We need your good Tor stories

What do you use Tor for? Why do you need it? What has Tor done for you? We need your stories.

We have plenty of practice explaining how Tor works, from technical specifications, design documents, academic papers, and popular presentation. And of course, the code is all open-source.

But explaining why Tor is important is more of a challenge. We can speak in the abstract about the importance of free speech and privacy on the internet, but no abstract statement is quite so persuasive as a real-world example.

We know these examples are out there. We regularly hear from vulnerable populations and people who need to cope with surveillance. We are approached by people who need Tor to stay safe at work, whether they are going after criminals on behalf of their governments, or going after the criminals who run their governments, or just regular people trying to preserve their privacy.

But naturally, most of these stories are ones that we don't have permission to share. After all, it would hardly be in keeping with our pro-privacy beliefs to publish tech-support requests!

Similarly, because we don't gather sensitive data on our network, we cannot (as some networks do) publish regular reports on what kinds of uses we are seeing. (We do not collect this data because we believe that a privacy network should put privacy foremost, and that the best way to protect people's information is not to collect it in the first place.) This is fantastic when it comes to protecting users against advertisers, censors, miscellaneous snoops, and the secret police of authoritarian regimes. But it isn't working out so well when we are asked by donors and other potential allies who want to know what supporting Tor means in less technical terms.

Furthermore, we work on Tor because everybody has the right to their own voice. So while this is on the one hand a plea for information we can use to tell the world about the importance of what we're accomplishing (and try to get donations to do more of it), it's also a request born of the notion that nobody is more qualified to tell your own story than you are.

So, please send us your stories so we can share them with the world. If email works, you can send it to tor-assistants@torproject.org, subject line "Why I Use Tor". And of course, you can just post a comment here.

We won't use names, but if too many details can reveal who you are, please err on the side of caution. There is no point in responding to our request if it puts you in danger. That said: why do you use Tor? Whether you use it to look at cute cats or political blogs, we'd like to know. And since we designed Tor with privacy in mind, we can't know unless you tell us.

Thank you!

Anonymous

February 29, 2012

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Ah, maybe not so noble as many of the stories here. But, living in the EU, I am forever hearing about the internal market and how you should barely know that national borders exist when it comes to buying things. Ha! So many online retailers make the content you can access dependent on country.

If I go to the UK and want to find out what the current euro deals are on Steam? If I want to buy something using iDeal from outside the Netherlands, or use my German card outside of Germany? Fat chance!

Tor with country-restricted exit nodes offers a much neater and less frustrating solution than constantly transferring money between countries, at the cost of significant delays and endless commission (both of which the EU has also "abolished", yeah right); and for that I thank you.

Anonymous

March 29, 2012

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if we are using the tor any one can find our ip address and hack our systems?

I have proxy connections,If I am using tor can any one find me 'this boy using tor'?

Anonymous

April 29, 2012

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Tor could be useful in securely transmitting medical records, which are protected under Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the US.

Under HIPAA, medical records require appropriate administrative, physical and technical safeguards to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and security of electronic protected health information. (aka the security rule). Tor could be very useful in helping non-profit clinics and medical centers securely transmit and receive protected information. Potentially, if TOR worked with the EFF, it could ensure it meets HIPAA standards, create a simple non-profit set-up guide, and then have access to additional network resources.

This is just a thought. None of this has been actually achieved.

Anonymous

May 07, 2012

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What a clever onion! I am a new UK user because Virgin Media blocked The Pirate Bay and I was looking for a way around it (I was sure there would be one) and I happened across Tor Bundle. I have never heard of anything like it, I am not technical with computers but I had it downloaded, up and running and was surfing TBP in five minutes. If I can do it, anybody can. Virgina Media is NOT my nanny.

It was so easy I was surprised.

Thank you everybody for this - it's really helped and I will donate something for you guys.

Anonymous

May 08, 2012

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Would someone be able to give me a little technical advice?

I am NOT a programmer, but am fairly logical so if you spell it out I shld be ok.

I am going to be staying for a few months on a campsite at a time of the year when there are not too many people around. free wifi is provided. I want to take advantage of this. 95% of my browsing will be kosher and work related ( can work remotely), although I shall use TOR for social browsing as i have a paranoid hatred of facebook and google and their privacy violations... My questions:

*** WILL/CAN Tor hide my location from google and facebook Etc

I may want, occasionally, to watch a little "Gentleman's entertainment" while wife/kids are at the beach - all mainstream stuff - nothing that wld, in theory, necessitate Plod being involved, but which WOULD be embarrassing to my day job were it to come out AND I don't want the missis seeing I like girl-on-girl stuff (bless her, she just wldn't get it!)

