The BBC launched a Tor version of its international news website in an attempt to thwart censorship in regions where access to the BBC News website is blocked or limited. The onion service provides access to the BBC’s international news website and includes several foreign language services.
The BBC is now accessible over Tor at https://www.bbcnewsv2vjtpsuy.onion. According to the announcement on Reddit, the BBC set up the onion service in cooperation with the Open Technology Fund. They also received guidance from Alec Muffett, the creator of The Enterprise Onion Toolkit.
Like the New York Times, ProPublica, Facebook, and a few other onion services, the BBC onion service has an SSL/TLS certificate issued by DigiCert.
The onion service has some of the same features as BBC.com, including support for news in a number of languages. On both BBC.com and the onion service, users can access /Persian for the for the Persian version of the site. Other versions of the site can be accessed by their respective languages as well. However, content exclusive to the UK is unavailable to BBC News readers through the BBC onion. “Services such as BBC iPlayer will not be accessible, due to broadcast rights,” the announcement said.
The BBC said: “The BBC World Service’s news content is now available on the Tor network to audiences who live in countries where BBC News is being blocked or restricted. This is in line with the BBC World Service mission to provide trusted news around the world.”
Countries including China, Iran and Vietnam are among those who have tried to block access to the BBC News website or programmes.
The announcement on Reddit included the following disclaimer:
Please note that this is for circumvention purposes only and is an experiment in the making. The aim is to provide content to international audiences in countries where BBC online content is being blocked or throttled.