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Tor Project Installs New Board of Directors After Jacob Appelbaum Controversy (theverge.com) 106

An anonymous reader writes: The Tor Project announced today that is has elected an entirely new board of directors as part of a larger shake-up after accusations of misconduct by former employee Jacob Appelbaum. Appelbaum left the company in June after the nonprofit organization said it had received multiple accusations against him. The seven board members that are leaving the organization said in a statement today that it is their "duty to ensure that the Tor Project has the best possible leadership." The New York Times reports that the board agreed to step down following the controversy surrounding Appelbaum. Some of the board members who will be leaving include Tor Project co-founders Roger Dingledine and Nick Mathewson, who will continue to work on the organization's technical research and development team, according to the statement. They will be replaced with several prominent cryptographers and scholars, including University of Pennsylvania professor Matt Blaze, Electronic Frontier Foundation Executive Director Cindy Cohn, and security technologist Bruce Schneier. Meanwhile, researchers at MIT have been working on a new anonymity network that they say is more secure than Tor.
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Tor Project Installs New Board of Directors After Jacob Appelbaum Controversy

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  • Here we go again... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 13, 2016 @11:12PM (#52508107)

    Why does every single project meant to keep us secure have someone accused of sex crimes under fishy circumstances? Even Linus gets some of this now. I hope he avoids going anywhere without reliable witnesses present.

    Why is there no mention of the fact that one of the alleged anonymous "victims" said that the people who came forward did not speak for her and that the accusations were completely false? I seem to remember that Slashdot never bothered to post that story and yes, I did, in fact, submit it.

    Make of this what you will. [gizmodo.com] Do we only cover the parts of the story we want people to hear?

    • by jmd ( 14060 ) on Wednesday July 13, 2016 @11:52PM (#52508179)

      In western societies accusations of sexual misconduct is enough to destroy just about anyone or any organization. Not so much here in Asia.

      Just about anyone who is to be 'taken down' in western societies seems to be done by sexual impropriety. JFK, MLK both had allegations of misconduct. Strauss-Kahn is another prime example. Sex enters every story that is meant to destroy anyone. Guilty or not.

      When I was involved with OccupyLA a few sexual misconducts came up to discredit people. Same same.

      Whether the accusations are true or not, makes no difference. If the story sticks... someone is finished.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        NONE of these "accusers" ever told any story of actual ***RAPE***...
        you know, the thrown down and physically overpowered and forcibly penetratively raped
        with mind altering unfakeable and clearly evident psychological presentation
        in testimony.

        Everything just sounds like drinky flirting happened, a bunch of alt-progressives
        ended up in warm fuzzy petting and snuggle piles, then after the fact decided
        they didn't like their mutual little trips on each other and were like "nah".

        Jacob and Assange are innocent.
        It's

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          The hilarious part is that feminism, part and parcel of the Far Left, created this rape accusation monster to be let loose on conservatives. Just like The Modern Prometheus it turned on its creators. Central to the rape accusation epidemic is that women's words must never be questioned and that men are always wrong, no matter what. Even if proven innocent later (not found "not guilty", innocent is something completely different) a mere accusation is enough to destroy lives. The Left can hardly complain
          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            Actually, the mainstream feminist is that if it were easier to report rape it would be easier for those falsely accused to be cleared and avoid the reputation damage.

            At the moment rape victims (of both genders) are often not believed or are concerned that they will (quite rightly) be subjected to harsh questioning during a trial. If it were easier to make a complaint, say to a non-law-enforcement body like a university or the organization they work for, it could be documented and quietly investigated. The b

        • Just because rape can be violent doesn't mean that it is always violent.

          People like Jacob Applebaum use their power and influence to manipulate people into doing what he wants.

          I have experienced these types of people first hand and it gives me chills to think about even now.

          I, for one, am glad that someone created the http://jacobappelbaum.net/ [jacobappelbaum.net] website. It brings awareness and calls him out on his BS.

          People like this subsist on the goodwill and empathy of others.

