Tor Implements New Community Standards to Help Ease User Concerns

Tor has released what it calls, “New Community Standards”. These new standards, covered, and defined in a six-part social contract, having members pledge to adhere to high standards of conduct, which include transparency, honesty about technological capabilities, and committing to advancing human rights.

The final clause in the contract states the community’s commitment to avoid harming users, even when they are faced with outside pressure to do so.

“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 uses about our plans to improve,” Tor developers said in a blog post.

These new standards come after the sexual allegations against the project’s senior developer; Jacob Applebaum. Tor launched an investigation after multiple women came forward saying the same thing; that Applebaum had bullied, harassed, and sexually abused them and several other coworkers.

 

Because of this, Tor went through a heavy reconstruction, including completely replacing its board of directors, implementing new guidelines for dealing with sexual misconduct allegations, as well as hiring a new executive director.

The government has been paying programs like the Tor Project a lot of attention lately. Leaked documents told of the US National Security Agency flags users who search words such as Tor, Linux, Tails, and even secure desktop, as extremists. Also, all users that are subscribed to the Linux Journal are labeled as extremists.

At the end of last year, Isis Agora Lovecruft left the United States and moved to Germany to avoid the FBI, who insisted they only had questions for her, but went to relentless lengths to contact her. Showing up at the home of her parents, repeatedly calling and leaving messages on her parent’s voicemail, as well as calling Lovecruft and her attorney over and over. The only thing anyone was told to date, is that they had a couple of questions to ask her, and that they would be looking, and watching for her to enter back into the United States.

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