Solidarity against online harassment

One of our colleagues has been the target of a sustained campaign of harassment for the past several months. We have decided to publish this statement to publicly declare our support for her, for every member of our organization, and for every member of our community who experiences this harassment. She is not alone and her experience has catalyzed us to action. This statement is a start.

The Tor Project works to create ways to bypass censorship and ensure anonymity on the Internet. Our software is used by journalists, human rights defenders, members of law enforcement, diplomatic officials, and many others. We do high-profile work, and over the past years, many of us have been the targets of online harassment. The current incidents come at a time when suspicion, slander, and threats are endemic to the online world. They create an environment where the malicious feel safe and the misguided feel justified in striking out online with a thousand blows. Under such attacks, many people have suffered — especially women who speak up online. Women who work on Tor are targeted, degraded, minimized and endure serious, frightening threats.

This is the status quo for a large part of the internet. We will not accept it.

We work on anonymity technology because we believe in empowering people. This empowerment is the beginning and a means, not the end of the discussion. Each person who has power to speak freely on the net also has the power to hurt and harm. Merely because one is free to say a thing does not mean that it should be tolerated or considered reasonable. Our commitment to building and promoting strong anonymity technology is absolute. We have decided that it is not enough for us to work to protect the world from snoops and censors; we must also stand up to protect one another from harassment.

It's true that we ourselves are far from perfect. Some of us have written thoughtless things about members of our own community, have judged prematurely, or conflated an idea we hated with the person holding it. Therefore, in categorically condemning the urge to harass, we mean categorically: we will neither tolerate it in others, nor will we accept it among ourselves. We are dedicated to both protecting our employees and colleagues from violence, and trying to foster more positive and mindful behavior online ourselves.

Further, we will no longer hold back out of fear or uncertainty from an opportunity to defend a member of our community online. We write tools to provide online freedom but we don't endorse online or offline abuse. Similarly, in the offline world, we support freedom of speech but we oppose the abuse and harassment of women and others. We know that online harassment is one small piece of the larger struggle that women, people of color, and others face against sexism, racism, homophobia and other bigotry.

This declaration is not the last word, but a beginning: We will not tolerate harassment of our people. We are working within our community to devise ways to concretely support people who suffer from online harassment; this statement is part of that discussion. We hope it will contribute to the larger public conversation about online harassment and we encourage other organizations to sign on to it or write one of their own.

For questions about Tor, its work, its staff, its funding, or its world view, we encourage people to directly contact us (Media contact: Kate Krauss, press @ torproject.org). We also encourage people join our community and to be a part of our discussions:
https://www.torproject.org/about/contact
https://www.torproject.org/docs/documentation#MailingLists



In solidarity against online harassment,

Roger Dingledine
Nick Mathewson
Kate Krauss
Wendy Seltzer
Caspar Bowden
Rabbi Rob Thomas
Karsten Loesing
Matthew Finkel
Griffin Boyce
Colin Childs
Georg Koppen
Tom Ritter
Erinn Clark
David Goulet
Nima Fatemi
Steven Murdoch
Linus Nordberg
Arthur Edelstein
Aaron Gibson
Anonymous Supporter
Matt Pagan
Philipp Winter
Sina Rabbani
Jacob Appelbaum
Karen Reilly
Meredith Hoban Dunn
Moritz Bartl
Mike Perry
Sukhbir Singh
Sebastian Hahn
Nicolas Vigier
Nathan Freitas
meejah
Leif Ryge
Runa Sandvik
Andrea Shepard
Isis Agora Lovecruft
Arlo Breault
Ásta Helgadóttir
Mark Smith
Bruce Leidl
Dave Ahmad
Micah Lee
Sherief Alaa
Virgil Griffith
Rachel Greenstadt
Andre Meister
Andy Isaacson
Gavin Andresen
Scott Herbert
Colin Mahns
John Schriner
David Stainton
Doug Eddy
Pepijn Le Heux
Priscilla Oppenheimer
Ian Goldberg
Rebecca MacKinnon
Nadia Heninger
Cory Svensson
Alison Macrina
Arturo Filastò
Collin Anderson
Andrew Jones
Eva Blum-Dumontet
Jan Bultmann
Murtaza Hussain
Duncan Bailey
Sarah Harrison
Tom van der Woerdt
Jeroen Massar
Brendan Eich
Joseph Lorenzo Hall
Jean Camp
Joanna Rutkowska
Daira Hopwood
William Gillis
Adrian Short
Bethany Horne
Andrea Forte
Hernán Foffani
Nadim Kobeissi
Jakub Dalek
Rafik Naccache
Nathalie Margi
Asheesh Laroia
Ali Mirjamali
Huong Nguyen
Meerim Ilyas
Timothy Yim
Mallory Knodel
Randy Bush
Zachary Weinberg
Claudio Guarnieri
Steven Zikopoulos
Michael Ceglar
Zachariah Gibbens
Jeremy M. Harmer
Ilias Bartolini
René Pfeiffer
Percy Wegmann
Tim Sammut
Neel Chauhan
Matthew Puckey
Taylor R Campbell
Klaus Layer
Colin Teberg
Jeremy Gillula
Will Scott
Tom Lowenthal
Rishab Nithyanand
Brinly Taylor
Craig Colman-Shepherd
A. Lizard
M. C. McGrath
Ross MacDonald
Esra'a Al Shafei
Gulnara Yunusova
Ben Laurie
Christian Vandrei
Tanja Lange
Markus Kitsinger
Harper Reed
Mark Giannullo
Alyssa Rowan
Daniel Gall
Kathryn Cramer
Camilo Galdos AkA Dedalo
Ralf-Philipp Weinmann
Miod Vallat
Carlotta Negri
Frederic Jacobs
Susan Landau
Jan Weiher
Donald A. Byrd
Jesin A.
Thomas Blanchard
Matthijs Pontier
Rohan Nagel
Cyril Brulebois
Neal Rauhauser
Sonia Ballesteros Rey
Florian Schmitt
Abdoulaye Bah
Simone Basso
Charlie Smith
Steve Engledow
Michael Brennan
Jeffrey Landale
Sophie Toupin
Dana Lane Taylor
Nagy Gabor
Shaf Patel
Augusto Amaral
Robin Molnar
Jesús Cea Avión
praxis journal
Jens Stomber
Noam Roberts
Ken Arroyo Ohori
Brian Kroll
Shawn Newell
Rasmus Vuori
Alexandre Guédon
Seamus Tuohy
Virginia Lange
Nicolas Sera-Leyva
Jonah Silas Sheridan
Ross McElvenny
Aaron Zauner
Christophe Moille
Micah Sherr
Gabriel Rocha
Yael Grauer
Kenneth Freeman
Dennis Winter
justaguy
Lee Azzarello
Zaki Manian
Aaron Turner
Greg Slepak
Ethan Zuckerman
Pasq Gero
Pablo Suárez-Serrato
Kerry Rutherford
Andrés Delgado
Tommy Collison
Dan Luedders
Flávio Amieiro
Ulrike Reinhard
Melissa Anelli
Bryan Fordham
Nate Perkins
Jon Blanchard
Jonathan Proulx
Bunty Saini
Daniel Crowley
Matt Price
Charlie McConnell
Chuck Peters
Ejaz Ahmed
Laura Poitras
Benet Hitchcock
Dave Williams
Jane Avriette
Renata Avila
Sandra Ordonez
David Palma
Andre N Batista
Steve Bellovin
James Renken
Alyzande Renard
Patrick Logan
Rory Byrne
Holly Kilroy
Phillipa Gill
Mirimir
Leah Carey
Josh Steiner
Benjamin Mako Hill
Nick Feamster
Dominic Corriveau
Adrienne Porter Felt
str4d
Allen Gunn
Eric S Johnson
Hanno Wagner
Anders Hansen
Alexandra Stein
Tyler H. Meers
Shumon Huque
James Vasile
Andreas Kinne
Johannes Schilling
Niels ten Oever
David W. Deitch
Dan Wallach
Jon Penney
Starchy Grant
Damon McCoy
David Yip
Adam Fisk
Jon Callas
Aleecia M. McDonald
Marina Brown
Wolfgang Britzl
Chris Jones
Heiko Linke
David Van Horn
Larry Brandt
Matt Blaze
Radek Valasek
skruffy
Galou Gentil
Douglas Perkins
Jude Burger
Myriam Michel
Jillian York
Michalis Polychronakis
SilenceEngaged
Kostas Jakeliunas
Sebastiaan Provost
Sebastian Maryniak
Clytie Siddall
Claudio Agosti
Peter Laur
Maarten Eyskens
Tobias Pulls
Sacha van Geffen
Cory Doctorow
Tom Knoth
Fredrik Julie Andersson
Nighat Dad
Josh L Glenn
Vernon Tang
Jennifer Radloff
Domenico Lupinetti
Martijn Grooten
Rachel Haywire
eliaz
Christoph Maria Sommer
J Duncan
Michael Kennedy Brodhead
Mansour Moufid
Melissa Elliott
Mick Morgan
Brenno de Winter
George Scriban
Ryan Harris
Ricard S. Colorado
Julian Oliver
Sebastian "bastik" G.
Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara
Koen Van Impe
Kevin Gallagher
Sven "DrMcCoy" Hesse
Pavel Schamberger
Phillip M. Pether
Joe P. Lee
Stephanie Hyland
Maya Ganesh
Greg Bonett
Amadou Lamine Badji
Vasil Kolev
Jérémie Zimmermann
Cally Gordon
Hakisho Nukama
Daniel C Howe
Douglas Stebila
Jennifer Rexford
Nayantara Mallesh
Valeria de Paiva
Tim Bulow
Meredith Whittaker
Max Hunter
Maja Lampe
Thomas Ristenpart
Lisa Wright
August Germar
Ronald Deibert
Harlan Lieberman-Berg
Alan L. Stewart
Alexander Muentz
Erin Benson
Carmela Troncoso
David Molnar
Holger Levsen
Peter Grombach
John McIntyre
Lisa Geelan
Antonius Kies
Jörg Kruse
Arnold Top
Vladimir G. Ivanovic
Ahmet A. Sabancı
Henriette Hofmeier
Ethan Heilman
Daniël Verhoeven
Alex Shepard
Max Maass
Ed Agro
Andrew Heist
Patrick McDonald
Lluís Sala
Laurelai Bailey
Ghost
José Manuel Cerqueira Esteves
Fabio Pietrosanti
Cobus Carstens
Harald Lampesberger
Douwe Schmidt
Sascha Meinrath
C. Waters
Bruce Schneier
George Danezis
Claudia Diaz
Kelley Misata
Denise Mangold
Owen Blacker
Zach Wick
Gustavo Gus
Alexander Dietrich
Frank Smyth
Dafne Sabanes Plou
Steve Giovannetti
Grit Hemmelrath
Masashi Crete-Nishihata
Michael Carbone
Amie Stepanovich
Kaustubh Srikanth
arlen
Enrique Piracés
Antoine Beaupré
Daniel Kahn Gillmor
Richard Johnson
Ashok Gupta
Alex Halderman
Brett Solomon
Raegan MacDonald
Joseph Steele
Marie Gutbub
Valeria Betancourt
Konstantin Müller
Emma Persky
Steve Wyshywaniuk
Tara Whalen
Joe Justen
Susan Kentner
Josh King
Juha Nurmi
John Saylor
Jurre van Bergen
Saedu Haiza
Anders Damsgaard
Sadia Afroz
Nat Meysenburg
x3j11
Julian Assange
Skyhighatrist
Dan Staples
Grady Johnson
Matthew Green
Cameron Williams
Roy Johnson
Laura S Potter-Brown
Meredith L. Patterson
Casey Dunham
Raymond Johansen
Kieran Thandi
Jason Gulledge
Matt Weeks
Khalil Sehnaoui
Brennan Novak
Casey Jones
Jesse Victors
Peter DeChristo
Nick Black
Štefan Gurský
Glenn Greenwald
hinterland3r
Russell Handorf
Lisa D Lowe
Harry Halpin
Cooper Quintin
Mark Burdett
Conrad Corpus
Steve Revilak
Nate Shiff
Annie Zaman
Matthew Miller (Fedora Project)
David Fetter
Gabriella Biella Coleman
Ryan Lackey
Peter Clemenko
Serge Egelman
David Robinson
Sasa Savic
James McWilliams
Arrigo Triulzi
Kevin Bowen
Kevin Carson
Sajeeb Bhowmick
Dominik Rehm
William J. Coldwell
Niall Madhoo
Christoph Mayer
Simone Fischer-Hübner
George W. Maschke
Jens Kubieziel
Dan Hanley
Robin Jacks
Zenaan Harkness
Pete Newell
Aaron Michael Johnson
Kitty Hundal
Sabine "Atari-Frosch" Engelhardt
Wilton Gorske
Lukas Lamla
Kat Hanna
Polly Powledge
Sven Guckes
Georgia Bullen
Vladan Joler
Eric Schaefer
Ly Ngoc Quan Ly
Martin Kepplinger
Freddy Martinez
David Haren
Simon Richter
Brighid Burns
Peter Holmelin
Davide Barbato
Neil McKay
Joss Wright
Troy Toman
Morana Miljanovic
Simson Garfinkel
Harry Hochheiser
Malte Dik
Tails project
„nuocu
Kurt Weisman
BlacquePhalcon
Shaikh Rafia
Olivier Brewaeys
Sander Venema
James Murphy
Chris "The Paucie" Pauciello
Syrup-tan
Brad Parfitt
Jerry Whiting
Massachusetts Pirate Party
András Stribik
Alden Page
Juris Vetra
Zooko Wilcox-O'Hearn
Marcel de Groot
Ryan Henry
Joy Lowell
Guilhem Moulin
Werner Jacob
Tansingh S. Partiman
Bryce Alexander Lynch
Robert Guerra
John Tait
Sebastian Urbach
Atro Tossavainen
Alexei Czeskis
Greg Norcie
Greg Metcalfe
Benjamin Chrobot
Lorrie Faith Cranor
Jamie D. Thomas
EJ Infeld
Douglas Edwards
Cody Celine
Ty Bross
Matthew Garrett
Sam P.
Vidar Waagbø
Raoul Unger
Aleksandar Todorović
John Olinda
Graham Perkins
Casa Casanova
James Turnbull
Eric Hogue
Jacobo Nájera
Ben Adida


If you would like to be on this list of signers (please do — you don't have to be a part of Tor to sign on!), please reach us at tor-assistants @ torproject.org.

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This is outstanding. Thank you so much everyone for standing up for what's right, and standing together in solidarity.

Anonymous

I was a victim of such harassment, and the best thing to do is to give as much publicity as possible, to it.

Lluís

As much publicity as possible?

Isn't that just what trolls seek: publicity, attention?

Wouldn't ignoring them completely be the most effective response?

Anonymity can and is targeted at supporting speech.

Threats can and are targeted at silencing speech.

Supporting speech means opposing threats, not opposing anonymity.

https://startpage.com/rth/search

Thanks so much for this Statement.

FYI: I have copied and pasted above a Link to an alleged "Start Page" Request that I have recently started receiving periodically, asking me to enter a CAPTCHA CODE to "verify" who I am...which I now think is "Spoofing" of my particular personal desktop computer, rather than "spoofing" of the Tor Network itself...but in case I am wrong about this, I thought I should alert the Tor Community to this "dynamic"...

(When it first happened, I had to enter a CAPTCHA Code for every single Search I did that day -- which quickly alerted me to the fact that this was "wrong wrong wrong"...I now simply close out my Tor link whenever this happens and/or delete and re-download Tor...)

I am female and the subject of ongoing harrassment -- along with other members of my family -- to the point where I had to physically relocate from one area of the country to another...

Thank you again very much for your Statement...It made my day...

Not all search services will allow anonymous search for forever(Startpage may revolt and start punishing Tor users. Google may temporarily be friendly to Tor searches then start blocking them, Bing may suddenly start becoming friendly to Tor users searching, then it might stop being friendly. http://search.yacy.de/ may now be friendly to Tor. One day they may not.). After you re-download Tor Browser Bundle turn off JavaScript the first thing you do. Having JavaScript on is like "putting your fingers on the site so they can check your fingerprints". Turning off JavaScript doesn't let your fingers leave those fingerprints in the first place.
I can't tell if your solution is a bad idea. Better be safe than sorry, it's a personal choice what you do.

Thank you.

thumbs up!!

Well said!

Well said.

