Dec 11, 2014 · 2 minutes

Update, 1:09pm, Dec 11th 2014: Anonymous has deleted its tweet calling for attacks against Pando staff.

Update, 1:330pm, December 11th 2014: Tor Project has issued a statement calling for an end to online harassment. "We will neither tolerate it in others, nor will we accept it among ourselves."

Yesterday, I called for Tor developers and supporters to call off a smear campaign against Pando writers over our coverage of the anonymous browsing technology.

As I explained, prominent members of the Tor community had been attempting to spread false and highly defamatory stories about Pando writers, apparently in order to distract from the actual substance of our coverage of their funding sources. Shockingly, even the Guardian was briefly fooled into repeating the smears, before issuing a correction over what a senior editor described as a "fuck up."

Unfortunately, my call for the debate to be refocussed on the actual substance of our reporting has apparently failed on deaf ears. Earlier today, the Intercept's Micah Lee, a Tor supporter who I cited in my post, went back on the offensive, repeating on his blog the now entirely disproven smear that Pando writers had orchestrated harassment against a female Tor developer.

After reading the post, I asked Lee if  he seriously believed that Pando has been involved in harassment, he responded...

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He then refused to answer any more questions about the claims made in his post:

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Shortly afterwards he seemed to acknowledge to a follower that he had written the post specifically to make me “lose [my] shit”….

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And then, minutes later, @YourAnonNews, the largest Anonymous twitter account, with 1.3m followers, called for an attack on me, and Pando writers Mark Ames and Yasha Levine, citing our "vicious lies" about Lee and Tor....

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Oh boy.

A few observations:

First, the fact that Pando is now being threatened both by senior executives at Uber and the members of Anonymous suggests we're doing something seriously right in terms of balance.

Second, it is beyond weird to see Anonymous using homelessness as a threat and an insult. “Reduced” to hobos? Can the group that made its name camped out in various parks and public spaces really believe there's something shameful about poverty? Maybe they have more in common with Travis Kalanick than I thought.

Finally, just as we didn't let threats by Uber and its $40bn valuation stop us reporting the truth about that company, we're not going to allow smears and threats by 1.3m Anonymous followers distract us from following the money behind Tor.  Again, though, I'd far prefer the smears to stop so we can all have a serious debate about the real issues around government funding of technology that's supposed to protect us from the government.


Update: As I was about to publish this post, an anonymous Twitter account posted what appears to be a tweet from he locked account of Tor developer Andrea Shepard in which she accuses Pando of working for the British intelligence services, attempting to drive her to suicide.

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Ludicrous as it is that I need to say this: Pando is not a front for the intelligence services of any country. Nor are we in any way involved in harassment of anyone in the Tor community, or anyone else. At all.

This really needs to stop now.