What You Can Help Tor Accomplish in 2020

by isabela | December 27, 2019

Hello Tor supporters!

As we approach the end of 2019, it's hard to believe that it has been more than a year since I transitioned into the role of Executive Director here at the Tor Project. It has been a great adventure, and I am happy to share with you some meaningful strides we made in the direction of the goals I laid out in my first email as ED.

2019 Accomplishments

In 2019, our fundraising team helped strengthen the Tor Project by expanding our sources of income and making progress in our work to diversify our funding. We’ve done so by improving our relationships with individual donors and acquiring grants from new sources. We also launched our cryptocurrency donation page, which became an important source of income.

I am also happy to share our efforts to make Tor a better organization by defining our culture and ensuring the happiness and stability of our members. For the first time, we completed a peer feedback cycle at Tor, something that staff had requested for a long time. The feedback process is focused on the individuals and their personal growth.

We also changed how our Tor meetings are organized so that we partner with local collectives to help us with food and other logistics. I believe everyone at Tor who attended the meeting in Stockholm would say that this new approach reflects our culture.

We also did a lot of great work on the product side in 2019, but before I go into that, I want to talk about how we are investing in placing our users to the center of our development. The choices we’ve made on the development side of Tor are informed by our meetings with approximately 800 users in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

We started 2019 by launching our Tor Browser for Android stable release, where the browser would connect to the Tor network without the user needing to get a second app (Orbot): a big step in providing support to mobile users. We redesigned our website and improved the behavior of major features on Tor Browser, blending them in with how things work on Firefox, so it feels more like other browsers.

We created our new Anti-Censorship team, who embraced the development of Snowflake, a great circumvention solution that's easy for anyone to deploy (simply download and run an extension on your Firefox browser) and help out with bandwidth, yet very hard for the censor to block. We are ending the year by starting another new team, our Network Health team, to help us make sure our network is safe for our users.

Our Network team worked hard in 2019 improving the network and fix some important security issues. They also worked on improving the code and internal development processes in general, something that will lay the foundation for important improvements to the protocol in 2020.

Our Focus in 2020

For Tor, 2020 will be all about scaling. We will continue to scale our organization; our sources of income; and of course, the Tor network, its accessibility, and its reachability. This looks like working to:

  • Scale the Tor network to handle an increase in users. More and more people are interested in protecting their privacy online. For example, Mozilla is researching how to implement a Tor tab into Firefox. In order to offer a positive experience for tens of thousands of users from Firefox and others, we must scale the network.
  • Improve the Tor network and Tor Browser's user-perceptible performance metrics, particularly for users who have slow connections, old devices, and limited data.
  • Improve onion services' usability and protections against DoS attacks, website fingerprinting, and guard discovery attacks.
  • Promote and normalize onion services adoption and continue to debunk the myth of the 'dark web' by helping organizations set up onion services and SecureDrop instances. News orgs that adopt onion services will join the ranks of the BBC, The New York Times, ProPublica, and other publications that rely on Tor to offer censorship-resistant news and sources protections.
  • Expand the https://metrics.torproject.org portal and measurement collection mechanisms to better monitor the health of the Tor network, thereby increasing our insight into issues that are causing performance problems.
  • Monitor global censorship tactics and adapt our strategies to allow users to more effectively circumvent this censorship.
  • Improve usability of Tor Browser for desktop and mobile for people of all technical skill levels.

On the organization side, we want to make sure the Tor Project is a place where people are happy to work and that our staff have what they need to accomplish all of the above. This means we need to continue to scale our income sources, so we can use this money to invest in our people. For an idea, 93% of Tor’s budget is spent on our people. Any organization with decentralized teams has to make sure that folks don’t forget the human side of the work. Our goal is to make sure the Tor Project stays a people-first organization.

You can help us accomplish these goals. The world needs a better online experience, and it must be built with privacy by default. That much is clear. Every gift you make brings us closer to accomplishing our 2020 goals… and taking back the internet.

donate button



Please note that the comment area below has been archived.

December 27, 2019


Olá pessoal, sou novo no tor, estou achando excelente, mas preciso de um tutorial para aprender mais como trabalhar com ele, como encontro?

