[tor-project] The Tor Project Social Contract

Alison macrina at riseup.net
Sun Jul 31 18:27:00 UTC 2016

Privacy and freedom of expression are human rights. This is no pivot.
Frankly, I think it is offensive that you purport to speak for 30% of
the world's population without more than anecdotal evidence of what they
ask for, and you're using those anecdotes to shame and victim-blame the
rest of us into sanitizing our message (which, as Lunar points out, is
one that 49 countries have adopted, including 10 in Asia, among those
are two of your examples, China and Thailand). You've even gone as far
as to say that we're putting people at risk of death or prison by
sticking to this message.

No. If using Tor puts our users at risk, the blame falls squarely on the
authorities who want to outlaw Tor and punish our users, not on us. As I
asked in a previous message, what is the limit of what you're asking us
to do? If we provide tools that journalists in countries with repressive
anti-press freedom laws, you're saying we're at fault if we advertise
our tools as such and those journalists end up facing arrest? By your
logic, we might as well say nothing about Tor ever, because it's bound
to offend some authority somewhere and have repercussions for users.

I agree that we need to do much more work reaching our users in the
Global South. But that requires building relationships directly with
them, not making paternalistic speculations based on one person's
handful of experiences with a tiny slice of those users.


Virgil Griffith:
> 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
> On Sunday, 31 July 2016, Arthur D. Edelstein <arthuredelstein at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> +1. Thank you to those who drafted this contract. I'm very happy that
>> human rights are so prominently invoked.
>> On Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 3:56 PM, Alison <macrina at riseup.net <javascript:;>>
>> wrote:
>>> Hello good people of tor-project@! I'm excited to present to you
>>> something that a number of us core members have been working on for some
>>> time now: the Tor Project Social Contract 1.0 [1]. Modeled after the
>>> Debian Social Contract [2], the Tor Project Social Contract is a set of
>>> promises to our community about what Tor stands for and why we create it.
>>> I'm sharing it with all of you today so that we can work on
>>> ratification. I think that the best way to do this is as follows:
>>> By 6 August at 00:00 UTC, please respond to me or to the list if you
>>> accept or object to this social contract so that we can ratify this
>>> through rough consensus [3].
>>> If objecting: Please be specific about your objections so that we can
>>> discuss changes as needed. If you respond directly to me, I will assume
>>> that you don't want your name shared with the group, but please specify
>>> if you don't want your comments shared either. NB: THIS IS NOT AN
>>> INVITATION TO EDIT BY COMMITTEE. I'm interested in feedback like "this
>>> does not represent the Tor that I know" not "I'd like this sentence
>>> reworded". Please also be kind, because this was written by humans.
>>> If accepting: your florid prose about why you love it and think it's an
>>> astonishing work of art that reflects the diligence and care exercised
>>> by the authors is quite welcome. A show of hands (writing an email that
>>> says +1) is also fine. Questions are welcome.
>>> If this is successfully ratified, I will publish it on the Tor blog and
>>> in some other places: probably the "About Tor" section of the website
>>> and on the Community Team wiki. If you have great ideas for other places
>>> this should live, let me know!
>>> Thank you for your feedback, and thank you to all of the Tor folks who
>>> worked on this, especially Lunar and Roger, who got it started.
>>> Alison
>>> [1]
>> https://storm.torproject.org/shared/UleWiALOvWDnWxEqPcAfr49tkHaM-h7PlSmoHlRb5Rv
>>> [2] https://www.debian.org/social_contract
>>> [3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rough_consensus
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> tor-project mailing list
>>> tor-project at lists.torproject.org <javascript:;>
>>> https://lists.torproject.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/tor-project
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