The Tor Project has managed to secure over $200,000 in funding from backers keen to see the group’s network expand.
First announced in November 2015, Tor appealed to the masses to share the campaign and donate in order to keep the network strong and stable.
The funding was also intended as a means to invest in educational projects concerning surveillance and privacy.
The Tor Project’s 2014 state and federal tax filings have also recently been made available in the interests of transparency.
The Tor Project is a non-profit organisation which runs the Tor network, otherwise known as The Onion Router. Designed to make browsing more secure and surveillance-free, the network is run by volunteers who supply computer nodes and relays to direct traffic in a way which disguises original IPs and locations.
Over 2014, the project’s annual revenue held at a steady $2.5 million.
“Tor’s budget is modest considering the number of people involved and the impact we have,” Tor notes. “And it is dwarfed by the budgets that our adversaries are spending to make the world a more dangerous and less free place.”
The project currently accounts for approximately 20 contractors and staff members — both full and part time — as well as thousands of volunteers which keep the network running and make sure Tor is as secure as possible. This is crucial to keeping Tor going, especially when there are reports of law enforcement such as the FBI allegedly paying universities $1 million to unmask Tor users.
The funding, raised as an experiment in diversifying its investment sources, will be used to develop new privacy tools, pay for support help desks and improve the stability and security of existing services.
Tor managed to secure an additional 1,635 relays in 2014 thanks to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)’s Tor challenge, bringing the total number of volunteers up to approximately 7,000.
The non-profit said:
“The international Tor community rose up to support Tor’s independence in every way it could think of. And independence is power. Power to defend the rights of human rights activists.
Power to defend the privacy of all of us.
Even though we’re a privacy organization, we found out what a Tor supporter looks like. It’s someone who takes action to support their right to privacy.”
Current sponsors include Reddit, an anonymous North American ISP and the National Science Foundation.
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