These personas are fictitious but concrete representations of the people using Tails. We use these personas to keep in mind who we are working for, what are their needs, and what Tails should do for them.

These personas come from collective discussions about who we want to help when building Tails, interviews with users, and other sources of information about Internet freedom.

Primary persona

Riou represents the users that are the most important to us.

Secondary personas

Cris and Kim represent other users are are also important to us.

Other personas

Derya represents users that we care about but that aren't so important to us.

Archive of the process and resources about personas

External resources about personas


Other personas for privacy and security:

Data sources:

Archive of the process

Comments and prioritization (August 2018)

Based on the skeletons drafted in 2018, we created posters to illustrate our draft personas:

We asked 14 contributors to:

  • Comment on the personas
  • Prioritize which personas we should focus on the most in the short-term (1-3 years). For example, in terms of:
    • Frequency of use: How often would each persona use Tails?
    • Audience size: How many people could each persona represent?
    • Benefit for the project: Which of these persona could (or did) bring benefit to the project (money, contributions, outreach, etc.)?
    • Readiness: How mature is Tails to help each of these persona?
    • Strategy: Do you think that focusing on some of these personas would be more strategic for some other reason?
    • Any other criteria?

    By assigning points to each of them:

    • You have a total of 100 points.
    • Assign points to each persona to reflect its priority.
    • You cannot give the same number of points to two personas.

    From this prioritization, we decided that focusing on Riou was slightly more important to us than focusing on Cris and Kim, and that Derya was the less important of the 4.

Skeletons and comments (April–July 2018)

From the user goals identified in 2017, we drafted 4 skeletons and asked the community to comment on them during our monthly meetings in April, May, June, and July 2018.

User goals for using Tails (August 2017)

A. I want to hide information about myself

  • I want to keep information secret from my government
  • I want to keep information secret from my family and close people
  • I want to access sensitive information stealthily
  • I want to hide my identity
  • I want to hide my location
  • I don't want to raise suspicion

B. I want to communicate and collaborate securely

  • I want to communicate securely with known peers
  • I want to communicate securely with unknown peers
  • I want to communicate with others who are under surveillance
  • We want to share and work on documents privately

C. I want to store information safely

  • I need to safely store my data
  • I want to edit or anonymize my data

D. I want to leave no trace on the computer

  • I need to use a computer that is not mine

E. I want information to be free

  • I want to access censored information online
  • I want to publish sensitive information

F. I don't want my data to be gathered by corporations and governments

  • I want to understand people using Tails
  • I just want more privacy

Collective process to identity user goals (August 2017)

Summary of a 2 hours session with 12 core contributors.

This process is inspired by the workshop described in The Essential Persona Lifecycle by Tamara Adlin and John Pruitt, Chapter 4 Persona conception and gestation.

  • General explanation of what personas are and why they are useful (15')
  • Everybody prepares, in silent, sticky notes describing a user and their goal. (15')

    For example:

    • "Women that go through domestic violence and wants to escape from that."
    • "Webmasters of a sensitive website that wants to hack on it."
  • All together we assimilate these sticky notes and the ones identified in August 2016 by types of users. (30')

    We start with predefined categories based on last year's output and adding new ones or splitting existing ones as needed. There should be no more than 10 stick notes per category.

    • Predefined categories:
      • Activist
      • Censorship evader
      • Contributor
      • Darknet customer
      • Information freedom fighter
      • Nomadic
      • Privacy geek
      • Surveilled at home
    • Final categories:
      • Activist
      • Censorship evader
      • Contributor
      • Darknet customer
      • Evil people
      • Information freedom fighter
      • Journalist or researcher
      • Law enforcement
      • Nomadic
      • People helping others in shit
      • People we don't want to help
      • Privacy geek
      • Sensitive content creator
      • Surveilled at home
      • Surveilled at work
  • The facilitator takes pictures of the resulting assimilation and removes the user categories.
  • All together we assimilate again the same stick notes and group them by user goals (45').

    User goals are short sentences starting with "I want..." or "I need...". There should be no more than 10 stick notes per category. Sticky notes that fit in more than one goal can be duplicated.

  • All together we summarize these goals by identifying main goals and subgoals. (10')

    See "User goals for using Tails" above.

Collective brainstorming of uses of Tails (August 2016)

  • A small group of English-speaking journalists use Tails to analyze an archive of leaked documents and prepare articles about them.
  • A well-established music teacher uses Tails to bypass the software and network limitations on their professional laptop.
  • Someone living in a controlled housing uses Tails to avoid having all their Internet browsing monitored by the staff.
  • A political scientist in Egypt uses Tails to send their findings to Germany while avoiding State surveillance.
  • A woman who lives with someone abusing her uses Tails to communicate stealthily and without living traces on the home computer.
  • A political activist uses Tails to coordinate with their affinity group and organize a demonstration.
  • A person suffering from cancer uses Tails to learn about their disease while avoiding their employer learning about their condition.
  • A group of people preparing a plea for defending activists in court uses Tails to prepare the plea and store the documents in a safe place.
  • A free software contributor uses Tails to translate the security tools used by their community into Bahasa Indonesia.
  • A whistle-blower uses Tails to store and edit to-be-leaked documents securely.
  • A lawyer uses Tails to communicate with their client in a secure and anonymous fashion.
  • A Tails developer uses Tails to develop Tails and understand better the struggling of users.
  • A university student uses Tails to publish publicly-funded but copyrighted scientific papers online.
  • Union workers use Tails to coordinate about labor struggle over their company's network.
  • A Russian tourist uses Tails to access their online bank account without getting their credential stolen.
  • A nomadic person with no personal laptop uses Tails to carry the same computing environment and personal documents around.
  • A abuse contact uses Tails in order to communicate with survivors contacting them.
  • A person without their own Internet access uses Tails to use an uncensored Internet.
  • A teenager uses Tails to escape parental control filter.
  • A group of people use Tails to write a book together and publish it.
  • A scientist uses Tails to report and transcribe interviews while preserving the personal identifying information of the interviewees.
  • Webmasters of a cop-watching website use Tails to reduce their chance of being caught while reporting on police violence.
  • A photographer uses Tails to store and work on pictures before publication.
  • A person without the need for a big storage uses Tails as their main operating system to have more privacy.