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(55,445 posts)
Thu Dec 11, 2014, 05:27 PM Dec 2014

Itís time for Tor activists to stop acting like the spies they claim to hate

Apparently I have to have time for this.

I don’t have time for this, you understand. What with Uber executives threatening my business partner and Pando being credited for opening up a new legal flank in the Techtopus anti-wage-fixing lawsuit (more on that soon), and a new issue of PandoQuarterly about to go to press… what with all of that, I really don’t have time to respond to an increasingly bizarre attempt by some senior Tor developers to undermine our reporting on their funding sources by trying to smear Pando reporters as trolls and bullies.

And yet apparently I have to have time for that. So I’ll keep this as brief as possible.

For the past few months, Pando writer Yasha Levine has been reporting on how several senior developers of the anonymizing service Tor are, or have been, on the payroll of the US government. This, Yasha has argued, is a relevant conflict of interest for developers promoting a technology that, in part, claims to help users avoid the attention of that same US government.

Following Yasha’s initial report, some Tor supporters argued that Tor’s connection with the government was already common knowledge and so not worth reporting on. We’ve heard that argument before. Others insisted the connection was irrelevant as it couldn’t affect the maths underlying Tor’s encryption. That’s a perfectly reasonable position to take, and it’s one that deserves thorough debate, here on Pando and elsewhere.

Unfortunately, as Yasha later reported, a small but highly aggressive group of high profile Tor advocates, including activist Jacob Appelbaum and the Intercept’s Micah Lee apparently decided that a better way to respond to Pando’s reporting was to attack Pando’s and Yasha’s credibility through a seemingly orchestrated smear campaign.


Interesting to see the Guardian be the useful idiots of this campaign, too...

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