Thank You, Edward Snowden
Photo by Barton Gellman
The ongoing fight for digital rights has seen major victories and setbacks this year, and some of these victories would not have been possible without the leaks from Edward Snowden. Snowden bravely blew the whistle on the mass surveillance undertaken by the United States government, and his revelations have informed the public of widespread privacy abuses taking place and helped people understand the urgency of taking back the internet. Thank you, Snowden.
You can read about Snowden’s path to becoming a whistleblower, including his use of Tor, in his new book, Permanent Record.
As a contribution to our campaign to take back the internet, Ed has given us three signed cards to include inside copies of his book for our supporters. If you make a donation of $75 or more* between 12/26 and 12/28, you will be entered to win one of three copies of Permanent Record with a card signed by Edward Snowden inside.
This is a very special gift. Snowden is one of the most famous Tor users, and he represents a couple of important use cases for Tor. The first is that journalists—and the sources and whistleblowers they speak to—need to protect their online communications. They can use Tor, and tools like SecureDrop from Freedom of the Press Foundation (where Snowden is President of the Board) to do so. SecureDrop, which uses onion services to obfuscate metadata, allows media outlets to provide a secure, end-to-end encrypted method of communication between sources and journalists.
If you look at the way post-2013 whistleblowers have been caught, it is clear the absolute most important thing you can do to maintain your anonymity is reduce the number of places in your operational activity where you can make mistakes. Tor and Tails still do precisely that.
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) August 24, 2019
The second most common use case of Tor is the need to protect one's privacy against mass surveillance. In both of these use cases, Tor allows people to take back the internet. In Snowden’s case, using Tor allowed him to fulfil his oath to the constitution of the United States and release information of public interest to the media about the abuses committed by the government through its mass surveillance program.
“The classified joke was that trying to surveil the Tor network makes spies want to cry. Therein lies the project’s irony: here was a US military-developed technology that made cyberintelligence simultaneously harder and easier, applying hacker know-how to protect the anonymity of IC officers, but only at the price of granting that same anonymity to adversaries and to average users across the globe. In this sense, Tor was even more neutral than Switzerland. For me personally, Tor was a life changer, bringing me back to the Internet of my childhood by giving me just the slightest taste of freedom from being observed.” (Permanent Record, page 156)
Today, as we run a campaign about taking back the internet, people understand why this is important. It's because of the awareness that Snowden’s revelations brought to people regarding the reality of mass surveillance. And just like Snowden, there are millions of people in the world who are doing all they can to share information about injustice in hopes of building social change. Talking about inequity isn’t usually easy, and it’s often not safe. These people need Tor so they can effectively use the internet as a channel to spread and access this information.
And now, in addition to the Tor swag we offer as gifts for your donation, for the next two days (between 12/26 and 12/28), a donation of $75* or more will enter you to win one of three cards signed by Edward Snowden with a copy of Permanent Record.
Thank you for your support. And thank you, Edward Snowden, for taking a stand against mass surveillance and your continued support of the Tor Project.
* Donations are not necessary to enter, but much appreciated. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to enter without donating.