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Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  1,590 ratings  ·  165 reviews
Cypherpunks are activists who advocate the widespread use of strong cryptography (writing in code) as a route to progressive change. Julian Assange, the editor-in-chief of and visionary behind WikiLeaks, has been a leading voice in the cypherpunk movement since its inception in the 1980s.

Now, in what is sure to be a wave-making new book, Assange brings together a small gro
Paperback, 192 pages
Published November 2012 by OR Books
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Aug 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
It wasn't a view that one should simply complain about the burgeoning surveillance state and so on, but that we can, in fact, must build the tools of a new democracy.

Plagiarism has been the flashpoint on GR this weekend. I thought about the controversy when copyright law is called into question throughout Cypherpunks. Sharing and privacy not only maintain autonomy, so the book goes, but each further civilization. It is difficult to argue with that. That said, this discussion was all a bit "meh"

-Missing for 1 month
-his organization being infiltrated?
-he said" if I disappear I am going to release this key data..."
-Assange’s internet access being tampered with...

Is Wikileaks founder Julian Assange missing? No “proof of life,” fans say


Assange a modern day Founding Father

Those were notes of Nov 26, 2016.
I must add he's been arrested las
Jun 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay its not exactly a Book, which is why I gave it 4 stars, more like extended interviews with Julian Assange talking with contemporaries about how e-communications and surveillance, by government, Google, Facebook etc. Big Brother is already here according to them; for example, all financial transactions credit card, checks, & cash, are tracked. Well I thought that far fetched with cash then realized I had a "Where is George" tracker app tracing the travels of a $1 bill I registered.
Whether o
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
If you want a more lucid and thorough look at the past and possible future of the internet, check Heather Brooke's "The Revolution Will Be Digitised", if you can stomach her personal vendetta against Assange.

But this book's good. Here are some quotes that jumped out at me:

Within a few years, global civilization will be a postmodern surveillance dystopia, from which escape for all but the most skilled individuals will be impossible. In fact, we may already be there.

It is important to understand
Soham Chakraborty
Unjust laws exist;
shall we be content to obey them,
or shall we endeavor to amend them,
and obey them until we have succeeded,

or shall we transgress them at once?
- Henry David Thoreau

I am writing this as I have the documentary 'The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz' running in my next tab. Because it kind of gives me the feel, the kick to write a review of this book and related books and also share what I feel about issues like these what Assange, Appelbaum, Jeremie and Andy were
Gideon Brainsurgery
Jan 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Cypherpunks is an outstanding overview of the current state of the Cyberspace War of Independence as it is being fought in what we have been taught to refer to as “the free world.” As a transcription of a conversation between Julian Assange, Jacob Applebaum, Jérémie Zimmermann and Andy Müller-Maguhn it reads sort of like a journalistic exposé, sort of like an underground crypto-anarchist ezine and sort of like the most articulate play ever written. The short length of this pertinent page-turner ...more
Ernesto F.
It is must-read, if it has been published in your country.
The discusions here are good for business men, for tech fans, and for human rights activists. Well, everybody should know at least a bit of what it contains: a very healthy discussion about modern technology, and what using it truly means to our rights, our privacy and our freedom most of all.
What to do if you like technology, but you also like your freedom of thought, and of speech? What can be done to stay in a world like ours, and not
Vasil Kolev
The book is a discussion between the four authors on various topics related to censorship, anonymity, surveillance, governments and other related topics. It contains a good summary of the thoughts on the topics in the last 20 years, and takes on things like what they call The Four Horsemen of the Info-pocalypse: child pornography, terrorism, money laundering, and The War on Some Drugs - the ones used to justify the reduction of the freedoms we have.

I've been reading the related developments in t
Nice enough small book by Julian Assange. It's actually a transcription of a conversation he had with like minded people. Interesting if you're not familiar with the cypherpunk movement or wikileaks and want to have a bit more background.

