Cypherpunk Pioneers Warn of a “Coming Surveillance Dystopia”

Twenty years of cypherpunk* get mixed reviews in this article by the former editor of Mondo 2000 (the pre-web technology magazine which William Gibson remembers as “a focus of something that was happening”). The editor describes the 1992 conversation in which Jude Milhon first coined the term cypherpunk, and how Julian Assange posted his first words on the Cypherpunk mailing list in 1995 — “I am annoyed…”

But nearly 20 years later, contemporary cypherpunk now finds itself on the verge of what Assange calls “a postmodern surveillance dystopia, from which escape for all but the most skilled individuals will be impossible.” On the one hand, EFF co-founder John Gilmore argues today that cypherpunk “did reshape the world” by freeing encryption from government control, while threat analyst Adrian Lamo warns that “The biggest threat to our privacy is our own limited understanding of how little privacy we truly have.”

Last September the ACLU even warned that “federal law enforcement agencies are increasingly monitoring Americans’ electronic communications, and doing so without warrants, sufficient oversight, or meaningful accountability.” And this article even notes that for $10 million, one South African company “will sell you a turnkey system that can intercept all communications in a middle-sized country!”

*Wikipedia article on cypherpunk.

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  • Raz

    Screw Adrian Lamo. Snitch!

  • Raz

    Screw Adrian Lamo. Snitch!

  • echar

    Is it illegal to totally C.Y.A. yet?

  • echar

    Is it illegal to totally C.Y.A. yet?

  • Charlie Primero

    Jack Blood has prompted me to look into building a node for the coming pirate wireless internet.

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