back to article Jacob Appelbaum is a bullying sex pest, says ex-employer Tor Project

Web activist Jacob Appelbaum humiliated, intimidated, bullied and frightened numerous people in the internet community and subjected others to "unwanted sexually aggressive behavior." That's according to his former employer, the Tor Project, which today announced it had closed a seven-week investigation into allegations made …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Takeover of TOR

    I wonder which US agencies would have a vested interest in seeing that happen.

    Classic tactics - displace, persecute, threaten and allege sexual misconduct - see tactics used on Assange to stifle wikileaks

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Takeover of TOR

      Gosh, I was wondering how long it would take for the raving conspiracy wankhammers to get in on this one. Sneaking in anonymously in full tinfoil-hat mode to grab first post must be a record.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Takeover of TOR (not from the same coward)

        Well. I would love to say that we live in a world where the scenario Coward#1 hinted at does not exist. It does, though. Smear campaigns work. To this day, there are people whom one cannot discuss anything Wikileaks / Assange-related with as they will instantly enter full outcry-mode because of the smear. It is like he personally allegedly assaulted THEM (of course they never met) and they think he should turn himself in, regardless of the likely consequences. The only worse thing you could bring up is that you still like to watch a Polanski movie every now and then. It is the same people to whom Putin can do no right, as sadly, Russia is still way behind on their personal LSBTTIQ-rights schedule. It is not that they are stupid or ignorant, hell, for the most part they are very much in the right, they have just been filled to the brim with bias. That makes things like fact-based discussions on completely unrelated topics very hard. And there is quite a lof of these people.

        Nevertheless, if there are such accusations against J.A., they of course need to be taken seriously, as sex crimes are just that – crime, and should be handled accordingly.

        Yet we cannot really fault people for taking these things with a healthy spoon of salt. Which unfolds the whole nastiness of smear campaigns: Not only do they damage the target, they also damage the possibly very real victims as people will doubt them just for who the possible perpretator happens to be.

        It is all quite sickening.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Takeover of TOR (not from the same coward)

          To this day, there are people whom one cannot discuss anything Wikileaks / Assange-related with as they will instantly enter full outcry-mode because of the smear

          To be fair, the chap with the soap aversion didn't exactly help himself or Wikileaks with his antics - persecution complex or not, even the Americans would not have been able to cook up a scenario which would have nuked his reputation so effectively and I suspect we haven't quite heard the last of what he did in Sweden. Wikileaks, too, has not been fantastic in their actions by releasing whatever they got hold of without any filtering or regard for consequences.

          All in all I'd say that WL has moved from an organisation I could have possibly some sympathy for (even when disagreeing with their modus operandi) to a bunch of pointless sandal wearing anarchists*. They have made themselves irrelevant, all by themselves, which is pretty impressive in a negative sort of way.

          * with excuses to other sandal wearing people

          1. Desidero

            Re: Takeover of TOR (not from the same coward)

            Well, Wikileaks' late scurrilous behavior doesn't detract my appreciation for what seemed some responsible, well-done and well-needed leaks a few years back, and still suspect the funny sex charges were a setup. Perhaps isolation *has* made Julian go a bit bonkers these days, or it's the vengeful fuck in him he gets to focus on at the moment. Anyway, leaking commoners' phone #, email, SSN, card numbers, etc. doesn't qualify as news or " responsible" anymore.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Takeover of TOR (not from the same coward)

              and still suspect the funny sex charges were a setup

              It's rather interesting that the documents that demonstrated that it wasn't all just a ruse to harm St Jules were leaked, but not by (or to) Wikileaks. This too didn't do them favours: biased leaking means it's pretty clear it's no longer about the truth, at which point they lost all remaining credibility.

              At some point, organisations like that will learn that demanding transparency requires transparency too - no more, but no less either.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Takeover of TOR

        Hey, TeeHee.... Don't forget it's only a raving conspiracy until it's proven true.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Takeover of TOR

        "wankhammers" - that's a new one on me. Have an upvote.

        1. Anonymous IV

          Re: Takeover of TOR

          It is probably new to everyone except the author, but it's an incomprehensible neologism.

          Must Try Harder...

    2. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: Takeover of TOR


      If the TLA's wanted to shut TOR down then stopping its US Govt funding would be far simpler.

      1. Captain DaFt

        Re: Takeover of TOR

        "If the TLA's wanted to shut TOR down then stopping its US Govt funding would be far simpler."

        Shut it down? Nah, the American TLAs want to access and control it, while keeping it secure from "Da terr'ists gubmints!"

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Takeover of TOR

          In reality without knowing anyone involved personally and there being no criminal conviction this article may aswell say "bloke down pub (who I never speak too) told me a bloke got fired for being harassing someone and as such I now have an opinion about it."

          1. WatAWorld

            Re: Takeover of TOR

            Except that when you put something in a press release, when you put something in a reviewed and edited document, and publish it for the world, it is no longer "pub chat".

            If there wasn't sufficient evidence for a civil court, there could be a libel suit and that could cost TOR dearly. So no, formal press releases are "pub chat".

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Takeover of TOR

        You realise it's not in all TLA's interests to shut TOR down?

    3. Erewhon

      Re: Takeover of TOR

      Just because you are paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't out to get you....

