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Nobody Wants to Talk About Jacob Appelbaum

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Who is Jacob Appelbaum and why does nobody want to talk about him? “The most dangerous man in cyberspace,” according to some, Appelbaum has various claims to fame: a “hacktivist”, he was a prime mover in the TOR Project (aka “the dark web”), an associate of Edward Snowden and spokesman for WikiLeaks, and indeed the heir apparent to Julian Assange, he was a charismatic advocate for internet freedom and personal privacy… Until he wasn’t. Accused of sexual abuse in 2016 and self-exiled from the US, he became persona non grata… which is where filmmaker Jamie Kastner (There Are No Fakes; Charlotte’s Castle) finds him, adamant that he is the victim of goverment black ops, “cancelled” without legal process or recourse, punished for who he is, and for what he represents.

Wryly referencing the Oscar-winning CitizenFour (which Appelbaum appears in), Jamie Kastner has produced a very different kind of movie, less a conspiracy thriller than a Kafka-esque black comedy in which the truth is impossible to pin down. Is Jacob paranoid, or is he really under constant surveillance, as he claims? There’s enough here to intimate that we should all be more worried about state scrutiny. And while Appelbaum is evidently guilty of hubris, there remains a legitimate possibility that government security agencies weaponized the #MeToo movement to neutralize that most dangerous of adversaries, an independent thinker.


Jun 14: Q&A with director Jamie Kastner


Jamie Kastner

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104 min

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