TorStrike: A Proposal to Shut Down Tor’s Network for 24 Hours

A group of protestors is asking the temporal blackout of Tor’s network for 24 Hours. An initiative using the Twitter hashtag #torstrike and accusing the project leaders of working with the CIA, among other claims.

Concretely, the group is asking users to avoid using the network on September 1st. Nodes and employees of the project have been asked to suspend their operations as well. A recent sexual scandal surrounding Jake Applebaum hasn’t helped to improve the situation.

Jake Applebaum, an American independent journalist, computer security expert and hacker, was one of the most important members of the Tor Project until June 2016, following several allegations of sexual abuse by former coworkers. Although no formal accusations to the authorities have been made, the event raised drama on social media. Tor Project said that its internal investigation found evidence of the harassment allegations gainst Jacob Applebaum:

The investigation is now complete. Many people inside and outside the Tor Project have reported incidents of being humiliated, intimidated, bullied and frightened by Jacob, and several experienced unwanted sexually aggressive behavior from him. Some of those incidents have been shared publicly, and some have not. The investigation also identified two additional people as having engaged in inappropriate conduct, and they are no longer involved with the Tor Project.

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The protesters argue that Tor “cannot be trusted anymore” as the project has been debating whether to include an ex-CIA member into its ranks. Further demands include the expulsion and banning of any collaborators who worked in the past with intelligence agencies and governments.

For now, it seems that the protestors haven’t been able to convince the majority of the users, in fact, independent journalist and influencers have warned about the risks of shutting the vital Tor network, even for such a small period of time. Granted, many people use the Tor network to share sensitive information and communicate to the external world.

Tor’s executive director, Shari Steele, warned about the dangers of a network’s blackout:

Journalists and activists use Tor in countries where people can be killed for the things they say.

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