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

Isabela isabela at riseup.net
Fri Apr 29 18:40:23 UTC 2016

Hi Paul!
tbh I don't know how to answer your question. From my point of view I
think it should be fine. I don't know if anyone here has a different
opinion tho. Either way, I emailed tor-project for a reason, because I
thought it's a public conversation.


On 04/29/2016 11:24 AM, Paul Syverson wrote:
> Hi Isa,
> Roger, David, and I have just concluded the latest Sponsor R meeting.
> As Roger and David can tell you, the technical SETA [0] for this
> program, Brian Sandberg, has been excited about some related ideas.
> In particular he's been writing scripts to develop analysis of
> correlation between fraction of Tor usage in countries and ratings
> of those countries as free or non-free etc., plus looking
> at various events such as you describe.
> We were helping him and when some of his numbers looked funny, as a
> side benefit this led David earlier this week to uncover and fix some
> bugs in metrics.
> Anyway, would you be OK if I just forwarded your message to him?
> Or if not simply forwarding, could you give me a message you would
> be happy for me to forward? (Or tell me if you just aren't sure
> what you want shared and so will get back to me about this at
> some future date.) If you say OK, I'll cc tor-project on the forward.
> aloha,
> Paul
> [0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systems_Engineering_and_Technical_Assistance
> On Fri, Apr 29, 2016 at 10:14:11AM -0700, isabela wrote:
>> 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
>> like:
>> 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
>> there.
>> 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:
>> https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MKntWAoZOcRB8rBbxl3P-VKAvyH8jf0RmqlsB2lejyU/edit#
>> 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:
>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SybWjN9pKQk
>> cheers,
>> Isabela
>> -- 
>> PM at TorProject.org
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>> @isa
>> _______________________________________________
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PM at TorProject.org
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