The Tor Project is an organization that has developed a software and network system that allows for anonymous and secure communication on the internet. This enables users to access websites and online resources that are typically blocked in countries with censorship. To operate, the Tor Network relies on volunteers who run relays, which are essentially routers that receive and transmit traffic. The more relays there are, the faster, safer, and more reliable the Tor Network becomes. Therefore, volunteers are essential for the Tor Network to function properly and provide unrestricted access to information online.
This project is a research effort that seeks to improve the health and safety of the Tor network. By surveying relay operators, the study aims to identify the factors that motivate people to volunteer, help retain them for longer periods, and recruit new and diverse operators. The project intends to create a research-based roadmap for enhancing engagement with Tor volunteers, resulting in a healthier and more sustainable volunteer community. This will, in turn, foster a more trustworthy Tor network, which is critical for protecting privacy and circumventing censorship.