The TOR privacy protecting network that allows confidential and private communication for citizens in countries that are under a repressive regime is under attack by the powers that be as it is used to transmit illegal material. The regular Internet is also used to transmit illegal material and that is monitored thoroughly. Sure, they want to shut down TOR, but that is because it uses encryption to mask what you are browsing at the time. If a censorship system like CISPA or SOPA does end up enforced, then the use of a node to node system like the TOR onion browser will be more common. The government will use the excuse of illegal material to censor the Internet; but the suppression of freedom of speech is the real goal. It is necessary in some countries for the TOR network to exist to enable free speech and for the people to get the word out to the world and make it known what is really going on.
Using TOR gives you a new IP address, sometimes if you wish to use a conventional website with it like a forum website, the Internet Protocol address may have been used for spamming or trolling, and it will be banned from the website, so you will need to try another IP address until you can post. But if you are in a country where a police state is in force, like America^H^H^H^H^HChina, then this may allow you to get onto outside websites and tell others about what is happening around you. This story is a good example of what may happen when the government takes an interest in what someone is using the TOR browser for. This posting has a good tutorial on setting up the TOR browser to browse websites securely and safely without your IP address being tracked all over the Internet. http://www.howtogeek.com/114004/how-to-browse-anonymously-with-tor/.
There is a story on Slashdot about the new street lamps they are putting in that can watch you with cameras and even talk to you. These would be able to tell people to move on and take photographs of the screen of your phone or through your window. They are even wanting car license plate scanners that can scan the license plates of a car allowing authorities to record every car that passes by a certain point. http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/05/22/0158248/dea-wants-to-install-license-plate-scanners-and-retain-data-for-two-years. The authorities wanted ISPs to record user data for two years as well. I guess a 2 TiB hard drive is very cheap, therefore data storage on this scale is possible, but still a sign of the police state to come.