Join us at TNW Conference 2022 for insights into the future of tech →

The heart of tech

This article was published on November 25, 2015

    Tor doesn’t want your stinkin’ government money (anymore)

    Tor doesn’t want your stinkin’ government money (anymore)
    Amanda Connolly
    Story by

    Amanda Connolly

    Reporter

    Amanda Connolly is a reporter for The Next Web, currently based in London. Originally from Ireland, Amanda previously worked in press and ed Amanda Connolly is a reporter for The Next Web, currently based in London. Originally from Ireland, Amanda previously worked in press and editorial at the Web Summit. She’s interested in all things tech, with a particular fondness for lifestyle and creative tech and the spaces where these intersect. Twitter

    Private communications network Tor has launched a campaign seeking crowdfunding for its work, in order to lessen its ties to US government donations.

    Currently, up to 90 percent of its funding comes from the US government, according to The Verge.

    To kick off the call for donations, the organization has published a blog post called ‘This is what a Tor Supporter looks like: Laura Poitras,’ higlighting how the filmmaker behind ‘Citizenfour,’ the documentary on Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks.

    Poitras explains in the post that she sees Tor as “an essential tool that is needed by people to do what they do. It fosters free speech and independent voices.”

    It is how Snowden and her communicated and shared the information that was essential to breaking his story. Poitras says:

    There’s no way I would have been able to protect the initial source without using Tor… Fundamentally, without Tor and other free software tools I wouldn’t have been able to do the reporting, and the story would not have been broken.

    It’s a pretty big deal to think of what things might be like now if Snowden hadn’t been able to leak his NSA information and whether that would’ve been a good or bad thing is open to opinion.

    There is no apparent suggestion from Tor or the US government that funding will be withdrawn or that the organization is in danger of shuttering, so the crowdfunding campaign appears to be a way for the network to be distance from the powers that be.

    ➤ This is what a Tor Supporter looks like: Laura Poitras [Tor Project via The Verge]