.onion recognised by IETF

The Tor Project and Facebook announced that the .onion web addresses which allow anonymous users to browse online through the Tor service have been formally recognised by the Internet Engineering Task Force.


The IETF is responsible for determining which domains are designated as “special use domains,” a set of domains considered for registration based on special conditions. Today, the organisation included .onion on that list.


The Tor Project said that the recognition of the .onion domain is a step towards greater acceptance of services like Tor. It also prevents ICANN from selling off the .onion domain and permanently keeping it for hidden services.


“As a result, no one can buy .onion and there won’t be a conflict of interest,” says Jacob Appelbaum, a privacy researcher at the Tor Project who helped write the draft proposal submitted to the IETF. The recognition from IETF also ensures that anyone creating an address under that domain can do so free of charge and will make widely-used software integration easier for anonymous users.


To submit the draft proposal, the Tor Project partnered with Facebook. Last year, the company launched its own link for users who wanted access through Tor’s hidden services. At the time Facebook explained that it wanted to create an experience more consistent with their goals of accessibility and security.

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