Tails is being distributed free of charge because we strongly believe that free software is more secure by design. But also because we think that nobody should have to pay to be safe while using computers. Unfortunately, Tails cannot stay alive without money as developing Tails and maintaining our infrastructure has a cost.
We rely solely on donations from individuals and supporting organizations to keep Tails updated and getting always better. That's why we need your help!
In October 2014, Tails was being used by more than 11 500 people daily. The profile of Tor and Tails users is very diverse. This diversity increases the anonymity provided by those tools for everyone by making it harder to target and to identify a specific type of user. From the various contacts that we have with organizations working on the ground, we know that Tails has been used by:
Journalists wanting to protect themselves or their sources.
Reporters Without Borders is an organization that promotes and defends freedom of information, freedom of the press, and has consultant status at the United Nations. RWB advertises the use of Tails for journalists to fight censorship and protect their sources. RWB uses Tails in their training sessions world-wide.
According to Laura Poitras, Glen Greenwald, and Barton Gellman, Tails has been an essential tool to work on the Snowden documents and report on the NSA spying. In a recent article for The Intercept, Micah Lee gives many details on how Tails helped them starting to work together.
Fahad Desmukh, a freelance journalist based in Pakistan who is also working for Bytes for All always has a Tails USB handy: "I can use it whenever I may need to and I especially make sure to keep it with me when travelling. Pakistan really isn't the safest place for journalists so thanks to the Tails team for an amazing tool."
Jean-Marc Manach, a journalist based in France and specialized in online privacy said that "war reporters have to buy helmets, bullet-proof vests and rent armored cars; journalists using the Internet for their investigations are much luckier: to be as secured as war reporters, they only have to download Tails, burn it on a CD, install it on a SD card, and learn the basics of information and communication security, and it's free!"
Human-right defenders organizing in repressive contexts.
Democracy defenders facing dictatorships.
- The National Democratic Institute, a Washington-based democracy support organization that works in more than 70 countries around the world, has used Tails to help human rights defenders to communicate securely. For instance, NDI used Tails to created a data collection system in Belarus to help opposition forces to collect, store and manage voter information.
Citizens facing national emergencies.
During the last years, we noticed that the use of Tor and Tails systematically peaks when countries face national emergencies. Even if Tails represents a small amount of the global Tor usage, it is advertised by the Tor Project as the safest platform to protect from strong adversaries.
In Starting a revolution with technology, Slim Amamou, Tunisian blogger and former Secretary of State for Sport and Youth, explains that Tor "was vital to get information and share it" during the Tunisian revolution of 2011, because social media pages sharing information about the protests were "systematically censored so you could not access them without censorship circumvention tools".
Between January 25, the day the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 began, and January 27 2011, the number of Tor users in Egypt was multiplied at least by 4. On January 27, the Egyptian goverment decided to halt Internet access accross the country.
Between March 19 and March 31, the number of Tor users in Turkey was multiplied by 3 as a direct response to the growing Internet censorship in the country: on 20 March 2014, access to Twitter was blocked in Turkey, and on 27 March 2014 access to YouTube was blocked.
Domestic violence survivors escaping from their abusers.
- The Tor Project has been working with organizations fighting against domestic violence such as NNEDV, Transition House, and Emerge to help survivors escape digital surveillance from their abuser and report on their situation. As domestic abuse goes digital, circumvention tools like Tor and Tails end up as one of the only options.
If you know of other great stories of Tails users, please share them with us!