[tor-project] Launching Ethics Guidelines

Damian Johnson atagar at torproject.org
Thu May 12 16:29:53 UTC 2016

> What I am hearing you saying is:
> A. I can't afford to run this service without money.
> B. I have tried to get money by asking people for money.
> C. I have tried to get money by collecting user data myself.
> D. Now I am getting money by allowing others to collect user data.
> If this is what you mean, I would suggest that having no service (or having no money), is better than allowing others to collect unknown quantities of data on users. (Isn't this precisely what Tor is trying to prevent?)

Monetization is certainly an extremely tricky problem and a quagmire
none of our other projects even attempt to wade into. News worthy
controversies around Firefox and Ubuntu are just about always spawned
by an attempt at monetization and with good reason: it puts users at
odds with advertisers.

OnionLink is unique in trying to attempt this. All our other projects
are either funded by grants or volunteer. I'm in the fortunate
position that I have a good paying day job so my tor involvement can
be completely voluntary. I don't need to figure out how to monetize
Stem which is good, because I find the compromises that would require
unacceptably distasteful.

I'm not gonna say "monetization is evil, shame on you". That's silly.
Folks need to pay their rent and for a project to have full-time
attention it needs some funding source source. But do be careful. As
you've already seen the compromises this is forcing you to make go
well past making you a pariah to many folks in this community.

Again, very difficult problem and one we're not accustomed to seeing
tackled. It'll be interesting to see if you can find a solution that's
viable while also having zero negative impacts to uses.

Cheers! -Damian

More information about the tor-project mailing list