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The Internet Engineering Task Force was established in 1992 and sets standards for the Internet. IETF recently made a landmark decision to reserve .onion as a special-use domain name. Jacob Appelbaum and Facebook security engineer Alec Muffett led the charge to advocate for this reservation to build privacy and the structure of the internet.

Per Tor Weekly News in late 2015, Jacob Appelbaum stated, “IETF name reservations are part of a lesser known process that ensures a registered Special-Use Domain Name will not become a Top Level Domain (TLD) to be sold by the Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).” Other examples of Special-Use domain names include “.example.com,” and “.localhost.”

The reservation of the .onion domains for Tor will prove vital to protecting users from targeted and mass surveillance by overreaching governments, oppressive regimes or nefarious hackers. This new standard is a vital milestone in the protection of internet freedoms and personal privacy.