Should tools that hide online identity be outlawed?

Prosecutors say tools that cloak online identities are complicating their efforts to police all kinds of crime,” writes NPR reporter Carrie Johnson.

Tor provides popular software that helps people hide their location and their viewing habits by bouncing messages all over the world. Supporters say it can be used for perfectly legitimate reasons: to protect the privacy of protesters and artists in repressive regimes, for example.

But it’s also drawn attention from people like Leslie Caldwell, who runs the criminal division at the Justice Department.

“A lot of what we thought of as traditional, unsophisticated criminals are now on the Internet selling drugs, selling guns, selling murder-for-hire schemes, selling child pornography,” she says.

And those criminals, Caldwell says, have gotten a lot smarter about covering their tracks. “Technology is trending toward even greater anonymization, which is something that is just going to make our job more difficult,” she adds.

Today’s Question: Should tools that hide online identity be outlawed?