Moral authority of the complaint is really weakened by having specific concern only for the fashionable and politically "correct" categories.

Good point. I think everybody who signed onto it would be happy to expand the set of minorities that it talks about.

I'm really hoping this will turn into a larger group of people talking about the bigger issues -- and to make that work you're right that we're going to have to embrace even more diversity and even more differences.

Pretty sure anon means that you only specifying women and minorities can imply that harassing, say, white men would be acceptable. You should fix the post to say that harassment of anyone, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, is unacceptable. Else you're just going to be a magnet for criticism.

To each fight, its stand. The day white heterosexual male get systematically harassed online we should make the stand. Repeating that same message over and over again isn't such a bad thing.

I am a white male, and one of the people on this support list doxxed my entire family down to SSN and street address!

You have one "Rachel Haywire" aka Rachel Ellen Mendelson listed as one of your supporters. This woman has doxed my entire family, down to social security numbers and street address. And she is currently under investigation for burning (ie deliberate ARSON) the very address she made public threats regarding.

see :

http://rachelhaywireisanarsonist.tumblr.com/

and

http://joostiz.tumblr.com/

In fact, Rachel "Haywire" is one of the most notorious stalkers and online harassers in the entire history of the internet!

Did you just use an antiharassment pledge to harass someone?

You did.

You're exactly the sort of person that this petition is opposed to. Why are you here?

You are right. we should be against any form of harassment (and also supporters of free speech which is no contradiction) - but you are missing the point.
"We know that online harassment is one small piece of the larger struggle that women, people of color, and others face against sexism, racism, homophobia and other bigotry. "
Is there a lot of harassment against women in the scene mentioned? yes
Can we find a lot homophobia ? Yes

Should we therefore stand up again the harassment against say rich heterosexual white men? No

In my opinion we have to fight the struggles of the society that we live in.

The rest we can leave to philosophers and their ivory towers.

And there you fell into the logic trap "*rich* heterosexual white men".

Since when has every hetero white male been rich, successful and generally immune to woes and worries of life?

As I fall into the category of hetero white male, why should I support any initative worded in this way? Almost all organisations, statements, missions and initiatives choose to support "minorities" and expressly not me or mine. In fact any positive selection bias for a minory directly means I'm being targeted.

I've been the subject of extensive bullying and my eldest son experienced some truely horrific cyber-bullying prior to his suicide.

He wasn't gay, female, black, trans, or any other supported minority and guess what? There was little to no support because he wasn't in a minority group; we were treated as if our accident of birth somehow gave us an amazingly ability to simply not be affected due to an offset held "in general by being a hetero-white male".

Either we stand against harassment in its entirety and present truely integrated response that is blind to sexuality, race, gender, and other -isms or you are still perpetuating that we are not all humans together without divide.

"In fact any positive selection bias for a minory directly means I'm being targeted."

If you think that any attempt to help a minority targets you, than you are part of the problem. This isn't a zero sum game.

And you “conveniently” miss the point in your reply by deliberately reinterpreting what was stated in an attempt to prove your own agenda.

It was specifically called out as “positive bias” as the problem and you change this to be “any attempt” in order to discredit the experience and opinion without addressing the underlying issue.

Exhibit a negative bias towards a minority set in any group and it will be quite rightly called out as homophobic, racist, sexist, pick as appropriate; everybody agrees that this is not the “done thing”. To not assist somebody because of their you are creating a negative bias against individuals because of positive bias for a sub-set of the remainder of the population.

The linguistic fallacy committed in your reply leaves you making a heterophobic, sexist, and racist comment, but I’m guessing you either do not see/recognise it or feel its fair game because the poster has identified themselves from a different group to yourself.

Frankly it is frequently a zero sum game or near as damn it year-on-year.

Compasion fatigue, limited charity funding, limited job markets that are forced to meet population demographics, these all lead to zero-sum balances.

Why compound this by making stances supporting only minorities affected by an issue rather than tackling the issue itself?

[ submitted Wednesday 28 January 2015, modified from earlier version originally submitted circa 25 December]

Amen to this finely-worded, highly germane post.

I am sorry about your son and I wish you well.

Let me also point-out that white heterosexual males (at least those who don't apologize for who they are) are not the only category that falls outside of the favor and protection of prevailing politically and socially correct orthodoxy. Homosexuals who reject the entrenched culture and approved positions of the "Gay" or "LGTBQ" community are also met with much hostility, rejection and even vitriol and abuse.

More on this can be found at any number of dissident pro-homoerotic sites on the web. (Many should come-up with a search for the term frot, the safe, egalitarian, dignified, painless form of male homosexual intercourse that is advocated by many such dissidents.)

If you only fight against harassment against certain groups you're not really against harassment. You're for protecting certain groups. And that's a very noble cause and one I personally wish you the best of luck with. But if you think you can fix the specific problem of online harassment by only dealing with it when it affects certain people you'll never really succeed. All you're doing is patching up damage. That's a notable cause but not helping in the long run. Men are harassed the same reason women are. Whites are harassed the same reason Asians, blacks, or any other group is. Because people are assholes. Whatever solution we come up with to stop online harassment needs to work for everybody or it won't really work for anybody.

Tor Developers, you want this blog post to start a discussion of bigger issues than just the particular case of your own developer being harassed. A agree completely. You'll know best how Tor can be exploited for harassment. You can help deal with the technical aspects and those don't discriminate between targets. We can't stop Tor from being used for bad things. But we can help all people defend against them efficiently.

http://chainsawsuit.com/comic/2014/12/08/all-things-considered/

It already does say that. There's nothing to fix.

No it doesn't. Saying "we are against harrassment of women in minorities" IN NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM can be read as "but harrassment of cis white hetero men is fine". Not unless you are an idiot. Being against one thing cannot be read as being for its opposite. This is the kind of petty horseshit that drags discussion down. The English language means things, and if you claim someone supports majority harrassment merely by opposing minority harrassment that says more about you than about the speaker.

So, if I wrote an article about protecting straight, white males, only idiots would call me mysogynistic/racist/homophobic because of it?
Because if you truly believe that, you must think we have a lot of idiots around.

These are young techie libs with lib education that do not have historical fact from before the 1960's when education created scientist and engineers based on facts and rewarded hard work. So do not expect too much just take tech stuff and apply to your own apps. We whites are done in US so follow mideast developments and if and when a safe opening for work/living take it. ISIL wasted any religious connection with the west so there is no Hollywood effec but mideast can be a self-contained commonwealth when religious ISLAM focuses on development instead of self destructive fanatics wasting manpower but the feminist and gay problem is taken care of. Plus some alliance between the Semites is foretold untrusted but still aligned. And orthodox Christian and Jews just pay the unbeliever tax.

Have you met humanity? There are an enormous number of idiots. Truly vast.

Least we forget. True freedom of speech means taking the good with the bad. It means we must hear the voices of those with whom we may not agree. It means we must give everyone a voice to be heard.

Having said and keeping in mind the above, this doesn't mean we must allow those who seek only to denigrate and belittle or threaten a voice to spread their hate. Freedoms come with responsibilities. Anonymity is not a veil to hide behind while seeking to spread hate, fear, abusiveness, intolerance, and fear. It is a means to give a voice to those who want to speak their minds. To speak out from positions of possible retribution for revealing truths that could get people hurt for speaking out on them. It provides a route for making known information we all need.

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety” Benjamin Franklin.

I think this is the crux of the matter concerning anonymity in general and specifically. There is no (or should not be) debate that freedom of speech should be protected vigorously and without restraint.....up to the point that it should also be respective of others rights and be done responsibly. We fear to speak out a lot of times due to the repercussions from those who do not want a particular truth brought to light. Those who abuse this freedom are not worthy of being protected.

LEST we forget

I think everybody who signed onto it would be happy to expand the set of minorities that it talks about. [emphasis mine-anon]

I see, so only "minorities" are worthy of being protected from harrassment or having a stand taken against harrassment of them. Anyone not in a category that enjoys protected minority status is fair game.

That sentence of yours was more revealing than I think you ever even began to realize. (And will remain so regardless of how you may attempt to backpedal from it.)

There is no expression of specific concern only for certain categories, whether fashionable or not, or 'politically correct' or not. The statements made cover everyone, and should be left to stand.

Suck it Gamergate.

Yeah

why? GamerGate is anti harassment and these people also are. Good news for everyone unless you're a horrible person.

You must be living in a fantasy world gamergate was created to harass women lol

If you a truly that ignorant of the topic, it's best not to post until you do some research.

Unfortunately, no. As much as I'd love GamerGate to be the cause of harassment (because that would mean it's a tiny, tiny fringe of the online world that just started last august), no harasser, troll or any other bad people has ever waited until August 2014 to be a bad person.
Anita Sarkeesian has been routinely harassed and threatened since as far back as 2012, two years before GamerGate came to existence. And don't get me wrong it's absolutely awful and I'm glad the Tor community condemns strongly this kind of abuse. But it proves how unrelated to GamerGate these behaviours are.

There certainly is many harassers inside GamerGate, it would be delusional to deny it. But neither is this what GamerGate is about at its core, nor has any of those harassers waited for GamerGate to harass anyone they don't like.

GamerGate is not a harassment campaign. Neither it is a movement "for ethics in video games" to be honest. The best way to describe it is to call them a movement fighting against a far-left community (of indie developers and video games journalists) pushing for radical liberal changes of behaviours in the video games industry. A far-left community which hasn't been absolutely clean either regarding online harassment, by the way.

Stupid people are stupid regardless of the movement they associate with. Regarding online harrasment of women in particular, it was ongoing long before GamerGate started and will continue long after GamerGate dies. That's a sad thing to say, but it's a fact.

"Far-left"? Only in the weird carnival mirror of US-American politics. We here in Europe call that "center".

We here in Europe call it 'centre'!

Disagreed (I'm the Anon who wrote the piece you just answered by the way). I am European, I usually vote for center-left parties (except for the latest EU elections, I voted Pirates), and the people I see GamerGate fighting against are borderline too far-left even for parties such as Die Linke, Parti de Gauche or Podemos. It may be close to the ideas of Vänsterpartiet and/or Feminist Initiativ in Sweden but with more sectarism.

To give you an idea of how unsimilar it is to European center parties, these people (the targets of Gamergate) are also the ones who wrote pieces of news such as “I don’t care if you landed a spacecraft on a comet, your shirt is sexist and ostracizing.” (you may have heard of it - if not : one of the guys in charge of the Rosetta/Philae mission was bullied and shamed to tears by those people for wearing a shirt that depicted women hodling big guns and being arguably scantily clothed).
I have yet to see any center party in Europe shaming a scientist because his shirt was "too sexist". Actually, most European leftist to far-left feminists I know found that - this time - it was going too far. Probably because Europe is less prude and anti-sex than the US are.

Basically, from what I've seen (I've lurked a lot in both "parties" main gathering places), GamerGate is basically a backlash against those radical feminists and their close allies trying to push their agenda in the gaming community. This plus the gaming community having a strong habit of overreacting.
This is not a far-right vs moderate battle, even by European standards. More of a battle between moderately conservatives vs. far-left radicals.

There certainly are many trolls who took part in the movement and harassed women (and men too by the way - Phil Fish and Jonathan McIntosh both have it rough too) : GamerGate gave them visibility and an opportunity. But it's neither the goal nor the majority of the movement. It's just that these kind of despicable people will seek any opportunity to further their despicable actions, as this very blog post we are commenting on unfortunately proves.

The bottom line is that GamerGate is certainly not what the medias depicted (the "misogynists harassers" story is mostly bullsh*t)... nor is it what the GamerGaters claim they are (the "ethics in video games" story is equally bullsh*tty). It's a political battle between two opposed political sides, both claiming their view is the only good video games community, both claiming anyone who disagrees with their side is the "ennemy", and both competing for the title of "biggest victim of harassers from the other side". The difference is that one side has access to the media to have their version of the story covered (as many people of their side are journalists) while the other does not.

"The bottom line is that x is certainly not what the medias depicted" -- I bet we can all agree on that, for pretty much all values of x.

And, with this I'm going to cut off the Gamergate discussions here, since there are other forums for arguing about Gamergate, and while it's related to a bunch of people here deciding and pledging to stop passively ignoring harassment online, I don't see how turning this into a Gamergate discussion is going to help in any way.

In what alternate reality is that true ? The Gamergate bros' whole reason for existence is to harass and intimidate women who speak out against misogyny...

"horrible person" is just a longer way of saying "gamergater"

++ !

Good job guys, you have done a great job, just keep it up.

Don't forget the gals too!

Everything in the world that can be helpful or harmful according to the type of using it . Such as gunpowder, knife and etc

Tor also is not Exceptional Of this rule

human rights defenders use tor As surgeons use knives

intruders use tor as thugs use knives

i like this comment a lot

IMHO too simplistic.
> 300 Mio. firearms will kill people 4 sure.
> 300 Mio. firearms will frighten police which will again kill hundreds of innocents.

But:
1 bn knives aren't a problem.
tor is not a problem -> diligent police investigations can + will find a lot of bad guys + gals

Anybody possessing a knive and anybody using tor = better world
anybody possesing a gun = nightmarie

Simplistic stupid statement.

As a gay man I've been there, gotten hurt, and lived to tell of it. However I will not stand in line to oppose it. We tend to overreact and merely create new victims. It is much harder to speak against overreacting than it is to line up and support an anti-harassment campaign (which in and of itself is not necessary a bad thing if it was purely speech).

Despite having lived through periods of severe harassment (and still to this day other forms of in-direct harassment by the media and the general public- in part due to intentionally malicious perceptions of what is, but is not, and political correctness) I'm more fearful of campaigns to end online harassment than I am of online harassment itself. You can avoid to some degree online harassment. You can't avoid the government putting you in handcuffs.

'Solidarity against online harassment' could mean anything and more often than not it means criminalizing speech. Laws that will be used to quell peoples opinions and hurt them- no victimize them. Governments and those in power lead in harassing behaviors. They target those who object, those who stand out, those who nobody cares about.

We need to think of the victims of the victims-the perpetrators. It might be a honorable effort to fight the harassment, but it will not be without the creation of new victims.

I could see how in some communities one might assume "solidarity against online harassment" would be code for criminalizing speech, but do you really think that is what the people on this list are talking about here? As one of them, I certainly don't.

This statement does have a fair amount of unspoken subtext. I think one purpose of it is to inform some people who are trying to drive a community apart with a gaslighting campaign that they've failed and we're standing together.

I hope that by taking leadership with this statement, the Tor Project will be able to participate in the anti-harassment discussion and maintain a stance against harassment that does not involve curtailing speech, but instead promotes and values respect.

I share your concerns that it is a hard position to take, but I think historically the Tor Project has shown that its involvements in these types of discussions - such as with domestic violence groups, law enforcement, legislators, etc - has yielded positive outcomes, where as withdrawing from those situations seems to cause spiraling misunderstandings and assumptions of bad faith.

I trust the Tor Project to try to do the right thing here, but like you, I hope they will be very careful about it, as they always are.

Appreciate the good intentions, but agree with the original poster and hope this is intended for morale building only.

Accusing TOR of totalitarianism is pretty freaking ironic. And that you interpret people standing up to harassment as censorship and criminalising speech is ridiculous.

Though not as ridiculous as what comes next:

"We need to think of the victims of the victims-the perpetrators."

What the fuck are you smoking? Standing up and saying that harassment isn't okay is hardly overreacting, and it has jack shit to do with government oppression.

Here here.

Standing up to harassment is just what it is: anti harassment. It is supportive of anyone who has been bullied online.

How exactly do you "stand up" to harassment? It's not stated and its not clear to me. While I doubt they're about to call for censorship it's not unheard of for people to contradict or say “that's not what I mean”. You can't say you support freedom of speech and than outlaw pornography- or the right of others to say mean things about you. I don't like the fact people have lied about me- but I still support the right of all people to speak freely.

Given that MOST people who have made these statements would sell out privacy and anonymity for the sake of perceiving additional security it would not be unsurprising to me if others took this statement to mean we should pass legislation that censors- and then they would say- but its not censorship because of x, y, and z. This type of speech is almost always alongside the views of people who would also propose terrible legislation that can / is being used to curtail speech.

Freedom of communications MUST come first at all costs.

Victim is a matter of perspective. We demonize people all the time who have done nothing but react in reasonable ways to unreasonable conditions that society has placed on them.

