Celebrate #GivingTuesday with Tor!

by katina | December 1, 2015

Celebrate giving Tuesday with Tor

Today, Tuesday, December 1st, we want to invite you to celebrate #GivingTuesday with the Tor Project! Now in its fourth year, #GivingTuesday is a day of charitable giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration--a day to invest in organizations doing work that you think is really important.

Since we launched our crowdfunding campaign last week, we have seen amazing support from our community. Donations are flowing in and people are also setting up Tor relays and spreading the word about the campaign.

We are truly thankful for this support and look forward to continuing strong. Keep an eye out for updates and for news about people in our community who support our campaign!

This #GivingTuesday, make your donation to the Tor Project, and tell the world that you #SupportTor!

Thank you for helping Tor stay strong and independent!


Please note that the comment area below has been archived.

December 01, 2015


Many of us have been complaining for years about

o USG agencies
o US contractors with such agencies
o murky Eisenhower-era US public-private partnerships

providing an unacceptably large fraction of Tor Project's funds. This is our chance to put our money where our mouth is.

I acknowledge that this may be difficult for some people, but I hope a substantial fraction of ordinary Tor users will be able to use of the avenues provided to make a donation.

Here is a news story on the crowdfunding campaign:

Tor Project: Anonymity ain't free, folks. Pony up
Privacy network passes around the hat
Shaun Nichols
25 Nov 2015

> The programmers behind internet privacy tool Tor are asking supporters to donate money to bankroll future development. The software project has kicked off a fundraising effort to enhance the online anonymizing network, which is used by whistleblowers, journalists, criminals, normal folk, privacy-conscious netizens, and many other people.

The precedent of the vicious campaign by US federal, state, and local agencies to prevent US residents from contributing to Wikileaks raises the possibility of a similar campaign targeting Tor. But a US appeals court has just handed down a landmark decision which makes this strategy much harder for people like FBI Director James Comey to pursue against Wikileaks, Pro Publica, or Tor Project:

Court Ruling Against Chicago Sheriff Proves Thuggish Anti-WikiLeaks Blockade Was Unconstitutional
Glenn Greenwald
1 Dec 2015

> The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago issued an excellent written ruling on Monday that has broad implications for rights of free speech and political activism in the U.S. The court ruled that Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart violated the First Amendment rights of Backpage.com, an online classified ad site, by pressuring Visa and MasterCard to prohibit payments to the site on the ground that the sheriff dislikes some of the site’s “adult” (i.e. sex) ads, which he believes promote prostitution. Writing for the court, Judge Richard Posner explained that Sheriff Dart previously attempted to prosecute Craigslist for such sex ads and failed, and thus decided to destroy Backpage using a different strategy
> ...
> The most notorious, most dangerous case was in late 2010, when Joe Lieberman blatantly abused his power as chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee to implicitly threaten and coerce companies like Amazon to terminate website hosting and payment processing services to WikiLeaks, which had just published the Afghanistan and Iraq war logs and diplomatic cables. That quickly led other companies, including Visa, MasterCard, Bank of America and PayPal, to terminate credit card processing for the group, driving them close to bankruptcy. In other words, Joe Lieberman almost completely destroyed a media and political organization group he disliked not through prosecution but with nothing more than thuggish threats to the companies that serviced it.

Worrying about Tor suffering a Wikileaks-style funding cutoff seems unlikely as W are not and never were government funded (except maybe under the table by Mr.Putin, judging by a recent bizarrely anti-Turkish tweet from W).

Fortunately the US government in whatever form did step up and provide funding that made Tor possible.

I support your call for contributions, and personally look forward to doing it again.

> Many of us have been complaining for years about

I think that those complaints are largely part of a propaganda campaign to frighten off the "wrong" kind of users from using Tor. The first I heard of them were from Mideast conferences where people would invariably be there to loudly inject that into the discourse. I believe the fear was that sympathetic and well-moneyed people would be tempted to illegally donate to groups on the U.S. list of Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

December 01, 2015



You say: "If you donate more than $5,000 and we know your name and address, we are required to disclose it to the IRS [...]" (https://www.torproject.org/donate/donor-privacy-policy.html.en)

Are there any plan to reduce this limit by the IRS?
Will you inform people via your FAQ as soon as the IRS would reduce the $5,000 limit?

Background: I do not want to rely on that limit by donating $4,999 without getting to know a possible future limit reduction (e.g. $2,500).

Interesting question!

It's my (non-lawyer, non-accountant) understanding that it's been $5k for a long time. And I bet it will go *up* over time if anything, because dollars are worth less over time. The goal of it from the IRS's perspective is to make sure that they have data for matching up people-who-claim-tax-deductions to the-non-profits-that-they-claim-to-have-donated-to.

I would also guess that if they lowered the number in the future, it would not be retroactive into the past. That's the sort of terrible activity the ACLU would be all over, right?

