[tor-talk] [liberationtech] Not another Haystack right?

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Fri Dec 2 09:21:33 UTC 2011

----- Forwarded message from liberationtech at lewman.us -----

From: liberationtech at lewman.us
Date: Thu, 1 Dec 2011 14:38:54 -0500
To: Liberation Technologies <liberationtech at lists.stanford.edu>
Subject: Re: [liberationtech] Not another Haystack right?
User-Agent: Mutt/1.5.20 (2009-06-14)

On Thu, Dec 01, 2011 at 09:44:25AM -0800, evgeny.morozov at gmail.com wrote 15K bytes in 331 lines about:
: Andrew: I had a good laugh reading this but I think you have misunderstood
: the point of the question. Few of us on this list have any doubts about the

I felt a few things coming from the thread, so I figured I would try to
address the broader questions.  Also, cryptome and others need some
new fodder. ;)

Without getting into a broader debate on trust, there are a few things
that Tor works to provide. We work to gain the trust of individuals. We
work to make sure we, and by extension Tor, are trustworthy. Whether
it's a political activist having already lived a nightmare, or an abuse
victim, or some normal person worried about leaking their medical history
to search engines and advertising networks, the first thing they have to
do is to trust that say what we do and do what we say.

Very few people can read our code and understand our designs and
specifications. In many cases, it comes down to person to person
interaction or making a judgement call on the text of our website. Or
they can outsource that trust to a friend who made the decision for them
and just do what the friend does.

I get feedback all the time on how we're doing for trust and
trustworthiness. The feedback doesn't come in the framing of trust, but
rather as feedback about our website, our presentations, our emails,
our published docs, etc. Having a website, clear text on the website,
clear and consistent communications, and actually being honest seem
to be what works. Making claims and backing them up with research and
publications seems to help as well. All of these bits seem to add up to
more trust from the community and forming a more trustworthy

: That's an interesting sociological question that you can't just explain
: away by saying "but that's because they trust us!", because it's this very
: trust that needs to be explained. Besides, if we do find a good answer to
: this question, it will surely help other projects (which, of course, you
: may or may not be interested in).

I want to help other technologies and projects. I've seen these small
projects have a huge impact in the world. We as a libtech community are
frequently going up against, or routing around, massive organizations
with billions in funding on the other side. There is a large
asymmetry. There is no repressiontech list that I know of, because one
doesn't need to exist.

In my mind, anywhere there is a large asymmetry, there exists
opportunity. We've just begun to see the innovation and competition in
this space. Why do people trust Google? Apple? others? There are entire
MBA courses taught on consumer trust and loyalty.

I'm as interested as others in this topic. I'm not sure a rehashing of
trust is on-topic for this specific email list.

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