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Re: [tor-talk] Tor in the media

Thanks for the suggestions Griffin (and everyone else who has emailed me),
I really appreciate it! I'll be taking your advice and reaching out to the
people you've mentioned.

As to the complaints, since they take up a good chunk of your email: I
don't take me or my employer to be exempt from any problems covering Tor. I
wouldn't have sent the email if I didn't think I had a lot of room for
improvement. Obviously I think it is legitimate to cover people buying
drugs and other "salacious" activities. And it's important to report on for
more reasons than simply because "it's exciting" but I think we agree that
there is a wider scope of activity that has to be talked about. Again,
that's why I sent the email.

Just to briefly address the Firefox article criticism, since that seems to
have been prevalent among Tor people, here's one reason why it wasn't just
blind speculation: https://twitter.com/chobopeon/status/516959760244281345.
As to needing confirmation of facts: I spoke to Tor, I spoke to Firefox,
and neither confirmed nor denied what I asked about. I'm not going to spike
a piece based on no-comments, especially when I make it clear that the
article is not 100% stone cold fact. There's nothing wrong with informed
speculation as long as it's clearly labeled.

As far as the many minor errors my articles have, I'm happy to keep having
discussions about factual issues in my articles. My work is far, far from
perfect but I'm happy to strive to get better. That's another conversation
but I'm happy to have it here if you want to keep chatting. Suffice to say,
I think my work is more than defensible.

And finally to address the surveillance article: I didn't personally credit
Jacob's Wikileaks work for surveillance of Tor people, I quoted someone who
did. I also really take issue with the characterization that anyone was
actively blaming Jacob or Wikileaks for the surveillance. I certainly
wasn't and I really don't think Andrew, who I quoted, was doing that
either. It's related, and that's why it's included and expanded upon, but
no one is sitting here wagging their finger at anyone else. It wasn't my
intention to "fight" you or "blame" Jacob and it's almost a little
surprising that it was interpreted that way. Almost. But then being
misinterpreted is part of the paycheck and it's my job to do better next
time and make sure people understand what I mean to say.

On Thu, Oct 2, 2014 at 9:32 AM, Griffin Boyce <griffin@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> 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.
> ~Griffin
> * 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 how
>> the project is portrayed in the media. As a reporter on this beat, the many
>> legitimate criticisms the community have had strike pretty close to home
>> for me. I don't think I need to tell this list why Tor's portrayal in the
>> 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 to
>> ask of tor-talk (secure contact info follows at the bottom of the message):
>> -- What untold but important stories about Tor are you willing to share?
>> When writing about Tor, it's relatively easy to write about, for instance,
>> popular hidden services (and I've admittedly done it plenty). The drug
>> markets that advertise themselves and run a business are often more than
>> willing to talk to reporters. They're even proactive about it.
>> It's
>> much tougher for a reporter to nail down important Tor stories about,
>> as another example, domestic abuse victims using the software or political
>> activists protecting their lives with it. That makes perfect sense, those
>> people rely on anonymity in a much different way than enterprising drug
>> dealers, but this reality makes it trickier for reporters to tell the full
>> story when it comes to Tor. The trick, then, is to be proactive as well.
>> 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 the
>> wild--here:
>> http://kernelmag.dailydot.com/issue-sections/features-issue-sections/10393/tor-transgender-military-service/
>> ... I was inspired in large part by articles like this:
>> http://betaboston.com/news/2014/05/07/as-domestic-abuse-goes-digital-shelters-turn-to-counter-surveillance-with-tor/.
>> The BetaBoston article is very good, obviously, but it's a too-rare breed.
>> 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 the
>> 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 direction
>> to point me in, I would love to hear from you. Or if you just want to talk
>> 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 still
>> valuable to hear stories I won't write about), you can find my contact info
>> and PGP key at http://www.patrickhowelloneill.com/contact , you can email
>> me here (my personal email), or at pat@xxxxxxxxxxxxx Obviously we can also
>> work out other ways of communicating if need be.
>> Thanks!
> --
> In a metal tube flying through the sky right now. SCIENCE!
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