Jacob Appelbaum stands on stage at Linux.conf.au 2012 to deliver the final keynote on Friday morning, patiently waiting for his introduction from the conference organizer. In his hand he holds a smartphone, capturing a photograph of his audience which he later says he uploaded in case his phone is confiscated at the airport on his way back to the United States of America, of which he is ironically a citizen.
However this isn’t hyperbole – Appelbaum has been detained for questioning at borders many times, in fact so many times that he’s “lost count.” In July 2010, Appelbaum was detained at Newark airport where his bag was searched, receipts photocopied, laptop inspected, and his three cellphones taken never to be seen again.
Jacob Appelbaum was detained not because he’s a genuine terrorist suspect, nor because he was trying to smuggle drugs or Kinder Surprises into the USA. Appelbaum was detained because he’s fighting for freedom and anonymity on the internet, a cause that’s as important as ever in our current society, often overlooked by the media, and under appreciated by most internet users.