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03 June 2014

If he were a spy

I looked for answers on Quora, a question-and-answer website.

Is Jacob Appelbaum a U.S. government employee?

He gets a huge salary from the Tor Project but mostly jets around the world, more lavishly than celebrities and movie stars. His home is chic, minimalist but opulent according to Rolling Stone. He posed with semi-automatic firearms in Iraq in 2008. He parties ALL the time, based on his flickr photographs. [These photos are no longer visible other than to logged-in flickr users with adult content viewing enabled. I embedded a few as part of my question on the Quora website and question comments.]

The question doesn't really seem to follow from the details, Ellie?

Granted, but maybe this will help to explain. Tor is a former US government project. Jacob works, or worked for Tor. I was trying to avoid asking directly whether Jacob were a spy. That would be indiscreet, so I said "US government employee" instead.

Jacob has more fans and cart blanche globally than, well, I don't even know who to compare with him. He is like the Larry Ellison or Eric Schmidt of crypto fandom, but without any visible means of support. I don't see his name on the cryptography research server IACR as an author, nor any ACM nor IEEE scholarly journals, not even the Financial Cryptography conference.

ioerror is, well, to make an analogy, like the subversive version of Google's Jared Cohen. ioerror is the cool kids' hero, so to speak.