The Tor Project

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The Tor Project, Inc.
FormationDecember 2006
FoundersRoger Dingledine
Nick Mathewson
PurposeTo advance human rights and freedoms by creating and deploying free and open source anonymity and privacy technologies, supporting their unrestricted availability and use, and furthering their scientific and popular understanding.[1]
HeadquartersWinchester, NH, US
Tor Browser
Executive Director
Isabela Bagueros[2]
Revenue (2020)
Expenses (2020)$4,360,447[3]
2gzyxa5ihm7nsggfxnu52rck2vv4rvmdlkiu3zzui5du4xyclen53wid.onion Tor network(Accessing link help)

The Tor Project, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) research-education[4] nonprofit organization based in Winchester, New Hampshire. It is 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.[5]


The Tor Project was founded in December 2006 by computer scientists Roger Dingledine, Nick Mathewson and five others. 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 Stichting NLnet.[6][7][8][9][10][11]

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") and to educate journalists about the technical aspects of Tor.[12]

In May 2015, the Tor Project ended the Tor Cloud Service.[13][14]

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 director since May 2015, remained at the Tor Project as a director and board member.[15][16][17] Later that month, the Tor Project announced that the Open Technology Fund would be sponsoring a bug bounty program that was coordinated by HackerOne.[18][19] The program was initially invite-only and focuses on finding vulnerabilities that are specific to the Tor Project's applications.[18]

On May 25, 2016, Tor Project employee Jacob Appelbaum stepped down from his position;[20][21][22] this was announced on June 2 in a two-line statement by Tor.[23] Over the following days, allegations of sexual mistreatment were made public by several people.[22]

On July 13, 2016, the complete board of the Tor Project – Meredith Hoban Dunn, Ian Goldberg, Julius Mittenzwei, Rabbi Rob Thomas, Wendy Seltzer, Roger Dingledine and Nick Mathewson – was replaced with Matt Blaze, Cindy Cohn, Gabriella Coleman, Linus Nordberg, Megan Price and Bruce Schneier.[24][25][26][27] A new anti-harassment policy has been approved by the new board, as well as a conflicts of interest policy, procedures for submitting complaints, and an internal complaint review process.[28][29] The affair continues to be controversial, with considerable dissent within the Tor community.[30]

In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tor project's core team let go of 13 employees, leaving a working staff of 22 people.[31]


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,[32] "to aid democracy advocates in authoritarian states".[33] The Swedish government and other organizations provided the other 20%, including NGOs and thousands of individual sponsors.[9][34] 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.[35]

In June 2016, the Tor Project received an award from Mozilla's Open Source Support program (MOSS). The award was "to significantly enhance the Tor network's metrics infrastructure so that the performance and stability of the network can be monitored and improvements made as appropriate."[36]


  • Metrics Portal
Analytics for the Tor network, including graphs of its available bandwidth and estimated userbase. This is a great resource for researchers interested in detailed statistics about Tor.
  • Nyx
a terminal (command line) application for monitoring and configuring Tor, intended for command-line enthusiasts and ssh connections. This functions much like top does for system usage, providing real time information on Tor's resource utilization and state.
  • Onionoo
Web-based protocol to learn about currently running Tor relays and bridges.
An open source tool that allows users to securely and anonymously share a file of any size.
a global observation network, monitoring network censorship, which aims to collect high-quality data using open methodologies, using Free and Open Source Software (FL/OSS) to share observations and data about the various types, methods, and amounts of network tampering in the world.
Tor for Android and iOS devices, in collaboration with The Guardian Project
  • Orlib
a library for use by any Android application to route Internet traffic through Orbot/Tor.
  • Pluggable Transports (PT)
helps circumvent censorship. Transforms the Tor traffic flow between the client and the bridge. This way, censors who monitor traffic between the client and the bridge will see innocent-looking transformed traffic instead of the actual Tor traffic.
  • Relay Search
Site providing an overview of the Tor network.
  • Shadow
a discrete-event network simulator that runs the real Tor software as a plug-in. Shadow is open-source software that enables accurate, efficient, controlled, and repeatable Tor experimentation.
  • Stem
Python Library for writing scripts and applications that interact with Tor.
  • Tails (The Amnesic Incognito Live System)
a live CD/USB distribution preconfigured so that everything is safely routed through Tor and leaves no trace on the local system.
free software and an open network that helps a user defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. The organization has also implemented the software in Rust named Arti.[37]
a customization of Mozilla Firefox which uses a Tor circuit for browsing anonymously and with other features consistent with the Tor mission.
  • Tor Phone
A phone that routes its network traffic through tor network. Initially based on a CopperheadOS custom ROM prototype,[38] using Tor with Orbot and Tor Browser are supported by custom Android operating systems CalyxOS[39][40] and DivestOS.[41] GrapheneOS supports using Orbot VPN[42] but not Tor Browser.[43]
  • TorBirdy
Torbutton for Thunderbird and related *bird forks.
  • txtorcon
Python and Twisted event-based implementation of the Tor control protocol. Unit-tests, state and configuration abstractions, documentation. It is available on PyPI and in Debian.[44]


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."[45]

In September 2012, the Tor Project received the 2012 EFF Pioneer Award, along with Jérémie Zimmermann and Andrew Huang.[46]

In November 2012, Foreign Policy magazine named Dingledine, Mathewson, and Syverson among its Top 100 Global Thinkers "for making the web safe for whistleblowers".[47]

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.[48]


