Cypherpunk

Cypherpunk

The cypherpunks comprise an informal group of people interested in privacy and cryptography who originally communicated through the cypherpunks mailing list. The aim of the group was to achieve privacy and security through proactive use of cryptography. Events such as the GURPS Cyberpunk raid lent weight to the idea that private individuals needed to take steps themselves to protect their privacy. In its heyday, the list discussed the public policy issues related to cryptography, as well as more practical nuts-and-bolts mathematical, computational, technological, and cryptographic matters themselves.

A coderpunks list, open by invitation only, existed for a time. Coderpunks took up more technical matters and had less discussion of public policy implications.

The term cypherpunk, derived from cipher and punk, was coined by Jude Milhon as a pun to describe cyberpunks who used cryptography. In November 2006, the word was proposed for inclusion in the Oxford English Dictionary. The Cypherpunks included several notable computer industry figures.

Many cypherpunks are anarcho-capitalists.

History

The mailing list's best days have been behind it for some time, having peaked around 1997. A number of current systems in use trace their roots to this time, including Pretty Good Privacy, /dev/random in the Linux kernel (the actual code has been completely reimplemented several times since then) and today's anonymous remailers.

The cypherpunk mailing list was originally hosted on toad.com, but after a falling out with the sysop over moderation, the list was migrated to several cross-linked mail-servers in what was called the "distributed mailing list". Toad.com continued to run with the existing subscriber list, those that didn't unsubscribe, and was mirrored on the new distributed mailing list, but messages from the distributed list didn't appear on toad.com. As the list faded in popularity, so too did it fade in the number of cross-linked subscription nodes. As of 2007, the only remaining node is at al-qaeda.net, and list traffic is at best intermittent and even then, sparse.

For a time, the cypherpunks mailing list was a popular tool with mailbombers, who would subscribe a victim to the mailing list. This precipitated the mailing list sysop(s) to institute a reply to subscribe system. It is important to note that approximately two hundred messages a day was typical for the mailing list, divided between personal arguments and attacks, political discussion, technical discussion, and early spam.

Other uses

Cypherpunk, cypherpunks or cpunks are also occasionally used as a username and password on websites which require registration, especially if the user does not intend to return or does not wish to reveal information about himself. The account is left for later users. As of 2007, username "cypherpunks01" with password "cypherpunks01" seems to be one of the few of these "public use accounts" which seems to be widely available.

Citations

Some well known cypherpunks

See also

External links

  • http://www.activism.net/cypherpunk/manifesto.html - A Cypherpunk's Manifesto written by Eric Hughes.
  • http://www.activism.net/cypherpunk/crypto-anarchy.html - The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto written by Timothy C. May.
  • http://lateclaindomita.bravehost.com/cyber.html - Spanish translation of A Cypherpunk's Manifesto translated by Raúl Racedo, Argentina.
  • http://www.swiss.ai.mit.edu/6805/articles/crypto/cypherpunks/cyphernomicon/CP-FAQ - The Cyphernomicon by Timothy C. May ("Cypherpunks FAQ and More" from 1994! Need serious updating.)
  • http://cypherpunks.venona.com - Archives of the first eight years of the mailing list.
  • http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache:HdLL3arryzwJ:www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,55114,00.html+%22Warm+Party+for+a+Code+Group Cypherpunks 10 year anniversary (Article in Wired)
  • http://www.xml-dev.com/lurker/message/20061106.155725.b158c80a.en.html Cypherpunks make the Oxford English Dictionary.

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