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Re: [tor-talk] Tor in the media

Hey Patrick,

Most newspapers have a taste for the salacious, and the DailyDot is not exempt from that criticism. People buy drugs online (which is incredibly stupid for several reasons), but that is in no way the largest use case for hidden services. Not even close. It sells papers (and their digital equivalent) because it's exciting, but as you point out there are plenty of exciting and mundane parts of this community worth writing about. The trick is finding them.

The people behind PubLeaks have set up 42+ hidden services for newspapers and journalism organizations in the Netherlands. Start there.

Then talk to SecureDrop. Talk to TorServers. Go through the public list of core Tor contributors and read about what they're working on. Reach out to domestic violence organizations and see how they are helping people stay safe. Find out the conferences that we present at, then see what related topics are presented. Read papers from this year's USENIX & FOCI. Go to 31c3 in December and the Circumvention Tech Festival in March. High five some people. 

Approaching the community as a whole is a good idea, but you've got to approach existing organizations that either do outreach or have run successful projects in circumvention. It's not always obvious who those people are, but small steps will get you there.

And now for some complaints: I've seen some steep assumptions in your articles. Your Firefox piece in particular needed, you know, confirmation of facts. It seemed entirely speculative. There have been other, more minor errors that should have been caught. Judicious fact-checking absolves many sins. 

I also don't think it was fair to imply that one specific person was the cause of (eg) targeted surveillance. In my case, it's *definitely* not the cause. While Jake and I have a habit of disagreeing*, at the end if the day, the fault must rest with the oppressor not the oppressed. The fact that we are colleagues and have both had issues at various times *is* related -- but only because we work in a space that is being unfairly targeted! 

We all spend too much time fighting each other when we should be fighting for our freedom. Ugh, humans.


* about effective activism, about the relative fluffiness of cats, about whether orange looks good on anyone, about the sky, about whether we've eclipsed Foucault's vision of the control society and moved into an undefined panoptic society, about browser-based cryptography (it's fine, dammit), about closed-source cryptophone vs open-source diy setups. Frankly, we can fight about insufficiently toasted bread if the timing's right and we're both in a bad mood, let's be honest.

On October 1, 2014 5:40:17 PM EDT, Patrick <apexcp@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>Hi everyone,
>Over the past few weeks, I've talked with a number of Tor people about
>the project is portrayed in the media. As a reporter on this beat, the
>legitimate criticisms the community have had strike pretty close to
>for me. I don't think I need to tell this list why Tor's portrayal in
>media is important, now more than ever. So, with the blessing and
>encouragement of a couple of official Tor people, I've got a question
>ask of tor-talk (secure contact info follows at the bottom of the
>-- What untold but important stories about Tor are you willing to
>When writing about Tor, it's relatively easy to write about, for
>popular hidden services (and I've admittedly done it plenty). The drug
>markets that advertise themselves and run a business are often more
>willing to talk to reporters. They're even proactive about it.
>It's much tougher for a reporter to nail down important Tor stories
>as another example, domestic abuse victims using the software or
>activists protecting their lives with it. That makes perfect sense,
>people rely on anonymity in a much different way than enterprising drug
>dealers, but this reality makes it trickier for reporters to tell the
>story when it comes to Tor. The trick, then, is to be proactive as
>I recently took a swing at writing precisely the kind of article I'm
>talking about--an untold but important story about how Tor is used in
>... I was inspired in large part by articles like this:
>The BetaBoston article is very good, obviously, but it's a too-rare
>I'd like to hear from anyone who might be willing to talk about (on the
>record or off) untold but important Tor stories that can shed light on
>way the software serves its users. By design, I'll never get the full
>picture, but we can surely do more than surface scratching.
>If you have a story to tell, if you know someone who might, if you can
>think of others who I should be talking to, or if you have a good
>to point me in, I would love to hear from you. Or if you just want to
>more about Tor in the media, that's a topic I'm really interested in as
>well to be honest, so I'm happy to talk about that.
>If you're interested in talking (again, on the record or off, it's
>valuable to hear stories I won't write about), you can find my contact
>and PGP key at http://www.patrickhowelloneill.com/contact , you can
>me here (my personal email), or at pat@xxxxxxxxxxxxx Obviously we can
>work out other ways of communicating if need be.
>tor-talk mailing list - tor-talk@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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In a metal tube flying through the sky right now.  SCIENCE!
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