          In my book, Jacob Applebaum deserves to get k

          • What power does Jacob Applebaum have? He is a nobody. He is a programmer. He isn't rich or powerful. Oh, he manipulates women to get sex? Welcome to planet Earth. Lets look at one of the "stories": from that website:

            "Jake and I had some minor romantic interest in each other when he invited me to his apartment one evening. He told me he wanted to take a bath, and invited me into his bathroom to hang out with him. I said, okay, but I don't want to take a bath with you."

            What the fuck? What the...fuck?
            • That is exactly what I am talking about.

              These situations do not exist in a vacuum. They are incremental, building up slowly until you realize you are in a situation you absolutely don't want to be in.

              I had a situation once where I was inebriated at a small party. One of the guys who I knew to be gay and who I considered a friend started to get aggressive in his sexual advances. I kept saying no but he was *very* insistent. I ended up having to leave because I felt so uncomfortable.

              This is something that few

            • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

              "Jake and I had some minor romantic interest in each other when he invited me to his apartment one evening. He told me he wanted to take a bath, and invited me into his bathroom to hang out with him. I said, okay, but I don't want to take a bath with you."

              What the fuck? What the...fuck?

              Indeed, what the fuck are you saying here? Going back to someone's room but not wanted to get naked with them is unacceptable?

              Sure, perhaps she should have tried to leave at that point, but nether of us were there and can't really judge the situation fairly. In any case, what does it matter? She said "no" quite clearly and unambiguously. No means no, not "maybe if you keep nagging or wait for me to doze off or ply me with more alcohol".

              Real men know the meaning of "no".

          • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

            Just because rape can be violent doesn't mean that it is always violent.

            That depends on your definition of rape, at common law it certainly has to be violent. Frankly I think we should use the common law definition for rape. Its a very serious crime and should be treated that way, in terms of the people who commit it really out to be permanently excluded from the rest of society. Rape should mean rape.

            Which is not say other cases of using some form of duress should not be crimes as well. They just don't rise to the seriousness of rape, again not imply they are not serious o

      • Neither JFK nor MLK were taken down by allegations of sexual impropriety. Their affairs were common knowledge and nobody cared.

      • Just about anyone who is to be 'taken down' in western societies seems to be done by sexual impropriety. JFK, MLK both had allegations of misconduct.

        That's a convenient way to brush things off.

        For MLK the FBI has sex tapes (including video) recorded in his hotel room. Those tapes were not a fabrication but rather a surprise, as the FBI was instead hoping to get evidence of MLK being in cahoots with commies (of which there's no evidence).

        Back then the FBI tried to leak those but the media refused to play ball (that was a long time before Gawker). So they sent a ridiculous letter to his house, with a copy of those tapes. Here's an actual quote from that l

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Apparently. Remember that Slashdot was recently bought by a company called "Bizx LLC". Haven't been able to find much reliable information on them. With the amount of worthless money the Fed has to insert into the economy to support the unsustainable debt, you've got to have a massive number of corrupt and unaccountable people who haven't had real success and added real value taking ownership of more and more, like a virus, simply because they are closer to the central banks. Have you guys heard these b

      • by jmd ( 14060 )

        Thanks for that pointer. I am guessing this is why Slashdot has a seen a radical change in the last few months.

        Doesn't look good: http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/bizx-subsidiary-sourceforge-media-llc-acquires-slashdot-media-2091995.htm

        Time to look elsewhere for tech news.

  • by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Wednesday July 13, 2016 @11:23PM (#52508121) Homepage Journal

    From the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] on Applebaum:

    The Tor Project and several other organizations ended their association with Appelbaum in June 2016 following several allegations of sexual abuse; Appelbaum denied the accusations.

    Okay, so he's being thrown under the bus due to an accusation.

    Reading further:

    One woman, who has been held-up as an example of one of his victims, hotly contested allegations that Appelbaum abused her and questioned the validity of other allegations against him.

    Women are generally sensitive about sexual abuse, so having a woman deny the allegations, and with insight into the situation question the other allegations, shouldn't we at least wait for charges being filed?

    Various activists and others have publicly supported Appelbaum, citing that extrajudicial social reactions to the allegations were overly extreme, and had violated Appelbaum's fundamental rights, resulting in a witch-hunt.

    Are we a society rules by law?

    Or do we simply try things in the court of public opinion, where the loudest voice is the strongest evidence?

    We have an entire board being replaced due to an accusation.

