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Interesting to see the fallout effect that recent events have had on the unity of the tor team.

Suzie Dawson’s analysis of the tor situation was very thorough for people interested in more depth.

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    Sounds like a narcissistic sociopaths backstabbing each other. The salacious Berlin involvements and involvement of CIA/WikiLeaks makes this something more out of a movie than it is an open source project.

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      Flagged.

      Please keep this drama off of Lobsters.

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          this womans voice should not be heard.

          I think this is a particularly poor way of framing a discussion about which topics are appropriate for lobsters.

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              Perhaps an explanation about how this post helps me understand the technology of tor? Do I read this and start using tor? Do I read this and stop using tor?

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                I’ll try to make my reasoning as painfully clear as I can.

                What sorts of things are interesting and relevant in a technical forum like Lobsters:

                Notice that all of these are actual submissions to Lobsters that gained upvotes and useful discussion, least of all because there was something there to discuss.

                The current tempest-in-a-teapot is over the private lives of some of the Tor developers. Consider the following questions:

                • Have there been any official (read: legal) investigations?
                • If there have been, what conclusions were drawn?
                • If there have been, what evidence is present?
                • Why should we trust the claims of one of Appelbaum’s former lovers?
                • Why should we distrust the claims of one of Appelbaum’s former lovers?
                • Given the claimed capacity of Appelbaum to use backchannels to harass and gaslight people, why should we believe any sympathetic reporting about him? Why should we trust any things that might be false-flag attacks against him?
                • Given the observed capacity of people against Appelbaum to organize against him, why should we trust any negative reporting against him?
                • With a figure as notably steeped in sex/romance as Appelbaum and the other people in these reports, why would we expect to get a clear and honest stack trace from anybody about what’s been going on?
                • Why should we trust or distrust anonymous logs and claims with redacted communications for anything?

                Finally:

                Why the fuck does any of this matter beyond pure prurient interest?

                There is nothing we can learn from this about Tor, privacy, onion routing, security, or anything else. There is no value for the rest of us in indulging and hosting what is probably a brush conflict in some war going on in the Tor backroom. There is no reason to think for a second that either side of the debate wouldn’t happily pollute this place to fuel their sense of righteousness.

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                  Why the fuck does any of this matter beyond pure prurient interest?

                  Because one of the allegations is that it was an open secret in the Tor project that Appelbaum was abusive. (“Thanks for a sexual-assault-free Tor meeting!”) That’s of interest to anyone involved in Tor and the larger topic of how the distributed, mostly-volunteer software projects that are a major force in software should be run.

                  Open source software projects are going through a major cultural shakeup. Who’s involved, what role should organizations play, and what rules are enforced by whom? Like every human culture, this is done by lurching from crisis to crisis trying to decide what’s acceptable and not, what’s individual or systemic. The people with power want to have restrained, ignorable meta-level discussion and those without want to shape incidents into outrageous wedges against the establishment.

                  It matters because it’s part of deciding who’s involved in building the future and the values they carry into it. The technical becomes the political. The decisions we make about what’s centralized, encrypted, private, deniable, hackable will shape the culture and laws that get built. Can Apple decrypt every iPhone or not? Can criminals have their own secret currency? How public are public records? Can political dissidents organize in private? Do our communications media encourage civility or mass bullying?

                  We’re not building wrenches. Not every conversation can be about alloy composition and tensile strength and leverage. We’re building devices that people carry everywhere, systems that mediate their most intimate conversations, and shaping the institutions of our society. We’re making guns.

                  And I really, really wish we had a better way to do this, but arguing over whether the actions of one guy and one project are important or not is inextricably part of deciding what Tor, privacy, routing, security, and everything else will be.

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                    Thank you for a writeup of your reasoning. Upvoted because it’s something we can civilly discuss.

                    Bit by bit, here’s where I agree, disagree, or diverge with you:

                    That’s of interest to anyone involved in Tor and the larger topic of how the distributed, mostly-volunteer software projects that are a major force in software should be run.

