Although technology has overall made life easier, it has made things a lot less private. As a result, you need to be extra careful when you are browsing online, as it very difficult to maintain privacy out there. It is even possible that your ISP or VPN provider is maintaining a log of everything that you do online.
So, how do we protect our online privacy? Brass Horns Communications, a UK-based non-profit internet service provider that focuses on privacy and anti-surveillance services, has an answer for this. The company is currently beta-testing a SIM card that will automatically route your data through Tor, thereby securing online privacy and evading surveillance.
For those unaware, Tor (originally known as The Onion Router) is a free piece of software for enabling anonymous communication. Tor directs Internet traffic through a free, volunteer-operated network of computers around the world to hide a user’s location and usage from anyone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis. While Tor protects a user’s privacy, it does not hide the fact that someone is using Tor. The most common method through which people access Tor is the Tor Browser Bundle on desktop, or with the Orbot app on Android.
Brass Horn’s founder, Gareth Llewelyn, told Motherboard that his venture is “about sticking a middle finger up to mobile filtering, mass surveillance.”
According to Brass Horn’s Onion3G service site, it claims that the “The Onion3G design is a closed network between your 3G device/MiFi/modem and the Brass Horn Comms Tor bridges, this may make the collection of Internet Connection Records (and by extension other forms of bulk surveillance) less effective.”
It also claims that it’s a safer mobile provider because it only issues “private IP addresses to remote endpoints which if ‘leaked’ won’t identify you or Brass Horn Communications as your ISP.”
Brass Horn Onion3G SIM card only has 3G connectivity. In order to use this Tor-dedicated SIM card, it is necessary to install Orbot app on the device. Further, only apps that have a proxy feature, like Twitter, are compatible. Also, it is available only for Android users.
The Tor-SIM card will cost £2.00 per month for a prepaid account. Further, £0.025 will be charged for per Megabyte (MB) transferred over the network. Pre-payment can be topped up at any time using a credit card like Visa, Mastercard, or cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, ZCash or Monero.
Currently, the service is offered in the UK only and is likely to be made available to the public in 2019.