Use A Mask, Use Tor: Resist the Surveillance Pandemic

Use A Mask, Use Tor: Resist the Surveillance Pandemic

Al Smith
October 21, 2020

As many friends and followers of Tor know by now, we spend the final weeks of each year asking for your help as part of our year-end fundraising campaign. This year hasn’t been a normal year at all, not for Tor and not for the rest of the world. 

In many ways, 2020 has put the dangers of a centralized, surveillance-driven internet into even clearer focus. The pandemic has changed most of our lives dramatically. Many of us have shifted more of our work, socialization, shopping, medical care, and schooling online. We’ve seen governments and corporations roll out new surveillance technology, like tools to watch students while they take tests, tech to spy on workers, and contact tracing mechanisms that will change our world long after the pandemic is over.

In the face of this widespread hardship, people all around the world have also demonstrated enormous gestures of solidarity and mutual-aid, and millions of people have risen in defense of Black lives in the U.S. and around the world.

For our 2020 campaign, we wanted a theme that conveys a positive message and speaks to the power of this kind of community action. That’s why we decided on the theme Use a Mask, Use Tor. There is a lot of meaning and intention behind this slogan. Use a mask, use Tor promotes the positive steps we can all take to combat the virus by using masks. Wearing a mask protects others. Wearing a mask is about caring about each other, our community.

In the same way, when using Tor, you are not only protecting your identity and privacy online, but you are also helping to hide others who are using Tor. After all, anonymity loves company.  

To put it simply, using a mask keeps yourself and your communities safe in person. Using Tor keeps yourself and your communities safe online. Both tools help to conceal your identity, can break systems of surveillance, and their widespread use can promote the health of communities while undermining the power of systems bent on dividing us. Using a mask and using Tor helps us stand in solidarity with one another.


Now is the time we ask you to stand with Tor. We believe it IS possible to resist the surveillance pandemic. Your support makes this mission a reality. In 2021, we are taking some big steps, including: 

  • Improving speed and user-perceptible performance on the Tor network, particularly for people who are connecting on mobile devices with slow connections and limited data. 
  • Providing more support to the relay operator community.
  • Bringing more censorship circumvention tools to mobile devices and making this experience more seamless for users.
  • Making it easier for any developer to embed Tor in their mobile app.
  • Continue our work in UX research, metrics, network health, onion services, and Tor Browser for desktop. 

The Tor Project is a 501(3) nonprofit, and your support at this time is critical for our success in the coming year. Use a mask, Use Tor. Donate today and fight the surveillance pandemic.


Every donation made from now through the end of 2020 will count towards our year-end campaign. Be on the lookout for events, giveaways, and new merch available from now until December 31. And don’t forget: use a mask, use Tor.

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Categories: Tor Project

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