[tor-project] Privacy-enhancing vs Transparency-enhancing

Virgil Griffith i at virgil.gr
Sun Jul 17 20:42:19 UTC 2016

> The whistleblowing use-case is transparency enhancing tech built on top of
> privacy enhancing technology; it does not mean that Tor itself is mainly
> transparency enhancing tech.

It occurred to me that I didn't fully answer your question.  Your point was
about *Tor*, not whistleblowing.  So the concern is that (and correct me),
"If we pitch Tor by saying it has a lot of transparency components, but it
actually doesn't, then there's likely to be tension in the future."

This is all relatively fresh thinking, and I don't have good answers, but
here's what I do have.  I claim that each use-case can be put into either
Privacy-column or the Transparency-column (can be weighted without loss of

And, averaging across this set of use-cases, some of which are Privacy (P),
and some of which are Transparency (T), Tor falls somewhere on this
spectrum, lets say we instinctively put it closer to the P.

         P                              T

I assert that some of the use-cases (e.g., whistleblowing) that the West
instinctively puts into the P-column, more collectivist-cultures would
instead put into the T-column.  This would result in a different aggregate
perspective of Tor, say something like:

         P                              T

I can't say exactly how far to the T-direction it would go, but that it's
shifted at all was news-to-me!

Doesn't completely answer you, but that's what I got.
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