  1. ^ Tor Project. "Tor Project Mission Statement". Tor Project. Retrieved 11 January 2023.
  2. ^ N/A, steph (23 April 2018). "Announcing Tor's Next Executive Director: Isabela Bagueros". TorProject. Tor Project Blog. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Tor Project Form 990 2019" (PDF). Tor Project. 8 July 2021. Retrieved 6 August 2021.
  4. ^ "The Tor Social Contract | Tor Project". Retrieved 2023-02-02.
  5. ^ "Tor Project: People". The Tor Project, Inc. Retrieved July 7, 2021.
  6. ^ "Tor Project Form 990 2008" (PDF). Tor Project. 2009. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  7. ^ "Tor Project Form 990 2007" (PDF). Tor Project. 2008. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  8. ^ "Tor Project Form 990 2009" (PDF). Tor Project. 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  9. ^ a b "Tor: Sponsors". Tor Project. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  10. ^ "The NLnet Foundation funds two projects". Torproject blog. 2008-06-06.
  11. ^ Krebs, Brian (8 August 2007). "Attacks Prompt Update for 'Tor' Anonymity Network". Washington Post. Retrieved 27 October 2007.
  12. ^ "Can Tor solve its PR problem?". The Daily Dot. 26 March 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  13. ^ "Tor Cloud"
  14. ^ karsten (May 8, 2015). "Tor Cloud Service Ending; Many Ways Remain to Help Users Access an Uncensored Internet".
  15. ^ "Tor Hires a New Leader to Help It Combat the War on Privacy". WIRED. Retrieved 2016-04-29.
  16. ^ "Shari Steele named executive director of the Tor Project". SC Magazine. 2015-12-11. Retrieved 2016-04-29.
  17. ^ "Roger Dingledine Becomes Interim Executive Director of the Tor Project | The Tor Blog". Retrieved 2016-04-29.
  18. ^ a b Cox, Joseph (29 December 2015). "The Tor Project Is Starting a Bug Bounty Program". Motherboard. Vice Media LLC. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  19. ^ Conditt, Jessica (31 December 2015). "Tor plans to launch a bug bounty program". Engadget. AOL Inc. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  20. ^ ssteele (2016-06-02). "Jacob Appelbaum leaves the Tor Project". The Tor Project, Inc. Retrieved 2016-06-04.
  21. ^ Smith, Jack IV (2016-06-04). "Jacob Appelbaum, Digital Rights Activist, Leaves Tor Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations". Tech.Mic. Retrieved 2016-06-05.
  22. ^ a b Steele, Shari (2016-06-04). "Statement". The Tor Project, Inc. Retrieved 2016-06-05.
  23. ^ Cimpanu, Catalin (2016-06-06). "Jacob Appelbaum Leaves Tor Project amid Multiple "Sexual Misconduct" Accusations: Tor Project leadership distances itself from Applebaum as the "sexual misconduct" accusations gain more ground". Softpedia. Retrieved 2016-06-05.
  24. ^ Perlroth, Nicole (13 July 2016). "Tor Project, a Digital Privacy Group, Reboots With New Board". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  25. ^ Farivar, Cyrus (13 July 2016). "In wake of Appelbaum fiasco, Tor Project shakes up board of directors". Ars Technica. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  26. ^ "Tor Project installs new board of directors after Jacob Appelbaum controversy", Colin Lecher, July 13, 2016, The Verge
  27. ^ "The Tor Project Elects New Board of Directors" Archived 2017-08-06 at the Wayback Machine, July 13th, 2016,
  28. ^ Stelle, Shari (2016-07-27). "Statement". The Tor Project, Inc. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  29. ^ Farivar, Cyrus (2016-07-27). "Tor inquiry: "Many people" reported being "humiliated" by Appelbaum: Going forward, group will now have a new anti-harassment policy, among other changes". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  30. ^ Bernstein, Joseph (2016-08-23). "video Tech Dissent And Distrust In Tor Community Following Jacob Appelbaum's Ouster: In the aftermath of the explosive allegations against its most famous advocate, and under new leadership, the Tor Project struggles to move on". BuzzFeedNews. Retrieved 2016-08-24.
  31. ^ "COVID-19's impact on Tor | Tor Blog". Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  32. ^ McKim, Jenifer B. (8 March 2012). "Privacy software, criminal use". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 12 March 2012.
  33. ^ 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.
  34. ^ Fowler, Geoffrey A. (17 December 2012). "Tor: an anonymous, and controversial, way to web-surf". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
  35. ^ 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.
  36. ^ The Mozilla Blog. Retrieved 30 August 2016.
  37. ^ nickm. "Arti 1.0.0 is released: Our Rust Tor implementation is ready for production use". Tor Blog. Retrieved 2022-10-01.
  38. ^ Staff, Ars (2016-11-22). "Tor phone is antidote to Google "hostility" over Android, says developer". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on 13 August 2022. Retrieved 2022-08-13.
  39. ^ "Orbot". Retrieved 2023-02-04.
  40. ^ "Apps". Retrieved 2023-02-04.
  41. ^ "Recommended Apps - DivestOS Mobile". Retrieved 2023-02-04.
  42. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions | GrapheneOS". Retrieved 2023-02-04.
  43. ^ "Usage guide | GrapheneOS". Retrieved 2023-02-04.
  44. ^ "Projects Overview". The Tor Project, Inc. Retrieved 15 November 2018. This article contains quotations from this source, which is available under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) license.
  45. ^ "2010 Free Software Awards announced". Free Software Foundation. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
  46. ^ "EFF Pioneer Awards 2012". Electronic Frontier Foundation. 20 September 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  47. ^ Wittmeyer, Alicia P.Q. (26 November 2012). "The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers". Foreign Policy. Archived from the original on 30 November 2012. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
  48. ^ "USENIX Test of Time Awards". USENIX. 4 September 2013. Retrieved 29 August 2015.

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