The vast majority of the Tor Project’s funding comes from the American government, and considering how the Tor is used as a tool to combat government censorship and surveillance, it’s easy to understand why the organization isn’t all that comfortable with being financially dependent on a government. That’s why it recently launched its first crowd-funding campaign, and while the $200,000 it raised doesn’t exactly compare to the $2 million it receives from the government, it’s a step in the right direction. Maybe some of that money can be used to fund the Tor Project’s new bug bounty program, which will help ensure that Tor is as secure as it can possibly be.
When we launched this first crowd funding campaign, we weren’t sure what would happen. We knew we wanted to diversify our funding sources; crowd funding gives us flexibility to do what we think is most important, when we want to do it. It allows us to fund the development of powerful new privacy tools. Or make the ones we have stronger and more resilient. Or pay for things we need like a funded help desk or an Arabic version of our web site. But we didn’t know if people who like Tor would actually invest in our independence. Now we do. Together, our community has contributed $205,874 from 5,265 people to support Tor in this first crowdfunding campaign. We are so excited. What we’ve seen, we think, is our community in action—our whole community finding ways to support us—by making a donation, or by sending us a bug bounty as GitHub hackers did. By making a matching donation, or just pinging their friends to help out. Following our theme “This Is What a Tor Supporter Looks Like,” you sent in photos of yourselves in Tor t-shirts doing back bends or teaching your daughters how to use Tor browser, or covering your face to preserve your anonymity but trumpet your support for Tor.