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2014 Year in Review

on Mon, 01/05/2015 - 22:05

Year in Review

The last year has been a busy one for the Privly Foundation. Along with winning our non-profit determination from the US Internal Revenue Service, we made strides in Project development and community education. Project

User Experience
It is critically important that systems like be easy to use, but a series of user experience (UX) evaluations made it clear that the system had grown too complex. To fix the UX issues we simplified and hid options. This means the casual users will not be troubled by the functionality that the power users activate.

We are very proud of the advances we have made in testing the Project, but understanding what we did requires software development experience...let's just say it's "really cool." For the technical users: we figured out how to do continuous integration for the combination of content servers, browsers, extensions, operating systems, and scripting contexts that supports. Basically, if you add the API variables for Travis then the CI server will automagically do things like base64 encode the Chrome extension and stream it to the browser virtualization service SauceLabs where integration tests will run against the content server running on Travis.

When you allow the general public to use privacy software, it is critically important that the software be audited by third party. Otherwise it is likely that the developers will miss a critical vulnerability and endanger their users. However, in the market of privacy applications it is clear that projects are only audited if they have users. Thus the Project cannot prevent users from testing the system and must instead work to foster mindfulness in the system's users.

Google Summer of Code
This summer the Privly Foundation mentored 5 students working on the Private Web. You can read more details about their work on Google's Open Source Blog. Thanks to Google for supporting the Privly Foundation!

Foundation Finances

We have been operating on a shoestring budget so we still have $17,000 remaining in the bank of the approximately $27,000 collected. With the impending wider release of the Project and an expansion of our educational activities we expect to start burning cash more quickly. Into the foreseeable future, we will sustain activities from a combination of donations and grants.


We continue to hold workshops, talks, and even a documentary showing in the Portland metro area as part of the TA3M movement. Jen is continuing to co-organize these events with Sean McGregor, but time commitments for another non-profit and to her day job at Intel means the Privly Foundation is looking for a new community manager. Please contact if you are interested in taking on the position. Thank you Jen for all your hard work!


Jen Davidson and Sean McGregor teamed up to give a talk at Open Source Bridge entitled "Making Your Privacy Software Usable." The talk extolled the virtues of simple usability methods that all privacy developers can employ. These are the same techniques that led to many changes to the Project in the last year.


As always, we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to our donors, maintainers, contributors, and organizers.

We would also like to thank Google for supporting our student developers, Rackspace for providing complementary hosting to our servers, and the OSUOSL for supporting several of our servers.

Happy New Year!
-Privly People