    4. colin786

      Re: Takeover of TOR

      The Register should be writing on the remarkable coincidences of smear campaigns against those who stand up against the empire, Five I's etc. and the technological aspects thereof. That's the real story. Anyone here got the cojones?

      Also, TOR has been taken over by whom? To what end?

  2. YARR

    I wonder what burden of proof / evidence is required for an internal disciplinary matter such as this, and is their investigation / decision bound by law? Is primary / recorded evidence required or is an accusatory statement from two other individuals sufficient to get someone fired? If the latter, then conspiring against an employee is a simple affair.

    1. NotBob

      In essence, it's a company matter and company policy dictates.

    2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      I imagine there'd be a case for wrongful dismissal if the evidence was flimsy. That would, I think, be tried under the civil standard (balance of probabilities).

    3. WatAWorld

      what burden of proof

      To defend against a libel lawsuit, probably a "preponderance of evidence", what ever that means in the particular jurisdiction concerned.

      Certainly not "proof beyond reasonable doubt" (as standard that only police insist applies to their employment contracts).

      Certainly not "a balance of probabilities".

      To defend against a wrongful dismissal lawsuit, that depends not only on the jurisdiction but also the employment contract, either "balance of probabilities" "preponderance of evidence".

      I'm not a lawyer, but I think cases where the employer has done a press release explaining the dismissal as being for sexual harassment, in the USA and UK the potential damage from a libel lawsuit tends to dwarf the risk from a wrongful dismissal lawsuit.

      Basically that press release is going to hurt chances for ever being trusted by a 'first world' employer again. I expect future jobs will come with close supervision.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: what burden of proof

        Well the reality of working in some US companies is the first one to shout "I'm a victim" wins.

        Perhaps this guy is guilty of terrible things, perhaps not.

        Personally I think these things should be for the police to investigate and the courts to decide, not some internal company kangaroo court.

      2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

        Re: what burden of proof

        I think the UK only has the civil standard ("the balance of probabilities" aka "what the man on the Clapham omnibus would think") and the criminal standard ("beyond reasonable doubt").

        According to Wikipedia, the US's "preponderance of the evidence" is equivalent to the UK's "balance of probabilities"; it's the civil standard.

        IANAL but I have won a tribunal case.

  3. YARR

    Agreed. Depending on the jurisdiction, an employer must be required to provide some lawful evidence for dismissal, otherwise the process could be misused to make employees redundant without legal recourse.

    1. WatAWorld

      The USA has a lot of "at will" employment contracts, which basically put employees in exactly the state you say. But I doubt Applebaum, a senior executive, had such a contract. More likely he had previously negotiated golden parachute to cover him in events like this.

    2. Barry Rueger

      Depending on the jurisdiction, an employer must be required to provide some lawful evidence for dismissal,

      Actually, in North America at least, that's almost never true.

      Employers are generally free to unemploy you at any time, for any reason.

      What is generally required is that you receive notice that you are going to be terminated, or payment in lieu of the termination period.

      In other words, here's two weeks ' pay, be gone with ya.

      But yeah, Jake may have had a better deal, but possibly also had some kind of "morals" clause in his contract.

      1. Swarthy Silver badge

        "At will" employment actually means you can be fired for _no_ reason. If a reason is given, it must be a good one. A reason can be disputed, a simple letting go cannot.

  4. Baldy50

    Tor works but could be better

    If the new version of Tor comes to fruition it will be more secure for sure but the problem with the Tor network is the amount of entry and exit nodes and the geographical placement of them to a degree, which determines your new ID.

    Tor would be enhanced by more servers available and the ability to automatically reload the (whatever you are looking at) then refresh you through a new set of servers frequently giving you new identities constantly working in the background seamlessly.

    I was thinking too maybe It's a 60's type of mentality with this sort, anti establishment, fucking the system and being different, free love too of course.

    Tor works so maybe they’re just bored out of there fucking minds, if I were stuck in a office staying off the radar so to speak trying to make something better that works great if every gov wasn't after you, 'she' (the female geek) could have a moustache, mono brow and hairy legs but I'd still do it, nice personality a must though.

    Then I thought men (especially) in a position of power or influence etc get a bit hungrier, don't they!

    Carr and Boyle fan NOTE! Not Susan.

    Lots of upvotes for you guys tonight very entertaining on loads of subjects, tin foil hat and all any chance of discrediting anyone involved in encryption or Tor project would be given maximum attention and bad press by those against them.

    Havn't the same methods toppled world leaders in the past, well except for the med countries?

  5. WatAWorld

    I read the story and I thought about Linux

    I read the story and I immediately wondered about Linux and whether or not that is a similar situation waiting to happen. Whether or not, I have no idea.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is such a strange story. Admittedly I haven't followed it closely, but is there no direct proof or is everything based on hearsay? I've worked with programmers in the past and some were arrgoant, and some liked to humiliate people they perceived to be "inferior programmers", but the one thing they had in common was that they were awful with women and generally did NOT interact with them at all.

    His behaviour sounds so incredibly stupid, assuming that he his of above average intelligence, and that is what makes it so hard for me to believe.

    On the other hand, maybe it's some kind of mental problem and compulsive behaviour? Who knows. Oh and yes, I can totally see the smear campaign angle as well so let me go and grab half a tinfoil hat at least. ;)

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