Tor Project ceases development of its own Messenger software

The Tor Project has announced that it will stop developing its own off-the-record chat software, also known as the Tor Messenger. It gives several reasons for the decision, including lack of resources.

It writes that due to the lack of resources, feature requests and bug reports had to be left behind and that no external audit of the software had ever taken place. In addition, the adoption of the chat software was low and the development of InstantBird had ceased. The Tor Messenger was based on this software. The Tor Project writes that Mozilla wants to add InstantBird’s chat features to Thunderbird and that this was a good time to re-evaluate the Messenger project.

The third reason is that a centralized server infrastructure can reveal metadata, which makes it possible to map the contacts of users, for example. There would be no work-arounds for that, according to the team.

The Tor Messenger has never left beta since its initial release in 2015. The software used otr messaging and supported several protocols such as Jabber, IRC, Google Talk, Facebook Chat, Twitter, and Yahoo. Communication was encrypted via the Tor network. The last beta release came out in September.

The Tor Project redirects existing users to the CoyIM service and to a series of safe chat messages from the EFF. The US civil rights organization no longer provides advice through its Secure Messaging Scorecard for secure chat services, because it is insufficient for complex information.