Tor wants to replace government donations with crowdfunding

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Considering how the United States government’s feelings towards encryption and online anonymity have been like over the past couple of years, it’s no surprise that the Tor Project wants to seek other sources of funding. Despite being one of the few tools that can consistently combat government surveillance, the Tor Project actually receives 80-90% of its funding from the American government, which is why the organization ha started looking into crowdfunding as a way to find the financial support it needs to continue functioning.  

Following up on goals set earlier this year, the Tor Project launched its first crowdfunding project today to expand its donor base beyond the US government and allow for spending flexibility. Although there wasn’t much of an explanation in its campaign announcement, Tor could be seeking to become less reliant on the US government, which typically accounts for 80 to 90 percent of annual funding. Tor said in March it was exploring crowdfunding as a way to bring its Hidden Services to the broader internet and, more specifically, countries whose citizens might benefit from added privacy. The technology allows users to connect to blogs and chats, among other online services, while remaining anonymous. Despite receiving significant public funding, Tor’s relationship with the US government overall is complicated. Tor’s creators claimed earlier this month that the FBI paid Carnegie Mellon University researchers $1 million to de-anonymize its browser, the results of which were discovered in July 2014. The university later followed up with a statement that didn’t completely absolve it of any wrongdoing. Instead, it hinted at its researchers producing the work for free under a subpoena.

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