Open Collective
Open Collective
Privacy is a Human Right
Published on October 29, 2021 by Al Smith

Every year, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit that builds and distributes the technology behind the Tor network and Tor Browser holds a fundraiser and we ask for your support. (If you’re a Tor fan, you probably know that by now!) And every year, we unveil new gifts and a slogan that highlight our values and the importance of Tor. 

This year, our message is simple: Privacy is a human right. 

Privacy is about protecting what makes us humans: our day-to-day behavior, our personality, our fears, our relationships, and our vulnerabilities. Everyone deserves privacy. 

The United Nations codified that in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Article 12 states that, “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with their privacy” and that “everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.” However, governments, corporations, and other powerful entities block us from exercising our right to privacy in many different ways. With commercially available spyware, with covert monitoring of our communications, with ads that track us around the internet, with pseudo anonymous data sets purchased and sold and used to manipulate sentiment and sow division. And despite all this, we still have to fight to defend and fight to exercise.

And that's why Tor is here—to help you exercise your human right to privacy even when it’s not easy.

Every day, the Tor network helps millions of people connect to the private, uncensored internet. In the face of declining internet freedom, the creep of oppressive and repressive governments, the breakneck advance of surveillance technology, Tor remains a gold standard in privacy and censorship circumvention technology. Our decentralized network, our open source approach, our community of volunteers, and our commitment to the human right to privacy mean that Tor can offer privacy in a way that few other tools can.

In 2022, we have plans to make Tor even faster, stronger, and easier to use. Your support right now will allow us to: 
  • Modernize Tor, making it faster, more secure, and easier to integrate into other applications. Today's Tor is written in the C programming language. C, while venerable and ubiquitous, is notoriously error-prone. C’s lack of high-level features also make many programming tasks more complex than they'd be in a more modern language. We’re working on a full rewrite of Tor in Rust, a modern language that will bring speed and security benefits to users—and ultimately mean that other applications and services can use Tor much more easily. A win for privacy!
  • Roll out major Tor speed improvements. Over the past year, we’ve conducted experiments with congestion control to improve Tor network speeds using a network simulator. We’re seeing extremely exciting results in speed and reliability made possible with these changes. In 2022, we will begin rolling out some of these improvements to the live network, making Tor faster for users, especially if you’re on a mobile device.
  • Improve the Tor Network health and invest in our relay operator community. In order to keep growing the Tor network and ensure it’s healthy and well-defended against attacks, we will roll out a series of initiatives to better organize our relay operator community and strengthen the relationship and trust between the Tor Project and the relay operators. Additionally, we will continue building tools that help us monitor the Tor network for malicious relay activity in order to remove these relays from the network.
  • Automate the circumvention experience for our users. When a user is facing censorship against the Tor network (e.g., their government has blocked all of the public IP addresses of Tor relays), it can be difficult for them to understand why they can’t connect. Is it censorship or some other problem? Similarly, it’s difficult for the user to know how exactly to change their Tor Browser configuration to circumvent this censorship. Our Anti-Censorship, UX, and Application teams have been working on this problem for a long time. In 2022, we will ship a completely new experience that will automate the censorship detection and circumvention process, simplifying connecting to Tor for users who need it the most.
The Tor Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and your support at this time is critical for our success in the coming year.

If you give today,
your donation will be matched, 1:1, by Friends of Tor. 

That’s correct—every donation, up to $150,000, will be doubled.
Now is an excellent time to give because your donation counts twice! Be on the lookout for events, giveaways, and new merch available from now until December 31. Stand up for the human right to privacy by making a donation today.


Posted on January 17, 2022

Awesome! Donated