[tor-project] A Vote of No Confidence in Shari Steele: A Proposal For A Tor Relay Operator Strike.

stderr at riseup.net stderr at riseup.net
Thu Aug 18 19:53:00 UTC 2016

It has recently come to light that the Tor Project chose Franklin Bynum 
as the “outside counsel” to investigate the allegations sexual assault 
and sexual harassment against Jacob Appelbaum. Frank Bynum is in a 
romantic relationship with one of the principle complainant in that 
investigation, Alison Macrina.

In addition, Shari Steele allowed Macrina to become extensively involved 
in the investigation of Appelbaum’s conduct, despite the fact that she 
is an interested party in that investigation, since she claimed to have 
been taken advantage of by him.

This is completely unacceptable and unprofessional conduct by Tor’s 
executive director.

If the allegations against Appelbaum are true or substantially true, 
then this is a gross disservice to victims, since Shari’s actions robbed 
the process of any appearance of impartiality or legitimacy. If the 
allegations against Appelbaum are false or false in part, then this just 
as bad or possibly worse.

Either way, Shari’s actions needlessly exposed the Tor Project to civil 
liability, by creating an obvious appearance of bias, when she allowed 
Bynum and Macrina to conduct the investigation. Shari Steele has failed 
in her fiduciary duty towards the project.

The Tor Project should not expect volunteers to offer their time and 
resources, when Tor’s leadership is sending a clear signal that it will 
condone the preferential treatment of some community members over 
others, that it may aid and abet public shaming campaigns, and that it 
will simultaneously undermine the credibility of people who come forward 
with abuse complaints by poisoning the investigation with obvious bias.

Tor needs an impartial, professionally-minded executive director who can 
insure that influential members of the Tor community do not abuse their 
power, whether they engage in unwanted sexual advances or expose the 
project to liability through irresponsible public shaming campaigns.

I call upon other relay operators to conduct a coordinated 24 hour 
shutdown of the Tor network, in order to send a clear vote of “no 
confidence” in Shari Steele.

It’s time for a new executive director and a saner, less 
favoritism-ridden and personality-driven Tor Project.

This is neither an endorsement of Jacob Appelbaum nor an endorsement of 
the accusations against him. At this point the Tor Project’s conduct is 
so reprehensible, that it doesn’t matter who is in the right — the 
leadership needs to go.


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