Monday, 20 June 2016 14:16

Security expert Appelbaum no longer part of Debian

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Well-known privacy advocate and developer Jacob Appelbaum is no longer a member of the Debian GNU/Linux project, with his status as developer having been revoked as of 18 June.

Whether he was thrown out or chose to go on his own is unclear. Clarification has been siought from Debian leader Mehdi Dogguy.

Appelbaum left the Tor project, a system enabling anonymous online communication, on 2 June after charges of sexual misconduct were raised against him.

He has been asked to leave hacker groups Cult of the Dead Cow, Noisebridge, and will not be allowed to attend events organised by the hacker group Chaos Computer Club.

And Melbourne-based senior Debian developer Russell Coker is pushing for him to be barred from attending the Australian National Linux Conference hereafter.

Appelbaum was one of the keynote speakers at the LCA in Ballarat in 2012.

In an email sent to the Linux Australia mailing list, Russell wrote: "Due to his long history of sexually abusing many people Jacob is no longer involved with Tor, Cult of the Dead Cow, Noisebridge, Chaos Computer Club, and Debian.

"I think he should not be allowed to attend LCA in future.

"Also I think that as he was an LCA keynote speaker and has a history of sexually abusing other delegates at computer conferences (in a gross violation of every CoC) I think that Linux Australia should make a public statement about this.

"Jacob has a history of using positions of influence and respect to exploit people, we don't want his history as an LCA keynote speaker to be used for that."

Responding to his email, Linux Australia president Hugh Blemings wrote: "Thank you Russell for flagging this. It is on our agenda for the regularly scheduled council meeting tomorrow (21 June) evening, I'll defer further commentary until after same."

Since Appelbaum left the Tor Project, a number of people have come forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct.

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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