[tor-talk] Almost everyone involved in developing Tor was (or is) funded by the US government

krishna e bera keb at cyblings.on.ca
Thu Jul 24 01:43:50 UTC 2014

On 14-07-23 07:05 PM, Tempest wrote:
> Kristy Chambers:
>> Have I written, that there is anything creepy about that?
>> The basic question is, in how the tor project can be trusted if we look
>> on suspicious activities of tor developers (e.g. choosing worse design
>> decisions).
> the fundamental logical fallacy that one has to accept in order for the
> article to raise alarm is that everything the us government agencies do
> that are mentioned is evil. for how large the us government is, in
> particular the agencies mentioned, reaching such a conclusion should be
> treated with a high degree of skepticism.

Sure, but it isnt so black and white.  Just as with media funding, the
stories that are aired arent necessarily false or propaganda - such
evaluations can be and are made by organizations like FAIR[0].  However,
the choice of *which* stories to post and which ones to omit and which
ones to put investigative resources into, *is* heavily influenced by
funding - otherwise known as setting the agenda.

Tor Project had to refuse funding from a donor who was deemed some kind
of enemy of the US govt[1].  This should raise suspicions that the
project may not be developing in its most productive direction(s) for
the other parties that could or do use Tor (e.g. hidden service
operators, copyright pirates, anti-capitalists, whistleblowers, enemies
of the US govt).  (Despite the idealism, good reputation and best
intentions of various Tor Project members.)  It isnt just a matter of
looking for bad code or design decisions, we should look at what code
isnt there or what other non-code aspects of the project arent covered well.

As Moritz Bartl suggested recently, a second pool of funding and centre
of development expertise outside US influence would remedy the potential
problem of (interested portions of) the US govt setting the agenda,
broaden the base of support, and perhaps even reduce some of the trolling!
(Sadly, i dont have time right now to do this.)

[0] http://fair.org
[1] https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-talk/2014-June/033255.html

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