[tor-project] The Tor Project Social Contract

Virgil Griffith i at virgil.gr
Sun Jul 31 15:53:48 UTC 2016

It's okay, I'm resigning over all connection with Tor over this.

There are three behaviors:
* Living within an authoriarians state to locally improve lives.
* Running a website that is a magnet for both lawsuits and law enforcement.
* Engaging in activism that is explicitly prohibited by said authoritarian
state of residence, and *regularly prosecutes accordingly*.

Many see themselves as brave for doing one of these.  I'm willing to play
more risky and will do any two.  But doing all three all but guarantees a
lengthy jail sentence, deportation, or both.

Nick Mathewson has commented on how few people from PETS-needy demographics
are part of the Tor community.  This policy will all but guarantee that to
continue.   Whereas privacy activism is considered at worst quirky,
human-rights branding makes affiliation and interacting with Tor a
substantial risk to the 1/3 of the non-white world who have the least.

This pivot is misguided, mission-damaging for global privacy, and will
bring out the maximum panoply of forces against Tor and its important
services.  And frankly, it reaks of privilege to reap modest PR benefits in
western jurisdictions at the expense of vastly increasing the risk to the
most vulnerable.

If this goes forward as-is, Tor will gain traction in Asia when China becomes
a democracy, or there's a return to the original privacy branding (with
human rights being a frequent consequence of better privacy)---whichever
comes first.  It pains me immensely to see Tor cluelessly cause so much
damage to global privacy while so self-righteously endangering the least
empowered Tor users and operators.

Good luck,

On Sunday, 31 July 2016, dawuud <dawuud at riseup.net> wrote:

> Dear Alison and the other authors of Tor Project Social Contract 1.0,
> Thanks for your hard work! +1 for the new social contract.
> I find it VERY SUSPICIOUS that anyone would argue against human rights
> being specified
> especially if that person operates tor2web servers which allows them to be
> an intermediary
> for other people's communication. I think our commitment to human rights
> means that we
> should seek to eliminate these types of distributed systems that do not
> praise either
> the end to end principal or the principal of least authority. They create
> deep pockets
> of authority but instead we should seek to more widely distribute the
> authority among
> the many actors in the system.
> No SPOFS (single points of failure)
> No admins!
> David
> On Sun, Jul 31, 2016 at 04:01:16PM +0800, Virgil Griffith wrote:
> > I see the writing on the wall.
> >
> > I'll close that I think a pivot from Tor being an organization that
> > is "foremost privacy" to a "foremost human rights" vastly increased
> > the risk to run
> > relays in PETS-needy regions.  This is not a theoretical maybe.  I've
> cited
> > concrete, tangible evidence for this increase risk.
> >
> > Bluntly, I think this pivot takes the 30% of the world population who
> > constitute Tor's most needy users and operators, and throws them under
> the
> > bus.
> >
> > -V
> >
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