Privacy Advocates to Critics: Shut the Fuck Up or We’ll Dox You

The filthy reactionary pile-on we call Twitter dot com lost a scrapper the other day, the account @JbJabroni10. For a couple of years, as far as I’m aware, JB ran around the infosec internet poking holes in bullshit official stories and connecting dots few others could see. He wasn’t a force, he never required reckoning, but he was hated all the way to the top by even Infodad Glenn Greenwald. This was his undoing.

JB’s problem was his bullheaded ignoring of “social justice” language conventions. He sometimes used the word “bitch.” He referenced spousal abuse as a headgame tactic, since this is what’s used against us from above every day. He made fun of some people’s appearance. He used sockpuppets to get around blocks to continue his harassment of his targets. This made him a ripe, more easily justifiable target for termination, when the time finally came. He hit the wrong dog on the nose and it tore his arm off: he was doxxed and his work contacted about his Twitter activity.

He was obsessive but this made him encyclopedic. He could reference things said by people weeks, months, years back. I couldn’t even always follow his train of thought, but others referenced his tweets to make points. The main thing to remember is though clearly annoying, he was not a troll. A troll is an often content-devoid interaction meant only to annoy, enrage, and derail constructive discussion. JB badgered high-status, key people for answers to questions he considered important. These people almost never answer questions to low-status individuals in good faith, if at all. That’s when JB would typically begin his harassment, and I find it hard to get too bent out of shape by this tactic.

One of his targets was Andrea Shepard, a Tor developer. She apparently orchestrated his Thanksgiving Day doxxing and documented the process of outing him. It’s important to note it did not involve hacking, but if you click through to her website you are logging your IP on her server. “Should have used Tor, fucko,” she tweeted from her locked account.

Should have used my product, fucko. Fittingly for a libertarian, she’s pushing a product and made JB an instructive lesson of what could happen when we don’t. Too bad she doesn’t take the philosophy so far as to allow questioning of her own funding source.

It’s popular to appropriate the phrasings of social justice toward anti-justice ends, and even typically anti-PC libertarians have taken it up. Shepard noted JB was involved in the “Pandorast” (as in, Pando Daily) “triggering” she experienced that caused her to lock her Twitter account. I’d be less inclined to dismiss her “triggering” if she weren’t palling around with misogynist Nazi (and doxxer) extraordinaire Weev, whom she included on her list of JB’s “victims.”

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If that scumbag doesn’t trigger you, you can’t be triggered. I’m also not about to listen to citations of alleged queer-shaming (17.7837625% of JB’s targets in my non-random “victim” sample were lesbians!) from someone who uses butt-fucking as a slur to render her own smear targets nonentities.

I know it’s so funny to ridicule and bat aside the “OpPornPixie” critique, but it’s a legit observation even if not necessarily directed from above. It is a Thing to sell products with sex, and the left is well aware. Why not also messages, philosophies, policies? And why not with other appearance signifiers? We can be told to vote or die with traditionally anti-establishment hip hop aesthetics. Shepard’s appearance fits this MO. Is she not dying her hair purple and using white face makeup for some sort of attention? There is no “self-expression” if there’s no one around to see it. She does her goth thing for a reason; how is it inappropriate for someone to notice? But it wasn’t the purple hair in a vacuum that JB was making fun of, it is specifically the countercultural signaling employed with the effect and maybe intent of distracting from her status as a fucking defense contractor.

A lot of this noise would probably dissipate if any of these people worked to settle the concerns of critics with good-faith answers. Win the argument. But no, just look what they do to some of their proponents! Tor supporter George Bell asked earnest questions of the developers a couple of weeks back. Rather than address his concerns, infosec celeb/Tor dev Jacob Appelbaum and Shepard played good cop-bad cop, meeting Bell with deflection and derision.

“It would be nice if someone at Tor rebutted the Pando stuff. I know everyone thinks it’s beneath them, but I keep seeing non-tech aware people who I respect and admire taking Pando moral panic on Tor seriously. I try to explain to them that it’s no secret and of all projects Tor is least vulnerable to corruption by funding, but it is an uphill struggle. I really don’t think taking a “don’t feed the trolls” approach is fair to the good people who don’t know any better and in the absence of a rebuttal of misinformation from Tor people, have to assume there’s something to it.”

Bell was ultimately rewarded for his good-faith persistence with blocking by Shepard.

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I hate to dwell on Shepard because though she was the one who apparently led the doxxing, the antics were “faved” by everyone at Tor, weakly ratified by EFF’s Jillian York, and facilitated by Tor hanger-on Bruce Leidl. A whole group of “net freedom movement” “privacy advocates” hi-fived each other on finishing off a particularly prickly gadfly and possibly getting him fired. Transparency from professional transparency advocates shouldn’t be such a strange thing to demand.