December 27, 2019


Good news! I ran across a site that, for once, provides helpful information on CAPTCHA pages.
Screenshot here https://i.fiery.me/6STJO.png

A summary of the image reads
Your IP address has been temporarily blocked due to a large number of HTTP requests. The most common causes of this issue are:

  • If you are using Maxthon or Brave as a browser, or have installed the Ghostery add-on, you should know that these programs send extra traffic to our servers for every page on the site that you browse. Using GameFAQs regularly with these browsers can cause temporary and even permanent IP blocks due to these additional requests.
  • Some unofficial phone apps appear to be using GameFAQs as a back-end, but they do not behave like a real web browser does. This triggers our anti-spambot measures, which are designed to stop automated systems from flooding the site with traffic. Continued use of these apps may cause your IP to be blocked indefinitely.
  • Using a script or add-on that scans GameFAQs for box and screen images (such as an emulator front-end), while overloading our search engine
  • Running a "scraper" or "downloader" program that either does not identify itself or uses fake headers to elude detection
  • Using a badly configured (or badly written) browser add-on for blocking content
  • Overusing our search engine with a very large number of searches in a very short amount of time

December 28, 2019


How you can say about onion services and its adoption without information how to setup that onion services? https://community.torproject.org/onion-services/setup/ What if someone is not a programmer and have no friends at all? You did second forum, but your words about friend the same. How to setup a safest web server? Maybe, any special engines? I don't know about how to setup a web server at all. Possible even peer-to-peer video games, but what engines need for that and how it use? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CryptoKitties

December 29, 2019


FYI for this blog post,

Number of times the word "I" or "my" used: 8
Number of "we", "us", "our" or variants: 52

Instead of focusing on "I" or "We" or similar pronouns of self-gratification so much, let's instead focus on the users, the Tor software and the concept itself.

Unless of course Tor plans to push a more self-obsessed Instagram type culture for an upcoming release. If you're looking for laurels or medals for this line of work, this ain't the place for that.

Really. Might be time for a bit of introspection in the mirror at Tor HQ.

> Instead of focusing on "I" or "We" or similar pronouns of self-gratification so much, let's instead focus on the users, the Tor software and the concept itself.

Seriously? My goodness, really?

Speaking as a long time user and Tor community member: the post above is part of Tor Project's year end grassroots user support funding drive, and it is posted in the Tor Project blog, whose purpose is to build the Tor community and explain to users what TP intends to do in 2020. So of course it contains lots of "we" type pronouns.

Incidentally, did you hear the story about the fifty center who was ordered by a particularly clueless propaganda boss to deprecate Tor in the Tor blog, who was not able to come up with anything halfway credible in the five minutes allotted for writing a troll, muttered "fuggit", and posted a nonsensical post as a kind of indirect protest against the ineptitude of pin-headed bosses everywhere? To that low-level propaganda punter, I say: why not go all in, ditch your awful job, and join the dissidents protesting in the streets?

December 29, 2019


I will continue to raise awareness of the surveillance state among my friends and associates circle! Mass surveillance has the ultimate chilling effect on free speech, and little by little people will see both Zuckerberg and the NSA as the new-age fascists they are. It's up to us to keep the torch lit until everyone sees the light!

Edward Snowden did nothing wrong! And Jeffrey Epstein didn't kill himself. Have a great New Years, everyone.

December 30, 2019


These are all great goals and I wish Tor Project every success in achieving them.

You did not explicitly mention transitioning the funding for Tor Project from relying primarily on USG "soft power" grants to relying primarily on grass-roots user donations. I hope this does not mean that TP is backing away from that essential program. In particular, I hope TP will avoid becoming complacent about relying on handouts from corporations such as Google. I think it is clear that TP's goals conflict rather sharply with working with/for one of the worst offenders from the world of "surveillance capitalism", and with working with/for USG. (Even the "best" parts, such as Radio Free Asia, are suspect and open TP to the kind of charges which someone like Putin levels against any Russian journalist or human rights organization with the slightest connection to "the West".)

I note with sadness that more vitally needed civil rights organizations in Washington state (where TP's P.O. Box happens to be located) are apparently following TP's lead by "going underground"; that is, by closing their physical offices, allegedly owing to credible threats of political violence, but maintaining some kind of sub-bricks-and-mortar existence. This is a sad testament to the continuing collapse of civil society in the USA, but I believe there is also an opportunity here, for Tor to offer cybersecurity training to these threatened organizations.

December 30, 2019


While launching tor browser without orbot on Android was a really big step in the proper direction, I feel orbot development has completely halted. I depend heavily on orbot to use as a "vpn" on some android devices and the lack of development is concerning. Can we expect development on orbot or something similar in 2020?

January 02, 2020


Hello guys,

please also consider integrating the DeepOnion (ONION) wallet into a new tor browser version. We nees your support!


January 02, 2020


Regarding https://metrics.torproject.org/:
I'm wondering if all the measurements could enable attacks against tor or tor users in case the measurement service is compromised.
when I'm running a relay Im not using nyx to monitor it as not to inadvertendly enable attacks against users. Is that stupid?