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Usable security for end-users: How Tor improves usability without compromising user privacy

Antonela Debiasi is the leader of the User Experience and Design team at the Tor Project. Antonela is a lead product designer who practices ethical user research and free, human-centered, participatory design. She is interested in critical internet infrastructure, feminism as an intersectional practice, free software communities, privacy, and Russian avant-garde art. Prior to entering the nonprofit world, she designed products for live betting, fintech, e-commerce, and AR/VR labs.

The Tor network is an essential Internet privacy tool, which utilizes multilayered “onion routing” to conceal the user’s identity and location. People specifically use Tor in order to hide, which makes it challenging to determine their needs and tailor Tor tools to optimize usability. However, every software project benefits tremendously from user feedback, so in this talk, Antonela explains how the Tor team gathered usability feedback without compromising the privacy of the people who depend on their global network.


2 years, 7 months ago

Tagged with

FSF · video · lp2021 · LibrePlanet · LibrePlanet 2021 · LibrePlanet 2021 video · LibrePlanet conference · Empowering Users


CC BY-SA 4.0


This talk was presented at LibrePlanet.


LibrePlanet is the Free Software Foundation's annual conference. The FSF campaigns for free/libre software, meaning it respects users' freedom and community. We believe that users are entitled to this; all software should be free.


We do not advocate "open source".

That term was coined to reject our views. It refers to similar practices, but usually presented solely as advantageous, without talking of right and wrong.


Richard Stallman launched the free software movement in 1983 by announcing development of the free operating system, GNU. By 1992, GNU was nearly operational; one major essential component was lacking, the kernel.


In 1992, Torvalds freed the kernel Linux, which filled the last gap in GNU. Since then, the combined GNU/Linux system has run in millions of computers. Nowadays you can buy a new computer with a totally free GNU/Linux system preinstalled.


The views of the speaker may not represent the Free Software Foundation. The Foundation supports the free software cause and freedom to share, and basic freedoms in the digital domain, but has no position on other political issues.