JB — and his parents, too, by the way — were doxxed not for his “misogyny,” evidence of which is thin at best, but for making powerful jerks uncomfortable. His language and tactics made it easy to make a misogyny charge stick. They’re the cops, and JB was a particularly vocal “criminal.” They shot him dead, and the lesson they hope we take is: “you’re next.”

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See the follow-ups and clarifications to this article:
Taxpayer-Funded Privacy Advocates, Liberal Pundits, and Nazi-Rapist-Snitch Allies Make Case for Doxxing Critics. You Are Literally Next.

Enraged Nerds Defend the Honor of Math

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The Empire Isn’t a Thing, It’s a Concept

In my daily falling-down-the-rabbit-hole-style perusing of the internet, I randomly rediscovered this great article by Alexander Cockburn (RIP) on the worst of 9/11 conspiracy theory. It’s an excellent take on how the focus on bizarrely minute details are harmful distractions from the world’s actual conspiracies, which unfold in front of us all the time. It notes the impossibility of such a conspiracy in specifics — yes, high-grade steel melts! — and through proven examples of official incompetence. Great stuff! But what if — it suddenly occurred to me — some hypothetical reader were to cite it as evidence of the ineptness of the empire? It’d be incredibly, almost purposely dumb, right?

Motivated by this Jeremy Scahill tweet, Kevin Dooley pointed out the flaws in the argument that the ruling classes just go around the world screwing up their foreign policy and are therefore stupid (and hypocritical!), causing “problems with their right hand that they try (and often fail) to solve with their left.”

Now, if one were to cite the very real failures of specific military or bureaucratic operations as evidence that the entire system of rule is fatally self-contradictory, one might be missing the point. Let’s say we weren’t to summarily dismiss the “Sideshow Bob stepping on a rake forever” example as illustrative of imperial action. Should the rake be seen as representing the individual operations of the empire, which can sometimes or even often be said to have failed? No, the rake has to be meant as the overall goals of the empire, or what even is the analysis? Humans fuck up? Tell me more.

When the rake hits face, is the face America/The West? No. It’s whoever is killed and impoverished. Oops! Bush fucked up Iraq! That rake really smacked him right in his smug face, huh, retired in his luxurious ranch sitting on millions of dollars. Or… maybe the face is the Iraqi people, over a million of whom didn’t even live to see Bush’s “fuck up”? Keep in mind that even when Bob smoothly sidesteps the rake and snatches it up in his hands in a single motion — a foreign policy objective was successfully completed — what the face actually must represent is still smashed.

Because “foreign policy” is evil and hurts people, in case that needs further explication.

This dissection does seem labored. Maybe we should just dismiss the rake-face angle as too goofy to engage.

One example I can see my hypothetical know-it-all picking out of Cockburn’s piece is the WMD controversy. They couldn’t even work out planting Saddam’s WMDs! Some all-knowing conspiracy, guys. Well sure, there were far too many people that would have to be involved in such a plot to actually carry it out. Better to realize that hey, they literally did not even need to find the WMD to “get away with” the invasion, as we have seen. So why even bother trying to manufacture it? As Cockburn showed, this is all a distraction from the real, successful, open conspiracy to destroy Iraq for power and profit.

We might as well say the subprime/foreclosure crisis was a disaster for the Fed, regulatory agencies, and the big banks. They created a bubble! Oops for sure man.

Fuckups don’t call into question the fundamental function of the system, which is to protect those at the top at literally all — every single ever — costs. I say function and not purpose because the system doesn’t require a purposeful unifying conspiracy, just like humanity didn’t need to be created by God. We’re here, you’ll have to work back from that. We don’t have an alternate reality. Humans exist. The upper classes rule.

“The Empire” isn’t a hivemind or even necessarily a purposeful entity, it’s shorthand for a concept, for what happens naturally in the system we have. That the various ruling factions don’t necessarily even directly communicate or aren’t privy to all the details of the system doesn’t change the true fact that the benefits accrue to them.

The “Ineptitude, Sloth, Distraction & Resentment” Cockburn cited are not a fault in the system, as behold — there it is, functioning, funneling the wealth created by the labor and ingenuity of the world’s billions ever-upward into the hands of criminal scum. We have the system we have, and we just have to gaze upon it to see it doesn’t require flawless execution to function as it does. To err is human, so error is obviously built into any human system.

This is why we can look at all the terrible “disasters” in recent foreign policy and yet see that there is no danger that military funding will be cut, that war contracting will be reduced, that war finance will take a hit, that weapons manufacturers will lose business, that politics itself will be delegitimized in the eyes of the vast majority of imperial subjects.

I know this seems like a silly strawman, and maybe it is. Nobody intelligent would actually imply that anti-imperialists think the empire is a perfect conspiracy with a staff of millions. In any event, it’s useful to talk through it even just for our own edification. Keep those analytical skills sharp! Just don’t poke your eye out.