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The team responded by masking IP addresses through a technology called onion routing — the same technique that the Tor Project uses to protect user anonymity on the web.But the fix didn't stop a wave of paranoia from sweeping forums, and it's hard to tell how much of that is trolling and how much of it is legitimate concern.Eventually, they settled on the name Tox, and you can already download prototypes of the surprisingly easy-to-use tool.The tool is part of a widespread effort to create secure online communication tools that are controlled not only by any one company, but by the world at large—a continued reaction to the Snowden revelations."What you want to send over that pipe is up to your imagination." For example, one developer is building an e-mail replacement with the protocol, and Lohle says someone else is building an open source alternative to Bit Torrent Sync.That said, the core Tox team is focused on building the features specifically required for building a Skype replacement.When whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that full extent of the NSA's activities last year, members of the site's tech forum started talking about the need for a more secure alternative to Skype.
"We were self-sufficient after only a couple weeks," he says.Like so many other new tools, it's still in the early stages of development and has yet to receive the scrutiny that other security tools, such as the instant messaging encryption plugin Off The Record has.But it endeavors to carve a unique niche within the secure communications ecosystem.The association has also exposed the project to the trolling and drama characteristic of the forum, which often makes it hard for outsiders to evaluate.For example, one Tox developer raised concerns about Tox users exposing their IP addresses to each other.