Time for the return of the Cypherpunks, Crypto-Anarchists and Techno-Libertarians? YES

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Mon Apr 23 01:00:07 PDT 2012


Time for the return of the Cypherpunks, Crypto-Anarchists and
Techno-Libertarians? YES

There's a strangely disturbing trend I've noticed over the past couple of
years... all of the Cypherpunks, Crypto-Anarchists and techno-libertarians
seem to have gone into hiding, or disappeared.

A couple of years ago, if a story about encryption export controls hit
Slashdot, these people were out in full force, making the argument that using
strong encryption is a right, arguing for the right to privacy, the right to
anonymity, etc. But somehow they all seem to have dropped off. At least in my
(admittedly subjective) view, you see a lot less crypto-anarchist /
techno-libertarian / cypherpunk types on Slashdot, Reddit, Hacker News, etc.
these days. Why is that? Maybe because we thought we won a small battle
somewhere along the way, got complacent and went on with our lives? Or maybe
we lost so many battles that we all just gave up, packed it in and quit

Recently however, I've been noticing more and more issues in the news, and
more things happening, that convince me that - more than ever - we need a
resurgence of interest and activity from these folks. More and more our
government and/or large corporations (is there a difference?) are using, or
threatening to use, technology in a way that infringes our rights, or is just
plain stupid, or both.


    From Slashdot: A story about how the Pentagon is abusing social media to
generate domestic propaganda and to attempt to undermine the credibility of
journalists who are investigating the Pentagon.

    From Slashdot: An article citing an NSA whistle-blower who reveals that
the NSA is probably keeping copies of ALL email correspondence sent by anyone
living in the USA.

    From Hacker News: Discussion of a Wired.com story about the use of
biometrics at border crossings around the world

    From Hacker News: A mention of the DHS "pre-crime screening" technology
which is currently being researched (this has so much potential for abuse
it's not even funny).

    From Hacker News: Discussion of an EFF release about the "CISPA" bill,
yet another sweeping power grab by our government. 

Seriously, it just never stops. And it's not going to stop anytime soon. It's
up to us to help people learn to use technology to counter these actions by
the Establishment, to promote awareness of the dangers of the abuse of
certain technologies, to encourage discussion of our right to have private
communications, to remain "presumed innocent until proven guilty", and all of
those other things that are so important to our freedom as individuals.

In short, it's time for a resurrection of the crypto-anarchist /
techno-libertarian / cypherpunk movement and it's associated values,
activities and aesthetic. Those of us who care about these issues can't just
lurk in the shadows and act like nothing is happening. It's time to start
telling people about public-key encryption, hosting key-signing parties,
developing new technologies for bypassing Internet censorship, developing
tools for bypassing State and Corporation controlled messaging channels, and
taking a stand for freedom.

To this end, when I'm back in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill/RTP area from
this consulting gig I'm currently on, I'm going to take a stab at getting a
Cypherpunk group organized and active. If you're interested in participating,
please let me know. And please spread this message around widely. This stuff
is too important to sit around and remain apathetic and inactive.

( Apr 22 2012, 04:42:11 PM EDT ) Permalink Comments [6] 

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