Tor’s new boss took on this job after 15 years of leading the EFF or Electronic Frontier Foundation as executive director, which she has built into an international powerhouse for online rights protection.
Now she embarks on a new mission, and is determined to take the most powerful privacy tool on the internet today mainstream.
A More Approachable Tor
Tor has been developed since 2006, and over the past decade has remained clunky and hard to use as Steele has put it, despite supposedly being a fully featured browser that’s available on every platform.
One thing she’s got in common with a majority of internet users is that she’s never used Tor.
But why and how can she be effective as the new leader? She compares to how Coca-Cola hires a new CEO, whereby it doesn’t matter very much if their new boss drinks Coca-Cola.
Steele has set herself to apply both experience and expertise in handling non-profit organizations and building a strong system, averse to her technical skills, towards the goal of bringing Tor out from the shadows of the dark web and the World Wide Web.
She tells how it can function to help people discreetly look up various kinds of medical treatment, or those considering sexual orientation changes among many other things where a person requires online privacy.
Google Chrome handles an estimated 3.5 billion search queries every day, while Tor only has an estimated 2.5 million users daily who log in to mask their web traffic.
Steele’s campaign in making Tor easier to use is of great significance in taking the software mainstream and increasing awareness of people throughout the globe.
FBI’s case against Apple relays the message that Tor will never backdoor their software, while Edward Snowden’s endorsements are also quite a big help.
The whistleblower has explicitly told the world that when you walk the streets of the internet, you’re always watched, and Tor is your best bet to break-free and enjoy online privacy as you shield yourself from government surveillance.
Building The Onion’s New Image
Steele stresses that it’s simply not what Tor is, what it’s all about, and what people really care about. Tor is the worldwide fight to freedom.
True, 80% of hidden traffic involved child abuse as of early 2015 statistics, but not necessarily Tor traffic.
In fact, hidden sites accounted for a scanty 2% of all Tor traffic back then.
More recently, a study conducted in February found that 57% of active Tor-hidden services sites aid in concealing users’ locations for the purpose of illicit or criminal activities.
This is among the contributors to the image problem that the new executive director attempts to transform.
When Steele joined the EFF, it was really hurting and was down to a mere 5 employees.
With her guidance, it became the foremost digital-rights organization in the US. EFF currently stands on the foundation of world-class lawyers, activists, and technologists working on major legal cases involving copyright, digital privacy and user security.
Her leadership of the Tor Project holds a promising future with its organization image and reputation anew.
Bright technologists, amazing software and products, people who dauntlessly put up a fight will be clumped together to create a strong support system, backed up with a diverse funding sources.
Tor was originally called The Onion Router for keeping its users anonymous through software that disguises their internet traffic under layers of relays, comparable to the layers of an onion.
Steele will make certain that the onion router is peeled and its solidly-structured bud revealed.