The right to freedom of expression is set down in Article 19, paragraph 2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). However, some governments do not honor this right, and they orchestrate widespread online censorship. Tor is a way to bypass that censorship by misinforming the firewall about the source and nature of particular traffic. China, for example, bottlenecks all Internet traffic through government-controlled systems and subjects it to thorough inspection and filtering. Here, improving the Tor infrastructure by upgrading the obfuscation protocol and increasing the number of bridges with pluggable transports allows Tor to get past the ‘Great Firewall.’

The right to freedom of expression is limited. In practice, the generally accepted reasons include, but are not limited to, defamation, hate speech, illicit pornography, copyright violations, or aiding or abetting a crime. Since certain states engage in excessive online censorship, they interpret the limitation too broadly by international standards. Banning or indiscriminately suppressing Tor would mean an interference with the right to freedom of expression for which it would be difficult to imagine an appropriate justification.


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