Welcome to the thirty-seventh issue in 2015 of Tor Weekly News, the weekly newsletter that covers what’s happening in the Tor community.
Several years of effort by Tor Project members and contributors bore fruit this week when the Internet Engineering Task Force, which develops and promotes voluntary standards for Internet technologies, recognized the .onion suffix as a special-use domain name.
As Jacob Appelbaum, who led the charge along with Facebook security engineer Alec Muffett, explained: “IETF name reservations are part of a lesser known process that ensures a registered Special-Use Domain Name will not become a Top Level Domain (TLD) to be sold by the Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).” In other words, it will not be possible for domain registrars to sell web addresses ending in .onion; if it were, it would create problems for Tor’s hidden service system, which uses that suffix to allow users to run anonymous and censorship-resistant web services accessible via the Tor Browser.
Another benefit of the name reservation is that it will now be possible to buy Extended Validation (EV) SSL certificates for .onion domains, a system which Facebook has trialled on its own popular hidden service.
“We think that this is a small and important landmark in the movement to build privacy into the structure of the Internet”, wrote Jacob. Congratulations to all those who spent time drafting this proposal and advocating for its adoption.
Tor’s body of development proposals, documents that plan for improvements and changes in Tor’s software ecosystem, has seen some additions, updates, and reviews over the past week.
Nick Mathewson published proposal 256, which examines methods for revoking the long-lived public keys used by Tor relays and directory authorities in the event that they are compromised, or the operator believes there is a significant possibility that they
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