It's election day here in Canada—so naturally, I setup a chat room that's only accessible via the dark web for Motherboard readers and staff to chat about tonight's results.
Our IRC address is xyxoklplmg5z6xx5.onion:6667 if you want to join right now. Read on if you want to know more.
Issues such as surveillance and cybersecurity, privacy, the digital divide, and the recently-signed Trans-Pacific Partnership haven't gotten a lot of play during this year's campaign. These issues may not be top of mind for everyone, but we know they matter to many Motherboard readers.
Given some of the subjects at hand, I thought the dark web seemed like an apt place to gather and discuss what Canadians and foreigners alike are thinking about the campaign in the hours before polls close. We'll read out some of the best comments and conversations on Vice Canada's election night livestream, which kicks off at 6:30 PM/Eastern tonight. (Yeah, we're doing an election livestream. It's called Election Circus. It's going to be awesome.)
It's entirely possible that our little server will be hacked, or break, or plunged into utter anarchy, but that's just part of the fun, right? (But really, please don't hack, break or plunge our poor server into anarchy.)
To be clear, setting this up was a fun weekend project—one that involved learning the basics of Tor Hidden Service setup and configuring an IRC server, things that I've never done before. It wasn't all that hard to get things working, actually! But I make no guarantees that this thing is totally, truly secure.
If that doesn't deter you and you want to hang out with us on the dark web, make sure you have Tor installed and running. Here's how I connected using HexChat, an IRC client for Mac:
Open HexChat. The first time you launch the app, you'll be greeted with a list of servers.
Click the Add button to add a new server. Give it a name, and hit enter.
Click the Edit button with your new server highlighted. Replace "newserver/6667" with xyxoklplmg5z6xx5.onion/6667. Hit enter and close the window.
With your new server highlighted, click Connect.
HexChat should fail to connect, but that's okay. We're not done yet! Head to Settings > Preferences in your menu bar.
On the left side of the Preferences pane, select Network setup.
Under the section that says Proxy Server, type "localhost" beside hostname, type "9150" beside port, and select "Socks5" beside Type. Hit OK.
Finally, select Server > Reconnect from your menu bar. You should be in!
Don't forget to register your nickname! (Type "/msg nickserv register" and follow the instructions.)
I'll be hanging out in #ElectionCircus all day (type "/join" then the name of the room), and I hope you will too.
Correction, Oct. 19: The headline to this article initially read privately, when we really meant anonymously. Anyone can join, of course, and I'm looking forward to hearing what you have to say!