[tor-project] The Tor Project Social Contract

Alison macrina at riseup.net
Mon Aug 8 17:59:00 UTC 2016

Thanks everyone for all your amazing input on this document!

The consensus period is over and the positive responses were
overwhelming - in fact, there was only one dissent, and that person
decided to quit Tor over our use of "human rights". *shrug emoji*

Here's the final product: https://pad.riseup.net/p/G38YNGrXoOtr. The
last few changes I made incorporated Matt and Paul's final edits on
point 3. This one is the longest point, but I don't think it needs to be
split...it's really not so long that it's out of flow with the rest of
the document.

I'm gonna get final copyedits from Katie before I publish this on the
blog, and then I'm going to add it to the Community Team Wiki and
somewhere on here: https://www.torproject.org/about/overview.html.en.
Based on conversations about this, it seems best to create a new part of
that page for "Tor values" where we include our mission statement, the
social contract, and other things that fit.

Thank you again for all the work you've done on the social contract! I
am so proud of the final product and I can't wait to share it with the


Paul Syverson:
> On Sun, Aug 07, 2016 at 06:02:26AM +0000, Matthew Finkel wrote:
> [snip]
>> I worry this commitment is becoming lengthy, but it's important and
>> I'm glad Mike started this discussion. I also just noticed a slight
>> contradiction that's now arising regarding restricting access to our
>> tools. I'll try rephrasing it. I also sometimes mis-read the first
>> sentence and coupled "less simply" instead of "simply being". I'll
>> include a suggested rewording for that, too.
> I think the rewording is good. I'm not entirely happy with the
> connotation of the "improving the security of all users" sentence,
> however. Somehow to me it more conjurs up images of thinking as one is
> coding that this tool is too dangerous and advanced for the unwashed
> masses than does the rewording I attempt below. (I almost used
> 'supervened' rather than 'superceded', but that goes perhaps too far
> the other way: We made this tool with no idea of the danger we were
> getting into, and then had to take action because the resulting
> insecurity was too great. 'Dominated' would be another possibility vs.
> 'superceded', but perhaps gives the wrong connotation to those not
> inclined to think in terms of lattices, orderings, etc.)
> One other suggestion affecting both "becoming lengthy" and the
> disconnectedness you noted below. Why not split it into two
> commitments? Thus
>    The more diverse our users, the less is implied about any person
>    by simply being a Tor user.  This diversity is a fundamental goal
>    and we aim to create tools and services anyone can access and use.
>    Someone's ability to pay for these tools or services should not be
>    a determining factor in their ability to access and use them.
>    Moreover, we do not restrict access to our tools unless access is
>    superceded by our intent to make users secure.
>    We expect the code and research we publish will be reviewed and
>    improved by many different people, and that is only possible if
>    everyone has the ability to use, copy, modify, and redistribute
>    this information.  We also design, build, and deploy our tools
>    without collecting identifiable information about our users.
> Of course that's becoming lengthy in another sense of too many
> commitments items, but on balance I think it works.
>> Unfortunately, now the last sentence seems like an add-on and
>> doesn't fit very well. I think it's an essential commitment we
>> should make, but maybe it doesn't belong under #3? Is #6 a better
>> place? On the other hand, now I worry this focus on free access
>> encourages advertisement-based solutions which are generally not
>> suitable for our goals, and explicitly saying we don't collect
>> identifiable information maybe prevents this. Should we mention
>> third-parties? This seems like a rabbit hole...
> Hopefully the split above, addresses most of this.
> WRT third parties, I don't think we want to take the red pill here.
>> I think it's important we remember this is an aspirational document,
>> too, and not strictly something that describes what we do or could
>> do in the future.
> D'accord.
> aloha,
> Paul
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