We are collecting here summaries and insights from interviews with Tails users.

For privacy reasons, the name and organization of the interviewees were changed, the interviews were translated and slightly rephrased, and the interviewees reviewed the text before publication.

Display notes on how to interview users

In their shortest form, these can be intercept Interviews that are designed to increase understanding and dialogue through a series of quick questions that take no more than 10 to 15 minutes of dialogue.

The email address of the interviewees are stored in the internal Git repo: contacts/ux_interviews.mdwn.

The names of the interviewees are changed but loosely related in terms of gender, language, and age.

Intercept interview script

  • Introduction

    • Who I am, what I am doing, and why I'm conducting the interview.
  • Getting the interviewee's consent:

    • You can answer my questions to the extend that you feel comfortable and stop at any moment.
    • We want to keep this information publicly available for contributors of the project but in generic terms, removing personally identifiable information.
  • The user

    • Who are you? What do you do?
  • Tails & you:

    • How did you come to be interested in Tails and get started?
    • What is your level of expertise with Tails?
    • What do you use it for? How often?
  • Pros & cons:

    • What are the three things that you like the most in Tails?
    • What are the three things that you dislike the most in Tails?
  • Good bye:

    • Thank you!
    • Would you give us your email if you want to keep in touch for future questions or go deeper? Emails are stored encrypted and only accessible to the core contributors.
    • Do you know of anybody else using Tails and that would be worth interviewing?

Resources on interviewing users

Tips when taking notes

  • Whenever possible, try to transcribe the language, mental model, and understanding of the interviewee. The interviewee might use a different word than what we usual use (for example, "permanent" instead of "persistent") or think that something is not possible in Tails while it is. Don't correct them during the interview (you can clarify things that could be helpful for them at the very end) and transcribe this in your summary.

Template email for validating the output

Thank you so much for taking some time to answer my questions about
Tails the other day!

I'm sending you here what I plan to store in our public working
documents on our website. Please correct me if I misunderstood
something or if you want me to remove some bits.

List of interviews

Araceli, June 2022

Araceli is a sociologist from Mexico. She used Tails to research very sensitive topics like migration, human trafficking, and drug trafficking.

Read the interview with Araceli

Lucas, May 2022

Lucas is a filmmaker from Mexico working on the topic of mass surveillance. He's discovering Tails as a safe space for creativity.

Read the interview with Lucas

Rafael, May 2022

Rafael is an activist in Mexico City. He uses Tails to organize workshops about digital security for grassroots organizations.

Read the interview with Rafael

Daniel, March 2022

Daniel used Tails to investigate pedocriminal forums on the Darknet and take down 13.5 terabytes of photos and videos of child abuse.

Read the interview with Daniel

Roberto, October 2019

Roberto is a journalist and works for an organization that does investigative journalism. I'm in charge of being the first filter for the information that arrives on Leaks, which is an alliance of news rooms across the country.

Read the interview with Roberto

Bea, August 2018

Bea is from North America but lives in Latin America where she does political work as a volunteer in a grassroots organization.

Read the interview with Bea

Claudia and Felix, January 2018

Claudia and Felix are reporters working in a journalists organization in Latin America. They investigate and report on issues such as human-rights violations, enforced disappearances, drug trafficking but always with a focus on the social impacts.

Read the interview with Claudia and Felix

Joana and Orlando, January 2018

Joana and Orlando are investigative journalists and human-rights defenders in Latin America. They work in an organization that investigates and reports on private companies in Latin America, fighting for transparency and accountability and denouncing human-right violations of these companies, especially towards local communities.

Read the interview with Joana and Orlando

Mathias, December 2017

Mathias is a 25 years old video technician living in the north of france. He is also a punk hardcore singer, and is involved in several struggles against the capitalist world.

Read the interview with Mathias

Daan, December 2017

Daan is a 18 years old ICT (information and communications technology) student and a security researcher. He lives in the Netherlands and cares a lot about privacy.

Read the interview with Daan

Charles, December 2017

Charles is 30 years old and lives in North America. He is a political activist working on law reform at the state level. He cares about free software and calls himself a "purist". He is part of an organization that provides computers and cell phones with free software (libreboot, Replicant) to people.

Read the interview with Charles

Miguel, May 2017

Miguel is a 20 years old statistics student in Brazil. He is part of a collective that works on online privacy and security.

Read the interview with Miguel

Sophia, May 2017

Sophia is 30 years old, lives in Brazil and has two jobs: she is a teacher and a system administrator.

Read the interview with Sophia

Isabella, May 2017

Isabella is a 50 years old Debian user living in Brazil. She used to be a journalist at a magazine that talked a lot about FOSS (among other things), then got in touch with people working on privacy enhancing technologies (PET) and switched jobs: she now works with a collective that defends freedom and privacy online, learns about privacy tools and does advocacy for them.

Read the interview with Isabella

Bernardo, May 2017

Bernardo is a 37 years old public administration teacher and social science researcher in Brazil. He studies the way social movements use Internet communication tools. He discovered Tails after the Snowden leaks, via a hackers collective and the homepage of the Tor website.

Read the interview with Bernardo

Pedro, May 2017

Pedro is 23 years old and studies applied mathematics in college in Brazil. He has been a Linux user since 11 years; Qubes OS is now his main operating system.

Read the interview with Pedro

Margarita, March 2017

Margarita is a digital security consultant in Latin America. She used to develop autonomous communication infrastructures and is now focusing on training human-right defenders and organizations in digital security. She has been presenting Tails mostly to two different public:

Read the interview with Margarita

Helen, March 2017

Helen is a digital security trainer working in an organization defending the right for free speech in North America and working with both large news organizations and freelance journalists.

Read the interview with Helen

Ernesto, March 2017

Ernesto is working in the social science department of a University in Latin America where he does communication, web development, and video. He is also active in a local hacklab where he has a community TV and does video editing with free software.

Read the interview with Ernesto

Ray, March 2017

Ray is a security consultant and trainer in Africa.

Read the interview with Ray

Adam, March 2017

Adam is an investigative journalist working in an organization raising awareness around State surveillance and digital freedom in Western Europe. He has been using lots of Tor in different environments for years.

Read the interview with Adam

Alex, March 2017

Alex is a journalist working for a big news room in Western Europe.

Read the interview with Alex

Jeanne, February 2017

Jeanne has been working as an independent journalist for 5-6 years in Western Europe. She writes stories that she sells to many different newspapers. She is also active in a not-for-profit resource center and coworking space for independent journalists in her city where she advocates for privacy to the local press. She runs Ubuntu on her PC and can handle it all-right with some help from her geek friends.

Read the interview with Jeanne