We're all both victims and perpetrators of taking more than what we can reasonably justify for example given the suffering of others around us (particularly on a world scale). We are selfish. We don't care about the people in prison because we ourselves are not in prison.

I do care, but I'm probably a lone exception. I'm not against reasonable action to protect others. However it can't come at the cost of censoring ANYTHING. That includes speech that some may find to be harassing.

Yell back- don't curtail speech. It only makes things worse.

I agree with some of your points, but I don't agree with your generalisations/characterisations, and your statement that 'freedom of communications MUST come first at all costs' is an endlessly-debated point and not an easy one for you to defend. More importantly, it's a point of view which is not reflected in most of the world's legal systems.

It should go without saying that the internet is not a country, and what happens on it doesn't happen in a law-free environment. Nor will it ever.

I'm not trying to be a dick here (as maybe I'm interpreting the whole thing weirdly), but when terms like:
"We will not accept it."
"... we must also stand up to protect one another from harassment."
"... we will neither tolerate [harassment] in others, nor will we accept it among ourselves."
"We will not tolerate harassment of our people."
... are used it sounds a little like a 'threatening' call to action.

What does "not tolerate" actually mean? That there'll be repercussions for those dishing out the harassment (i.e. harassing the harassers/shaming the shamers)? Or does it mean that "we'll write a list of people who don't support you harassing someone" - which is what it seems to be at the moment.

If the latter (which I think is actually a most appropriate and most kind gesture btw), then it's not so much a matter of "not tolerating" as it is "not supporting" (or conversely, supporting those being harassed).

Admittedly, I might be part of a very small minority that misinterpreted what was written as threatening ("If you harass someone, there will be repercussions!"). My grief comes from the use of the term "not tolerated" as it doesn't really state what this actually means.

Yes, I think "not supported" is a great alternate phrase here.

This statement is meant as a gesture of support and, more, to raise awareness about the issue and try to get all of the neutral people in the middle to be mindful about it when choosing their behavior.

[Edit: after more thinking, I realize I am very wrong with accepting this alternate phrase and should correct myself. The problem with "not supported" is that it allows you to say "this is wrong; I will contribute to fixing it by not participating." And that's exactly the response that's gotten us to this point. Instead, we need to contribute to fixing it *by participating*. That's what this statement is all about (and why it keeps saying "this is a start".]

There's nothing wrong with anything you've said, Arma, it's just people trying to twist it out of shape.

Harassing people is illegal, not just immoral. Stopping harassment has nothing to do with interfering with 'free speech'. Free speech is not for the purpose of interfering with someone else going peacefully about her or his business. In law, and arguably in morals, the right to speak freely doesn't override the right to be unharassed.

Not harassing people is a basic principle of civilised society. We all benefit from having a civilised society, so we should all stand up for it. Elevating 'free speech' above other rights has never created a civilised society.

Dangerous ideology can seep into even the most noble of causes.

Of course it can, but this isn't a cause. Harassment is already illegal and already immoral. These ideas are well established and need to elaboration.

+1 exactly.

i agree nomatter what in life your going deal with idiots but the last thing this community needs is the government getting involved.The past has shown pretty much anything it touches goes to hell.Plus everyone is already losing rights and civil liberties so i think we are all being oppressed in some fashion(NSA)Its time we stand together or we will hang seperate.

I agree entirely. The "community" should strive to support each other, not blacklisting people they distagree with - for two reasons:


1: People who are being harassed usually, and in my experience, need strong friends to show support more than an echo chamber that refuses to recognize individuals


2: These movements creates a theoretical group of people that doesn't exist who are being harassed by another theoretical group of people that doesn't exist. Because of this, these movements ends up neglecting and shunning actual inidividuals who are actually being abused and harassed, especially when the individual's experience does not align with the goals of the movement.


I think the Tor Project should be encouraging people to work together to support each other and stop specific harassers, not starting an anti-bully movement.

It should go without saying that I would support the investigation of serious death threats. In many cases though the serious threats need to be separated from off-the-cuff comments on random message boards.

" In many cases though the serious threats need to be separated from off-the-cuff comments on random message boards."

Who do you think is such an idiot that she cannot tell the difference?

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=death+rape+threats+online

Good blog post, I agree with it.

but stop editing it after people have signed

Thanks!

We're editing it to add names of people as they contact us.

I don't think we've been making other changes.

Where is the link to sign on?

Send an email to tor-assistants @ torproject . org.

Good to see this blog post, you have my support too.

Good call.

I of course support your colleague but in my humble opinion next time you identify an harasser, contact him, warn him and ask for an apologize privately first. And if he doesn't stop then you can out him in public.
I'm not crying over the idiot who got what he deserves but I just think it's good compromise between protecting privacy and preventing abuses.

Just my two cents.

Actually, we're explicitly not calling out specific harassers here. We're calling out the harassment as a whole, as a part of a much bigger problem in our Internet community and in our culture.

It's time for the broader Internet community (and heck, beyond even the Internet) to recognize the abuse and harassment that women in technology experience, and we all need to step up and make sure this sort of abuse stops because our world is poorer when we lose diversity.

Thank you Roger

Actually you specifically called out harassment against women, gay people and minorities. Even leaving aside the issue of only deeming certain groups as being worthy of protection, you haven't defined harassment. It's an impossibly broad term which is used as a call to action for all kinds of measures.

It's not about "only deeming certain groups as being worthy of protection", but that those other groups are already protected. In case you still don't understand this, ponder on why nobody protests for the birds' right to fly.

"those other groups are already protected"

That seems quite mistaken as far as I can tell, so I'll have to ask for your sources regarding this. Thanks.

"In case you still don't understand this, ponder on why nobody protests for the birds' right to fly."

Seems quite unrelated to the issue at hand, so please be less obscure. We're not meditating on koans here.

Straight white men are already protected by the law, and in fact are actively enshrining their right to discriminate into law as we speak (e.g, new "conscience clause" laws permitting denying medical treatment to LGBT people.) They are not under threat. They just see any slight reduction in their dominance as a threat.

The statement goes beyond categories. The whole passage is very clear that it's harassment which is the issue, not the 'category' of the person who is the target of the harassment nor the 'category' of the person doing the harassing.

On your other point, there is no need for the staff here to define harassment because the law already defines it.

Hoo boy. I was with you until the part at the end when you say "the law". There sure are a lot of laws out there, in a variety of jurisdictions, and some of them aren't so great. So I am not eager to rely on what "the law" says when making judgements about how I think the world should be.

Harassment is a social issue, and for online harassment, we the Internet community need to (be the ones to) solve it.

Thanks for broadening the scope, as I was slightly uncomfortable with the sentence "We will not tolerate harassment of our people."

I see why you get there (your starting point was the harassment of one member of the Tor team) but I felt it was a rather weak point (we're against online harassment if and when our clan is affected).

Though your words are still important, thanks a lot - also for the software and whole biotope created by Tor!

Thank goodness! I hope that the community becomes more active in pushing back against some of the lies in the media about people involved with Tor.

Aces.

https://www.sixxs.net/news/2014/#solidarityagainstonlineharassm-1212
--
A recurring annoyance on the Internet is harassment of people who are doing great work on the Internet, typically to benefit the public good.

If you notice harassment or bullying either online or offline, stand up against it and help people out where possible by discussing the problem with them. Bullying and harassment is not acceptable.
--

There is allot of harassment online specially against women even in the tech community it self. Thank you is good to know that the Tor community will not accept it.

and don't forget, this is far bigger than the networking culture. it is deeply embedded in most cultures around the world. so kids, do try this at home. :)

My name is Ross McElvenny, inquired about being added to the list but don't seem to see my name but anyway, I am with you all!

Solidarity!

I stand with everyone that being harrased. Solidarity!

I've sat around a lot of tables and IRC rooms talking about people in
our communities getting harassed and how we can do something about it.

I'm still not sure how, but I think solidarity is a good start. And if
anyone can figure out a solution for this huge and debilitating problem,
I do think the people who participate in the Tor project are capable of
attacking it. Without stiffling speech and without creating new victims. I support anonimity and privacy, and I also support efforts to combat harassment.

Not speaking up against harassment is the privilege of those who have never been targets.

Thank you for giving new support to people who have been silenced, driven from their homes, or made chronically heartsick by rape and death threats; paralyzed, undermined, or destabilized by gas-lighting; discouraged, isolated, or persecuted by wrongful accusations.

You guys are hero!!!!!!!!!

Thank you for doing this. Thinking about how we can all do better, this sentiment resonates with me:

"It's true that we ourselves are far from perfect. Some of us have written thoughtless things about members of our own community, have judged prematurely, or conflated an idea we hated with the person holding it. Therefore, in categorically condemning the urge to harass, we mean categorically: we will neither tolerate it in others, nor will we accept it among ourselves."

I have not experienced it in the Tor community, but I sincerely hope that the (open source) mindset that seems to reward individuals for shaming those folks that are less knowledgeable yet care enough to speak up and engage, is a thing of the past.

We can accomplish so much more by working together.

I regret that the actions of these individuals have come this far, in both having seen some of the specific issue in question, as well having a modicum of awareness of the problems that our colleagues encounter on a daily basis.

If a community is going to be subject to harassment, there is a responsibility of members to support each other and a need to assert a vision of what the community's expectations are. There are certainly people who might not always have had positive influences in their lives displaying a standard what is decent behavior. Tor has a leadership role in the community, people look up to the project and personalities involved. I appreciate that it is exercising its position in a constructive manner.

This is also a moment of reflection for even those who aren't necessarily intolerant to examine their own behavior. I have seen decent people resort to less decent practices in their communications with other members of the community. We could all do well to check ourselves. I view my participation as a commitment for self-examination as much as it is a rejection of another group's nonsense.

Furthermore, when Tor is at times misused by malicious parties for abusive behavior elsewhere, this reaffirms that support for freedom expression does not mean support for violence against others.

I hope this is a first step in a continuing engagement on harassment for Tor and all the signatories of this letter.

In Western countries, Feminism is no longer a movement that struggles for equal rights. Instead, it has become synonymous with misandry and other kinds of hate-mongering.

21st century Feminists are among the most intolerant, hypocritical bullies on the internet. Their complaints about "online harassment" are really nothing but calls for censorship against those who stand up for tolerance and reason against their offensive vitriol.

Women who do care for equal rights are women who oppose feminism and who condemn this biased article as a perfect example of Feminist irony and hypocrisy.

See also http://womenagainstfeminism.tumblr.com/.

The fact that you read this post - which describes a general effort to stand in solidarity against online harassment (most commonly aimed at minorities and women) and nowhere uses the term "feminism" - and thought, "Grrr! Those damn feminists are ruining all the things again!" says a lot about both feminism and your objection to it.

Actually, it mostly says just two things::
1. feminism is intersectional support of different oppressed groups of people, and plans to remedy that oppression
2. you are so not okay with that

How embarrassing for you.

The @torproject did mention feminism. But the post doesn't call for censorship, implicitly or explicitly. Anyone who thinks it does is unfamiliar with Tor Project.

Tags bro. Tags.

The fact that you read this post, and did not read half a centimeter above it to see the aformentioned tags, and then immediately thought "grrr, those damn anti-feminists will find any excuse to hate women", says a lot about your views on anyone who dislikes (western, 3rd-wave) feminism.

How embarrassing. :P

> (most commonly aimed at minorities and women)

[citation needed]

Bless your heart.

Well said.

AMEN

It must be sooo intellectually convenient to read such an article and dismiss it as "yet another feminist rant". No need to work your brain, connect information with each other. Comfy like watching TV:
Did you hear about the spanish gvt trying to prohibit abortion? Do you know why it failed? Social strugle. A feminist fight was led an won.
You have got absolutely no clue what you talk about and wave your prejudices as if you had the theory of relativity in your hands.
I think dee. makes it easy to understand :
"feminism is not one monolithic entity or ideology." Just that could send to oblivion your argument... And it isn't even that hard to understand.
Anyways according to her
"The feminist movement started in the 1920s with the right for women to vote. It got its second wing in the 60s with sexual revolution, and now we're already in the third iteration which actually discredits a lot of the dogma in the first two versions of the movement (like the whole anti-male/female superiority thing and the new-age-bullshit connections). If you think feminism is all about "anti-male propaganda" then you're about 30 years late from the latest developments..."

"Did you hear about the spanish gvt trying to prohibit abortion? Do you know why it failed? Social strugle [sic]. A feminist fight was led an [sic] won."

Ah, yes, of course.

Because, as we all know, if you don't accept an absolute right to rip-out nascent life in the womb, you have to be an evil, anachronistic "misogynist" who is waging "war on women". It's so simple and obvious, isn't it?

Never mind all of the women who oppose abortion. They're all "self-hating" or "unrealized", or they have "internalized centuries of oppressive patriarchy and misogyny", etc. Right?

And you accuse others of being reflexive, simplistic and blinded by "prejudices"?

Meanwhile, what about the increased pressure faced by women and girls, from younger ages than ever, to perform and submit-to acts that are instinctively repulsive to them? (Of course, I speak primarily of anal penetration and fellatio-- acts that also, it must be noted, carry considerable and, in the case of anal penetration, extremely high risk of serious, potentially lethal infection.) Pressure from males who have been incited by a virtually limitless barrage of all manner of pornography and smut; content that goes well-beyond merely objectifying women to subjugating, degrading and humiliating them, often in appallingly brutal ways and even glorifying violence and sadism. Exposure to such corrosive content begins earlier-than-ever and continues throughout the most impressionable and formative years of sexual discovery and development, inevitably exerting a heavy and lasting influence. (The Playboy that thirty-years-ago a thirteen-year-old might only dream of getting his hands-on, looks downright wholesome in comparison to that which, today, a nine-year-old can access with ease.) This is the inexorable reality that the digital age has brought.

What about the ubiquity of advertisements that objectify women as mere sex-objects? On billboards. On buses, subways and taxis. In even the most respected and mainstream web sites and newspapers, magazines and web sites.

How much has been said against of these real threats to and attacks upon women and girls from any of these abortion-mongering, self-declared champions of women?

I disagree. There are some idiots in feminism, as there are idiots everywhere, but you cannot judge a movement by its idiots. I think that feminism is still a very important thing and has nowhere near achieved the goal of equality, even in the western countries.

So, yes, there may be some women (or men) in feminism who may be assholes. But I count myself a feminist, based on the definition of "someone who thinks that women should be treated equally, just like everyone else should be treated equally, regardless of cultural background, skin color, sexual orientation, economic background, country of origin, and so on". And, last time I checked, I did not do any hate-mongering or call for censorship.

I am guilty of judging movements by its idiots as well. The idiots have, in the public eye, taken over gamergate, so now I hate gamergate with a passion, even though there may be some good points somewhere in between all the hate on women and their supporters. I just can't find them. Probably because the only time I checked was on twitter, and that is never a good idea.

So, please, try to stop saying that "feminism is [...] synonymous with misandry and [...] hate-mongering", and I will try to stop saying that gamergate consists only of women-hating idiots (because for all I know, there are sensible people somewhere in there). That way, we can both break out of our respective stigmata. Do we have a deal?

Not the person you're replying to but surely one should lead by example.

If, as you seem to be implying, you are currently saying that these gamergate people are woman-hating idiots because some seem to have issues with feminism why should you expect anyone to listen to you? Be the person you want to see in others.

Best wishes.

Well, that is why I wrote the comment the way I wrote it. I explicitly said that I noticed this about myself, and tried to change the way I am thinking. It is not easy to do so, because you always notice the most outspoken idividuals, which, in the case of gamergate, happen to be the idiots who threaten women with murder and rape for daring to express their opinions (which I would not call "having issues with feminism").

So yes, I may not have the moral high ground, and I never claimed to have it. I said "hey, I can see how you arrived at your conclusion that feminism has become a negative force instead of a positive one (I have seen some idiots among feminists as well), but I think that you are missing the point of feminism". So, I actually was being the person I wanted to see in others: Reflective of my own prejudices and trying to overcome them.

Granted, not having these prejudices is definitely better than having them and being aware of them, but if one spends any time on twitter, it is hard not to develop prejudices one way or another, especially on controversial topics like gamergate and feminism, where the most vocal idiots are often the ones you will see the most (and don't get me started on YouTube comments).

May be you are forgetting the fact that Western countries are not the only countries in the world. There are many countries where female children are killed as soon as they are born (or before they are born) because parents consider them as just burdens, because women don't have equal rights. Internet is not just for some specific countries. Even if you don't think you need feminism, a surprisingly large part of the world still do and please try to educate yourself about that before saying things against feminism.

