A week ago today, EFF launched the Tor Challenge – calling on people and organizations to help Internet activists across the globe by operating Tor relays. Today, we’re adding a new incentive to encourage additional Tor relays.

Tor is a service that masks your IP address. Activists, bloggers, and humanitarian aid workers around the world depend on Tor to maintain their anonymity online and access websites that have been blocked by their governments. The Tor Project has an acute need for volunteers to run relays, which individuals can set up on their computers or on virtual machines.

Every relay makes a difference to Tor in terms of speed and security. As the arms race between circumvention tools and censors speeds up, we need hundreds more to make sure that every blocked relay is quickly replaced.
– Karen Reilly, the Tor Project

Since we launched our campaign, we’ve been awed by the generosity of organizations and individuals worldwide. We’ve increased our original goal from 100 new relays to 400 new relays. In a week’s time, participants in our challenge have generated over 300 new relays.

We are especially impressed to see that some people are putting their Tor nodes in the cloud -- renting remote servers and operating multiple relays. To help get us through the last leg of the Challenge, we’re adding an incentive to encourage more people to follow their example. If you have questions about setting up multiple relays, email tor-assistants@torproject.org.

Every individual or organization that sets up 5 or more relays will receive a Tor Challenge poster by famed artist Molly Crabapple. The cartoon What is Tor? shows wily raccoons routing traffic around the octopus of surveillance.

And this isn’t just any poster. In the words of author and Internet activist Cory Doctorow:

Holy awesomesauce! If ever there was a cryptoanonymity primer involving top-hat wearing octopuses, this is it!

To show our appreciation for your contribution to online anonymity, the EFF staff will sign your poster and, if you’d like, note your contribution on our blog and Twitter feed. Just set up your 5 exit or middle relays, report them using our online form and then send an email to activist@eff.org with a shipping address. We will ship the poster to you as soon as we’ve verified that your relays are active. Note: To be eligible, the relays must have been set up after May 21, 2011. Update: Incentive program has ended. Sorries!

Please set up your Tor relays today and help us achieve our goal of generating 400 new relays to protect anonymity and combat online censorship.

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