Kicksecure Census

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Kicksecure User Count Statistic[edit]


The user count is manually updated on occasion, but it is a low priority.

The daily Kicksecure users estimate is impacted by several factors:

  • Total number of Kicksecure users: The total Kicksecure user population is probably higher than the number of daily Kicksecure users.
  • New day, still running, new count: A Kicksecure that runs longer than one day (24 hours) will re-fetch the Kicksecure warrant canary and therefore be counted again.
  • New day, new boot, new count: A Kicksecure that has not been run for more than one day (24 hours) will re-fetch the Kicksecure warrant canary and therefore be counted again.
  • Duplication: Users relying upon multiple Kicksecure are counted multiple times; this is difficult to avoid with the current design (see next section).
  • Non-duplication: Boots are not explicitly counted. Users counts that rely upon the number of Kicksecure boots would lead to overestimates because many users start and shutdown their computers several times a day.
  • Non-Live: Live users are not counted.

Kicksecure User Count Design[edit]

There are strict requirements for the Kicksecure user count:

  • no transfer of private information
  • no unique identifiers are utilized
  • no collection of IP addresses [1]
  • count only once within a 24 hour period
  • provide an option to disable user counts
  • a by-product of, and based on's automated Warrant Canary Check [2]
  • downloaded over Tor using the Kicksecure v3 onion service [3]
  • secure operation [4]

The census design was inspired by Clean Insights (Privacy-Preserving Measurement), [5], [6] Tor, Tails boot [7], [8] Privacy-Preserving by Mozilla. [9] and Divvi For further details, see: Warrant Canary Check.

Kicksecure User Count Rationale[edit]

A user count statistic provides several benefits:

  • Kicksecure maintainers can track if the user population is increasing over time.
  • Certain people or organizations decide whether to contribute based on the estimated impact of the Kicksecure project.
  • Statistics can help answer certain questions such as the estimated user population of different anonymity platforms.
  • Direct comparisons between the number of Tor, Tails and Kicksecure users become possible.
  • Users can make an informed decision about fingerprinting risks. [10]
  • User counts can inform broader Internet and network fingerprinting considerations.
  • The data is already available due to's automated verification of the Kicksecure warrant canary. [11]

Disable Kicksecure User Count[edit]

Refer to the following chapters:

Forum Discussion[edit]

See Also[edit]


  1. By using an onion service, the server has no way to log originating IP addresses. The website privacy policy is different, see:
  2. Which verifies the Kicksecure warrant canary.
  3. This is similar to how sdwdate fetches time from onion time sources.
  4. This process has identical security to the Warrant Canary Check.
  5. Developed by the Guardian
  6. Formerly Piwik, which is a free and open source web analytics application.
  7. Private, Robust, and Scalable Computation of Aggregate Statistics by Stanford University.
  8. Like whether they prefer sharing the same network fingerprint as thousands of other users (Kicksecure) versus millions of other users (Tor Browser in isolation).
  9. Previously Kicksecure News.

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