The Noisebridge Tor Project is a group of Noisebridge members who want to create more Tor nodes. The goal of the project is to accept donations to Noisebridge for the purpose of paying for Tor nodes. We have the domain knowledge to deploy and run these servers, vendors who are interested in providing machines at very competitive prices, and donors who want to give money to a 501(c)3 for this purpose.
We considered running this project by accepting donations in the name of an individual or other non-Noisebridge legal entity. However, we know there are some donors (and we believe there are many more) who would like to give money to a known 501(c)3 which has an existing reputation in the community. By running this project as part of Noisebridge, the donors can be confident that the project is well-run; and Noisebridge gains by furthering our founding principles of encouraging free anti-censorship communication technologies, and research into privacy-enhancing and distributed technology.
We recognize that entering Noisebridge into financial relationships carries risk. The Noisebridge Tor project will only commit and spend money donated for the project, as documented below. The project will do everything possible to ensure that these financial relationships do not put the larger Noisebridge organization at financial risk or obligation.
The Noisebridge Tor Project will not be acting as a separate legal entity. As donations the Noisebridge Tor Project receives will legally belong to Noisebridge, they will be accounted for in the Noisebridge yearly tax filings as income.
Running this project as part of Noisebridge represents some additional overhead for the organization as a whole. To help compensate Noisebridge, 5% of donations received for the Noisebridge Tor Project will be donated to the general Noisebridge funds. This information will be stated to donors making donations to the project.
Some of the people involved in the Noisebridge Tor Project are:
- Andy Isaacson (Evangelist, Tor Admin)
- Leif Ryge (Evangelist, Tor Admin)
- aestetix (Evangelist, Tor Admin)
- Shannon Lee (Project Bookkeeper)
- Michael Toren (Consensus Broker)
To minimize the increased workload for our Treasurer, we are structuring the financial logistics to reduce the pain involved for her as much as possible.
We will appoint one of our members to serve as the Project Bookkeeper. This person will be responsible for tracking donations and expenditures, and for forecasting the Project budget. This person will also be our point of contact for interfacing with the Treasurer. Should any accounting questions, issues, or discrepancies arrive, the Bookkeeper is committed to working closely with her to resolve them to her satisfaction in a timely manner, and in such a way as to require her to do as little additional work as possible.
Donating to Noisebridge Tor
The Noisebridge Tor project will accept donations via a PayPal "nonprofit donation" page at https://tor.noisebridge.net. The donations will be annotated for Tor using PayPal's systems; the donations will go to the email@example.com account until such time as the Treasurer decides otherwise.
In the future we may add other methods of accepting donations, but only after coordinating with the Treasurer to ensure the incoming cashflow can be easily tagged in the accounting system.
The Bookkeeper will be responsible for tracking donations, in aggregate, as they arrive. This may be accomplished by querying the Treasurer, or by using the PayPal API.
The Bookkeeper will be responsible for maintaining publicly accessible records (e.g., in a Google Docs Spreadsheet, or on the Noisebridge wiki) detailing aggregate incoming donations (e.g., "For the week of blah, received $n"), and outgoing expenditures.
During the weekly Noisebridge meeting, the Bookkeeper will be responsible for providing a financial report, similar in format to the existing Treasurer's Report, which will go over recent or upcoming activities, answer any questions members may have, etc. At the Treasurer's discretion, the Bookkeeper may coordinate with the Treasurer to have her include this information in her existing Treasurer's Report.
Since Paypal receipts are generally accepted as donation receipts for tax purposes, we anticipate that few if any donation receipt letters will be required. However, as is the case with all donations Noisebridge receives, the Treasurer will be responsible for providing donation receipt letters to any donors who request them.
The Noisebridge Tor project will avoid obligations which cannot be cancelled on 30 days notice, and will ensure that funds are available for each month's commitments before the month begins.
Any legal agreements (such as service contracts) which require an official action by Noisebridge will be prepared by the Noisebridge Tor project and presented to the appropriate officer of Noisebridge (such as the Treasurer or President) for signature. This structure is designed to put the work on the people who care about the project rather than on the officers of Noisebridge.
The Project will publicly state where and who we are purchasing services from each month, what levels of service we are purchasing (e.g., amount of bandwidth, etc), and how much we are paying. This information may be less than fully specified to avoid disclosing proprietary pricing information from our vendors. In the event the information is redacted publicly, it will be made available to Noisebridge members upon request.
The Bookkeeper will inform the Treasurer when a bill should be paid, so she can track it properly, and coordinate the logistics of making the payment. At her discretion, she may provide the Bookkeeper with means of making a payment without her direct involvement each and every time.
The Noisebridge Tor Project will be responsible for administering the Tor nodes. We have existing expertise in administering these services. Volunteers interested in helping should join the firstname.lastname@example.org mailing list and help out.
The EFF developed a Legal FAQ for Tor Relay Operators, and an Abuse FAQ. These documents address many of the concerns that have been raised regarding the supposed legal risks of operating a Tor node. Briefly,
- Nobody has ever been sued for running a Tor node.
- In the EFF's opinion, running a Tor node is legal under US law.
- Tor operators (including Noisebridge in this project) do not encourage the use of Tor for illegal purposes.
- The Project's volunteers will respond to complaints regarding traffic through our nodes. The primary method to do so is to educate complainants about how to deal with Internet abuse in general. We have several well-written documents which can easily be tailored for specific responses.
Termination of the Project
To alleviate some concerns that were raised during the Consensus process, this project will initially be authorized by Noisebridge for a term of six months. At the end of that term, the project may be extended by another Consensus item.
The Project Members may decide to terminate this project at any time. They may do so for any number of reasons, including financial considerations (e.g., the amount of incoming donations is not great enough to sustain it), or if they simply feel the project has run its course.
After the project terminates and all project liabilities have been satisfied, any leftover earmarked donations will be donated to the EFF. This information will be stated to donors making earmarked donations.
Old items from this page, leftover from previous edits:
Old Open Questions
A list of previously open questions that appeared on this page are listed below.
(We believe these questions are now closed, but would like to confirm with each author before removing them from this page.)
- Kelly would like the Noisebridge Tor project to designate a specific individual as financial officer for the Noisebridge Tor project, to be responsible for the bank account and provide periodic reports. Shannon has volunteered to fulfill this role.
- Kelly would like a summary of why the above scenario is the best, comparing and contrasting other scenarios:
- a Noisebridge Paypal account not connected to any bank account
- a Noisebridge Paypal account connected to a non-Noisebridge bank account
- a non-Noisebridge Paypal account (connected to a bank account or not)
- WePay account with bank account
- WePay account with no bank account
- bank account with bank other than Wells Fargo
- Rachel Lyra is concerned about thinking through the precedent this sets for a fiscal sponsorship model for noisebridge. She believes some documentation is necessary for this project to proceed:
- spell out what the noisetor project expects from noisebridge and what it intends to do in return.
- a document, conceptually a contract but needn't be in legalese. the parties to the contract are noisebridge and the sponsored entity. the entity meets, forms, functions however it likes. noisebridge makes an agreement with that entity or a representative of it. this agreement states what the relationship will entail, ie rights requirements and responsibilities on either side.