Study: What is the value of anonymous communication?
Drexel University researchers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania are recruiting Tor users for an interview study to see how they use Tor while creating things online—how they write blog posts, edit Wikipedia articles, contribute to open source projects on GitHub, post on discussion forums, comment on news articles, Tweet, write reviews, and many other things.
The researchers want to investigate the ways in which various limits, like CAPTCHAs, or even blocking access to sites entirely, inhibit or don’t inhibit Tor users’ ability to create things online. They hope to identify times when people are forced to modify their behavior to achieve the privacy they want. They want to measure the value of anonymous participation and then begin to talk to service providers and others to optimize the participation of Tor users.
“By understanding the contributions that Tor users make, we can help make a case for the value of anonymity online,” said Associate Professor Rachel Greenstadt, an investigator on the study.
The researchers are also interested in hearing from Tor users about other impediments to their anonymous participation that they have encountered while online.
“It’s critical for online projects to support contributions from anyone eager to participate,” said Assistant Professor Andrea Forte, principal investigator.