My Microsoft Bing proposal: Support the Tor Project, part 2

I’ve submitted this brief proposal to a PM within Bing to attempt to start some dialogue about Tor at Microsoft. These are my personal views and not those of my employer.

Outside of Microsoft I volunteer for several privacy- and security-oriented nonprofits. Most of my volunteer work has to do with learning about privacy (security) tools so I can teach them to activists, journalists, and lawyers. I also volunteer as a political activist for Seattle Privacy Coalition (SPC) where I advocate for “privacy thinking” to the Seattle City Council. SPC was a major catalyst for driving the council’s recent adoption of their “privacy principles” that will soon evolve into influencing Seattle-wide policy and process.

One of the tools that I specialize in teaching is Tor, from The Tor Project. If you are not familiar, I would be delighted to meet with you over coffee sometime to discuss it. As it might concern Bing, Tor is a powerful tool for all kinds of people around the world. In nations controlled by repressive governments, for example, Tor lets people access otherwise censored Internet. Tor (software), and the thousands of volunteers from around the world whom make up Tor’s network, literally keep people safe as they strive to better themselves, their families, and their communities through access to information.

You might have heard that Facebook recently deployed a Tor “hidden service,” also called an “onion site.” Since Facebook now provides an onion site, Tor users can safely access Facebook without exposing their physical location to either Facebook or any unknown intermediaries. We all know how notorious Facebook is with regard to privacy, but Facebook’s concern for physical safety goes above and beyond what any other major technology player has given Internet users.

Alec Muffett, a Facebook engineer, has graciously published many tips concerning their experience deploying their onion site:

Building Enterprise Tor Onions: Tips and Notes

In retrospect, Bing’s tagline that I see on various social media is, “The better technology can adapt to you, the more you can be yourself.”

This is precisely what privacy means– Being able to create safe spaces using trusted tools to be honest with ourselves and our loved ones. I would really like to see Bing separate itself from the other search providers by making it clear that Microsoft understands privacy online by offering an onion site for Bing users.

Please let me know if you have any questions. If I am not able to answer something in enough detail, I have technical contacts whom would be grateful to offer assistance.