Tag Archives | Cypherpunk

The Original Cypherpunk Manifesto

Via Activism.net, in 1993, UC Berkeley mathematician Eric Hughes penned this manifesto for the so-called cypherpunk movement which he had helped invent:

Privacy is necessary for an open society in the electronic age. Privacy is not secrecy. A private matter is something one doesn’t want the whole world to know, but a secret matter is something one doesn’t want anybody to know. Privacy is the power to selectively reveal oneself to the world.

If two parties have some sort of dealings, then each has a memory of their interaction. Each party can speak about their own memory of this; how could anyone prevent it?

Since we desire privacy, we must ensure that each party to a transaction have knowledge only of that which is directly necessary for that transaction. When I purchase a magazine at a store and hand cash to the clerk, there is no need to know who I am.

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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.… Read the rest

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