Libraries, Tor, freedom, and resistance

It’s been an exciting couple of days at Library Freedom Project. ProPublica broke the story of the Department of Homeland Security and the local police in New Hampshire intervening to try to shut down our Tor relay pilot at Kilton Library. We responded to this law enforcement harassment with a public letter of support for the library, signed by a broad coalition of organizations and individuals, and linked to it in an even bigger petition on EFF’s website. That petition has received over 1700 signatures in 24 hours, and media attention continues to increase (we’ve gotten coverage on EFF’s blog, Motherboard, and the Concord Monitor, just to name a few). Kilton Library has received dozens of supportive emails and calls, and the conversation on social media has been popping off — this incident has engendered a robust discussion around libraries and free expression, how we can publicly commit to those ideals, and how hard we should fight back when challenged. It’s also catalyzed a number of libraries to get in touch with us about participating in the exit relay project — talk about the Streisand Effect!

We’re amazed at how this has resonated with our broader community, and how much support we’ve received — librarians, privacy advocates, technologists, and more — and things are only just getting started. Nima and Alison, along with Devon Chaffee of the ACLU of New Hampshire, will attend Lebanon Libraries board meeting on Tuesday, September 15th, at 7 pm at Lebanon Library (the other branch of Lebanon Libraries). We hope to see members of the local community come out to that meeting and show their support for Tor, free speech, and free libraries. Supporters should also sign our petition to show the library that they have global support. For updates, keep an eye to Twitter: Alison is @flexlibris, Nima is @mrphs, and we are all at @libraryfreedom. After Tuesday’s meeting, we’ll update our community with the results of the board’s vote. Thank you all for your support, and for helping us fight the good fight. Resistance is possible when we all join together.