The Tor Project, the organization behind the Tor privacy browser, announced on Friday it was laying off a third of its staff due to the economic burden caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Tor, like much of the world, has been caught up in the COVID-19 crisis,” Isabela Bagueros, Executive Director for the Tor Project, said Friday in a statement posted on its site.
“Like many other nonprofits and small businesses, the crisis has hit us hard, and we have had to make some difficult decisions. We had to let go of 13 great people who helped make Tor available to millions of people around the world,” Bagueros said.
“We will move forward with a core team of 22 people.”
Bagueros said that in spite of the worker cuts, the current team will be able to continue running its servers and software going forward. This includes the Tor anonimity network and the Tor Browser Bundle.
The Tor Project’s decision was one that anyone could have seen coming. The US-based nonprofit survives entirely on donations.
Every year, the project runs an end-of-year donations campaign in an effort to bolster its finances for the next year.
With most donors (users, the US government, and the private sector) being focused on surviving the COVID-19 economic crisis themselves, the Tor team appears to be having issues raising funds to support itself through the pandemic.
The Tor Project is not the only organization going through tough times. Other companies have also been forced to furlough staff as well. The list includes big names like Tesla, BestBuy, GAP, Macy’s, Yelp, Disney, Vox Media, and many others.