the Tor Browser, probably the best data protection protecting internet browser available to most people is running low on the bridge servers. The decline in servers is affecting the browser’s ability to fight censorship and provide a gateway to the open Internet in places where governments and other agencies strictly control access to information.
In one Blog update The non-profit Tor Project released this week, the organization that manages and develops Tor software, said it currently owns approximately 1,200 bridge servers, or bridges, of which 900 support the Obfs4 obfuscation protocol. Bridges are private server that allow access for users who live in places where the Tor network is blocked. Tor provides anonymity to users by forwarding connections to a server multiple times, and in some cases across countries.
Nonetheless, it should be noted that Tor is not only used by people who do not have access to the internet in their country. It is also used by people who want to hide their IP address or who do not want their browsing activities to be tracked.
The gate project The number of voluntarily operated bridges has decreased since the beginning of the year.
„It is not enough to have many bridges: at some point they could all find themselves in blacklists,” says the nonprofit organization it says in his blog post. „That is why we constantly need new bridges that are not yet blocked anywhere.”
According to Tor project‘s metrics, as of mid-August to today, in the top 5 countries with users who connect via bridges (in user order) Russia with an average of 12,480 daily users; the US with an average of 10,726 daily users; Iran with an average of 3,738 daily users; Germany with an average of 2,322 User; and Belarus with an average of 1,453 users.
To counteract the decline in bridge servers, the Tor project is launching a campaign to put 200 obfs4 bridges online by the end of the year. It has launched humble “reward sets” consisting of gate hoodies, t-shirts, and stickers for volunteers who run bridge servers for at least a year. (Remember, this is a non-profit organization). The project’s campaign ends on January 7, 2022.