Cypherpunks 101, Ep.1

Privacy Matters: Cypherpunks, Crypto-Anarchists And Their Enemies

Cypherpunks & Crypto-anarchists: Who Are They?

The cypherpunk movement was born at the end of the 80s and was initiated by Eric Hughes, Timothy C. May, and John Gilmore. Inaugurated by Timothy May’s CryptoAnarchist’s Manifesto, the cypherpunk movement focuses on privacy issues on the open web, defining privacy as: “the power to selectively reveal oneself to the world” (Hughes, ed. Ludlaw, 2001, p. 81). Their main goal is then to prevent the revealing of unnecessary information that is commonly required by transactions. As Hughes writes:

From Bitcoin Magazine

Surveillance, Money and the State

Today we are forced to deal with economic and political institutions that are expensive and exclusionary: They have a high potential for error and they intrude into users’ personal privacy without oversight or accountability. In many ways, such institutions are the key stakeholders of a dystopian world of oppression, in which technology is exclusively managed by the state and massive corporations. Yet, the most problematic part is that we are not fully aware of the fact that mass surveillance has become increasingly cheap, invisible, and pervasive. The most popular argument that pops up when someone hears about a loss of privacy is: “But I have nothing to hide, so I don’t care”. However, privacy is not about hiding the wrong, but rather about having control over one’s own communication. In the “nothing to hide” logic, the choice comes down to a passive acceptance of mass surveillance instead of an active defense of one’s own rights.

Useful Resources

Security Without Identification: Card Computers to Make Big Brother Obsolete (1985)

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Privacy is the power to selectively reveal oneself to the world.

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