Who uses Tor? The answer to this question may seem obvious but Eric Jardine, in a paper published in New Media Society, pointed out “Activists often state that such tools are used by political dissidents who stand up to repressive regimes, but these claims lack abroad, cross-national empirical basis. Without a solid empirical foundation, it is unclear if anonymity networks are used consistently by political dissidents in highly repressive contexts.”
Jardine continued, “Data on use of the Tor network from 2011 to 2013 suggest that political repression does drive usage of anonymity-granting technologies. The results indicate that both very high and very low levels of political repression tend to drive use of Tor the most. In other words, the relationship between a country’s level of repression and the rate of individual usage of anonymity-granting technologies is U-shaped.”
Motherboard reports that Jardine told them in a phone call that “There is evidence to suggest that at extreme levels of repression, Tor does provide a useful tool to people in those circumstances to do things that they otherwise would not be able to do”.
Determination of a country’s level of repression was done by examining data sourced from Freedom House. Along