The Tor Project, Inc

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This article is about the organization. For the organisation's software, see Tor (anonymity network)
The Tor Project, Inc
Formation December 2006
Founders Roger Dingledine
Nick Mathewson
Type 501(c)(3)
Headquarters Massachusetts

Tor (Browser, Messenger)

Tor Browser Messenger
Executive Director
Shari Steele[1]
Revenue (2013)
Expenses (2013) $2,431,941[2]
Mission To advance human rights and freedoms by creating and deploying free and open anonymity and privacy technologies, supporting their unrestricted availability and use, and furthering their scientific and popular understanding.[3]

The Tor Project, Inc is a Massachusetts-based 501(c)(3) research-education nonprofit organization founded by computer scientists Roger Dingledine, Nick Mathewson and five others. The Tor Project is primarily responsible for maintaining software for the Tor anonymity network.[4]


The Tor Project was founded by computer scientists Roger Dingledine, Nick Mathewson and five others in December 2006. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) acted as The Tor Project's fiscal sponsor in its early years, and early financial supporters of The Tor Project included the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Internews, Human Rights Watch, the University of Cambridge, Google, and Netherlands-based[5][6][7][8][9]

As of 2012, 80% of The Tor Project's $2 million annual budget came from the United States government, with the U.S. State Department, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, and the National Science Foundation as major contributors,[10] "to aid democracy advocates in authoritarian states".[11] The Swedish government and other organizations provided the other 20%, including NGOs and thousands of individual sponsors.[8][12] Dingledine said that the United States Department of Defense funds are more similar to a research grant than a procurement contract. Tor executive director Andrew Lewman said that even though it accepts funds from the U.S. federal government, the Tor service did not collaborate with the NSA to reveal identities of users.[13]

In October 2014 The Tor Project hired the public relations firm Thomson Communications in order to improve its public image (particularly regarding the terms "Dark Net" and "hidden services," which are widely viewed as being problematic) and to educate journalists about the technical aspects of Tor.[14]

In May 2015, The Tor Project ended the Tor Cloud Service.[15][16]

In December 2015, The Tor Project announced that it had hired Shari Steele, former executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, as its new executive director. Roger Dingledine, who had been acting as interim executive eirector since May 2015, remained at The Tor Project as a director and board member.[17][18][19] Later that month, The Tor Project announced that the Open Technology Fund will be sponsoring a bug bounty program that will be coordinated by HackerOne.[20][21] The program will initially be invite-only and will focus on finding vulnerabilities that are specific to The Tor Project's applications.[20]


In March 2011, The Tor Project received the Free Software Foundation's 2010 Award for Projects of Social Benefit. The citation read, "Using free software, Tor has enabled roughly 36 million people around the world to experience freedom of access and expression on the Internet while keeping them in control of their privacy and anonymity. Its network has proved pivotal in dissident movements in both Iran and more recently Egypt."[22]

In September 2012, The Tor Project received the 2012 EFF Pioneer Award, along with Jérémie Zimmermann and Andrew Huang.[23]

In November 2012, Foreign Policy magazine named Dingledine, Mathewson, and Syverson among its Top 100 Global Thinkers "for making the web safe for whistleblowers".[24]

In 2014, Roger Dingledine, Nick Mathewson and Paul Syverson received the USENIX Test of Time Award for their paper titled "Tor: The Second-Generation Onion Router", which was published in the Proceedings of the 13th USENIX Security Symposium, August 2004.[25]


  1. Zetter, Kim (11 December 2015). "Tor Hires a New Leader to Help It Combat the War on Privacy". Wired. Condé Nast. Retrieved 4 January 2016. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Tor Project Form 990 2013" (PDF). Tor Project. 24 July 2014. Retrieved 22 December 2015. 
  3. Tor Project (24 August 2015). "Tor Project Mission Statement". Twitter. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  4. "Tor Project: Core People". Tor Project. Retrieved 17 July 2008. 
  5. "Tor Project Form 990 2008" (PDF). Tor Project. Tor Project. 2009. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  6. "Tor Project Form 990 2007" (PDF). Tor Project. Tor Project. 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  7. "Tor Project Form 990 2009" (PDF). Tor Project. Tor Project. 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Tor: Sponsors". Tor Project. Retrieved 11 December 2010. 
  9. Krebs, Brian (8 August 2007). "Attacks Prompt Update for 'Tor' Anonymity Network". Washington Post. Retrieved 27 October 2007. 
  10. McKim, Jenifer B. (8 March 2012). "Privacy software, criminal use". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 12 March 2012. 
  11. J. Appelbaum, A. Gibson, J. Goetz, V. Kabisch, L. Kampf, L. Ryge (3 July 2014). "NSA targets the privacy-conscious". Panorama. Norddeutscher Rundfunk. Retrieved 4 July 2014. 
  12. Fowler, Geoffrey A. (17 December 2012). "Tor: an anonymous, and controversial, way to web-surf". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  13. Fung, Brian (6 September 2013). "The feds pay for 60 percent of Tor’s development. Can users trust it?". The Switch. Washington Post. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  14. "Can Tor solve its PR problem?". The Daily Dot. Retrieved 19 April 2015. 
  15. "Tor Cloud"
  16. karsten (May 8, 2015). "Tor Cloud Service Ending; Many Ways Remain to Help Users Access an Uncensored Internet". 
  17. "Tor Hires a New Leader to Help It Combat the War on Privacy". WIRED. Retrieved 2016-04-29. 
  18. "Shari Steele named executive director of the Tor Project". SC Magazine. 2015-12-11. Retrieved 2016-04-29. 
  19. "Roger Dingledine Becomes Interim Executive Director of the Tor Project | The Tor Blog". Retrieved 2016-04-29. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 Cox, Joseph (29 December 2015). "The Tor Project Is Starting a Bug Bounty Program". Motherboard. Vice Media LLC. Retrieved 14 February 2016. 
  21. Conditt, Jessica (31 December 2015). "Tor plans to launch a bug bounty program". Engadget. AOL Inc. Retrieved 14 February 2016. 
  22. "2010 Free Software Awards announced". Free Software Foundation. Retrieved 23 March 2011. 
  23. "EFF Pioneer Awards 2012". Electronic Frontier Foundation. 20 September 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  24. Wittmeyer, Alicia P.Q. (26 November 2012). "The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers". Foreign Policy. Archived from the original on 28 November 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2012. 
  25. "USENIX Test of Time Awards". USENIX. Retrieved 29 August 2015. 

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