Tor Developers Set Funding Goal

The Daily Dot reports that the developers of the Tor software and network have decided to set an ambitious fund raising goal for this year. Specifically they aspire to reduce the portion of their funding which comes from the United States government to under half of their total. Last year roughly three quarters of their funding came from the United States Government. This follows another piece published by Yasha Levine on March 1st where Levine highlighted that the "activists" behind Tor, Open Whisper Systems, and other popular "privacy" ventures receive funding from the Broadcasting Board of Governors, a Federal Agency born in the CIA which specializes in propaganda and psychological warfare.

The Tor network and the potential hazards of it have been discussed on Qntra before. This strategy on the part of United States government organs where they insert moles and agents of corruption into activist groups and movements are nothing new. In the 1960's and 1970's the FBI's program to this effect was called COINTELPRO and it worked. Back then it took the form of agents physically going to group meetings. Today it takes the form of creating a Moxie Marlinspike, a cool dude who just likes boats and privacy, but who also eschews stable and strong cryptographic implementations in favor of rapidly changing mobile apps which depend on centralized servers. Servers he can afford because a propaganda agency gives him money for that purpose.

4 thoughts on “Tor Developers Set Funding Goal

  1. The State Dept, and perhaps the CIA as well, want to provide tools that help peaceful revolutionaries undermine foreign governments that threaten US interests. There's evidence we have done this consistently and deliberately through all the "color revolutions" though despite the hype, I don't see how privacy tools have really played much of a role yet in any of these conflicts. While simultaneously, domestic law enforcement is obsessed with undermining the privacy of our own citizens.

    I would not conclude based on gov't funding alone that Tor or OWS are deliberately advancing a USG program. Perhaps there is some insidious influence, like $ for tobacco research from industry groups. Or the ability of gov't to push these projects in a particular direction by the implied threat of starvation. Will a project owner refuse to comply with a secret gov't order, when doing so would also deprive it of its sole source of income?

    The answer is, don't rely on privacy tech that is susceptible to secret undermining. Sorry if it doesn't have a snappy iPhone app! It seems the flaws in OWS and Tor are pretty much in the open, and that still doesn't deter some criminals from using these systems. I mean heck, there are drug dealers who use Intagram for crying out loud! If all the bad guys flock to honey pots and flawed crypto implementations that push centralized updates, God bless 'em. Any self-respecting spy or revolutionary will stick to tools that have survived the test of time.

    • Flaws in Tor were in the open back in 2013. While the entire "tor as privacy tool" nonsense was and to a large degree still is widely embraced by internet yahoos, crowdsourced intelligences and assorted other derps, it was originally and throughout its history remained a constant source of comedy gold for the professionals involved (on all sides of the various fences).

      No, it never worked. No, it was never meant to work. Always remember : if it's free then a product is you ; cheese can be found principally in traps.

  2. you can get updates on this via #TorGate tag…

  3. Thank you for the confirmation: I just KNEW that Moxie Marlinspike was too good to be true! He was cool and cute and had a huge, devoted following. (I think the same thing about ioerror. I just hope my tax dollars are not funding his cybertourism.) Infosec needs less hero worship. It has a "blinders on" effect.

    I don't think the Broadcasting Board of Governors specializes in psychological warfare. It makes rules that govern some aspects of Voice of America. For psychological warfare, I'd look to Russia Today! (ITAR-TASS is a lot more trustworthy.)

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