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[liberationtech] Jacob Appelbaum's Ultrasurf Report

x z xhzhang at
Fri Apr 20 01:22:58 PDT 2012

Thanks Catherine for your nicely written commentary. I don't have opinion
on your first part questioning Jacob's "agenda" or motivations, but I do
like the seven non-coercion principles you laid out. I'd like to add one

- There is no "perfect" tool that achieves the best usability,
effectiveness, speed, security, privacy and anonymity all at once. Tools
are (to be) designed for particular goal(s) in specific environment.

2012/4/19 nic <nic at>

> Hash: SHA256
> On Thu, 19 Apr 2012 12:16:33 -0700 (PDT)
> Catherine Fitzpatrick <catfitz at> wrote:
> > Jacob Appelbaum's agenda doesn't seem to be entirely altruistic here
> > with this Ultrasurf report.
> >
> > There's a lot going on -- first, there's the desire of him (and his
> > supporters) to attack the US government and "DC Lobbyists" merely for
> > what they are, which is a hated government with a disliked Internet
> > Freedom program, which has put him under investigation for his
> > involvement in WikiLeaks (his buddies at the State Department
> > notwithstanding). Second, there's the desire to attack any competitor
> > of Tor, especially a competitor that adheres to the idea of
> > proprietary versus open source software. These are religious matters.
> >
> > In other words, when a person who runs a competing open-source
> > software solution, who has his reputation largely wrapped in it, goes
> > and publicly attacks a proprietary software solution as inferior and
> > even harmful, and attacks a software used by a government that has
> > him under investigation, it's ok to question where he is going with
> > this.
> >
> so what your saying is its ok to put out bug ridden software that does
> not do what its advertised as doing (and in some cases could lead to
> injury or death when using as directed) but not ok to audit it..
> its not like he obfuscated his personal interest he did it
> under his real name and posted it to the tor blog.. id call that
> transparency .. judge the code audit on the code audit if he has made
> factual errors call him on it.
> stop using logical fallacies to try and muddy the waters.
> > There is the added dimension of the pornography issue -- Appelbaum's
> > slam on Ultrasurf for blocking porn distracts from the fact that Tor
> > is notoriously used for viewing pornography, including illegal child
> > pornography. And there's the fact that Appelbaum has published his
> > critique just as yet another criminal case involving the use of Tor
> > for illegal drug sales is being publicized:
> >
> >
> >
> > There is no reason to take his concerns public, as the notion that
> > "users need to be warned" isn't sufficient, as most users couldn't
> > read a blog in English anyway, and most users don't care about
> > anonymity, which they lost to their ISP anyway. They care about
> > trying to access blocked sites, and perfection in this effort isn't
> > required.
> more logical fallacies omg people using a communication device to
> commit illegal acts.. that's never happened on a POTS telephone system
> has it?  and i take it you don't know what full disclosure in relation
> to bug finding is.  FYI its got less to do with user and more to do
> with making sure the vendor fixes the problems..
> >
> > So this report seems a hostile, politically-motivated attack on his
> > part.
> >
> > What's important in the fight for Internet freedom are the following
> > principles of non-coercion:
> >
> > o no one should be forced or brow-beaten into using open-source
> > software; proprietary software is ok to use. If your opensource
> > software is demonstrably better, it will sell itself without you
> > having to artificially level the playing field with constant
> > ideological attacks
> >
> no one cares what sort of software you use but if your selling a broken
> or faulty product you should not be called out on the fact that its
> broken?
> > o no one who produces proprietary software solutions should be
> > bullied into having to discuss their flaws openly or be forcibly
> > outed as to their flaws; it merely helps give ideas to authoritarian
> > governments and doesn't really help users.
> >
> lol just lol  i would assume if you produced tainted food that caused
> food poisoning you should not have to fix that either after all you
> produced it with a secret recipe so it must be good.
> > o if you don't like proprietary software, you don't have to wage a
> > jihad against it, you can make your own opensource software that is
> > supposedly better
> >
> > o pluralism is the best defense against authoritarianism, not
> > everyone being forced to go to "the best" circumvention tool or "the
> > ISP that secures your privacy". It's precisely when the market is
> > open with a variety of options that authoritarian is undermined
> >
> > o software does not have to be perfect to largely achieve its goal --
> > 1/99 binary thinking is a killer of freedom
> >
> > o people have the right to be wrong about software -- an open society
> > requires that right to be wrong and to float contrary hypotheses even
> > if they are incorrect, politically or otherwise
> >
> but when you are talking about people using a product as directed that
> then may be putting there lives at risk the user has a right to know
> the product is not working as advertised.
> > o you don't have to be technically capable to criticize software that
> > profoundly influences all of us as we increasingly move our lives on
> > line.
> but it helps if your criticizing it from a technical standpoint.
> >
> > My thoughts:
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Catherine Fitzpatrick
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