The Tor Project is well known for its anonymous browsing software among other things, and now the group has a new messaging service in development. According to news from the Tor 2014 Winter Developers conference in Iceland, the service is an anonymous instant messenger that works with the open source InstantBird client.
Tor Instant Messaging Bundle (TIMB), as the service is known, has already gone into experimental release and is set to launch a public beta at the end of March. Reports say the team hopes to have a more finalized build of TIMB bundled with Tor Launcher in the coming months.
While things like TorChat already boast a considerably large userbase, some have suggested an anonymous chat service fully integrated into the Tor Launcher could bolster interest significantly. However, the Tor team has put the focus on its security measures for TIMB front and center, having hired outside experts to ensure that “people in countries where communication for the purpose of activism is met with intimidation, violence, and prosecution will be able to avoid the scrutiny of criminal cartels, corrupt officials, and authoritarian governments.”
A world once reserved only for those comfortable with a command line (or the patients/skill to use other encryption software), has slowly become more accessible because of the now 30 developers or so behind the Tor Project. Spread across the globe, the non-profit team takes in about $2 million in donations a year for its efforts, according to reports. TIMB is part of the group’s continued goal to make its secure products easy to use for anyone with a computer.