So in summary, I think you should be just fine for this year. If you are really concerned, you should send us the money in a way that doesn't tell us your name and address. Privacy by design, not privacy by policy, right? :)

Thanks for the donation!


"you should send us the money in a way that doesn't tell us your name and address"

Oh, please don't say such things! When the first truck filled with tons of dollar bills arrives in front of your office, you will regret to have accepted cash! ;-)

I am wondering why this link would be used to hide oneself because when it has to do with Github, Github had it's own programs put in place to do this, but on what level of anonymous is this particular https: is it speaking of. I ask because of the Oauth terms dealing with a user's organization options such as setting up the terms of receiving a token. The very first thing that I thought of was that no one using UTF-8 encoding with any contributions he may have shall be taken EVER. The reasoning for this is that no matter if the contribution was good or bad, it would cause a hole in the fence vulnerability, so to avoid this common mistake made by some users, I think it is very important to set up a very precise protocol so that not only can the user count on it, but also anyone that may rely on this user can and will know that all or precautions have been put in place for reliable results and protection of ones material no matter what it consists of.

December 02, 2015


Please try to use real anonymous alternatives like Paysafecard and NeoSurf (gift cards purchased with cash) for donations.

Thanks for your great job.

December 02, 2015


> When the first truck filled with tons of dollar bills arrives in front of your office

Didn't The Onion publish something along these lines? "Prof. Roger D was startled when John Dillinger and Leonid Brezhnev strolled into his office on Tuesday morning carrying bulging briefcases".

December 04, 2015


@arma: want to make sure you are mindful of the possible political ramifications for Tor Project of claims such as those made in this story:

San Bernardino killers erased digital presence day before the attacks
Andrea Noble and Guy Taylor
3 Dec 2015

> The Muslim husband and wife behind the mass shooting in San Bernardino began erasing their digital footprint a day in advance of the deadly attack, deleting email accounts, disposing of hard drives and smashing their cellphones, according to law enforcement investigators who are treating the probe as a counterterrorism case

The enemies of Tor have a plan to exploit every major "terror event", by spinning it (usually ignoring available evidence) as "cryptography-enabled" or "surveillance-aware". Tor Project needs a plan to counter this kind of spin as it happens, which you can invoke as incidents happen (almost daily, in the case of US mass shootings). And the plan needs to be continually updated.

At this time of year, the US Congress often passes legislation needed to avoid a government shutdown, which usually have repugnant "riders" attached, which have not even been read by the members before the vote. IMO, Tor Project should have contingency plans for the possibility that a rider on some "must-pass" bill will simply ban Tor outright in the US.

Thanks again to all at Tor Project for your hard work!

Concur on thanks to the Tor Project!

Regarding the single sentence quoted from the Washington Times about the Muslim husband and wife, it has nothing to do with cryptography! No claim of crypto is made there, at least in what you quoted.

Any lack of effective crypto use would increase any motivation the couple had had for the described acts of "disposing of hard drives" and smashing ...cellphones".

December 06, 2015


> I think that those complaints are largely part of a propaganda campaign to frighten off the "wrong" kind of users from using Tor.

Just to clarify: there is certainly an counter-Tor media campaign, and even counter-Tor trolling, orchestrated by hostile governments, especially HMG and USG, but these typically push one or more of these claims:

o "only cybercriminals/terrorists/pron-purveyors use Tor" [sic]

o "Tor is hopelessly broken" [sic]

o "nothing can help you if the USG wants to spy on you" [sic]

The post you cited is certainly not a counter-Tor troll, and in fact is strongly supportive of Tor, but you probably already knew that.

December 06, 2015


I've just read the material listed here about this TOR project and think it is very interesting. I didn't catch who actually came up with this project, but it definitely seems like it is necessary for a variety of reasons. I'm going to have to lookup again where one donates to this because if I understood correctly, it has been funded by or government, but many more contributions are needed to keep things running smoothly. Hopefully all projects within this TOR are running great, but I'd also like to know things like why some aren't doing so well and maybe contribute some ideas of what may be a factor in improving things that may be outdated or need to be revised to work more effectively so that the usefulness of TOR doesn't become obsolete to poor updating. This is another thing I'd like to examine because I have seen in different projects the lack of revising things. Thanks for your time.

> I didn't catch who actually came up with this project,

This is an interesting story, best told by the originators themselves.

Some newcomers to the world of on-line anonymity might be confused or even put off by garbled accounts of the origins in Tor in "a US government lab". Over the years in a handful of posts to tor-talk, Paul Syverson has offered some recollections of the early history of Tor not "TOR". If he agrees, perhaps the Project can ask him to write a guest blog here summarizing the early work on onion routing?

Until then, this Wikipedia article offers a very brief outline:


However, this article does not explain the motivation, or why so many inside the USG actually support Tor, despite all the fear-mongering from people like FBI Director James Comey.

> TOR doesn't become obsolete to poor updating.

Tor has the best/fastest bug-fixing you're likely to find anywhere.