What I do recommend is that you read this article: about Assange, before or after you read this one. Written by the ghostwriter of what was supposed to be the authorized biography of Assange. Take your time, it's a long r
Jason Gordon
Nov 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An amazing book on the totalitarian use of the internet by corporations and governments to facilitate a massive state surveillance system. I especially liked the authors' explanation of how surveillance and censorship are inextricably linked -- a fact that goes unnoticed by many. ...more
Aug 11, 2020 rated it really liked it

The message of this book is not that we are all constantly spied on by all state organizations. This is obvious and proven thanks to the Snowden revelations, we wouldn't need a book for this (even if this book has been published before those revelations, some of them were already known to people watching the leaks on Wikileaks).

This book is a conversation between four knowledgeable people about the implications of this. The book is useful for learning how to think about "state surveillance" usin

May 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Really good book. They talk in the introduction about how they have "seen the enemy." I have to agree this is the reason for most people's complacency about privacy. You really have to get it to understand that we all have to be especially vigilant nowadays. Having seen the enemy helps.

As others have pointed out, the book has an interview-like conversational style with 4 different authors talking back and forth (It's not really just Julian Assange). I kind of liked the spontaneous style. A lot o
David Dango
Dec 07, 2016 rated it liked it
This book, given the way it was born, doesn't meet the mandatory rigours for a technical, non-fictional and political book. Actually it's a free discussion about the importance and the right to privacy on the Internet, about freedom of expression (be it anonymous), between the founders of WikiLeaks. A fundamental problem that bothers is the lack of coherent speech. Sometimes the discussion participants jumping from one idea to another just to win the debate. It is more a café philosophique ("caf ...more
Bianca A.
May 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, 2020
If you found this book, you are probably either curious about the author or curious about what he stands for. Perhaps the discovery of WikiLeaks got you here or maybe your concerns over privacy.
Regardless of which one it is, this book wont disappoint in exploring that which it promises: freedom, censorship, law, injustice, privacy, and much much more. Cypherpunks are the true advocates of privacy through encryption and the author invests a lot of time in discussions about why privacy is importa
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Certainly an eye-opening narration about the reach and penetration of state surveillance systems in our lives. Although it has now been four years and most of the information about such actions has now become public because of the Snowden revelations, the book still discusses some really good points as to why and how the governments use such systems to control and manipulate citizens. The notion of having one's own private space without being monitored has almost vanished (or is swiftly reaching ...more
Tudor Ștefănescu
Jan 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
well... you should definitely buy this book - if for nothing else because in this way you support the cause of wikileaks and free internet. Now, don't expect something really spectacular - I found it very "thin" in actual information and insight - it is basically the transcript of a discussion between four computer guys with an interest in social and political activism discussing the state of ... well basically the state of the world. The editing could have been a bit more aggressive(there are t ...more
Christopher Schmidt
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Clever rats in the opera house.
Matt Heavner
Mar 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Unfortunately, this was simply an unedited discussion among a handful of cypherpunks. It was interesting at times, sometimes utopian, sometimes dystopian, sometimes interesting ideas (cryptography as asymmetric and also as a "natural asymmetry"), sometimes logical, sometimes extreme and paranoid (but perhaps Assange is allowed a bit of that..), and sometimes extremely juvenile. All in all an interesting listen (I did the audiobook). It would have been better to have four distinct readers rather ...more
Valdir Duarte souza
Nov 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"This book is not a manifesto. There is not time for that. This book is a warning."
The first and last paragraph of this book are awesome. Since Edward Snowden delated the mass surveillance of NSA, even the more skeptic people started to believe that there's no conspiracy theory, that they are real and occur a decades indeed.
After several hiatus in this last years, I finally finished this book.
I just wish I could be one of those clever rats running around the opera least my sign is ra
Victor F.
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Well, I read this book and what I wanna say in this social network owned by Amazon is... the USA and its big government are just working hard for society's overall welfare, protecting us from child porn, drugs, money laundering, and, sure, keeping the War on Terror. Some secrets must me kept or we simply could not maintain the thin veil of civilization... so... we have to let ourselves to follow the great leaders of this revolution for the family values, freedom and a truth culture of life ^^ ...more
Navneet Bhushan
May 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
must read. the Wikileaks Assange gives a real picture of how Internet that was freedom for common people has been taken up by state and why it is important to take it back. a quote from the book that universe has a peculiar quality ... it's easier to encode it then to decode it ... gives a wonderful message. But can the common man takes on the state and take back his freedom ... there is hope in cryptology. a small book must read... 5 stars ...more
May 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Assange, assange.. .and all that.
Wikileaks, Bradley Manning, trodden paths, no more VISA money.