+1
"Women who work on Tor are targeted, degraded, minimized and endure serious, frightening threats. [....] We know that online harassment is one small piece of the larger struggle that women, people of color, and others face against sexism, racism, homophobia and other bigotry"
=> As a white male, I face bigotry from such a post. I never knew the Tor blog was a hub for misandry. Seriously, why tag this "feminism", and why so much emphasis on harassed women as opposed to harassed men? Why not just "harassed people" all along, with no specifics? Unless by some mysterious ways only women are victims of harassment here?

So how many men have been driven from their homes by threats lately?

YEAS, Against all online harassment together with you ,me and him.

Having edited the Wikipedia articles on the targets of GamerGate (and the GamerGate article itself), the Tor Project's engagement in this vital issue is greatly appreciated.

That wiki article is worthy of Joseph Stalin, but that is beside the point. You might want to look into specific, concerted harassment done against Tor developers by an online publication, which had nothing to do with Gamergate and is what is being referred to in the article "in recent months."

Except they didn't.

This is about harassment and while I can't say I like how the target in this case handled it, I concur with this press release.

I probably wouldn't have seen this if a friend of mine hadn't told me by the way, because none of the people involved in this situation seem to have involvement with Gamergate beyond reuse of material.

Which in turn also means the feminists targeted here most likely aren't part of the "bad ones" who have been antagonizing and outright harassing people for the past three months or so.

(The Wikipedia article you mention is ridiculous. It's more biased than the one on the SJW wiki, of all things. Anyone looking that up should take a good look at the discussion and edit history, and the edit history of the discussion too.)

Hilariously, the KnowYourMeme article about GamerGate is more accurate than Wikipedia.

I wish Tor Project would publish an open letter to stop accepting DoD funding: I might even sign it.

will you sign the check replacing all those funds too?

This is an excellent point. I can't replace all the USG funding, but I can certainly help broaden Tor's donation base with a personal donation.

I've been benefiting from Tor for a while -- thanks for letting me read my email behind the Great Firewall! -- but I have never sent Tor money. I'm fixing that right now.

I'd love to have more funding that didn't come from the US Government.

This is why we make extra sure to be completely open about what we build -- all the development tickets, code, releases, and so on are done in the open.

You might find the discussions and links at
https://blog.torproject.org/blog/transparency-openness-and-our-2013-financials
to be a worthwhile read.

There is nothing wrong with DoD funding. Money is not suddenly tainted because it passed through the hands of a government organization. Now, if the NSA started funding Tor and everyone was all hush-hush about what specifically the money was going to, *that* would be a time to start worrying. But the fact that the DoD is funding it can be easily explained by the other fact that not all of the American government is trying to "destroy privacy". Certainly some very well funded parts are, but others, like the DoD, want some 3rd world countries to have uncensored access to the internet so they can be exposed to western influences. Not only that, but the DoD (and FBI, etc) regularly *use* Tor to protect themselves, not just to track down Tor users. They have a right to stay safe too, they just have the money to contribute to making that a reality.

If Tor Project stops accepting funding from the DoD, that only makes the NSA-and-friends' jobs easier.

This is just amazing. I am so deeply grateful to be a part of a
community that prioritizes feminist solidarity. You folks are bringing
tears to my eyes (I'm a sap but whatever, I'm sincere).

They do not prioritize feminist solidarity. This is about solidarity against online harassment against women *and* all other developers (well, people in general). The blog says women because this incident in question involved a woman, not because they *prioritize* feminism.

Hello folks.. You have all my support.. I support anonymity and free internet. Happy to be a part of such a great community.. Cheers.. Bunty Saini

well said.

This is an important topic that too many people put their heads in the sand over.

I am proud to support the Tor project and to stand against online harassment of any kind.

Gabriel Rocha

Thank you for posting this. I believe this is a step in the right direction for the Tor community.

This is awesome, thank you :)

Thank you for helping people with controversial opinions to be safe and not silenced. It has personally gave me the ability to live my conscience and for that I am grateful to you all and I am sorry that your developers have been harassed by people for some weird reason.

It seems that as the world gets crazier (or more likely its craziness is finally being revealed) I am faced with almost too many choices: what to support, what to protest, what to work for and where to direct my energy and still maintain my humanity and creativity. All I can do is respond in the moment to what is in front of me and distill my focus to some sort of essential core. The reason I signed this petition is that its intent fits into the core of what moves me: human rights, dignity, freedom of expression, privacy, honesty, truth and kindness. Thank you for creating and posting this petition. ...privateonion

Tor Project continues to be at the forefront of internet freedom!

I support the torproject and decry online harrassment of women developers.

I support the torproject and decry online harrassment of all developers.

I support the torproject and decry online harrassment

I support the torproject and decry harrassment.

as a minority i really wish you guys didn't limit and qualify your stand against harassment for only women and minorities. it really weakens your message and serves to silence the many men who suffered hate campaigns from online mobs. it would do everyone good to stop with these kind of BS dividing tactics. don't decry the harassment of women developers and minority tech specialists. decry harassment. period.

as long as the torprojects commitment to free speech remains sounds, ill stand with them against all forms of malicious harassment.

Thanks for your support! It's unfortunate that many people interpreted this posting as being targeted specifically at minorities, and as such, excludes certain groups. This statement is about standing up for those who are being attacked. There is nothing in this statement that intentionally prioritizes one group over another. We are all in this together.

"We have decided to publish this statement to publicly declare our support for her, for every member of our organization, and for every member of our community who experiences this harassment. She is not alone and her experience has catalyzed us to action. This statement is a start."

Full sympathy for you! Thanks for your efforts!

I support this statement, and the Tor project.

Thank you for what you (all) do.

Yeah, stop to women harassment, in all its forms, online and not.

Nik

Fundamental here are the principle of non-aggression, and the right of self-defense.

Mirimir

As a male nerd I experienced much harassment from (of course, mostly WHITE*) females and popular kids at school and have been subject to many frightening threats throughout my teenage years. I recall these females verbally insulting me, stealing and rifling through my personal effects and throwing them around the classrooms, physical attacks against my person (unpleasant poking, prodding, and kicking while i try to learn), reducing me to humiliating tears amongst the large crowds of other pupils. This happen many times, with (old, WHITE*) teachers impassively looking the other way.

(Think of me like Napolean Dynamite, except less funny, more reserved, more bullied, slightly greasy. and having less friends.)

I can now only imagine the horrors that can be perpetuated in this modern interconnected world where these grotesque harrassments can be sent instantly from any place on the earth straight into the victim's Twitter feeds and Facebooks, a cacophony of hateful voices booming across the landscape with no way existing to still their ungodly timbre.

Please I hope you are include the male nerd minority in this campaign. #sociallyretardednerdpower

* it was however 99% white school so this may or may not be statisticall significant

(at this later stage in my life I do sometimes find myself trolling online discussions in an attempt to expell my self hatred to the detriment of others, TOR software being very useful for this, however I like to consider this Just Deserts, karma, those big meanies had it coming, etcetera.)

Signed (too) by Fabio Pietrosanti (naif)

I want facts about this situation. Never blindly support anyone without knowing what happened.

So far we know nothing.

This is a very well-written and powerful statement, and I'm very glad that the Tor community has come out so strong, and specifically saying it's not ok to stand by and let things like this happen.

Haters will not stand.

--Joseph Lorenzo Hall (CDT)

I was a victim of such harassment, and the best thing to do is to give as much publicity as possible, to it.

Lluís

While I applaud the idea, I can't support this statement. We should be supporting a stand against harassment for EVERYONE, and not just because women are being harassed.

This statement is being used to score political points against a specific group of people that are in fact being slandered and harassed for speaking out against a corrupt media. I hope you will consider rewording the statement to include harassment against everyone and not because it concerns "especially women"

With great power comes great responsibility. With anonymity, sadly, often we also get people doing and saying things that they'd never do in person. This isn't about feminism. It's not about games. It's not about research funding. It's about behaving like a grown adult. Speaking anonymously is a mechanism to protect yourself against nation-state harassment (or worse). It's not a free ticket to boorish behavior.

If you've got a beef with any of those things or whatever else, write a blog post, under your real name, and argue your case with precision. There are plenty of sites that will host your work for free, and you, too, can engage in the world of scholarly discourse.

I strongly endorse this blog post and hope others do as well.

- Dan Wallach

Professor, Department of Computer Science
Rice Scholar, Baker Institute for Public Policy
Rice University

Thanks for saying it the way I wished I could've said it!

>With anonymity, sadly, often we also get people doing and saying things that they'd never do in person.
I don't think that's a sad thing at all. People should be given the ability to say things that they otherwise would not feel comfortable doing. In Tor's case, it's a win-win situation. It allows people to avoid censorship, while simultaneously giving people the tools they need to nullify online harassment.

>Speaking anonymously is a mechanism to protect yourself against nation-state harassment (or worse).
That is not entirely true. Speaking anonymously is also about protecting against an adversarial society, one in which your views make you a target for harassment, discrimination, or even physical harm. I have a feeling you would instantly do a 180 if asked if a victim of abuse should have to decry their abuse, using their real name instead of doing so anonymously. Anonymity cannot, and should not, be selectively dealt out only to those that you (or any given social climate's collective opinion) label as victims.

>If you've got a beef with any of those things or whatever else, write a blog post, under your real name, and argue your case with precision.
A world where that can be done under your real name safely is a world where Tor is obsolete. We do not live in such a place yet. The only times at which this would be safe is if the point you are arguing is socially accepted by a critical mass of people.

It is socially acceptable to call a person who is advocating murder for profit despicable and disgusting, but it is not socially acceptable to call a person who is fat (or of a different political view, or a different sexuality, etc) the same. Both of these are harassment, but the average person might not agree because to them, "harassment" is only harassment if it is against a person they align with, and I find that very disappointing. I think that people should be free to say anything to people anonymously, while the "target" should also be free to protect themselves with tools like Tor.

We at Take Back the Tech! are thrilled to see this very powerful statement from Tor and are always happy to partner on related initiatives. Online harassment causes real harm and restricts a variety of rights from freedom of expression to right to work.

For anyone facing online harassment, we have resources on our site: https://www.takebackthetech.net. For developers, we recommend incorporating the Feminist Principles of the Internet into your work in order to create technology and digital spaces that are open, inclusive and equal and that reject violence in all its forms: http://www.genderit.org/articles/feminist-principles-internet

In solidarity,
Take Back the Tech!

Thanks Tor Project, for taking a stand against online harassment! (On top of all the other things you do.)

Click-baiting writers like to portray you as somehow responsible for everything illegal or idiotic that people do over the Tor network. It's not so simple.

This is an important and welcomed step. I stand by the colleagues at the Tor project and I proudly join them in this invitation to improve the space we work in. Let's aim for dialogue instead of harassment, but let's not be shy of calling it out when we come across it.

Best,
Enrique Piracés

Thanks for this public statement. It is good to be explicit about our expectations of basic decency to one another, though it's a bit depressing that these standards aren't obvious for every thinking and feeling person already.

In solidarity,

Daniel Kahn Gillmor (dkg)

Thanks for taking a stand. Online harassment is why we can't have nice things.

It is good to realize not just the victim suffers, but everyone who stands by and does nothing loses. The community loses and society at large loses.

We fully trust the people at Tor and support them in their fight for freedom and and a better world.

- The Greenhost Team -

"Don't feed the trolls" works when they're isolated. But when they become organized mobs and plan malicous harassment campaigns, they feed themselves. Standing up to them and saying 'no', firmly, becomes necessary. Thank you for this.

Thank you for this effort. Online harassment is not being addressed, and the emotional, physical and psychological toll it has on women and sexual minorities is enormous. As a staff at a rapid response grantmaking organization, we are Urgent Action Fund take online harassment very seriously, as women and trans* human rights defenders continue to get attacked online, which further undermines their work.

I literally had to leave Twitter, because the entire platform is just rife with mistreating people who are unhappy with their own bodies, and seeking to match their brain with it.

Personally, I don't recommend Twitter or Facebook for a multitude of other reasons. There is a reason most of my real friends use Diaspora and not Facebook.

Start caring about trans rights, then we'll talk.

we *do* care about trans rights!

I'm proud to see such strong solidarity in our community on this issue.

Folks may be interested in a recently published guide "How to Survive the Internet: Strategies for Staying Safer Online" by Yael Grauer. It discusses some ways of defending oneself against online harassment & targeting, you can find it here:

https://yaelwrites.com/saferonline.pdf

(disclosure: I provided some feedback on an early draft)

Michael

Where was your solidarity when Brendan Eich was being harassed for having the wrong political opinion?

Missing. We have a long way to go in our various communities. That's why it's so important to raise awareness about these issues.

(I am happy to see that Brendan has signed on to our statement.)

A thousand thanks to all Tor staffers for your hard work!

arma's post raises more questions than it answers in my mind, but it is probably not a bad thing to state that you are determined to protect your staff from harassment.

I'm totally with you guys.

We in Tunisia were able to change our lives, lead our revolution and ouste what we once thought an undefeatable dictator using the Internet. With Freedom online, we really changed our destiny, and the destiny of our children as well. We must keep it safe an free.

Rafik.

Thanks for taking an important step to create coalitions who stand in solidarity against online harassment.

As is the case in an offline world, people get harassed because of gender, believes, political affiliation, etc. This is not how we should treat each other and work towards a better and more equal world.

Let's create that better and more equal world.

In solidarity,
Jurre van Bergen

I LOVE YOU TOR guys.

I think that, whether you're talking about online harassment or just how to behave in an academic environment, everyone could use more education about these kinds of issues. What I see in University environments a lot are students who are otherwise good people and just aren't aware of their own nature, and other students who think the behavior is specifically targeted at them and not a general problem that the more aggressive student has. For example, male students tend to talk over female students who are, e.g., giving a talk. I've seen it a hundred times where a female student is giving a presentation and a male student interrupts, then another male student jumps in, and suddenly it's a discussion amongst the male students and the female student is standing there wondering whether she'll be allowed to speak again. I just try to: (1) educate the more aggressive students that they may not realize they're doing it, but they are; (2) keep it in my mind, since I have the exact same tendency and sometimes don't catch myself; and, (3) let the speaker know that others not letting them speak is a general problem that they should be aware of and that other students have faced, too.

My point is that education is needed all around. We need to educate people who are prone to harassing behavior about what they're doing, we need to educate people like me that are well-meaning but not as sensitive to these issues as we should be, and we need to educate people that may become targets that---while the specific instance of harassment is specific to them---the problem is a general one that a lot of people face.

Jed Crandall
Associate Professor, Dept. of Computer Science
University of New Mexico

ty Jed Crandall
I totally agree.

I've often wished that civics courses (with a strong helping of ethical philosophy and topical cybersafety) were standard fare in US high schools. The problem is that parents (and school boards) tend to react badly when their child reports that their teacher asked them to read... almost anything a teacher might assign for a classroom discussion about ethical philosophy.

Its all very well making wonderful statements that everyone can agree with. However I don't see anything in the way of solutions being presented. And, let's face it, technology like Tor is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it makes it harder for internet bullies to locate you and a curse because it makes it harder for victims of internet bullying to identify them!

I can't help feeling that this statement is somewhat defensive given that Tor technology does make it much easier to bully people anonymously. I have no idea how you are going to prevent internet bullying at the same time as making it harder to trace or identify any of the people doing the actual bullying.

So, whereas I like the sentiment of this message, I am skeptical about what can be done to remedy the situation.

Calls for solidarity must always be called into question. Allowing a respected body to act on behalf of its community to inform them how they should be behaving is inherently a call for centralized control regardless of good intentions. This is the case here, and I find the support for this move a sign that skepticism towards authoritarian language is dwindling.

"Harassment" is a nebulous and poorly defined term. Unless you can cite a clearly written and objective law agreed upon by consensus as to what harassment truly is, saying you stand in solidarity against "online harassment" is a defacto endorsement of censorship. As an example, I have seen "harassment" being used to describe any form of contact between parties on a public forum. One can argue this is an extreme outlier but only after "harassment" is clearly defined.

Your article here creates a false equivalency between real word abuse and online "harassment". A person suffering from abuse in the real world often has bodily harm and emotional distress which is unavoidable. Online harassment, in of itself, never has bodily harm and the emotional distress is almost always avoidable by not engaging with toxic individuals. The comparison portrays a skewed version of reality in order to emotionally appeal to the audience to stop them from questioning your statements.

