cover image Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet

Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet

Julian Assange with Jacob Appelbaum, Andy Muller-Maguhn, and Jeremie Zimmerman.. OR Books, $16 (198p) ISBN 978-1-939293-00-8

"We have met the enemy [and he is us]" could sum up the "warning" of this bleak conversation-cum-polemic from Assange%E2%80%94the WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief%E2%80%94and three fellow activists. The talk, which occurred during Assange's London house arrest, is a provocative look into the minds of these of geek-philosophers. Governments are collecting all types of data on average Joes at an alarming rate and private corporations like Facebook, Google, and Twitter are in on the surveillance game. Calling the Internet "a threat to human civilization," Assange views cryptography as the only way for individuals to protect themselves from the mass surveillance tools deployed to wage war and to spy on ordinary people. A "free and open" Internet provides the only protection against the "transnational surveillance state, drone-riddled, the networked neo-feudalism of the transnational elite." It's an explosive theory, and Assange is pessimistic about the future: By giving up so much of their personal lives to governments and corporations, most people are already well down the road to serfdom. The fight to preserve the remaining freedoms, he believes, will fall to a "high-tech rebel elite" who have the knowledge and tools to fight back. (Nov.)