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[liberationtech] Not another Haystack right?

liberationtech at liberationtech at
Thu Dec 1 09:32:07 PST 2011

On Tue, Nov 29, 2011 at 07:42:14PM -0800, evgeny.morozov at wrote 33K bytes in 765 lines about:
: 1) Brian Conley's question about why BBG's support to Tor does not seem to
: undermine Tor.

If you do not trust Tor, do not use it.  If you do not trust Jake,
Roger, me, and others at Tor, then do not use our software. If you
are able to review the code, designs, and empirical evidence of people
successfully using Tor in dangerous situations, then please make your own
decision as to whether you should use Tor.  I can talk endlessly about
transparency, free software, open code, designs, published research,
published data, etc. But none of this matters if your mindset is that
Tor is a mouthpiece of the US Government. Being under surveillance by
the DoJ is just a ruse, clearly. But everyone likes Sweden, right? What
if Saudi Arabia funded us?

For me, I use Tor daily, for just about everything. It works. I used
Tor before I met Roger and Nick. If Tor goes off the rails and gets
involved in actual conspiracies, then I'll quit and move on. I think
everyone at Tor would do the same. We produce technology. How people
use it is up to them.

Tor does not focus on any one country. We focus on attacks and defenses
in the computer security sense of the words. If one country successfully
attacks Tor via DH parameter blocking, chances are others will try that
too. We resolve the attack and move on.  There's always a new attack
or novel way someone will try to break Tor; some real, some imagined,
some merely created for the global press. Some countries, like Iran,
Syria, China, and others are better at electronic repression than
others. We find the technology interesting and are involved in an arms
race. We want to make sure Tor works in these more-advanced situations. 

We also respond to where users ask us for help. I've been involved with
Tunisia a bit for years. I'm involved in others that 90% of the world
doesn't care about enough to keep them in the press. I can understand
how it looks like we're focusing on one country over another. 
I do work with victims of stalking and domestic violence in America. I've
met former sex slaves from Eastern Europe and educated them on
Internet privacy and anonymity.Others work with LGBT youth, some with
law enforcement officers globally, some just focus on the technology
because they find it interesting. Clearly we need to be better at
communitcating what we do and where we do it.

We publish our monthly progress for everyone, and on the blog, Comically,
I have to email it to our US Government funders because they cannot get
to without using Tor or violating their own IT policies.

The core of the angst here is that Tor receives US Government and
Swedish Government funding. We publish this every year. Our 990, audit
statements, and State of Massachusetts Form PC are all published and on
our website. The 990 is a public document by law. If you want to see
how much funding we get, who we pay, and who pays us, feel free. It's
all right here, We
get paid to work on research and development on a defined project and
deliverable basis. We publish our deliverables and current work state

Now, let's talk about what being a US Government sub-contractor is
like. Here's a typical day in my life (imagine Ke$ha's Tik Tok as the
soundtrack to this exposé):

I wake up in the morning and talk to Hills about the world (Hillary
and I are on nickname basis). We talk about code. We talk about how we
can use the C coding language to produce more freedom and democracy
in the world. She tells me about this new library she read about on
reddit/r/programming called libfreedom. She has her staff remind me to
avoid buffer overflows in the libfreedom integration. I decide noon is a
fine time to get out of bed, take a walk on the beach, and hop into my
helicopter to fly to the palatial tor offices in a secret location. I
could have taken the Bugatti today, but I figure it is more green to fly
directly there.

And then General Alexander calls me and gives me the run down on the
plans for the day and asks for feedback. Keith and I have a lulzy chat
about the Internet memes trending and then renew our bets about who can
get on cryptome or pgpboard first today.

And then Wen J from China skypes me and trolls me that they are going
to roll out a new GFW today that is super duper good at blocking all
encryption. Wen is doing it for the lulz.

And if you believe the last four paragraphs, well, then I'm sorry
for you.

Are we done with the conspiracy theories? Or shall I talk about the secret
moon base we're building so the grey's can have interplanetary anonymity?

pgp key: 0x74ED336B

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