Tails anonymity-focused operating system celebrates its 10th anniversay

Written 5 months ago by IanDorfman

Tails, short for "The Amnesic Incognito Live System," was publicly announced back in 2009. Since then, its use and functionality have both grown exponentially, with 25,000 instances of the operating system booting up every day.

Small Tails iconTails differentiates itself from other operating systems by placing chief importance on the privacy and security of its users. To do this, it forces all of its Internet connectivity to go through the Small Tor iconTor network, erases all traces of itself from the computer it was used on unless explicitly told not to, and encrypts all files, messages, and emails sent from it using several cryptographic tools.

In 2014, the Freedom of the Press Foundation declared Tails to have been "critical to all of the main NSA journalists." The likes of Edward Snowden, Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald, and Micah Lee have directly stated across multiple social network platforms and news outlets how integral Tails has been to ensuring their research and coverage of mass surveillance continued uninterrupted.

Since then, the development team has focused on making sure Tails is more accessible, utilizing "personas" to represent the demographics and use cases for the OS. Additionally, a "continuous integration infrastructure" was implemented to automatically build and test the latest image releases of the operating system, which is necessary when considering that only 66 people contributed to Tails' main source code across 2018 and 2019, with only 22 out of those 66 being paid to work on it in any way (including full-time, part-time, or as consultants).

Tails is free, open source, and based on Small Debian iconDebian, but can be downloaded and installed from any Windows, macOS, or Linux-based operating system.

Further coverage:
Tails news post