TUCoPS :: Truly Miscellaneous :: cryptoa.txt

The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto

From cracked@primenet.com Sat Oct 19 17:49:15 1996
Date: Fri, 18 Oct 1996 22:38:28 -0700 (MST)
To: cracked@primenet.com
From: CrACKeD <cracked@primenet.com>
Message-ID: <199610190538.WAA27296@primenet.com>
Subject: Crypto Anarchist Manifesto

From: tcmay@netcom.com (Timothy C. May)
Subject: The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto
Date: Sun, 22 Nov 92 12:11:24 PST

Cypherpunks of the World,

Several of you at the "physical Cypherpunks" gathering yesterday in
Silicon Valley requested that more of the material passed out in
meetings be available electronically to the entire readership of the
Cypherpunks list, spooks, eavesdroppers, and all. <Gulp>

Here's the "Crypto Anarchist Manifesto" I read at the September 1992
founding meeting. It dates back to mid-1988 and was distributed to
some like-minded techno-anarchists at the "Crypto '88" conference and
then again at the "Hackers Conference" that year. I later gave talks
at Hackers on this in 1989 and 1990.

There are a few things I'd change, but for historical reasons I'll
just leave it as is. Some of the terms may be unfamiliar to you...I
hope the Crypto Glossary I just distributed will help.

(This should explain all those cryptic terms in my .signature!)

--Tim May


The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto

Timothy  C.  May

A specter is haunting the modern world, the specter of crypto 

Computer technology is on the verge of providing the ability for 
individuals and groups to communicate and interact with each other 
in a totally anonymous manner. Two persons may exchange 
messages, conduct business, and negotiate electronic contracts 
without ever knowing the True Name, or legal identity, of the other. 
Interactions over networks will be untraceable, via extensive re-
routing of encrypted packets and tamper-proof boxes which 
implement cryptographic protocols with nearly perfect assurance 
against any tampering. Reputations will be of central importance, far 
more important in dealings than even the credit ratings of today. 
These developments will alter completely the nature of government 
regulation, the ability to tax and control economic interactions, the 
ability to keep information secret, and will even alter the nature of 
trust and reputation.

The technology for this revolution--and it surely will be both a social 
and economic revolution--has existed in theory for the past decade. 
The methods are based upon public-key encryption, zero-knowledge 
interactive proof systems, and various software protocols for 
interaction, authentication, and verification. The focus has until now 
been on academic conferences in Europe and the U.S., conferences 
monitored closely by the National Security Agency. But only recently 
have computer networks and  personal computers attained sufficient 
speed to make the ideas practically realizable. And the next ten 
years will bring enough additional speed to make the ideas 
economically feasible and essentially unstoppable. High-speed 
networks, ISDN, tamper-proof boxes, smart cards, satellites,  Ku-band 
transmitters, multi-MIPS personal computers, and encryption chips 
now under development will be some of the enabling technologies. 

The State will of course try to slow or halt the spread of this 
technology, citing national security concerns, use of the technology 
by drug dealers and tax evaders, and fears of societal disintegration. 
Many of these concerns will be valid; crypto anarchy will allow 
national secrets to be trade freely and will allow illicit and stolen 
materials to be traded. An anonymous computerized market will 
even make possible abhorrent markets for assassinations and 
extortion. Various criminal and foreign elements will be active users 
of CryptoNet. But this will not halt the spread of crypto anarchy.

Just as the technology of printing altered and reduced the power of 
medieval guilds and the social power structure, so too will 
cryptologic methods fundamentally alter the nature of corporations 
and of government interference in economic transactions. Combined 
with emerging information markets, crypto anarchy will create a 
liquid market for any and all material which can be put into words 
and pictures. And just as a seemingly minor invention like barbed 
wire made possible the fencing-off of vast ranches and farms, thus 
altering forever the concepts of land and property rights in the 
frontier West, so too will the seemingly minor discovery out of an 
arcane branch of mathematics come to be the wire clippers which 
dismantle the barbed wire around intellectual property.

Arise, you have nothing to lose but your barbed wire fences!

Timothy C. May         | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,  
tcmay@netcom.com       | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
408-688-5409           | knowledge, reputations, information markets, 
W.A.S.T.E.: Aptos, CA  | black markets, collapse of governments.
Higher Power: 2^756839 | PGP Public Key: by arrangement.


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