Tor’s new social contract includes ‘no backdoors’ pledge

It hasn’t been the best summer of PR for the Tor anonymizing browser, given that one of its prominent developers — Jacob Appelbaum — stepped down amid allegations of “sexual mistreatment” in June.

So it’s perhaps not too surprising that the pro-privacy organization has decided now is the time to publish a social contract, promoting what it dubs its commitment to ‘advancing human rights’.

“We believe that privacy, the free exchange of ideas, and access to information are essential to free societies. Through our community standards and the code we write, we provide tools that help all people protect and advance these rights,” Tor writes in the contract, which also includes pledges to be transparent and open; to build tools that are free to use; to widen access via education and advocacy work; and to be honest about the limitations of its technology.

The contract can be read in full below.

Tor (aka The Onion Router) is a network technology designed to increase the privacy of web users by encrypting and randomly routing Internet connections via a worldwide network of volunteer relays — thereby making it harder for individual web connections to be traced back to a particular user.

However the

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