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Re: Deconstructing an Institutional Slander operation: @ioerror et al...


The Tor Project Social Contract

At The Tor Project, we make tools that help promote and protect the
essential human rights of people everywhere. We have a set of guiding
principles that make that possible, but for a long time, those
principles were more or less unspoken. In order to ensure that project
members build a Tor that reflects the commitment to our ideals, we've
taken a cue from our friends at Debian and written the Tor Social
Contract -- the set of principles that show who we are and why we make

Our social contract is a set of behaviors and goals: not just the
promised results we want for our community, but how we achieve them.
We want to grow Tor by supporting and advancing these guidelines in
our Tor time, while taking care not to undermine them in the rest of
our time. The principles can also be used to help recognize when
people's actions or intents are hurting Tor. Some of these principles
are established norms, things we've been doing every day for a long
time, while others are more aspirational -- but all of them are values
we want to live in public, and we hope it will make our future choices
easier and more open. This social contract is just one of several
documents that define our community standards, so if you're looking
for things that aren't here (e.g., something that might be in a code
of conduct) bear in mind that content might be in a different

Social goals can be complex. If there is ever tension in the
application of the following principles we will always strive to place
highest priority on the safety and freedom of any who would use the
fruits of our endeavors. The social contract can also help us work
through such tensions -- for example, there are times when we might
have a need to use tools that are not completely open (contradicting
point 2) but opening them would undermine our users' safety
(contradicting point 6). Using such a tool should be weighed against
how much it's needed to make our technologies usable (point 1). And if
we do use such a tool, we must be honest about its capabilities and
limits (point 5).

Tor is not just software, but a labor of love produced by an
international community of people devoted to human rights. This social
contract is a promise from our internal community to the rest of the
world, affirming our commitment to our beliefs. We are excited to
present it to you.

1. We advance human rights by creating and deploying usable anonymity
and privacy technologies

We believe that privacy, the free exchange of ideas, and access to
information are essential to free societies. Through our community
standards and the code we write, we provide tools that help all people
protect and advance these rights.

2. Open and transparent research and tools are key to our success

We are committed to transparency; therefore, everything we release is
open and our development happens in the open. Whenever feasible, we
will continue to make our source code, binaries, and claims about them
open to independent verification. In the extremely rare cases where
open development would undermine the security of our users, we will be
especially vigilant in our peer review by project members.

3. Our tools are free to access, use, adapt, and distribute

The more diverse our users, the less simply being a user of Tor
implies about any user, so we aim to create tools that anyone can
access and use. We do not restrict access to our tools unless it is
for the security of all users, and we design, build, and deploy our
tools without collecting identifiable information about our users. We
expect the code and research we publish to be improved by many
different people, and that is only possible if the tools are free of
cost and free to use, copy, modify and redistribute.

4. We make Tor and related technologies ubiquitous through advocacy
and education

We are not just people who build software, but ambassadors for online
freedom. We want everybody in the world to understand that their human
rights, particularly of free speech, freedom to access information,
and privacy, do not have to disappear when they use the internet, and
we do this by teaching people why and how to use Tor. We are always
working to make our tools both more secure and more usable, which is
why we use our own tools and listen to user feedback. Our vision of a
more free society will not be accomplished simply behind a computer
screen, and so in addition to writing good code, we also prioritize
community outreach and advocacy.

5. We are honest about the capabilities and limits of Tor and related

We never intentionally mislead our users nor misrepresent the
capabilities of the tools, nor the potential risks associated with
using them. Every user should be free to make an informed decision
about whether they should use a particular tool and how they should
use it. We are responsible for accurately reporting the state of our
software, and we work diligently to keep our community informed
through our various communication channels.

6. We will never willfully harm our users

We take seriously the trust our users have placed in us. Not only will
we always do our best to write good code, but it is imperative that we
resist any pressure from adversaries who want to harm our users. We
will never implement front-doors or back-doors into our projects. In
our commitment to transparency, we are honest when we make errors, and
we communicate with our users about our plans for improvement.