The sexism card is also on the table in full display. Their is a common belief that women online receive more harassment and/or receive worse harassment than then men. There has been no peer-reviewed rigorously provided body of studies confirming this to be reality. Without a source to back up the assertion, it is meaningless. Further, would it not be better these measurements are being done to prevent all harassment regardless of one's identity?

Most troubling is the line "Further, we will no longer hold back out of fear or uncertainty from an opportunity to defend a member of our community online." which implies a guilt-before-innocence mentality. If someone comes to you claiming they are being harassed, would you blindly believe them and act on their behalf to take punitive or legal action against the accused? Such an attitude will lead to false flags and will promote an environment of abuse from those trying to prevent it.

Very well said.

I do wish to point out though that, at least as far as I've heard, the Tor Project member who was being harrassed was being harrassed in a more serious way than normal, troll-tier "internet harrassment". From what I've heard, it could have been an organized effort, much the way arma or ioerror has been harrassed before moving to Germany (I don't remember which one it was). I could be totally wrong, but that's what I've heard.

"at least as far as I've heard"
"From what I've heard,"
"that's what I've heard."

Why should anyone have to rely on such hearsay?

Why is the post completely devoid of any information or facts of what actually happened in the case in question that is being called "harassment"?

Does this not concern you?

Ah, the old "more study is needed" delaying tactic.

"Ah, the old "more study is needed" delaying tactic."

Yes! Much better to just accept any and every claim, allegation and accusation at face value, without any scrutiny. As long as the crime or sin that is alleged to have been committed supports the correct narrative, confirms the correct biases and furthers the correct agenda, then there is no need to demand facts, evidence or proof, is there?

Worked really well in the case of the University of Virginia rape tale, didn't it? (That being only the latest well-known example of such libels, hoaxes and fabrications).

Glad to see I wasn't the only one who noticed the conspicuous absence of any description whatsoever of what actually occurred that is being described as "harassment". Incredibly, I could not find even the vaguest description anywhere in the post. Without this, we simply cannot know what actually happened and whether or not the characterization of it as "harassment" is reasonable and justified.

[NOTE: I first submitted the below post on or around December 25th, 2014. Since then, other new comments have appeared while both this one of mine as well as several similar ones have not. In my experience, this is entirely uncharacteristic behavior for this blog; in the time I have been submitting comments to this blog, the overwhelming majority of them have appeared, usually not long after my submitting them. It is difficult to imagine how comments such as the above one of mine and the similar ones I cited could be considered inappropriate or off-topic in any way. In fact, MANY of the comments of mine that WERE approved over the now-years that I've been participating here stuck to the topic-at-hand far less than the above one. Thus, it baffles the mind as to why the one above and the similar ones that I first submitted on or around this past December 25th would not be approved.]

Thank you to Tor for speaking out publicly against this kind of abuse and harassment.

Thank you for taking an unequivocal stance against harassment, and for committing to contribute to the larger conversation. -Yael

To Mr. Crandall: what female researchers ask is a basic working environment rights. Justifying it by saying male don't notice it is just an excuse for undermining the problem. Also, postponing finding solutions for it.

I didn't intend to make excuses or postpone finding solutions. The point I was trying to make is that if you ask most males "Do you do things that are inappropriate w.r.t. to how you treat female students/researchers in your field" many will (thinking they're being honest) answer "no" when the true answer should be "yes". If we were all a little more sensitive to these issues and understood our own role in them better then finding solutions will be easier.

Jed

He didn't justify or attempt to justify it. On the contrary, he very clearly stated that it was unjustified and unjustifiable.

Thank you to *everyone* @ Tor.

Signed in solidarity!

It is sad that in the year 2014 we still need to deal with this shit.

Absolutely well said. I'm so proud to support a project that has these ideals and helps provide protection to online abuse/harassment. Just one of many solid uses and benefits of using Tor.

Many thanks to all Tor staffers for your hard work!

Against online harassment .Solidarity!

Jinping xi !!!!

What about those evil entities such as Cloudfare and Google who continue to harass Tor users?

Yes, this is indeed a big issue that needs attention too.

But it's a different issue. It's in large part one of education, since the particular engineers at these two companies who handle abuse don't understand the value of privacy and don't understand how pervasive Tor use has become in recent years. And it's also a technical problem, because we (the privacy research community) still need to work on better technical approaches that these sites can use to handle abuse while still allowing privacy for their users.

For much more on this topic, check out
https://blog.torproject.org/blog/call-arms-helping-internet-services-accept-anonymous-users

arma: What you have written here suggests that you do not agree with the commentor's characterization of the companies-in-question as "evil".

Shouldn't you have stated as much?

I have been following the Tor project for a very long time now, and I want to make it crystal clear: I stand with you.

Good post and it's nice to see the name list growing, but I wonder about the inclusion of obvious pseudonyms and submissions from anons. For example, I could have created a post saying, "Please add my name, Roger Dingledine, to the list."

I guess that the worst that could happen is someone is placed on the list that doesn't want to be on, or a pseudonym is on that is then used somewhere online to harass. Is the point of signing the post supposed to be showing that there are real people who are willing to work towards the goal?

i salute you what you have done

It was about time we started to act about this issue. Great initiative

I'm a co-founder of AntiPolygraph.org, a non-profit, public-interest website. I literally depend on Tor daily and am deeply grateful for the hard work of everyone at the Tor Project.

I deplore the harassment campaign directed against Tor developer Andrea Shepard and wish to publicly express my solidarity.

George W. Maschke
AntiPolygraph.org

Raising awareness is generally good.
What does it mean to "not tolerate harassment"?
Especially in a Tor context, might it mean for example that the answer to (anonymous) bad speech is a flood of (anonymous or not) counterarguments and support? Or is there a backdoor being considered to trace harassing users?

This is excellent. Thank you so much.

in addition to it's privacy enabling, tor is also helpful for advancing human rights. so this statement against harassment fits easily within that human rights work.

some people are just so miserable they can't see it benefits all internet users to be against harassment.

keep up the good work!

Freedom for all. Peace. :)

Thank you for highlighting this issue. I condemn all forms of of harassment, on-line or otherwise. The right to anonymity and free speech does not confer a right to harass, insult or otherwise maltreat any other person.

I am proud to add my voice in support.

Mick Morgan

Am I the only one who had hoped that Tor would refrain from making any political/social justice/otherwise biased statements?
I honestly expected a complete neutrality towards any internet activity from the project that claims support for internet freedom.
As much as I'm against any harassment, this blog entry did strike me as dissapointing.

I think part of this discussion is about exactly this question: how much should Tor focus on just writing code that enables other people to do things to make the world better, vs how much should Tor use its reputation and context to make the world better in other ways. There are no perfect answers here, but I think we're setting some more data points as we move forward with blog posts like this one.

This is about writing code too though - namely, I don't get much written when I'm totally disabled by depression caused by this sort of thing.

To athena and everyone,

Let's begin our solidarity journey together as Earth beings if you will...

[ http://peta.org/ ]

[ True History of America - Part 1 (1666-1840): The Curse against the Patriots
http://blog.ucadia.com/search?q=america ]

[ Restoring the Divine Feminine (Part 1)
http://blog.ucadia.com/2014/11/restoring-divine-feminine-part-1.html ]

[ The Law of One ]
http://www.lawofone.info/results.php?s=Intro

In full support of everyone in tor on both sides for and against this message. I urge you all to visit the above as your intuition guides you.

Together we shall and must eradicate harrasment to ANYONE ANYWHERE in this Universe.

In Love,
imu.

p.s. athena, please continue coding. We need you!

Thank you arma for starting this dialogue.

For me, it is less about striking a balance between the two than integrating them--they comprise a virtuous circle.

Some Tor people articulate to the world the stakes we all face with mass surveillance; others at Tor build tools that allow privacy online. Some do both.

When millions of people are willing to give away their rights because they "have nothing to hide," Tor people publicly discuss the implications of this view on a free society and send a message that mass surveillance is not normal or inevitable and it can and must be stopped.

Just as importantly, Tor doesn't just talk about the problem--it helps to fix the problem.

Another organization might put out white papers all day long or make software unconnected to the real life risks of users. Many do. Not Tor.

That's the first thing I liked about Tor. They see the problem deeply--they talk to human rights activists every day, for instance---and they are literally, hands-on, working to fix it. Powerful and inspiring. - Katie

In addition to finding the magic line between "producing and supporting anonymity-enabling software" vs "trying to improve the world is other ways", it's important to realize that this statement is signed by individuals. Yes, The Tor Project stands behind this message, but the individual who signed it (some employees, some contractors, many volunteers, most supporters of the project) are the ones who are making a statement against harassment and who are unwilling to tolerate it anymore.

Tor, itself, is already very political, but for other reasons. This statement simply adds to the discomfort oppressors associate with Tor.

An Open Letter in Solidarity

History is not a smooth continuum of a move from prejudice to tolerance. If anything, to borrow a term from our discipline, history is a process of simulated annealing. We are constantly in search of a better local maxima for ourselves, our communities, and our countries. Discrimination is nothing new. Harassment is a familiar condition. Bigotry is hardly novel. But I contend that humanity –is- improving.

What is new are the ways in which the emergence of a world-wide online community has enabled discussion, both for and against these old evils. I am pleased to see that for every voice that has come out in support of the old order, the hegemonic misogyny and racism so casual about itself that it fails to even understand the meaning of those words, there have been voices raised in opposition.

Community leaders, scholars, religious leaders, politicians, social workers, activists, and more have taken a step forward to be heard. They tell stories about life now and about how life could be, and they bring the perspective of those marginalized into the open. In this way, we hear about life for persons of color, for women, for GLBT members of our communities. Many of the voices come from these people, but many come from those who enjoy society’s more privileged statuses.

We are witnessing the backlash to the bravery of all of these voices. Hatred fights back to cling to its old notions of power. Gamergate, police violence against people of color, transphobia, the institutionalized denial of equal rights to millions of our citizens because they don’t conform – all of these are real. When vested in politics, hatred can be surprisingly clinical. When it takes the form of online death threats, street harassment, and police brutality, it is visceral, ugly, and often, all too effective.

I do not speak for the whole of my community – I cannot pretend to have that kind of authority to substitute my voice for the voices of those whose departures from society’s idea of ‘the norm’ are so much more visible and public. I do not face a daily struggle in light of my differences. But I will put my voice together with the voices of those who are fighting this struggle. I refuse to ignore the conflict, I refuse to pretend it does not exist, and I refuse to think I have no power to affect it. My colleagues, my students, and my community will know that I stand in support of those who have no choice but to participate, by virtue of society’s ill-conceived notions.

Most recently, I came across this page in support of its contributors, some of whom have been harassed online simply because they had the audacity to be female, in tech, and participating in a project that already draws a lot of controversy. I have met both Roger and Nick at talks before – although I know neither of them personally. I’m not acquainted with the other members of the TOR community personally, but I have no reason to think them any less –persons- for that. They, and all other people, deserve a minimum standard of human rights, respect, and empowerment.

To all those who would oppose that, I have a simple message: You will not win this fight. The world will not allow it. If you want to remain in ignorance, you have every right to, but when you inflict your ugly ignorance on others, we will resist you.

Sincerely,
J Duncan
Informatics
Indiana University

A good post. I would sign this petition. However, I find the tag feminism misleading. In my opinion it looks like men were to blame for most of the harassment on the web. So I cannot sign this statement.

I agree harassment is not a constructive way to resolve value differences and it shows the value of the offender. Thanks to all of the TOR project staff and volunteers for their great work.

There's more discussion of the 'feminism' tag over on the tor-talk list:
https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-talk/2014-December/035960.html

The bullying and sly misrepresentation designed to raise armies of trolls against Tor developers is only the latest in a pattern.

There's a longish history over the last few years of bullying, aggressive baiting misrepresentation, implicit apologia for state power, and general noxiousness on the part of Mark Ames, Paul Carr, and Yasha Levine.

I first saw them attack IP abolitionists. Then they went after libertarians. Then they went after anarchists. Now they're coming after the entire hacker community.

For years, I have advocated using one's real name on the Internet except when there is a very good reason for a pseudonym or to be anonymous. Also, for year or so, I had a Tor node on one of my computers.

My reason for advocating transparency in how we represent ourselves is that the lack of transparency allows people to behave worse than they otherwise would. But being visible is not always wise.

Sometimes, to say what needs to be said or to publish what needs to be read, we must conceal our names, our identities, our habits, or locations. Tor is a key tool that allows for Internet freedoms in an increasingly repressive era.

While the Internet is an unprecedented means of expression and communication, it is also a giant failed social experiment. Harassment has become one of the dominant modes of Internet behavior.

Tools like Tor, while necessary for the protection of our freedom of expression, can be used in the service of harassment.

Please respect these tools for what they are: tools that allow ordinary people to resist repression. The best way to encourage respect for these vital tools is to call for a change in social norms such that mobbing, harassment, cyberbullying and such are clearly no longer acceptable.

Harassment poisons schools, organizations, communities, politics. There is no ideological difference too small for someone to decide you need to be purged and use harassment to accomplish it. The collateral damage to our culture and our organizations is huge.

Let us rise above the practice of harassment and learn to do better.

I had intended to sign my name to the comment which begins "For years, I have advocated using one's real name" and was amused when my comment came through as "anonymous".

Kathryn Cramer

If a community is going to be subject to harassment, there is a responsibility of members to support each other and a need to assert a vision of what the community's expectations are. There are certainly people who might not always have had positive influences in their lives displaying a standard what is decent behavior. Tor has a leadership role in the community, people look up to the project and personalities involved. I appreciate that it is exercising its position in a constructive manner.

This is also a moment of reflection for even those who aren't necessarily intolerant to examine their own behavior. I have seen decent people resort to less decent practices in their communications with other members of the community. We could all do well to check ourselves. Tor is heavily moderating these comments. Only propaganda gets through. I view my participation as a commitment for self-examination as much as it is a rejection of another group's nonsense.

Furthermore, when Tor is at times misused by malicious parties for abusive behavior elsewhere, this reaffirms that support for freedom expression does not mean support for violence against others.

I hope this is a first step in a continuing engagement on harassment for Tor and all the signatories of this letter.

I think that you do a great job, thank you! @clafrisa

I support this 100% because why should people hide in fear on the Internet just because people can be anonymous and say such terrible unjustified things to other people. The Internet's suppose to bring people together, not tear them apart.

Speaking out against harassment, online harassment in this case is important. I'm not certain, but I hope it is alright to assume that those who have said that (online) harassment of females is to be spoken out against would also say that (online) harassment against anyone, anywhere is to be spoken out against.

I had problems with how some things in the statement are put, including their order and the reason why the statement has been made in the first place.

Anyway, I put my name under it. The issue is important. It's a social issue.

Simply put, I oppose harassment against people!

--
Sebastian "bastik" G.

Reading through these comments, there have been several people asking what solidarity in this context exactly means. To me, solidarity means that you will use your own voice, and whatever specific inter-personal opportunities that you may have, to state that certain behavior is not accepted.

I challenge myself, and I challenge all of you to speak up against harassment by whatever means you can, whenever you see it.

I'll wrap this up with something I think Jake said, "You should use your privilege to help other people." I'm sure if we all think hard enough, we can find the ways in our lives that we are privileged and use that privilege improve the lives and treatment of others.

Mark Giannullo

I see the names of personal heroes like Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Julian Assange, Cory Doctorow and Bruce Schneier...if they are on board, then so am I. Solidarity through privacy!

I would like to thank the Tor developers for all the hard work they do for us, and hope that they continue to do so for a long time to come.

This kind of harassment of those who would help us be safer, more secure, in this modern era of state surveillance is wholly unacceptable. Which is why this is a good idea - a public statement of "Fuck off mate, harassing tor devs ain't cool.".

Keep up the good work.

So basically you are willing to protect every harassing party on the planet, but when it happens to one of your own all of a sudden you are jumping on the sjw bandwagon. Predictable but still kind of ironic.

There's a difference between the technical protections that Tor provides -- which we are absolute on maintaining for all because it's the only way to provide it for the people who need it -- and how we wish people behaved in the world.

In particular, this statement is not about removing protection from certain parties. It's about how we're now planning to stand up and participate and discuss and engage with the topic of harassment and not stand quietly by, hoping somebody else will deal with it.

