Law enforcement officials all over the US are cracking down on private sites known as “anonymity services” because many of their customers — unknown to them, but identified because their communications are stored — have been trying to figure out the identity of the people they’re communicating with online.
The FBI and several state prosecutors are putting pressure on web-hosting companies to take down these sites, arguing that they might not require evidence of a crime if users can remain anonymous. This comes just as Reddit has taken down an anonymous message board in the name of “policing the internet” of privacy concerns.
Though anonymity services aren’t the only players in the field — more modern peer-to-peer file-sharing and encrypted messaging services like Wickr are also popular and have similar goals — they’ve found a large market of users whose identities are set to “anonymity”. For one, anonymous services are popular with Redditors who want to shun the Reddit community; the number of under-21 Redditors has increased more than 25% in the past year.