We Enhanced the Security and Integrity of Tor Metrics, Supported by MOSS
With the generous support of Mozilla's Open Source Support (MOSS) program's Mission Partners track, the Tor Metrics team has spent the last 12 months making improvements to your one-stop shop for Tor data.
As we noted in a blogpost announcing the award last June, Tor Metrics faces an interesting challenge: how can an anonymity network gather information on its users? It has to be done in a way that’s privacy-preserving and not in a way that puts users at risk.
The MOSS award allowed the team to make several improvements to the security and the integrity of Tor Metrics. In fact, this grant allowed Tor Metrics to become a team, expanding beyond one full-time developer. We made a large number of infrastructure improvements to the Tor Metrics code base, including refactoring the code and adding more tests. In short, this MOSS award made Tor Metrics more mature and gave it the foundation with which to scale.
Some of the things the MOSS award allowed us to do:
Develop and strengthen the infrastructure related to data collection, performance measurement, and network status monitoring. Add a feature to synchronize data between CollecTor instances.
Analyze and publish a report on the security of our metrics and the amount of sensitive, personally identifying data we store, and identify further improvements.
Improve the accuracy and depth of performance measurements by adding new onion server measurements.
Redesign the Tor Metrics website, making it easier to find, compare, and interpret Tor usage and performance metrics, as well as by expanding existing measurements.
The work carried out under this MOSS award couldn’t have happened without the support of many teams at Tor and anonymous volunteer cypherpunks.
Mozilla's mission is to ensure the Internet is a global public resource, open and accessible to all. Mozilla Open Source Support is an awards program specifically focused on supporting the Open Source and Free Software movement. Their Mission Partners track is open to any open-source or free software project undertaking an activity which significantly furthers Mozilla's mission. Tor appreciates their support.
They only count how many people use Tor in your country they don't post anything that identifies those people (IP addresses).
You don't see what as a good thing? Having more people have time to think about our metrics infrastructure, and making it scale, and be better documented about what exactly it publishes? I think "this" is pretty clearly a good thing.
Unless you meant you don't see the whole concept of trying to safely measure Tor's progress as being a good thing. I suggest you read one of our early papers on the topic, published at the "Workshop on Ethics in Computer Security Research":
And you're right that publishing anything precise about a situation where only 20 people have some configuration would be a poor choice. That's why we try not to do things like that -- and that's why we are pleased to have had some funding from Mozilla so we can spend time making sure we're not doing things like that.
Hope this helps. :)