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.”
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.
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.”
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.