This chapter reports on the first empirical criminological research on the Tor Project, the organisation which develops the Tor anonymity network. There has been little focus as yet by cybercrime researchers on the human factors shaping the platforms and infrastructures on which the Internet depends. These are emerging as powerful technologies of control and profound sites of resistance in contemporary societies, increasingly taking on responsibility for enormous user communities and the crime and abuse which comes with them. Of these, I focus on Tor, an international anonymity infrastructure which offers its users extremely strong protections against online surveillance and censorship. Tor has become a particularly important subject of criminological research on online crime. However, there is as yet no criminological research which deals with how the people who develop and maintain Tor understand these issues. Through interviews and archival research, I study how this community perceive Tor’s use for crime and harm and how they navigate these issues in practice, identifying three distinct sites at which Tor deals with crime, and three concomitant ways of making sense of Tor’s crime problem (conceptualised as ‘social worlds’ of Tor). I explore how Tor has developed from a disruptive character to an increasingly governmental one, and the implications of this for understanding the role of platforms and infrastructures in the governance of online crime more broadly.
|Title of host publication||Cybercrime in Context|
|Subtitle of host publication||The human factor in victimization, offending, and policing|
|Editors||Marleen Weulen Kranenbarg, Rutger Leukfeldt|
|Number of pages||19|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 4 May 2021|
|Name||Crime and Justice in Digital Society|