Government of Russia has announced a 4 million Roubles (~£65,000) bounty to anyone who develops a technology to identify users of TOR – an anonymising network capable of encrypting user data and hiding the identity of its users.
The bounty has been announced by Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) in the form of a tender titled “Perform research, code ‘TOR’ (Navy)”. The public description of the project has been removed now and it only reads “cipher ‘TOR’ (Navy)”.
The ministry has said in the tender that it is looking for experts and researchers to “study the possibility of obtaining technical information about users and users equipment on the Tor anonymous network.”
International experts are not eligible to apply to ensure “defence and security” of the Russian federation, the tender notes. Local experts and researchers can enter the contest / take part in the project by paying 195,000 Roubles (£3,270).
Russia, which has one of the higher user bases of TOR users in the world, has been unwelcoming toward TOR. Last year there were proposals to ban the anonymising network, but the proposal was dropped. However, the government has passed a new law under which all bloggers who have an audience to more than 3,000 readers will be required to register their identity with the government.