    The potential for abuse is enormous.

    • by ncc74656 ( 45571 ) *

      Are we a society rules by law?

      As of eight days ago, we are not. :-(

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The board stepped down.
      Voluntarily.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Eh, no - it's due to multiple accusations, from a very wide variety of people, from a very wide variety of Jacob's prior places of employment - don't try and whitewash this, by trying to play down the depth of the accusations against him, this is far more than just one person...

      Actually go out and bother doing some research on the varied people accusing him, and their claims - the guy is a slimy fucker.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      There is more evidence that you seem to think, and in fact the very Wikipedia article you linked to makes that clear.

      Three people have publicly stated that they were abused. There is also a long history of complaints and disciplinary action against him. He was actually suspended from the Tor project in 2015 for unprofessional behaviour relating to sexual harassment and abuse. Take together the complaints are compelling, with times and places matching Appelbaum's known movements and many of them partially ta

    • by bv728 ( 943505 )
      Going to the police around sexual harassment has a poor track record of going anywhere, even with witnesses. Most of the time it winds up around competing accusations. Evidence is often scarce, and with charismatic folks involved, people may not realize the extent they've been manipulated until later. Abusers often target people who are not in a position to speak up, where their career could be at risk. Conventions are also a giant issue - doing all of this hundreds of miles distant even further reduces the
    • by jdavidb ( 449077 )

      Are we a society rules by law?

      Law governs legal penalties; personal opinion and choice governs everything else we do. It's the law, because we are a free society.

      The law should take the position that it is better for ten guilty people to go free than for one innocent person to be punished. But in our personal dealings we can do whatever the heck we want because we are free people. There are plenty of things that should not be illegal that should still face social consequences. And while under the law the burden of proof should be "b

  • by bug1 ( 96678 ) on Thursday July 14, 2016 @12:46AM (#52508289)

    Moral within an organisation is always important, and stakeholders should have confidence in the board to manage things, but;

    This is an organisation that lots of powerful people and government would like to see destroyed, it maintains a product that is controversial, and is used in some extreme circumstances.

    Do they really need to manage the perception of their work so aggressively. People will have very strong views for/against TOR independent of perceived employee behaviour.

    Can Tor as an organisation be trusted if public perception is more important to them than proven facts.

    Is TOR just about money now ?

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      It's not about perception, it's about stopping Appelbaum from using his position within the origanization to sexually abuse and rape people. His position as a figurehead and well known public face are what allowed him to do a lot of this stuff and get away with it for so long.

      • by bug1 ( 96678 )

        Sorry, but you have no credibility when you make such extreme statements without proof or objective judgement.
        Without evidence how can it be more than perception ?

        So the finger points back at you, what is your agenda, we know its not justice.

      • Please explain how being a "figurehead" and a "well known public face" (that no one has ever heard of outside of the Tor community) enables him "to do a lot of this stuff". Is it some magical power? Fucking ridiculous.
        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          He is known outside the Tor community. He has had some of his art exhibited and he gave several talks on documents released by Snowden, particularly the hacking tool catalogues. His Wikipedia page has a fairly extensive list of stuff he has been involved with.

          I'm not sure I need justify that someone high ranking in an organization and quite well known in a community gains some power from that, it's pretty well established and understood. That's why certain kinds of relationship, like teacher/student, even i

  • Accusation.
  • The issue is not with unfounded accusations. The people that worked with Applebaum over the years found the accusations very plausible, because of the conduct he has shown to the rest of the board members. They know why they finally got rid of him.

    This story isn't about some accusations that came out of the blue, but about an organization finally pulling the plug on a really mean character that has used his social skills and status for over a decade to abuse countless people.

    My problem is: Why haven't they

    • Very well said. A lot of people here seem to be quite confused about the situation: Tor does not need to have a trial to fire him from his job. Anyone would be let go after allegations of unprofessional conduct like this, especially considering that they have come from multiple different people over a span of several years. Everyone knows he is a creep. Being a creep IS enough to fire someone from their job, when that job is largely representing the organization in a professional manner.
    • What "status" does this guy have? Give me a break. He is a fucking PROGRAMMER. You guys act like he is a billionaire dictator of a Third World country that women can't say no to.

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