A Survey on Tor Browser Users: User study of Tor relay operators attitudes towards automatic updates

Hello Everybody! My name is Donglin, and I’m a student at the University of Edinburgh. I’m doing my final project, which aims to learn the Tor browser users’ awareness and perceptions of security regarding the update of Tor relays. As part of this project, I am conducting a survey focusing on Tor browser users and would greatly appreciate your valuable insights. The survey is open to individuals who have ever used the Tor browser, and it does not require any prior background knowledge.

This survey consists of 24 questions, and it is anticipated to take approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete. Your participation will be entirely anonymous, no login or sensitive information is required. Your responses will be confidential and used for research purposes only.

How to participate:

I created the survey on BlockSurvey, which is a privacy-first survey platform with no ads, trackers, or cookies, and employs end-to-end encryption. And BlockSurvey doesn’t block access over Tor network.

BlockSurvey link: Tor User Study


At first page of your link I see “… study on Tor browser users about their awareness and attitudes regarding the update status and mechanisms of Tor relays.”
At second page, - “User study of Tor relay operators attitudes towards automatic updates”.
“Tor browser users” and “Tor relay operators” are generally different groups of people. So what it is about really?

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Thanks for your question! The project name is “User study of Tor relay operators attitudes towards automatic updates”, there are three students doing this project individually, one of us has been engaging with Tor relay operators, another is focusing on Tor developers. My task, through this survey, is to learn the opinions of Tor browser users (specifically, Tor browser users’ awareness and attitudes regarding regarding the update status and mechanisms of Tor relays).

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… and when/where would the results of the survey be available.

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Question 19.4 is ambiguous at the very least to very ambiguous depending on who you are and how technically you read the question. I don’t want to give away the question as a spoiler unless you want to.

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Probably author wants to see “I do not know” answer for it.

Except I do know.

Thanks for your feedback. I apologize for the confusion caused by the phrasing of the question. After reviewing this question, I realized that it can be interpreted in multiple ways. I will exclude this question when analyzing the survey results.

I’ll provide a link to the survey results in this post before December, 2023 (after my dissertation has been graded).

OK! It was good to be of use on the survey.

Since the question will not be used and for those lurking, 19.4 was something like “do you believe your IP address can uniquely identify you?”. That may not be the exact wording.

The other thing I wonder about is if those who, because of their geo-location, really need TOR actually would want to participate in any survey about TOR. If I were in such a situation, and I am not, I would be suspicious about anything and everyone especially about how I manage to circumvent the barriers to communicate outside my restrained zone.

In case of NAT, IP often is not enough to identify person. Every person in small town can use the same IP for example.
I think that question about proxy is more ambiguous. Correct answer is “it depends” in my opinion. Proxies are different.

You can apply the following logic to the last few questions: If there is an example that contradicts the statement of a question, then the answer is false. For the question you mentioned, you can think of whether there are proxies that make the statement incorrect.

Question 19.4 (“An IP address can always uniquely identify your computer”) is ambiguous because “your computer” can cause confusion, making participants think about their own situations. A more accurate phrasing might be: “An IP address can always uniquely identify a computer”, with the expected answer being “false”, given that in some cases, multiple computers may share the same IP address.

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As surveys regarding privacy tools like Tor are somehow sensitive, it is true that certain people might be unwilling to participate, which could introduce a sampling bias. This is a potential limitation of my survey.

Ha! “It depends” was my first thought also.

As a standalone question, out of the blue, with no context whatsoever the answer is yes. My IP ( is in my LAN and I am the only one who has it. Of course that is not the context of that survey I’m sure so I have to assume a context and then “It depends”. Ha!

I guess you mean 18.4, as 19.4 is not present (at least at the moment). Exact wording is


IP addresses can always uniquely identify your computer.
I’m not sure

Maybe I’m missing something but I don’t think it’s ambiguous, because it says “always”: even a single crazily unlikely, still theoretically not impossible case would make it false.

I find 18.6 to be problematic instead, as it’s not absolute - a “It depends” option is needed for such a phrasing.

I’m glad you mentioned 19.4. The person below says it was 18.4. The re-phrasing is a bit better. I probably vote “false” but on my LAN it is still “true”. I guessed your meaning.

Maybe: “A public IP address can always uniquely identify a computer” → “false” as you state.

The results would still be interesting.

Thank you for the survey Donglin. I chose to complete it, so hopefully the data ends up benefiting the Tor community.