Group says the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) penetrated the Tor Project and tainted Jacob Applebaum’s investigation
As a mark of protest against the way the Tor Project, a non-profit digital privacy group, handled the Jake Applebaum sexual misconduct charges, a group is calling for a complete 24-hour shutdown of the Tor network. Also, the recent rumours speculate that it may be allowing former government agents in its levels.
For those unfamiliar, Jacob Appelbaum, a prominent advocate for digital privacy and security, stepped down from the Tor Project in June, where he worked as a paid employee, after he was accused of rape and unwanted sexual advances.
Uploaded online on the GhostBin website, the protest called the #torstrike asks Tor users not to use the service for 24 hours and asks the Tor workers to shutdown nodes and not work on the Tor Project’s software.
Other Tor-related projects like the Tails OS and the Library Freedom Project were also called upon by the protest to join the Tor shutdown.
The following justification is given for the #torstrike mobilization call, which places the blame primarily on the Tor Project’s leadership.
“Tor can no longer be trusted after #jakegate / #torgate and hire of CIA. Its sinking credibility is putting people at risk. We hope it can be healed and regain trust with mass action. A short blackout may hurt in the short term, but save Tor in the long term. It will also allow dissenting voices to be heard. ”
In total, the protesters have made 16 demands, of which 10 are related to Applebaum’s investigation and ruling, and 6 are against a supposed penetration of Tor’s ranks by government agents.
Following are the demands by the group:
(1) They want Shari Steele to leave the Tor Project and the appointment of a new Executive Director.
(2) They also want Roger Dingledine, President and co-founder of the Tor Project to leave.
(3) They want the newly elected Board Members to disclose any links to the Applebaum investigation and leave if they were part of it.
(4,5,6) The group wants information on Applebaum’s investigative and disciplinary process to be made public, and asking all Tor employees that were a part of this investigation to leave.
(7) The persons behind the JacobAppelbaum.net and the @JakeMustDie and @VictimsOfJake Twitter accounts have been asked to come forward by the #torstrike group and their identities made public. This website and social media accounts were used to publish information about Applebaum’s sexual misconduct.
(8) Any cyber-bullies have been asked to leave the project by the group.
(9) Both Applebaum and his accusers must explain their stories.
(10) The protesters want the Tor Project to clarify why it gave The New York Times an exclusive in the Jacob Applebaum investigation, calling it “highly unusual and an embarrassment.”
The group in its last six demands have asked for the Tor Project and its members to come forward and remove any members with past or present connections with the government, intelligence agencies, or military asking for these persons to leave or be thrown out.
They also want the Tor Project to issue an annual report on current staff and active volunteers, describing their backgrounds in detail.
“We know from IRC logs that Tor Project staff knew of a CIA hire on at least one occasion and kept it secret,” the accusers wrote. “Some advocated for the hire, at length.”
The group is ticked off as one person who was part of the official investigation was also the one to be supposedly sexually assaulted by Applebaum. Stephan Seitz, another Tor node operator, cited the same reasons last week as an explanation for closing down his node. Another core Tor node operator also left the project in mid-July, also referring to ethics.
Setiz before leaving pointed the Tor team to a blog post from Marie Gutbub, another Tor Project member that left, which reads: “I have never heard of any respected court in a democratic country where an accuser is part of the jury or a judge.”
For years now, charges of Applebaum’s misbehavior have been floating around, but it gained attention only this June when he was compelled to leave, as the Project started an official investigation, which later resolved the matter saying that Applebaum had to leave the Project for good.
The full #torstrike statement in its original form can be found below.
Tor General Strike #torstrike
Please join our 24-hour Tor blackout on Thursday, September 1st 2016. Use your local time or UTC+02:00.
- Don’t use Tor. At. All.
- For your safety, that could mean no Internet or any network.
- Tell everyone why you are not using Tor for 24 hours.
- If you operate Tor infrastructure, shut it down.
- If you develop Tor software or anything based on Tor, stop working on it.
- If you maintain or package Tor software, stop working on it.
- If you do anything else for Tor or the Tor Project, stop working on it.
- Everyone associated with Tails, the Library Freedom Project, and so on should join us and stop working.
- Tell the world what you know. Leak internal and external discussion related to #jakegate / #torgate and CIA hires.
Get The Word Out:
- Use the hashtag #torstrike
- Tell the world why you’re striking #torstory
- Graphics on Web sites and social media
- Letters to the Tor Project
- Constructive pressure applied to @torproject
- Participate in Direct Action as you see fit
- Throw a #torstrike party and discuss the issues
Tor can no longer be trusted after #jakegate / #torgate and hire of CIA. Its sinking credibility is putting people at risk. We hope it can be healed and regain trust with mass action.
A short blackout may hurt in the short term, but save Tor in the long term. It will also allow dissenting voices to be heard.
Restoring Trust re: 2016 Misconduct –
- Shari Steele must sever all ties with Tor and related projects. A new Executive Director must be elected.
- Roger Dingledine must sever all ties with Tor and related projects. We know from tor-internal discussion that Roger handled the Appelbaum issue in a partial and unprofessional manner.
- The newly-elected Board Members must reveal their connection to the Appelbaum investigation and their internal discussion on the matter. Anyone who supported or aided the investigation must sever all ties with Tor and related projects.
- Details on the Appelbaum investigative and punitive process, including the persons involved and timeline of investigative and punitive action, must be made public.
- Details of the exact misconduct and charges against Appelbaum must be made public. Any persons already doxxed must continue to be named.
- It is highly inappropriate for a Tor Project employee to be involved in the investigative and punitive process against another employee. Anyone who fits this criteria must sever all ties with Tor and related projects.
- The public must know who is behind JacobAppelbaum.net and the @JakeMustDie / @VictimsOfJake account. Anyone involved must sever all ties with Tor and related projects.
- Anyone engaged in harrassment, cyberbullying, and smear campaigns, online or offline, against any current or former Tor Project member must sever all ties with Tor and related projects. This is regardless of whether or not they have accused anyone of sexual or personal misconduct.
- The accusers and the accused must clarify their stories. The versions circulated on the Web are vague and have been altered by several people.
- The nature of the relationship between the Tor Project and The New York Times must be made public. That the Tor Project chose to give The New York Times an exclusive story on Appelbaum is highly unusual and an embarrassment. How the story was drafted and published must be made public. Anyone who advocated this idea or was actively involved must sever all ties with Tor and related projects.
- Restoring Trust re: Infiltration –
- Any current or former intelligence workers must sever all ties with Tor and related projects.
- Anyone with a security clearance in the Five Eyes countries must sever all ties with Tor and related projects.
- Anyone with close personal ties to intelligence workers or people with security clearance in the Five Eyes countries, current or former, must sever all ties with Tor and related projects.
- Anyone with ties to any military or government must publicly clarify the nature of their work, and those with whom they have close personal ties. If that work is classified or secret, the public must be told it is.
- The Tor Project must publish a report on current staff and active volunteers, detailing their backgrounds and revealing any military or government work. This report must be published again annually, or whenever new staff are hired or volunteers granted an active, high-ranking position in the Tor Project or a role in Tor infrastructure and related projects.
- Anyone who introduced infiltration to Tor must sever all ties with Tor and related projects. This includes anyone who introduced intelligence workers or people with security clearance in the Five Eyes countries, current or former. We know from IRC logs that Tor Project staff knew of a CIA hire on at least one occasion and kept it secret. Some advocated for the hire, at length.