[tor-project] Crowdsourcing some guidelines for what it means to make a web site "Tor-friendly"

Rick tor at fms.fastmail.com
Tue Jan 2 23:23:58 UTC 2018

Allen Gunn wrote:
> Hello friends,
> I hope 2018 is off to a good start wherever this finds you.
> So for those who aren't aware, my NGO, Aspiration, advises other NGOs
> and activists on technology as part of our core mission.
> And a common piece of advice we proffer is "make sure your web site
> works well with Tor Browser", i.e., doesn't use Flash or overly depend
> on Javascript.
> The more I have given that advice, the more I have wondered if it was
> documented anywhere what it actually takes to be a "Tor-friendly" site.
> Big thanks to GeKo, who first confirmed for me that no such
> documentation seems to exist. And then for helping me to bootstrap this
> page:
> https://pad.riseup.net/p/torfriendlysite
> I'm writing to ask folks on this list to both add any thoughts you have
> on the matter, and to correct or comment on anything that's already
> there and doesn't seem quite right.
> Any contributions, both to the pad or emailed to me directly, are most
> appreciated.
> This is especially true if you know of relevant documentation anywhere
> else that I should be looking at.
> Once folks have weighed in, I will figure out where to post this on the
> Tor wiki and elsewhere in order to make it more broadly and reliably
> available.
> And if for any reason you think this is an ill-informed endeavor, I
> welcome that feedback as well :^)
> thanks & peace,
> gunner


Gunner, I'm going to stick my neck out here and say that this proposal sounds to me wrong headed. Tor Browser differs from mainstream browsers in that it does not support features and functionality that pose potential risks to user privacy, security and anonymity. It is designed to protect it's user from websites and web agents that are not Internet user friendly.

Flagging website as "Tor Browser Friendly" might make Tor people feel good, but it distinguishes Tor Browser as one with special needs, one requiring specially designed web sites. The impression then is of Tor Browser being somehow broken rather than the web itself being broken.

It seems to me that we must be very careful about the message a "Tor Browser Friendly" campaign might convey. The message we here  are familiar with is that Tor and Tor Browser are as they are because they must be so to protect their users from a web that is "broken" with regard to security, privacy and anonymity.

Perhaps your campaign ought to promote "Internet User Friendly" websites - websites that Tor Browser is perfectly capable of rendering.


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