The answer to bad speech is more speech.

I'm glad tor is here to protect online privacy.

That´s it. Tor is a part of civil liberty I can`t imagine to miss it sometime.

Does giving your real name not kind of defeat the purpose of Tor?

Sincerely

John and Jane Doe

Hm? No, not necessarily.

First: The purpose of Tor isn't to make everybody anonymous everywhere. It is to let you choose when and how to reveal information about yourself.

Second: anonymity isn't just about hiding from your destination. Read "part one" in the discussion of Facebook and Tor:
https://blog.torproject.org/blog/facebook-hidden-services-and-https-certs

It seems as though readers are taking a stand against on-line "harassment" without knowing even the smallest details about this particular harassment series of events: IMHO a few details of the events of harassment should be expressed before people sign on to voice solidarity against it.

I can see why you might say this, but I disagree about the right strategy.

See my comment up above for the same discussion:
https://blog.torproject.org/blog/solidarity-against-online-harassment#comment-82271

I'll personally take the opportunity and will take some time to self-reflect my own actions. It doesn't even take long. Thanks.

Thank you for starting this new trend of an old Internet tradition of dealing with and confronting online abuse. This is not a gender issue, even if more women are harassed online (and I'm not sure that is the case). It's a people issue and an ethical issue. Looking forward to seeing this motion develop!

https://corruptionandthecorrupt.wordpress.com/2014/05/26/cyberharassment-exploring-solutions/

Much ♥

Kitty Hundal

Exactly.

I see two questions:

- Do you support the general goals of the Tor Project?
- If you do, are there cultural changes that one can make that lead to more constructive outcomes for the project?

I'm pretty sure sustained harassment of individual developers isn't constructive, and doesn't lead to better outcomes for the Tor Project. So let's create a cultural norm where that doesn't happen.

Thank you to Tor for standing up to this online abuse. Freedom of speech and the right to privacy are fundamental civil liberties. But using "freedom of speech" and "privacy" as a shield to hide behind and a licence to harass others and destroy their reputations is the exact opposite of civil liberty - it is despicable and cowardly and must be confronted.

I abhor the harassment of anyone involved with the creation or running of Tor, and I don't do it along sexist lines. Harassment is harassment... period. However, having read the comments, some posters seem to be of the opinion that they can use the primary subject to further their own moralistic judgments. That worries me. So can we stick to the primary objective and not muddy the waters with 'free speech' and 'civil liberties'. Those are interpretable... harassment is not.

Those who actually work in and write about civil liberties and free speech would be rather shocked to find out that the definition and confines of "harassment" are not interpretable.

I think Roger summarized it well on the tor-talk thread: Anonymity can and is targeted at supporting speech. Threats can and are targeted at silencing speech.

Thanks Tor for taking this stand and bringing attention to these issues. We at Aspiration are in full solidarity.
gunner

So how do you plan on precluding Internet harassment without censoring anybody?

I understand that the identities of various individuals have been tied up one way or the other in this debacle. And that makes it all the more difficult to resolve this debacle cleanly.

Arma - I implore you to think of the voices who have been intimidated into silence. There has been a substantial amount of SWATing and blackmailing and jobs lost due to falsified claims of pedophilia/drug use/violent behavior being phoned in. Much of this harassment with real world consequences has been solely against one side of the 4 month long drama. And it's the side that has gotten the least amount of opportunity to speak their side.

I implore you - please investigate for yourself the claims that have been made. Please investigate the harassment that your coworker stated to you. There has been a contingent of trolls intent on harassing individuals in the tech industry while posing as a member of the video gaming community in order to inflame passions even more.

I am so exhausted....4 months trying to find a way to get across that video gamers are not at war with feminism and no one wants to hear it. It's just trolls sending gore pics and death threats to each side while pretending to be the other. It's the primary reason this debacle has lasted for so long.

I truly am sorry for you having to put up with this sort of thing - It is wrong!

The terribly ironic thing is that I use TOR often because I too get harassed. Usually for defending those who are getting harassed. So I know the feeling as I have several times been the subject of concerted attacks. It is the mob mentality and aided by anonymity.

You end up bitter and with a very low opinion of humanity.

Censorship is wrong when it is only a matter of free speech, but when it is preventing others from their free speech, or being used to intentionally hurt others, then censorship is a necessary evil. I do not say that lightly either, but it is the result of the only debate I ever lost. I supported free speech in that debate, and free access to the sum of all human knowledge. I thought this was a good ideal, but lost when I was asked if that meant did I believe in free access to bomb-making knowledge and child porn for anyone who wants it? Of course I did not believe in that and so I had to concede defeat. Free access for all, to everything is a great ideal, but not practical sadly. So censorship is a necessary evil and TOR needs to protect it's helpers.

I realize I am not "in the loop" here, but WHY would anyone want to harass anyone who was working to help us anyway? Are their misogynistic feelings so strong that they want to hurt something like TOR, or do they consider they do not need TOR as they are such l33t haxors and can used hacked accounts, etc?

It's Tor, not TOR.

Anyways, I strongly disagree with some of the things you've said, regarding censorship being necessary.

>being used to intentionally hurt others, then censorship is a necessary evil.
Censorship is not a necessary evil when all "intentionally hurt" involves someone being a douche on the internet. Plus, what one person calls harrassment, another person called confrontation. I do not wish to censor you, even though some of the things you have said are rude, and downright dangerous.

>I do not say that lightly either, but it is the result of the only debate I ever lost.
Heh.

If you supported free speech in a debate, then someone came up with the obligatory argument "what if someone uses it for evil?", and then you buckle, you must not have been in many serious debates before, have you? "Greater good" is a thing, you know.

>I thought this was a good ideal, but lost when I was asked if that meant did I believe in free access to bomb-making knowledge and child porn for anyone who wants it?
Free speech is black or white. You either give it to everyone, or risk it being lost for everyone. It's also not nearly as simplistic as you make it out to be. Bomb-making information can be sought out for a wide variety of reasons, not all malicious. For example, learning how to stay safe around explosives, or even how to detect/disarm explosives. There is no way whatsoever to selectively censor people who look for information on pyrotechnics who plan to use it for "evil" purposes, yet simultaneously allow access to those who have a benign motive. The same goes for child porn. What is child porn in one country is legal in another. The overwhelming majority of what goes for child porn online is jailbait, nudist beaches, and public sexting, all of which do not need to involve abuse. Child porn involving rape is comparatively quite rare. Furthermore, far more children have been removed from dangerous homes because people failed to censor (real) child porn, simply due to people noticing it, reporting it, and recognizing the victim. Censoring mere evidence (as well as censoring massive collateral) is not the answer. The same applies to censoring information that has the potential to be used dangerously. Now of course, I wish the world was perfect, where children do not get abused, and bombs are never used for evil, but that is not possible, so we must make a choice for the greater good.

“The true test of someone who claims to believe in Freedom of Speech is whether they tolerate speech which they disagree with, or even find disgusting.”
- The Freenet Project

>WHY would anyone want to harass anyone who was working to help us anyway? Are their misogynistic feelings so strong that they want to hurt something like TOR
I believe the harrassment was not because of "misogynistic feelings" (which are actually quite rare). It's very possible that this is an attack on Tor developers, and the attackers are using sexism as a tool, not as a motivation. In the real world, people tend not to attack random female devs because they have "misogynistic feelings", unless you consider bored trolls who just want a reaction.

>It's Tor, not TOR.
Yes, according to Tor, but in another post I pointed out that as an English major it always appears as TOR in my mind as that is what I was taught was the correct form for an acronym.

>Anyways, I strongly disagree with some of the things you've said, regarding censorship being necessary.

And I strongly disagree with yours sadly.

>Censorship is not a necessary evil when all "intentionally hurt" involves someone being a douche on the internet. Plus, what one person calls harrassment, another person called confrontation. I do not wish to censor you, even though some of the things you have said are rude, and downright dangerous.

Respectfully disagree entirely. Confrontation is about challenging someone's beliefs, harassment is about insults, degrading, etc the person. You have just proved my point in doing this.

>>I do not say that lightly either, but it is the result of the only debate I ever lost.
>Heh.

Thank you! That childish comment proves to everyone you are trolling and so can be ignored from here on.

Point by point rebuttal of your post does not continue, as we know now that you are only trolling. Perhaps because I stand up for others you are wishing to take me on also? Another sign of your immaturity-Picking unnecessary fights to apparently prove something to others about oneself. You have certainly proved a lot; to many with your post.

I do not believe in total free speech, there must be some constraints in a civilized and safe society. That was the point I was trying to make about having to concede in that debate. Play tautological games, and define you own description for freer speech than we have now, but not without some control of the most gross and crass. Those are my beliefs and is there a fault in my logic? Calling for someone to be harmed is not acceptable as "free speech" for most people, myself included.

>>Heh.
>Thank you! That childish comment proves to everyone you are trolling and so can be ignored from here on.
Well, that's convenient. You can't rebut their arguments, so you say they're trolling (because they used the word "heh", so you must have been pretty desperate to find a reason), and end it there.
(not the guy who made the original reply.)

I think you just lost another debate.

"but lost when I was asked if that meant did I believe in free access to bomb-making knowledge"
yes well check this out: http://cryptome.org/tm-31-210.htm

Good post, but just to be clear, people should still be free to say whatever the hell they want, including what is hateful and abusive. It may be wrong, but they should be free to, right?
Otherwise I am worried.

And we should be free not to listen if we don't want to. That's where harassment crosses the line.

Yes, people should be free to say whatever they want.

But those attacked should also be free to respond proportionately.

What do you think, Tor Project is going to build a harassment filter to keep assholes off the internet? :) Obviously not.

The harassers in this instance have been trying very hard for months to turn members of a community against eachother, and this statement of solidarity is letting them know they've utterly failed.

Thank you for being unequivocal.

If we're going to create and grow an Internet that supports humans, it must provide room and safe space for discourses beyond white western men and their xboxes.

As important as any net neutrality reform, as important as any technical move that better preserves privacy, is a move toward self-examination and the creation of caring social structures that support, attend to, and amplify diverse, respectful discourse -- judging the success of our technology not by its theoretical elegance of profitability, but by its impact on the lives of those who use it.

Thank you for having your colleague's back, my back, and the backs of my sisters, my brothers, and my friends. Human decency is the coolest. Please let me know how I can lend a hand to make this go big.

Meredith Whittaker
Open Source Research Lead, Google

Thank you to the entire Tor Project for your hard work, and for standing together against the kind of abuse your colleague was subjected to. I'm proud to join the great names on the list above and speak out in solidarity.

Yours,
Mansour Moufid

I would be happy to add my name to this statement. I like the focus on endorsing free speech, while not considering that speech is inconsequential in its potential to do harm (and without calling for curtaining of speech itself as a solution). Similarly, while no one should be the subject of state sanction for mere speech, it does not mean they should be not judged by others for what they say, or given platforms to promote abusive speech.

I am committed to building privacy-friendly and abuse resistant technologies, and would be happy to help others interested in such projects.

George Danezis (UCL)

I think that

* the post by arma (Roger Dingledine) and the discussion on this page

* the related thread on tor-talk
https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-talk/2014-December/035923.htm

make much more sense if you first read

* an article by Yasha Levine which appeared on Pando in July 2014, which somehow got everything completely backwards
http://pando.com/2014/07/16/tor-spooks/

* a fine rebuttal by Quinn Norton which appeared on Pando in December 2014
http://pando.com/2014/12/09/clearing-the-air-around-tor/

* an article on the harassment of Tor developers which ran in The Guardian in December 2014
http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/dec/03/privacy-advocates-unmask-twitter-troll

* A piece by Cory Doctorow (another signatory above) on the FBI's war on citizen cryptography and Tor, which ran in The Guardian in October 2014:
http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/oct/09/crypto-wars-redux-why-the-fbis-desire-to-unlock-your-private-life-must-be-resisted

Further information about organized attacks on Tor can be found here:

* EFF Snowden leak collection
https://www.eff.org/nsa-spying/nsadocs

* ACLU searchable Snowden leak collection
https://www.aclu.org/nsa-documents-search

Especially relevant are

* GCwiki pages on the ANT catalog (JTRIG tool box, "Chinese menu")

* Several GCHQ presentations on "information operations" (disinformation, psyops) targeting individuals and groups, including at least two of the signatories listed above (Julian Assange and Glenn Greenwald)

* An NSA memo on arma's talk at NSA (they wanted him to tell them how to subvert Tor; it is apparent from the memo that they didn't learn anything helpful for their evil plan, and the memo even appears to make at least one elementary technical mistake about Tor)

* Several NSA and GCHQ presentations on operations targeting Tor and Tails (notably, one slide show reports "severe" problems subverting Tails, which was in fact at that time still remotely vulnerable to the later discovered Shellshock bug, if I understand correctly, in which case we should believe the generally duplicitous officials at NSA when they say they didn't know about Shellshock only because of the Snowden leaks!)

Also useful are these resources on surveillance-as-a-service companies:

* Wired for Repression series at Bloomberg News
http://www.bloomberg.com/data-visualization/wired-for-repression/

* Spy Files series at Wikileaks
http://wikileaks.org/the-spyfiles.html

* Reports at Citizen Lab
https://citizenlab.org/

Some aspects of Gamergate
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamergate_controversy
are related to the harassment discussed here, but that seems to be a distinct harassment campaign.

This is definitely a distinct troll mob from GamerGate, although some of their leaders started using tropes (cf. "Around Dyed Hair, Beware" - http://assets.feministing.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Around-Dyed-Hair-Beware.jpg) borrowed from them early on:

  • https://twitter.com/MarkAmesExiled/status/496056408803377152
  • https://twitter.com/MarkAmesExiled/status/530910688815095808

Note also the parallel between the role of pseudo-journalistic ringleaders here and that of Milo Yiannopoulos in GamerGate. More recently, there does seem to have been more genuine crossover between the two groups:

  • https://twitter.com/torplusequality
  • https://pastee.org/f8d2g

The EFF collection hasn't been updated to include the documents cited in an important new article on GCHQ's information ops:
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/12/13/belgacom-hack-gchq-inside-story/

In the presentation "Mobile Networks in My NOC World", the picture of two vaguely familiar persons apparently being briefed on anal feeding techniques is apt because
* this pair surely have nothing to hide
* the room depicted happens to be GCHQ's troll den
* it is a rather small room, so you can tell when someone has made an, err... rectal emission.

But seriously, many thanks to Julian Assange, the Tor Project staff, Tails staff, Ed Snowden, and the intrepid reporters who are not afraid to inform the public about governmental misdeeds. And most of all, to the revolutionaries risking life and limb to make a positive change in the world.

One of the problems of Free Speech is that when folks use it, others can use it against them.

Sure.

Thanks, guys!

This is the only glimmer of hope in the despair.

...

You know...abuse also might trigger suicide attempts or psychotic episodes.

---
May God bless each one of us on our journeys!

Take care,

H.

ونحن معكم ضد التحرش
We are with you against harassment

Putting a list up with full names may open up for targeted harassment? You do not think?

Indeed, one of the trolls involved has been doing precisely this for every name he can map to a Twitter account. Every name on that list asked to be there, though. Sometimes confronting sociopaths requires a measure of courage.

"One of the problems of Free Speech is that when folks use it, others can use it against them."

The principle enemy of everyone anywhere in the world who struggles to advance free speech and privacy (and social justice and ecological stewardship and uncensored political discussions and economic stability and...) is NSA, the (near) global adversary which collects and uses the entirety of communications of every person living or dead to advance its own evil agenda (which often conflicts with the mission of other US government agencies, a fact we can leverage in the political arena in order to try to defend ourselves). We must never forget that one of the weapons this global adversary often uses is highly organized non-attributable trollery informed by advice from psychologists who specialize in promoting paranoia and discord, i.e. trolls.

In the coming months, NSA's most rapid supporters (such as Rep. Mike Rogers) will be attempting to use incidents such as

* the cyberattack campaign targeting Sony

* the harassment campaign targeting Tor developers

to further its unceasing demand for even more surveillance and cyberwar powers. I am already seeing editorials in leading US papers which mention NSA intrusion into "strategic" routers in overseas telecoms in the same breath as cyberintrusions attributed to "Guardians of Peace", without seeming to notice that breaking into someone else's electronic device is illegal and just plain wrong. Wrong when GoP does it, wrong when China does it, and yes, dead wrong when NSA does it. We must oppose and expose arguments that "the ends justify the means", which is of course the very argument used by Russia and China and North Korea to defend their own censorship and cyberwar capabilities.

