch the persons who just use Tor; so they will start their investigation against critic persons at other points!
  • my guess is also with an explicit law against Tor they will suffer a Streisand-effect!
  • and if there were a law against Tor the government have to justify why their agencies use Tor and normal people get punished for this...

Because Tor is project against mass surveillance activities carried out by various agencies which actually deprive us from our freedom. Agencies like EFF (electronic Frontier foundation ) protest against all the acts that go against such anonymity tool where all users have full freedom to say what they want. Moreover it is also used by many governments for their confidential works.

  • I'm not asking why some countries are not fighting Tor; I'm ask why countries who fight Tor don't do it by banning it. For such countries, protection again mass surveillance would not be a argument for not banning Tor, and they could always introduce an exception that if you work for the government you are allowed to use Tor. And is Syria and Ethiopia really afraid of being criticized by EFF? May 1, 2015 at 8:29

Because being confident and anonymous online is a basic international human right

  • 1
    But there are lots of countries that either haven't ratified any of the human rights declarations, or have done so for only some of them. Apr 2, 2016 at 20:40
  • @RichardHorrocks even ratified - take a look at Russia - does not mean implemented it. I think it's more natural for criminals to "play under the carpet", even for a government-employed criminals - it's in their nature
    – Alexey Vesnin
    Apr 2, 2016 at 20:42

maybe there is no law against Tor because it is anyway nearly impossible (if the usage of Tor is done right) to locate/catch the persons who just use Tor; so they will start their investigation against critic persons at other points!

if i murder you and clean my tracks dumb the body right i am sure theres ways of me being pretty much impossible to connect to the case yet murder is stil iligal

tor = just an overlay network ( a network on a network ) there are many more overlay networks than just tor the goverment really does not need tor it could easily create its own overlay network actualy im a 100% sure they have and there deffenetly not using tor for there stuff

tor itself will not keep you save it uses proxys clever usage of flash/java will get your true ip shown if you want to be anonymous you will need variouse vpns aswel wich wil kost money (free vpns sucks) u need vps that dont save logs

to anserw op's orriginal question ( as you probertly expected i dont have a solid anserw for you) im pretty sure you will get but raped if your using tor on the wrong side of korea ( how ever same probertly goes for using a regulair browser :P ) most countrys wil most likely dont ban tor because there are many more overlay networks users wil just move to a different one ( its megaupload/pirate bay all over again )

being anonymous is not a crime the things you do when being annonymous can be crimes

think about this im calling the police with an anon tip abouth a huge drug deal tip turned out to be fake police cant save my number and stuf and arrest me for calling in fake tips becauese they are providing this service they are providing this service because they know its a verry usefull service how ever it will bring its pains of being anonymous ( like i just showed )

if they remove change it so it isnt anonymous annymore i will not prank them annymore but my brother who knows theres a courupt cop wil not tip them either because its not anonymous and the courupt cop on the police station wil backtrack my number and kill me so it wil no longer work

anonymity is a double edged sword a double edge sword we NEED to have in every society in order for the supressed to fight the titan its the voice of the smal ones and the voice of the people its where those who hide stuf wil hide and where you share information not to be shared

  • Flash and Java are both blocked by default in Tor Browser. Also Tor is far more anonymous than a few VPNs, a VPN is not designed to be anonymous VPNs cannot make online connections completely anonymous
    – Joey
    Dec 16, 2015 at 3:17

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