Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle Reading App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
This book summarizes one of the great struggles of our age: the opportunity offered by the Internet for creating transparency and organizing resistance to dominance hierarchies, vs. the already-advanced mass surveillance that has been made possible by the increasingly cheap and available technologies for capturing not just specific communications, but *every* communication, whether by voice or text, on the entire Internet, with very few exceptions.
Cryptography is presented as a technical means through which to counteract this mass surveillance. Political constraints on surveillance are also explored, including an appraisal of both strategic (e.g., grassroots organizations) and tactical (e.g., Internet businesses) allies in supporting such constraints.
In a way, it's a race to see which tendency will get to the finish line first. Just as the opportunities for spreading knowledge, and for organizing, are increasing, the risks of being snooped upon, and stymied, by those supporting hierarchical institutions are ramping up.
The book starts with an eloquent - at times startlingly so - "call to cryptographic arms." "The Internet, our greatest tool of emancipation, has been transformed into the most dangerous facilitator of totalitarianism we have ever seen...The platonic nature of the Internet, ideas and information flows, is debased by its physical origins. Its foundations are fiber optic cable lines stretching across the ocean floors, satellites spinning above our heads, computer servers housed in buildings in cities from New York to Nairobi. Like the soldier who slew Archimedes with a mere sword, so too could an armed militia take control of the peak development of Western civilization, our platonic realm...Read more ›
The authors have made important contributions to the privacy/Internet freedom/anti-censorship battle. This book is a stream of consciousness discussion. I recommend it as an intro to some of the issues, but it is quite unfocused and bobs and weaves about. It doesn't attempt to create a structured framework outlining all the issues. It is worth reading more by the authors to supplement the book and fill in gaps. In terms of issues facing the planet, a lack of lifestyle sustainability is definitely the biggest issue facing us but secondarily these issues around privacy and freedom come next in my opinion. Worth a read.
Was this review helpful to you?
This book is a surprise on several levels, the first being its physical size: It's pretty small and not too long (about 150 pages).
Next (and more importantly), it's basically the transcription of conversations of 4 guys who work at the forefront of privacy and crypto issues apparently sitting around and talking. And at first, it might be easy to mistake their banter as something like that of paranoid stoners, but after the initial impression rubs off you begin to realize that these guys are really getting at the heart of some very big issues that practically no one (outside of Cypherpunk circles) is thinking about.
Actually, as you penetrate the inner chapters you begin to realize that these guys have really thought about and worked directly with some of the issues they are discussing, and that these issues are some of the key issues facing modern society today, at least as far as communications, privacy and economics are concerned. Even though the interaction is informal (or perhaps because of it), you find that these guys are able to fluently discuss and debate issues that most people remain blithely unaware of.
Key for me are the discussions about economics and democracy. Indeed, rather than the cold-war or Islamophobic paranoia that some governments have acted upon over the years, perhaps the key danger citizens face to their freedoms is really the merger of the state with vast corporate entities that have become defacto entrusted with intimate keys to information about our lives. Interestingly, Assange attempts a very US Cypherpunkly devils advocate stance: "Perhaps it's OK to give over communications to big businesses so long as governments stop interfering, because they are reacting to real potential benefits in the market".Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
Expect disinformation to be posted here. Where are the copies for sale (?) - and reviews and overviews - something is not right here and it appears to be related to the Us governments' restriction on Amazon to conduct commerce with Wikileaks and be involved in funds exchange with that entity. That likely fact is extant proof of a subtext of the premise of this book. The ubiquity and essential social and commercial aspects of the internet have crafted the perfect machine/beast - it is serving as the citizenry-controlling viral mechanism to hasten the omniscience and omnipresence of the surveillance police state: exponential Stazi and we go like bleeting well fed sheep. Paradox: as much as this book is urgent and extraordinarily important for concerned/informed citizens - they don't need it as much as do those who will never read it and indeed, resist its message. The warning herein is not just steeple bells pealing - this is lights flashing and sirens screaming...