[tor-project] Measuring Tor's impact in the world?

isabela isabela at torproject.org
Fri Apr 29 17:14:11 UTC 2016

hello tor,

yep, that's right :) I spent some time with our sponsors last week and
at the end of the day, the question of 'how to measure tor's impact in
the world' seems to be something that would be useful for us for things

1. grant proposal - impacts we could demonstrate
2. reports to sponsors - as a metric we could report
3. in general when we talk with people (journalists, users etc)

So I thought of the following question: 'What happens to the tor network
when there is an event happening in the world?'

Is an easy way to do as an one off but super hard if you want to keep
track of it so you can build stories around more than one event here and

Then I thought of what world events are predicable that we could check
for Tor's impact? elections...

So I looked at all elections for Q1 2016, then looked at the number of
direct connected users and number of users connected via bridges during
those events...

There were some correlation of events, you can check them here:

Of course we should also take a look for the same thing when
unpredictable events happens.. like the Egyptian revolution or a
shutdown of services for whatever reason (whatsapp in Brazil).

Why I am sharing this? Because there are tons of smart people in this
list and maybe someone has a different way to measure tor's impact in
the world.

Or maybe someone knows how I could automate such a thing :) (api somewhere?)

Or maybe ideas of other points of data for reference. For instance, I am
now thinking if x users connected on Tor means a lot or a little in a
country.. that will depend on how many people are online, the number of
internet penetration for that country.

Yes, I know this is very simplistic way of talking about something as
big as 'impact in the world'. But I have seem this information being
useful in other scenario, and it did helped a lot to pass the message of
what value people should think of when thinking of the product.

For a long time twitter had the problem of being seeing only as a short
text social media platform. But twitter wanted people to think of it as
'the platform to know what is happening now'. A platform where if an
event happened in the world, twitter was the place where people would
talk about it. And for a while the data science team did only this,
publish correlation data of what happened at twitter during global
events. I believe it did worked because that information was what people
(media, mouth to mouth etc) start to pick up when anyone would talk
about twitter.

here is an example of the work twitter did that i am talking about:


PM at TorProject.org
gpg fingerprint = 8F2A F9B6 D4A1 4D03 FDF1  B298 3224 4994 1506 4C7B

More information about the tor-project mailing list