It seems notable that NSA has actually been collaborating with China in a UN effort to "normalize" censorship in international law, under the rubric of an alleged "national security" need to counter "online rumors". Anyone who knows anything about what the Chinese government classifies as "online rumors" will understand the danger to democracy posed by the lamentable fact that one result of globalization has been that, even as the Chinese and Russian economies have become more like the US economy, the ideology of the US government has become markedly more authoritarian over the past two decades.

NSA is not above mounting a cyberattack or harassment campaign, in a non-attributable fashion, and then using it to argue that it needs even more surveillance and cyberwar and indefinite detention powers to ensure that US citizens remain unscathed in the new era of cyberchaos it has itself created through projects like Stuxnet. (Again, not a rumor, but established fact since the Snowden leaks contain hard evidence of such activity.)

This is not to deny that sometimes a troll is simply an ordinary garden troll. But thanks to Snowden it is now established fact that FVEY agencies have repeatedly and specifically attacked the Tor community, so we must all bear in mind that as Tor developers or even as users, we are more likely than other internet citizens to be "selected" for targeted attacks.

If NSA succeeds in crushing Tor, it will be free to pursue an agenda of global totalitarianism without opposition from ordinary citizens. But if Tor survives, maybe, just maybe, we can eventually eradicate this evil agency (through political pressure on the US government and through technical countermeasures which can eventually render NSA uneconomical for the US Congress to continue to fund).

I have been reading and thinking about the comments in this thread and in the related tor-talk thread. Several people have expressed concern about parts of the his blog post which Roger has since edited out (thanks!). But the concern remains.

I propose that the Project clarify the original blog post along these lines:

"Trollery relies on psychosocial vulnerabilities common to all people and to all communities. Unfortunately, it can be an effective means of disrupting a community when trolls succeed in isolating individuals in order to sow discord. Fortunately, it can be effectively countered when targeted communities simply join in making a strong statement of mutual support."

On a more personal note, to the people who have been targeted by these trolls: it might help to picture trolls as concrete statuettes, mere caricatures of evil standing in the rain making faces in the windows. The value of a statement of community support is that it shows that the real people in the community are on your side of those windows. I hope such mental imagery might help restore the proper perspective on trolls, which is that they should arouse amusement or irritation but never fear.

Years ago I wrote about the internet for my master's thesis. At the time I was very interested in the remote aspect of the technology and the ability for people to instantaneously connect from great distances.

I also saw the potential for abuse.

The bottom line is that our modern culture is accepting of abuse on many levels, so it was a matter of time before it became a problem online. We really need to examine cultural attitudes topwards not only women, but all marginalized groups.

There is a growing, not diminishing acceptance of abuse of all people in this country, particular those with perceived low social status. As long as it is tolerated throughout broader society, it will manifest online.

But all in all I support the effort and will pass the word along

Kendra Moyer

The Snowden leaks establish some pertinent facts:

* FVEY agencies persistently and directly target the Tor user community,

* FVEY agencies routinely employ sophisticated software and highly trained operatives for "information operations" in on-line forums,

* Among these are operations whose intent is characterized (in formerly top secret FVEY presentations) as sowing dissension in order to disrupt some community whose activities are viewed as threatening to the state (for example, Wikileaks),

* Specific methods employed are known to include making defamatory claims about some members of the group to other members.

So these agencies clearly have the *ability* to troll the Tor community. But what would be their *motive*?

One plausible motive is the strong desire in CIA and NSA to prevent the prosecution for war crimes of people directly involved in kidnapping, torture, and assassinations:

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/investigations/bin-laden-expert-accused-shaping-cia-deception-torture-program-n269551

http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/unidentified-queen-torture

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/12/19/senior-cia-officer-center-torture-scandals-alfreda-bikowsky/

The recent feature film "Zero Dark Thirty" lionizes a fictionalized version of Bikowski. I don't think enough is yet known about CIA/NSA counteroffensives (in the political arena and on-line forums) to say that this film is part of CIA "information operation" intended to influence world opinion, but I think there are ample grounds for suspicion. Nor do I think enough is yet known to say that USIC is behind the harassment campaign discussed in this thread, but I think there is sufficient evidence to warrant bearing this possibility in mind as the situation develops.

This is a critical time for the rogue agencies; there is a real possibility that some of their agents will face prosecution and even that the agencies will lose funding, especially as more sources contact journalists to tell what they know about state-sponsored criminality. Tor and Tails are technical tools which continue to play critical roles in enabling responsible journalists to cover these stories. It is already clear that CIA/NSA are desperate to cover up their crimes, and I think it makes perfect sense that they would try very hard to obstruct any activities which might help to ensure that the dark truth ultimately emerges from the shadows.

Among the hundreds of journalists who knew Bikowsky's name, only Glenn Greenwald and Peter Maass had the courage to finally publish it, for which they deserve our fervent thanks, precisely because, as several people pointed out above, in any civilized society governed by the rule of law, people who commit extremely serious crimes must be brought to account. It seems noteworthy that Greenwald has been a target of the USIC for years, no doubt because our enemies are terrified by anyone who refuses to be cowed by state power. We need more journalists like that, and more technical tools to protect their sources and to enable their vital work.

"One of the problems of Free Speech is that when folks use it, others can use it against them."

True; see “significant threat to the preservation of the anonymity of Tor users” in
https://blog.torproject.org/blog/tor-weekly-news-%E2%80%94-december-17th-2014

DARPA has funded unclassified academic research on both stylometry attacks and on possible defenses, such as anonymouth.

Their motivation for funding stylometry attacks is obvious, and verified by their unclassified statements: USIC is deeply concerned about citizen researchers who use "open source" documents to research and expose the nature and extent of the Surveillance-Industrial complex, in part because such research necessarily includes analyzing the interpersonal relationships of key figures in USIC and in the private companies on which it relies, which can result in exposing the identity of USIC operatives. But why would DARPA also fund research into *defenses* against stylometry? The answer is of course that USIC operatives themselves extensively employ anonymous postings in various "information operations" intended to influence public opinion or to alter the behavior of people who threaten to expose state-sponsored criminality. So the USIC feels a need both to deanonymize "opposing" posters using stylometry attacks, and to defend their own operatives against exposure using such attacks.

The consequences of deanonymization can be severe:

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/12/17/barrett-brown-sentenced/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_Swartz

Unfortunately, USIC agencies are by no means the only US government agencies who wish to defeat open source projects like Tor which can enable citizens to assist journalists in exposing state-sponsored criminality while reducing the likelihood of reprisals.

It is now widely appreciated that in the realm of electronic surveillance, the advance of technology has enabled intelligence agencies to broaden the scope of real time surveillance from the political leaders of hostile states to... essentially everyone. In the same way, technical advances have enabled US agencies to broaden the scope of computer modeling of the cognition, emotions, and behavior of individual persons (and their reaction to proposed USG policies) from world leaders to... essentially everyone.

It is now possible for US agencies to simultaneously model millions of individuals (and their interpersonal interactions and their reactions to local governmental policies), seeking to determine which among a list of alternative proposed policies and/or "targeted interventions" can most effectively influence civic trends and/or the behavior of individuals flagged as allegedly potentially posing future threats of various kinds to "state interests". Some notion of the original motivation for and sophistication of such modeling can be found here:

http://spectrum.ieee.org/computing/software/modeling-terrorists

Relevant buzzwords include "threat scoring", "predictive analysis", "algorithmic governance", and "suasion operations". Companies currently marketing such programs to the USG include IBM, SAS, and Palantir.

Threat scoring has rapidly evolved from computer modeling which targets alleged "terror networks" outside the USA (and spammers and credit-card scammers) to modeling which targets US citizens such as PETA activists and fracking protesters. The first tentative steps toward implementing such systems on a wide scale have already occurred, with little fanfare in the press (excepting specialized newsletters intended for LEA employees):

http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2014/12/12/police-data-mining-looks-through-social-media-assigns-you-a-threat-level/

It is notable that in an interview in Der Spiegel, John Podesta (author of the eponymous report on Big Data) specifically said that such precrime threat scoring is the aspect of the "new Jim Crow" which most concerns him. From

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/interview-with-obama-advisor-john-podesta-on-nsa-and-cyber-security-a-978297.html

"SPIEGEL: In your report on NSA and "big data" for President Obama, you describe the potential opportunities and threats of this technology. What dangers do you see of big data in the hands of a surveillance system like the NSA?

Podesta: I think about it more in the context of law enforcement. You begin to -- particularly with predictive analytics -- blur the line between the presumption of innocence and targeting individuals. We are in a constant state of both adopting the technology and trying to formulate policy that is consistent with a value base that respects civil liberties, respects the integrity of the person and respects the need to ensure non-discrimination. The technologies are powerful tools to both enhance those rights of freedom and expression. But there is also a dark side to all of this, too. It has the potential to have a chilling effect for the government to hold that much data. So it's a struggle to get the balance."

This rapidly evolving threat to the freedom of speech of ordinary citizens is just one more reason why everyone should use Tor when posting comments. And don't forget that the USIC intends to store everything for decades, and a comment which does not appear "controversial" today might easily be portrayed as "criminal" tomorrow.

Concerning links: one notable aspect of the Barrett Brown prosecution is that if federal prosecutors get their way (and in the US "justice" system they generally do), a legal precedent will be established ensuring that anyone who simply posts a link may incur the threat of a long prison sentence. This would represent a significant victory for those who seek to prevent the exposure in the press of corruption and state sponsored criminality.

Concerning expensive governmental programs which have no chance of success even on their own terms: even Wikipedia articles clearly expose why NSA/CIA/LEAs will never be able to accurately predict who will commit some rare criminal action years in advance. The underlying mathematical phenomenon is precisely the same as is often discussed in tor-talk in connection with discussions of traffic analysis, and in the wider world, in connection with programs which attempt to screen the general population for rare diseases. The problem is that almost all of the people who "test positive" do not in fact have the disease. In the same way, most events flagged by stateful firewalls are false positives, and most people flagged as "potential threats to LEA officers" do not actually pose such threats. Roger sometimes call this the "base rate fallacy" but this term is too imprecise.

And so it begins. From

http://www.rand.org/blog/2014/12/preventing-cyber-attacks-sharing-information-about.html

"At least one type of information should be shared with U.S. critical infrastructure and financial firms—the IP addresses of Tor network nodes. Tor is a global network that helps users maintain anonymity by obfuscating users' true online locations. While it has many benefits, it is increasingly used to hide criminal activity online. The recent cyber attacks against JPMorgan Chase and Sony Pictures Entertainment highlight the need for such information sharing.
...
Tor, like other anonymity networks, has many legitimate uses. It is used by journalists, human rights defenders, and pro-democracy activists in countries where censorship is common and Internet access is tightly controlled and monitored. However, as cyber attackers become more sophisticated, they may use the Tor network in more cyber attacks, and use it to exploit the data they capture from critical infrastructure and financial firms. This will make it increasingly difficult for defenders to track and protect against cyber intrusions. There is no reason why legitimate bank customers, studio employees, or others that need to communicate with private firms like Sony Pictures or JPMorgan would need to use Tor. The U.S. government should provide the information it has on the constantly changing set of Tor nodes that exist around the globe. Tor IP addresses could then be blocked to prevent potentially damaging cyber attacks in the future."

Notice that Gonzales is proposing to share the IP addresses of *entry guards and relays* as well as exit nodes.

China, Russia, USA continue to move closer together in their attitude towards Tor. What a tragedy for democracy.

Regarding proposals such as this:

http://www.rand.org/blog/2014/12/preventing-cyber-attacks-sharing-information-about.html

If thwarting banking cyberheists were the true goal here, there would be no need to for anyone but banks to block any IPs but the IPs of exit nodes, and these are publically available from Tor Project itself (updated every hour, even).

Yes, I agree.

In fact, not only do we publish the directory information (both current and historical -- see metrics.torproject.org), we also offer a service designed for law enforcement (and relay operators after the fact) if they want to look up a given IP address and time:
https://exonerator.torproject.org/

Also, I think the article (including Brian Krebs's article) misunderstands the data around number of bank attacks that involve Tor. I hope they actually publish the underlying report and numbers, so we can look for methodology errors like "we looked at the 1% of the attacks that seemed most unusual, and we found that many of those were Tor connections, therefore many of the whole data set of attacks are Tor connections."

Can the information you collect be used to reconstruct Tor routes after the fact? To identify hidden services? Could a hostile government use it to identify dissidents?

We don't think so.

This is one the research areas that Tor has been working in for years -- how to collect useful public statistics about the Tor network without putting any users at risk. See
https://metrics.torproject.org/
as well as one of the early research papers on exactly this topic:
http://freehaven.net/anonbib/#wecsr10measuring-tor

I read that rand.org article just yesterday, and saw flaws in it.

1. Overstating the role of tor.

If I understand the third paragraph correctly, the tor network was not directly involved in transporting the data away from Sony's servers, rather this was done using Sony's own playstation network. Only afterwards was tor then used, in a secondary manner merely to upload the data to file-sharing websites.

Taking this story as presented, it doesn't really make sense, especially the implication of tor being the critical problem. Why not use tor to extract the movies directly? Maybe because tor couldn't cope as easily as the playstation network with handling "perhaps several terabytes" of data in a timely manner? Maybe because playstations can download movies, and so large transports through that medium would look innocuous?

So the whole thing was found to be masterminded from a luxury hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, by "IP address sleuthing". The article doesn't tell us if a tor exit node was set up inside the hotel and happened to be used, or was deliberately used, or the mastermind was actually a pseudonymous client of the hotel and its wifi network. What was that post above saying about Thailand being a strong base for covert US operations again?*

"This circuitous route was used to mask the trail of the attackers and to enable large amounts of stolen data to be stealthily removed from the Sony network."

Really? The article just stated that tor wasn't the transport used to remove the data, and seems to assert it was definitely masterminded from Bangkok. It seems that tor was used only in part of the operation and maybe not enough of it or in the right parts, yet it gets all of the blame.

I can only conclude this article was written to meet a pre-formed opinion.

2. Tor node IPAs.

Yes, it seems the author is unaware that lists of tor exit node IPAs are public information. Or, maybe he hopes others remain unaware of this, perhaps he is hoping to win the government contract to run the dissemination service?*

"Notice that Gonzales is proposing to share the IP addresses of *entry guards and relays* as well as exit nodes."

I don't read that. Only the exit node IPAs need to be listed and blocked, surely? The rest is wasted effort.

3. Legitimately logging into a bank account with tor.

OK, here goes my main point ...

"There is no reason why legitimate bank customers, studio employees, or others that need to communicate with private firms like Sony Pictures or JPMorgan would need to use Tor."

"If thwarting banking cyberheists were the true goal here, there would be no need to for anyone but banks to block any IPs but the IPs of exit nodes ... "

Good counterpoint, but ...

When I became mentally ill, I wanted to research my illness, but keep its existence secret (stigma, employability, etc.). There was a problem though: recents laws meant my ISP was required to log which websites I was visiting, and store these for some time. The astute will get the privacy threat model. TAILS, thus tor, saved me there.

Recently, I spent several months in a mental hospital. Restriction take away many freedoms when you are there. Astonishingly, most patients had their mailing addresses changed to c/o the hospital, even for their banks, just to get their mail while being detained. Of course, I did not follow suit, wondering what my bank would make of me and my credit worthiness upon noting that I must be suffering from a mental illness. I still needed to access my bank account, and at least the hospital did provide internet access. What would happen, though, when I logged into my bank account? The IPA would no longer be that of my home, but what would my bank see? Again, the astute will get the privacy threat model.

I was lucky, the staff let me boot up TAILS (though I'm unsure most knew what I was really doing).

Maybe the hospital actually obfuscates the IPA for privacy. Maybe the bank does not really care to inspect the IPA. I doubt it. Try actually verifying this with hospital or bank staff, or their IT partners, and you're on your way into a Franz Kafka novel. There is no way to tell.

So, there you are, all, a legitimate reason to log into a bank account from tor.

Mr. Dingeldine, another 'use case' for you! Did you or anyone else expect that one?

Anyway, this is straying from the topic of this blog, and relates much more to the blog about tor being targeted. In my next post, I'll bring relevancy back by discussing censorship.

-- Straggler

* Conspiracy theories are soooo easy to make up!

