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Re: Tor Project 2008 Tax Return Now Online

On Sat, 14 Aug 2010 01:20:28 -0400
Jimmy Dioxin <jimmydioxin22@xxxxxxx> wrote:

> Cryptome has posted the Tor Project 2008 Tax Return available at:
> http://cryptome.org/0002/tor-2008.zip
> As many know, all US non-profit corporation returns are available upon
> request by the public.

In fact, these documents are already public.  They are available through
us on request, as required by US tax laws. Or, generally through
GuideStar or Charity Navigator.  There's nothing secret here,
it's all public.  Every 501c3 has to file these every year.

Tor develops in public, meets in public, and is generally approachable
for questions, comments, or concerns.  We specifically chose to be a
501c3 for the transparency factor.  We could easily have been a
for-profit entity with many willing investors to create black box
software.  We believe in the right to online anonymity and
developing and improving it with Tor.  The adversaries to online
anonymity are vastly better funded to the tune of trillions of dollars,
and in some cases, can tax their populace to better oppress them.  

> Firstly, people need to look through these returns in the same way we
> audit code. Looking at funding sources and expenditures is important
> to insuring Tor is a useful anonymity tool for years to come.

There are two points in that statement.  First, we've repeatedly stated
that you should evaluate our designs, the code, and to verify the
binaries we produce. Second, many organizations want anonymity online.
These organizations need Tor and/or our advice to accomplish their
goals. Our examples of Tor users gives you an idea of who wants their
anonymity online, https://www.torproject.org/torusers.

We will accept funding from people who understand our mission, our
goals, and generally our research and development model of progress. We
don't take funding we don't feel comfortable handling.  We generally
work along two paths at once:

1) Research, attack, and improve the Tor design.  Low-latency anonymity
and the general field of anonymous Internet communications are still
relatively young.  Research into these fields takes anywhere from 3
to 10 years to solidify designs, develop attacks, and then develop
defenses to attacks;

2) Turn the research into code.  Improving the codebase and
the growing number of accessory programs for Tor is a growing
challenge. We have a live Tor network that is used by half a million
people a day.  We want to make sure that Tor works for those putting
their life on the line.  Therefore, we must make sure Tor is the
strongest we can make it to provide anonymity online.

The US and European Governments are large entities. They feed people,
protect citizens, save lives, make bombs, and get involved in wars.
They do not speak with one voice and one mission. For all of the people
who publicly state anonymity should disappear, there are just as many
who want to see anonymity strengthened. 

> Secondly, can the Tor project release these returns on the site for
> the above purpose? I don't think there needs to be some onerous
> accounting process for reporting to the public (ya'll have better
> things to do anyways), but these returns would be nice to have in the
> interest of transparency.

We are finishing up the 2009 audits and filings this month.  We will
announce our first ever annual report soon, and post the 2007 through
2009 IRS 990 forms, financial statements, and reviews.  This is what
you want to watch for progress on this front,

The best way we know to combat conspiracy theories and cranks is for the
organization to be as transparent as possible.  

We hope you'll join us in protecting, providing, and strengthening
anonymity online.

Andrew Lewman
The Tor Project
pgp 0x31B0974B

Website: https://www.torproject.org/
Blog: https://blog.torproject.org/
Identi.ca: torproject
skype:  lewmanator
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