                    Agreed, but with qualifications in this case. We’ve already had similar, better submissions of interest to folks concerned. Having a “Monthly reminder submission that Jacob Appelbaum is a shitbag” doesn’t really help the reasonable cause of introspection. This is doubly true for submissions like this one–Patterson’s article had a lot more to engage with and read up on; all of the allegations seemed to be hyperlinked to sources. That’s how it should be done.

                    Open source software projects are going through a major cultural shakeup.

                    Agreed, but I think that it is completely fair to have people who are conservative (in support of the “old way” of doing things, whatever that ends up being quantified as) and that we should not reject them out of hand or fall prey to political smearing. The current chain of Appelbaum nonsense is a step in the direction of the latter.

                    The people with power want to have restrained, ignorable meta-level discussion and those without want to shape incidents into outrageous wedges against the establishment.

                    Agreed. Unfortunately, one can make the argument that the people without power are the people who were unqualified to make meaningful contributions in the first place and so have resorted to drumming up fame and fortune by changing the metric from “functioning features pushed” to “equality of access”. There is a case to be made for both, of course, but it is easy to see how some folks are getting upset.

                    Can Apple decrypt every iPhone or not? Can criminals have their own secret currency? How public are public records? Can political dissidents organize in private? Do our communications media encourage civility or mass bullying?

                    All interesting and important questions that have nothing whatsoever to do with who Appelbaum insulted, how much and how agreeably he had intercourse with them, and anything else. The mass bullying question perhaps gets closest to the matter at hand, because this whole topic is the sort of thing that kicks off (and has kicked off, deservedly or not) lynch mobs.

                    We’re making guns.

                    I absolutely agree! And in the world today, fascists use weapons produced by communists, militant Islamists use submachineguns produced by Israelis, and everybody buys American. The wonderful thing about technology is that, once distributed, it is no longer beholden to a particular ideology (other than consumerism, perhaps).

                    And I really, really wish we had a better way to do this, but arguing over whether the actions of one guy and one project are important or not is inextricably part of deciding what Tor, privacy, routing, security, and everything else will be.

                    And here at last I must completely disagree with you. Privacy has nothing to do with assault and harassment in this case. Routing of packets through onion networks has nothing to do with assault and harassment in this case. Security is related only insofar as the parallels to infosec that Patterson draws suggest.

                    I simply refuse to agree that we need to keep this one isolated, personal case–when we have so many more pressing and distressing and perhaps equally actionable problems–up in the forums every time somebody gets a chance.

                    The best part is that, in a year, most everyone outside of Tor is going to stop giving a shit about Appelbaum entirely. Maybe that’s what we should be worried about.

                    EDIT: Fixed a truncated sentence (thanks pushcx!).

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              Please see my posts on this every other time it’s come up: it’s nothing personal.

              The entire Tor/Jacob debacle is rife with gossip and backstabbing and bringing that into this community doesn’t teach anyone anything or make any of our lives better.

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            This is long and rambly, and I’m not familiar with Marie. Given that, my initial impression is that she is apologizing for Jake’s behavior and going out with him. She stated she was in a relationship with him and then promptly denied all the claims against him, claiming they are based on lies and questioning the ethics of the others involved in the Tor Project who allowed the drama to happen.

            All in all it paints Marie in a very poor light in my mind. I can’t see how anyone would publicly back Jake at this point.

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              I can’t see how anyone would publicly back Jake at this point.

              And there, my colleague, is the entire reason we have courts of law and not courts of public opinion.

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                Eh, courts don’t have jurisdiction over whether I can criticize someone for “publicly back[ing]” some viewpoint. Now, if the comment had called for someone to be thrown in jail, it would be relevant to point out that we have courts to make that decision.

                I guess it might be sometimes prudent to defer to a court’s decision when forming your own opinions, but I’m not sure that’s generally true. I certainly disagree with quite a few court decisions where I’m knowledgeable about the case, in both directions (there are many convicted people who are innocent, and acquitted people who are guilty).