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Re: Tor Exit Node Sponsorship - looking for partners

On Wed, May 12, 2010 at 07:11:53PM +0200, tor@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote 2.0K bytes in 45 lines about:
: > A thought: Currently there is a "Donate!" section on torproject.org,
: > that doesn't mention what the money is used for or how much money that
: > comes in. 
: If you look closely, at the bottom of the page a pie says what the money
: is used for.

For this specific topic, it is here: https://www.torproject.org/donate#outcome

In general, all US non-profits have to file a Form 990 with the IRS
annually.  It is a public document that lays out who funds the non-profit
and how much, where the funds went, and a categorization of how the funds
were spent.  Everyone considering donating to a US non-profit should
find the 990 and evaluate their performance for yourself.  There are
other non-profits who make up metrics and rate non-profits on these
made-up metrics.  YMMV.

: important that development gets funded. The German Chaos Computer Club
: and the German Privacy foundation, to name only two, also accept
: donations towards running Tor nodes.

Yes.  The CCC has a bank account just for donations for their Tor
activities.  The banking info for the CCC will return to our donation
webpage shortly.

As for the question, "why can't Tor do this already?"  We've been told
repeatedly and by very smart lawyers, do not host relays in the name of
the non-profit Tor Project, Inc.  An oversimplification of the advice is
that we can spend our money on making more scalable, better performing,
and more anonymous Tor, or spend our money fighting lawsuits from anyone
claiming the non-profit is responsible for the traffic it transmits.  We
produce code, not legal statements of defense.  We're always open to
legal advice to the contrary. This FAQ is still valid,

As for a 3rd party hosting fast exit nodes, great.  Tor needs more
relays to scale.  The network is already overloaded and we're sustaining
around 500,000 daily users out of roughly 30 million downloads in the
last 12 calendar months.  Tor is slow, this is not news to anyone.  What
is news is that there is such a demand for online anonymity and privacy
half a million people are willing to take the slowness to protect
themselves.  I2P and FreeNet are also seeing growth over the past year
or two as well.  As the saying goes, "All ships rise with the tide."

The topic of an exchange or marketplace to match those with money to
those with technical skill in running relays is not new.  It's been an
internal debate for the past year or two.  Incentives can have unforseen
consequences, see
https://blog.torproject.org/blog/two-incentive-designs-tor for lots of
details.  This legal environments change dramatically from country to
country.  Right now, the US is probably the best place to run an exit
node, given tor has "common carrier like status" according to the
aforementioned smart lawyers.  Internally, we decided we aren't economists
and would probably suck at running such an exchange.  This doesn't mean
you cannot try.

Coldboot in the UK is also trying something similar.  The more the
merrier.  I've had casual conversations with some global ISPs about
running their own Tor networks as a value-added service to customers
wishing to escape the defacto Internet surveillance that exists today.
Not one has started such a thing to my knowledge.  

My suggestion for those considering doing something like Kickstart is to
do a year at a time.  It's easier to raise $2400 to fund a fast exit
node at someplace like 100tb.com for a year than it will be to raise
$200/mo for 12 months.  Buy the server for a year and post a copy of the
receipt somewhere.  People will check throughout the year to see the
server is still online.  If not, figure out some refund plan pro-rated
to months left in the contract if the server lasts less than a year.
Maybe some other non-profit could offer to be a fiscal sponsor so the
donations are tax-deductible.  

My USD $0.02.

Andrew Lewman
The Tor Project
pgp 0x31B0974B

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