Orbot offers anonymous surfing for Android devices

The Tor Project has launched an official app that allows Android users to anonymously browse the Internet.

Although Orbot is not yet available in the Market, it can be downloaded and installed on a number of Android-based devices.

However, Jay Hathaway of the Download Squad cautions that novice users may find Orbot’s setup process to be a somewhat complicated endeavor.

“Right now, setting up Tor for Android is just a little bit too annoying to appeal to anyone but serious privacy junkies,” writes Hathaway.

“If you’re on Android 1.x, the ProxySurf browser from the Android Market is compatible with Tor. On 2.x, you’re going to have to take some extra steps, including rooting your phone.”

The Tor Project – which describes itself as a “free and an open network” – protects the identity of users by “bouncing”  communications around a distributed network of relays.

“[This] prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location,” explained the site’s official mission statement.

“Tor works with many of your existing applications, including web browsers, instant messaging clients, remote login, and other applications based on the TCP protocol.”