Sunday, September 1, 2013

jacob appelbaum


Now, pre tend for a mo ment that some one stuck in this process is ac tu ally a ter ror ist who wants to cause harm. How well is this sys tem re ally going to work? It isn't going to work at all. The TSA re sponds to yes ter day's threats today and then they tell other agen cies what to do. Ice land is get ting the short end of the stick here, and I'm just get ting the st

Think ing about the keys is a re minder to me of the fu til ity and blind ness en com pass ing the se cu rity process. I could fash ion a set of keys from my very own lock should I be so in clined, as could any one with some extra time or money. I find this even stranger than the all too ob vi ous mark ings on my ticket. Does the TSA trust the Ice landic se cu rity process or 

I tried to com fort him by ex plain ing the fa mil iar process, only to feel hor ri­ble for ra tio nal iz ing our ex pe ri ence in the frame work of every thing being OK. We were doing what we were told, we would make our flight, and we'd be fine when it was all over.
If any thing, how ever, the process is proof of the op po site. Though we'd man age to leave the room, we could not leave the sys tem that pro duced that room. In fact, the sys tem that put us here wasn't in the process of end­ing at all. Quite the op po site—after board ing the plane, we'd fly to wards at least two more check points, more bag searches, more pa per work, and per­haps more frisk ing. We were headed straight into a mod ern sur veil lance state and were lucky to be get ting free cook ies at the halfway mark.

Part of me feels en tirely crushed by the kind ness of peo ple who are trapped in a ma chine that forces them to fol low or ders, even when they know bet ter than the process. How could any one be upset with them? They have a job, it's just part of their job, and they're doing the best that they pos si bly might hope to do. Part of me feels some hope that at least this process still has hu mans who think and feel—peo ple who em pathize and who are not over come by the cul ture of fear.

As usual I was not in formed about the rea sons for any of this spe cial treat ment and as usual, I was not given an op por tu nity to cor rect in for ma tion about my self in the sys tem that con trols my move ments.

It doesn't feel good to watch some one make up utter non sense on a whim, and yet that was the sys tem's final man i fes tion.

It doesn't feel good to watch some one make up utter non sense on a whim, and yet that was the sys tem's final man i fes tion.

It doesn't feel good to watch some one make up utter non sense on a whim, and yet that was the sys tem's final man i fes tion.

I set tled in and filled out my cus toms form, not ing every thing I'd pur­chased and re port ing on my pri vate life as the forms de mand: where I'd been, where I would be stay ing, how much money I'd spent, why I had been trav el ing, and other ques tions that are no-one's busi ness but my own. If I failed to do this per fectly, I'd be both ered more on a tech ni cal ity. It is ab­solutely ridicu lous.
My en tire flight "home" was filled with stress ful and neg a tive thoughts. I won der if I'll ever be able to land in my own coun try with out a sense of anx i ety. Will I ever have clo sure or clar i fi ca tion on more than a year of ex­tended ha rass ment, de tain ments, threats and even prop erty seizure?

Peo ple often say to me "well, don't you know why this is hap pen ing to you?" and I reply that while we may all spec u late, I have been re fused of fi­cial an swers. The lit tle of fi cial cor re spon dence I re ceived said it was prob­a bly a mis take. It took months and they as sure me that things will be bet­ter some day, prob a bly. I've been de tained mul ti ple times since that let ter, both in the U.S. and abroad. The DHS won't share a copy of my files with me or my lawyers. It says that I have no right to know what is in them.
The re dress let ter sug gests that even though noth ing is wrong, I'll still be se lected for "ran dom" screen ings. Con sider what they tell us of safety and jus tice, and ask your self: is it pos si ble that a sys tem full of such ob vi ous and ca sual dis hon esty will pro vide it?
Jacob Ap pel baum is an in de pen dent com puter se cu rity re searcher and hacker. He is cur rently em ployed by the Uni ver sity of Wash ing ton, and is a core mem ber of the Tor pro ject. After work ing as a vol un teer with Wik­iLeaks, he has been de tained at air ports more than a dozen times.