The executive director of the Tor Project, Shari Steele, has announced that they would be implementing new rules to avoid future incidents such as the sexual assault allegations against Jacob Appelbaum, one of Tor’s leading developers.
A few months ago, Tor promised that they would do a thorough investigation on the incident.
The investigation has been completed on 27th July 2016.
Prior to that, there were rumors spreading around in regards to Appelbaum’s conduct, yet he remained a prominent member of the Tor Project as well as a contributor to some Wikileaks articles.
He was one of a few people who had access to Edward Snowden’s (a former NSA contractor) classified documents, and he continued working as a journalist overseeing publication of these particular files.
Jacob was also present at Tor security conventions when sexual misconduct accusations were put against him, instead of responding to these allegations he just overlooked them.
But as more evidence began showing up, he eventually acknowledged, though still denying his involvement.
Whereas rumors about Appelbaum’s behavior had already spread fast for some years, he remained a prominent figure in the Tor community.
When anonymous victims started posting descriptions of their assaults online, he utterly distanced himself from them calling these claims “entirely false.”
Nevertheless, since Tor announced that they were investigating these allegations, many more victims have come forth.
Shari Steele also revealed that the investigation, which was being coordinated by a professional investigator, uncovered “inappropriate behavior” from two other people participating in the Tor Project.
However, these individuals who were unmentioned in Steele’s original statement are currently no longer involved with the Project.
In a statement, Steele wrote that many people both inside and outside Tor had given their accounts about the humiliation, intimidation, and bullying they underwent through Jacob.
Many also experienced unwanted sexually aggressive conduct from him.
Some of these occurrences have been publicly shared while others have not.
Having appointed its new board of directors following these incidents, the Tor Project has embarked on instituting new anti-harassment policies that also touch on conflict of interest.
Tor is also establishing a system for reporting and addressing harassment cases from those who have been affected.
These policies have already been approved by the Tor’s new board of directors, which includes names such as Cindy Cohn (executive director of Electronic Frontier Foundation) and Matt Blaze (associate professor of the University of Pennsylvania).
Tor primarily relies on its staff working in partnership with a broader Tor community, most of whom are volunteers, to run its daily operations.
Tor will develop certain guidelines for members, including a moral code of behavior.
These new guidelines shall be finalized and approved by the Tor community on or before the upcoming developer meeting in September, says Steele.
She believes that the new policies will make the Tor Project and the Tor community much healthier and stronger.
Further thanking all those individuals who were courageous enough to break their silence concerning Jacob’s conduct.
It’s because of such people that this issue has now been addressed.
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