"We support freedom of speech, but" is right there with all other "I am/am not a ..., but" sentences.

Right you are. I was answering this for somebody else, so I'll answer it here too:

Q: Doesn't being anti-harassment mean you are against free speech and pro-censorship?

A: No, it doesn't. We're fans of free speech and that means we're against censorship.

I really like the way Professor Jean Camp explains this apparent contradiction:

"""Threats are not about speech, they are about silencing. Threats are the opposite of dialogue. If a small minority of men can silence a great number of women, speech is not served. Any person who is silenced by threats of violence is damage to free speech.

Anonymity can and is targeted at supporting speech. Threats can and are targeted at silencing speech."""

Our statement against harassment is meant both as a gesture of support, and to raise awareness about the issue and try to get all of the neutral people in the middle to be mindful about it when choosing their behavior. The answer to bad speech is more speech.

This post is vague. If a person states that rape happens often and is awful but at the same time he/she does not believe that x or y woman was raped in any particular case, such as the U-VA rape allegation, will Tor retaliate by denying him/her privacy?

I think we need more specificity as to which way Tor is headed.

See below response, which I hope will resolve your concern.

Does Tor intend to de-anonymize users believed to be engaging in online harassment?

No.

We aren't advocating removing protection from harassers. We didn't mean that we will undermine Tor or retaliate by escalating the harassment or involve government authorities to punish harassers.

Rather, the statement is about how we are now going to stand up and participate and discuss and engage with the topic of harassment and not stand quietly by, hoping somebody else will deal with it.

Some supporters have suggested that we change "not tolerate" to "not support" to avoid these misunderstandings. The problem with "not support" is that it allows us to say "This is wrong; I will contribute to fixing it by not participating." And that's exactly the response that's gotten us, the Internet community, to this point. Instead we need to contribute to fixing it *by participating*. That's what this statement is all about (and why it says "this is a start").

I see. All good then.

This is what I wanted to see. Thank you for your comments. At this point it seems that we cannot expect technology projects to not toe a political line, but as long as you continue to provide your service with no respect to political views I can continue to support you.

Way up above there somewhere, someone wrote that censorship is a necessary evil.

There is an ethics argument that you only know you are a good person if you have the potential to do evil deeds, but choose not to do them.

Tor is a tool that gives people the potential to do good deeds and evil deeds. It is our choices that define us, not tor.

If you censor evil deeds, how do you know people are now good? You can't (unless you are that 'privileged watchman', rather than the protected victim). Better is to allow people (and tor) to carry on and see what the outcome is. Better is to give the trolls their chance to be a troll. Only then, when it goes 'quiet' and things are civil, can we really say that the behaviour of people has reached a better standard.

Maybe trolls will always be here, but if we don't try it, how will we ever know we can reach that better standard? Any other way, censorship, harrassment, bullying, stupidity, are manners of failure preventing this.

In the meantime, when trolls do troll, we can speak out, document, complain, ciriticise, etc., to appeal to intelligence to select the better arguments. Doing that is taking a stand, but it is not consorship. It is the opposite of censorship.

In the end, we will get what we deserve, because it's a tautology really, which is a much better way to run things: tautologies never fail. :)

-- Straggler

One irony of the December 2014 Sony megaleak is that Sony acquired the rights to the Snowden movie

http://cryptome.org/2014/12/sony-options-gg-snowden.htm

(The email discusses a forthcoming news release which was published in May 2014. The nonpublic talking points are the content which was published as part of the leak.)

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/12/22/sony-hack-snowden-movie-sausage-gets-made-thrown-away/

The only truly newsworthy part of the Sony megaleak is that the leaks confirm in detail what many have long suspected: that Hollywood actively collaborates with CIA in producing propaganda films such as "Zero Dark Thirty".

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20141222/08155829502/lawsuit-filed-to-hold-snowden-poitras-responsible-billions-dollars-spent-us-government-response-to-leaks.shtml

This instance of midwestern zaniness is comparable to

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indiana_Pi_Bill

I agree with Straggler that the Tor Project should prominently debunk the RAND blog mentioned above:

http://www.rand.org/blog/2014/12/preventing-cyber-attacks-sharing-information-about.html

Many people in USG pay attention which RAND issues recommendations, even when its advice is highly questionable. (If memory serves, one of the most notorious past recommendations from RAND was its technocratic judgement, during the Reagan presidency, that one complete multimegaton thermonuclear detonation occurring in the USA every twenty years would constitute an "acceptable" rate of lethal mishaps involving US nuclear weapons. The good citizens of Kansas might beg to disagree.)

I think the Project should request an unredacted copy of the secret report issued by Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which is part of the US Treasury Department, on 2 December 2014, alleging that Tor nodes are used in a large fraction of the most dangerous attacks on the US financial infrastructure. Brian Krebs says the he was given a copy of this report, which he describes here:

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2014/12/treasury-dept-tor-a-big-source-of-bank-fraud/

According to Krebs, the authors of the FinCEN report searched "6,048 suspicious activity reports (SARs) filed by banks between August 2001 and July 2014" for mention of the IP addresses of 6000 known Tor nodes (not just exit nodes?). Krebs says "investigators found 975 hits corresponding to reports totaling nearly $24 million in likely fraudulent activity", but does that mean 975 of the 6048 SARS reports mention the known IP address of some Tor exit node, or that 975 of the known IP addresses of roughly 6000 Tor nodes are alleged to appear in SARS reports? Did these "investigators" even check that the machines with the suspect IP addresses are even listed as Tor exit nodes functioning during the time frame of the SARs reported incidents?

There are so many unanswered questions here that it is impossible to put any credence in the allegations publicized by Krebs unless he provides much more information about the evidence presented in the FinCEN report.

Krebs appears to cite this post from the Tor blog

https://blog.torproject.org/blog/call-arms-helping-internet-services-accept-anonymous-users

as evidence that Roger acknowledges that it is "necessary" for banks to block Tor exit nodes by IP, while seeming to acknowledge that Tor may have legitimate uses. But I think he may have misunderstood Roger. For example, consider the predicament of a US embassy employee who wishes to check his/her bank balance in a US account without tipping possibly hostile local ISP employees that the person associated with a particular local IP address banks at a USG credit union? Such a person might be tempted to use Tor to contact the banks webform (after all, the username and password are presumably protected by a properly configured and fully patched TLS connection).

On the issue of cybersecurity, I don't yet see any reason to conclude that Krebs is necessarily an ideological opponent of Tor, but I do see plenty of evidence that the Project should be trying to educate him about how good citizens use Tor.

Calling for the USG to encourage sites to block Tor nodes is like calling for the USG to recall the F-150 pickup truck (stamped "made in America") on the grounds that almost 20,000 US residents are killed each year in vehicular accidents, many no doubt involving the F-150.

Incidentally, Krebs just published a follow-up on the DPRK issue:

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2014/12/the-case-for-n-koreas-role-in-sony-hack/

in which he concedes that "a sizable number of readers remain unconvinced about the one conclusion that many security experts and the U.S. government now agree upon: That North Korea was to blame" and presents further arguments for attribution to DPRK. His first try is convincing everyone DPRK is to blame can be found here:

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2014/12/fbi-north-korea-to-blame-for-sony-hack/

I don't think Krebs is being accurate when he implies that all the "experts" have accepted the DPRK attribution, while only "a sizable number of [inexpert] readers" continue to express doubt. There are plenty of seasoned cybersecurity experts who are also continuing to express doubt.

Some of the circumstantial evidence Krebs presents could, I argue, be more reasonably interpreted as evidence for a different attribution. For example, he writes:

"It is interesting to note that the attackers initially made no mention of The Interview, and instead demanded payment from Sony to forestall the release of sensitive corporate data. It wasn’t until well after the news media pounced on the idea that the attack was in apparent retribution for The Interview that we saw the attackers begin to mention the Sony movie."

This kind of ideological confusion or backtracking could be regarded as weak circumstantial evidence for the hypothesis that the 2014 megaleak is due to cyberhacktivists, perhaps assisted by disgruntled Sony employees (one might cite the precedent of the HB Gary Federal leak).

Krebs says

"Both of those terms reference the military classes of ancient Rome: “hastati” were the younger, poorer soldiers typically on the front lines; the “principes” referred to more hardened, seasoned soldiers. According to a detailed white paper from McAfee, the attackers left a calling card a day after the attacks in the form of a web pop-up message claiming that the NewRomanic Cyber Army Team was responsible and had leaked private information from several banks and media companies and destroyed data on a large number of machines."

Many literate people read history, and some occasionally adopt a nomme de guerre referencing ancient Roman history. This "evidence" could also be misinterpreted as evidence that Someone was trying to frame Edward Snowden for these cyberattacks.

Ironically, one of the bloggers whom Sony threatened in retaliation for discussing material from the leaks was... Brian Krebs. Further evidence that Sony is possibly the most clueless corporation on the face of this planet.

If only there were more people on this list. The thing I find most concerning with online harassment is the fact that people think they can treat you differently if they can't see you. Just go on YouTube and watch any prank/social experiment with the pranksters telling Facebook comments randomly to people in the street; just watch the reactions.

Thanks to the Tor volunteers and staff (Atagar and maybe others) for so quickly detecting and mitigating the attempted Sybil attack earlier today!

https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-consensus-health/2014-December/005381.html

theregister.co.uk/2014/12/27/tor_lizard_squad_sybil_attack

Thanks to Wikipedia volunteers for so quickly updating this article:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lizard_squad

(Tiny quibble: as I understand it, Thomas White is a Tor volunteer but not a Tor staffer.)

Please correct me if any of the following are wrong:

* in the hour before 1430 hours on Fri 26 Dec 2014 UTC, about 3000-3500 new Tor nodes suddenly appeared
* the new nodes all have nicknames beginning "LizardNSA", and all but a handful share the tld googleusercontent.com
* all the Lizard nodes all had low bandwidth (or was the bandwidth manually zeroed by Tor staff action in the consensus?)
* within one hour, this was identified as an apparent Sybil attack and the new nodes were blacklisted
* yes, Lizard Squad briefly operated about "half of all Tor nodes"
* no, that's no cause for panic, because Lizard Squad never controlled more than a fraction of 1% of the total bandwidth
* the nodes were configured as Exit nodes but were also configured to "sinkhole" all traffic
* Lizard Squad posted a few messages to tor-talk from a riseup.net account which did not appear to offer a plausible explanation of their intentions

(Poorly?) informed speculations:

* crude (and unworkable) DDOS targeting Tor?

* an (unworkable) massive deanonymization attack on Tor users?

* someone trying to frighten ordinary or potential new Tor users with bad news stories claiming that "Tor is broken"? [sic]

* someone trying to frighten or obstruct a small group of Tor users for obscure purposes with no relevance to the wider community?

* someone trying to give FBI an (absurd) "excuse" to NSL riseup.net?

We do know from Snowden leaks that a well established GCHQ tactic against Anonymous type disorganizations is to try to frighten away potential "associates" by tying certain domains or certain kinds of political activism to illegal activities. We also know that USIC and its allies tend to try to "justify" their surveillance dragnet by claiming that they have a "need" to predict whether or not peaceful political groups are about to turn "violent". So once again, Tor has been (maliciously?) "implicated" in a well publicized event which seems to benefit only the surveillance-industrial complex.

I would not discount the possibility that all these events are NSA or its allies mounting "false flag" attacks, but I am increasingly inclined to speculate that the most likely explanation for most or all of them is a small politically unaffiliated "hacking" [sic] group.

With respect to the discussion above of a possible connection between Gamergate and the harassment of Tor developers, it is intriguing that according to Wikipedia, Lizard squad

* previously targeted Sony a few months ago
* claims responsibility for taking down DPRK's internet a few days ago
* claims responsibility for DDOS attacks on two major gaming sites earlier this month and a few days ago

"Even Wikipedia articles clearly expose why NSA/CIA/LEAs will never be able to accurately predict who will commit some rare criminal action years in advance":

Thanks to James Ball for explaining this point in his recent "Comment is Free" piece in The Guardian:

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/dec/02/youre-the-bomb-are-you-at-risk-from-anti-terrorism-algorithms-automated-tracking-innocent-people

Unfortunately, Ball failed to mention the fact that Gen. Hayden revealed years ago that Bayesian inference using communications metadata (and modeling of the kind discussed in the IEEE Spectrum article) has been used for years by NSA in drawing up the targeting lists for drone strikes. As Hayden put it (quoting from memory, so this may not be the exact quote), "we kill people based on metadata" [and computer modeling]. Charming. I wish reporters would ask the academics cited in the Spectrum article to explain why their work is not morally equivalent to the work of the now infamous "torture shrinks".

I hope that all other reporters covering the internet know all about Bayes's formula and the failure of Bayesian inference in the presence of a tiny base rate. If not, the Tor Project should make sure to teach them. There are further serious errors governments are likely to make, if we let them, but let's start with the simplest error.

Following up on the point made above that when P stalks Q, it is not always true that P is a man and Q is a woman:

From

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/12/26/nsa_doc_dump_shows_staff_routinely_spying_where_they_shouldnt_for_12_years/

'The files have been heavily censored, but still manage to show that, either by accident or design, NSA staff routinely engaged in illegal surveillance with almost no comeback from management. Take, for example, the case of a female analyst who used the NSA's vast databases to conduct a little research on her husband. The report covering the first quarter of 2012 states that she accessed her hubby's personal telephone records to look for possible "targets," over a period of three years, and when found out was "advised to cease her activities."'

I see two possibilities, neither of which helps NSA defend against the growing clamor to simply eradicate this rogue agency:

1. no-one at NSA ever gets more than a "girls/boys will be girls/boys" snigger from the (male/female) boss,

2. Madam LoveInt *was* the boss (one imagines a breathless headline in the Crystal City Courier: "Teresa splits from James").

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/09/19/powerful-nsa-official-involved-potential-self-dealing-defense-contractor/

To those with knowledge of the details of loveint episodes, should the Lizard have no objection, might I suggest using Tails to contact journalists? If you don't like The Intercept, try The Hollywood Reporter.

The Register notes ACLU "was only able to file the request thanks to knowing specifically what to ask for, thanks to internal documents leaked to the world by Edward Snowden".

Once again, a heartfelt thanks to Snowden, who used Tails (and thus Tor) for the purpose intended. May his example further inspire our Fifth Column!

As further evidence that the troll campaign has failed: Tor and Tails just received two high profile endorsements:

http://www.wired.com/2014/12/privacy-donations/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/12/26/crypto_toolkit_2/

Thanks to Wired and El Reg!

Roger's blog confused at least some non-gamers who initially had little idea what he was talking in this paragraph:

"The Tor Project works to create ways to bypass censorship and ensure anonymity on the Internet. Our software is used by journalists, human rights defenders, members of law enforcement, diplomatic officials, and many others. We do high-profile work, and over the past years, many of us have been the targets of online harassment. The current incidents come at a time when suspicion, slander, and threats are endemic to the online world. They create an environment where the malicious feel safe and the misguided feel justified in striking out online with a thousand blows. Under such attacks, many people have suffered — especially women who speak up online. Women who work on Tor are targeted, degraded, minimized and endure serious, frightening threats."

While the Gamergate harassment campaign may not be directly related to the harassment campaign obliquely referred to in the statement of solidarity, the following two items may clarify the reference to "serious, frightening threats":

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/dec/03/zoe-quinn-gamergate-interview
Zoe Quinn: 'All Gamergate has done is ruin people's lives'
Keith Stuart
3 Dec 2014

http://www.salon.com/2015/01/03/why_activists_and_feminists_get_so_many_death_threats_partner/
Why activists and feminists get so many death threats
Valerie Tarico
3 Jan 2015

Hi,

Women are human beings, and as such, they have the right
not to be discriminated against. The same apply for all
human beings.

In order to fight the discrimination, I think the best way
is to hit it where it's the most painful for it:

We should not silence the discrimination but instead fight
it back by shaming the ideas behind it and the people who
do it on the basis of the wrongfulness of theses ideas.

I think it is way more effective, and it doesn't raise any
free speech issues at all.

As a side note, many women are extremely competent, and the
reason why they appear not to be is only due to the
consequence of the discrimination. The same apply for
all kind of discrimination.

Denis 'GNUtoo' Carikli.

Kudos to TOR

lulz Jualian Assange signs hahahaha awesome

I just saw this amazing community letter from game developers:

https://medium.com/@andreaszecher/open-letter-to-the-gaming-community-df4511032e8a

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