*** CAN the bloke who owns the wifi router SEE what sites I'm on, even if I use TOR???

*** HOW do I disguise my MAC address? JUST so I have a chance to deny it's me! The site owner DOES do a bit of web development and is no mug as he himself mentioned "MAC address" which set me thinking

*** I have a personal laptop and a work one - I can do all the dodgy viewing on the personal one but IS it possible to hide the MAC. IF NOT, how would I find HIS MAC address so I can clone it - and HOW do I clone it?

I am carrying TOR, along with CCleaner, Revouninstaller, Netgear (for a wifi dongle) and now REAVER (as I'm thinking about trying to learn how to hack wifi for future ref) around on a usb stick.

*** IS this effective - will TOR work as well with the USB plugged in as I'm doing at the moment?

** ANY OTHER BRIGHT TIPS, like how do I start encrypting stuff as well

ALSO

*** DO people use TORMAIL with/for REAL world interactions or down as a subversive?

*** Is it possible to set tormail up as an alias in some way - my point being, can I use hotmail or whatever but go into it THROUGH Tormail and back out to Tormail upon receipt so as to maximise privacy but also maintain effective REAL world interactionn where required

MANY THANKS FOR ANYONE ABLE TO HELP - new down here and am just at this stage hiding my online viewing habits but in due course may want to buy a few ounzes of something Etc

Anonymous

September 03, 2017

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Tor has allowed me to browse the internet with more anonymity than other browsers. To browse privately and feel more anonymous. It does make you feel more safe. As well as the more you learn about tor and how to "anonymize" yourself on the internet. Thanks.
-A long time user, Donor, and Relay operator.

Anonymous

September 14, 2017

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It is very nice to know that running a TOR node imakes good for everyone.
I like onions a lot, I put them in my food (wife does not really like it), I grow them, I help The Onion Router.
My latest project was a.... 3D printed Purple/green Onion! Inside the tor-logo-like enclosure is a tiny AMD Ryzen based PC and the leaves of the onion are the onion's antennas connected to a TP-LINK wireless adaptor.
The whole router runs openWRT configured to set up a new circuit for every device connected to it. It has 24 ethernet ports and a fiber optic Net card. the 1 out of 5 ethernet cards is reserved for connecting to other networks, while the 4 others are for the inner network, with all traffic going through the tor network. Its a REAL onion router. I saw hundreds of those devices being made by other IT specialists, just like me. Someone even used a beaglebone black!
Onions for everyone! set up a tor realay - grow an onion!

Anonymous

November 09, 2017

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Thank you for protecting people like me.
I crossed a very powerful organization in my country - in fact, two of them.I have a free blog whose dashboard can be accessed directly and also by logging in through the provider's website. I always logged in directly.
But as I was working on a page, the other stuff in that page would get garbled up - it was as though two or more people was working on that page - one of them malevolently. I realized that I was in trouble.
(I know that they are very unhappy with my blogging - I say nothing about them. It is just my own creative work. They want to paint a picture of me as inept and that is why I fell out with them. This blog of mine presents a different picture though. Anyway, I am not doing the blog work to disprove their slander. I prefer to live to my fullest potential - given the circumstances.)
And now that the blog was under threat I had to find a way to circumvent them. That is when I searched around and found Tor mentioned somewhere and gave it a try.
My blogging is trouble free now. Also I log in safely through the provider's website these days. I feel my blog is more safe these days - never can tell what they will do in the future.
Thank you once again.

Anonymous

November 30, 2017

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I discovered Tor a few years ago but hardly used it because I was concerned as well as cautious about the dodgy stuff, red rooms and other things like that, or opening a link which I would find too horrendous which don't interest me and never will for as long as I live. I was probably too cautious and have since realised that I was treating Tor like the dark web, which of course it is'nt. Now thanks to the comments on this site, I now have a more realistic idea of the benefits of Tor and hope to discover more.

I am curious about activism and human rights issues, as well as the great firewall of China and how people in China manage to jump over the great wall. I like to think that Tor will keep pushing the great wall of China down so much that one day it will become a bridge.

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