The relay we all know.

But this 'round table' is actually worth the read, an easy quick one at that.
These guys actually know what they are talking about, and especially following the footnotes provides a clear insight.
Cyberpunks do not call revolution, they call conservation. And sense.
PJ Wallachia
Oct 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Information can be disquieting, and learning about the own inner workings of our governmental repression is no exception. The internet, the greatest equalizing tool humanity has built, is rapidly being architected into the most fearsome weapon of oppression.

Which side do you choose? And will you be proud of that choice in 20 years time?
James Guillaume
Oct 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Next to "The Anarchist in the Library" this is probably the most important book you can read on Internet freedom. It presents a clear picture of the threat Internet freedom faces, and puts forth strong cryptography as our most powerful weapon. ...more
Apr 02, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
if i had read this book, i'd have to delete my goodreads account... ...more
Mar 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-book
lots to not agree with, but hey, that's food for thought!
also nice is, that this group, certainly had distinguishable perspectives
Debbie Qalballah
Nov 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant for the introduction alone
Aug 01, 2017 rated it liked it
”That’s the core of this kind of intelligence work, to slow down a process by taking away the ability of people to understand it. To declare things secret means you limit the amount of people who have the knowledge and therefore the ability to affect the process. If you look at the internet from the perspective of people in power then the last twenty years have been frightening. They see the internet like an illness that affects their ability to define reality, to define what is going on, which ...more
Sagar Acharya
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic book on how Internet and Cryptography is being used by the governments to "monitor" crimes.

One of the discussion explains it best:
"The Four Horsemen of the Info-pocalypse: child pornography, terrorism, money laundering and The War on Some Drugs."

Because of these emotional issues, all the mass-surveillance aspects are justified by powerful men and systems, things which run the world for ages are justified. There are 2 aspects to such systems, not only do we monitor terrorists, porn cr
Jun 24, 2020 rated it liked it
First of all it's not a book, so don't go into it expecting it to be one. It's a transcript of a discussion between the authors.

The content was interesting, and I appreciated the discussion. It is a warning about the freedom of the internet and lack of privacy. My main gripe with the book is that there's no suggestions for how to fix it. The only suggestions from the book are to use Tor and to be an activist. An activist for what? How do we begin to unravel this mass surveillance state that we'v
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Julian Paul Assange is an Australian publisher, journalist, software developer and Internet activist. He is the founder, spokesperson, and editor in chief of WikiLeaks, a whistleblower website and conduit for worldwide news leaks, with the stated purpose of creating open governments. Assange has worked as a computer programmer and was a hacker during his youth. He has lived in several countries, a ...more

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  Kerine Wint is a software engineering graduate with more love for books than for computers. As an avid reader, writer, and fan of all things...
4 likes · 3 comments
“One must acknowledge with cryptography no amount of violence will ever solve a math problem.” 15 likes
“The world is not sliding, but galloping into a new transnational dystopia. This development has not been properly recognized outside of national security circles. It has been hidden by secrecy, complexity and scale. The internet, our greatest tool of emancipation, has been transformed into the most dangerous facilitator of totalitarianism we have ever seen. The internet is a threat to human civilization.

These transformations have come about silently, because those who know what is going on work in the global surveillance industry and have no incentives to speak out. Left to its own trajectory, within a few years, global civilization will be a postmodern surveillance dystopia, from which escape for all but the most skilled individuals will be impossible. In fact, we may already be there.

While many writers have considered what the internet means for global civilization, they are wrong. They are wrong because they do not have the sense of perspective that direct experience brings. They are wrong because they have never met the enemy.”
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