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VINE VOICEon June 17, 2014
If you want to learn more about the history of leaking, this is a good book to read. It covers the material by focusing frequently on the prominent personalities that have shaped the technology and events in that history. And his interviews and brief bios of these people are a fascinating read.

As a layman, when it comes to understanding the technology of crypto systems, I found several rather lengthy sections in which the author tried to explain and describe the intricacies of those systems difficult to follow without slowing down and carefully analyzing the text. And these section were to me tedious at times.

Nevertheless, I feel I gain quite a bit of understanding about the challenges of keeping one's information secret and devising an unbreakable code.

Overall I found the book essential reading to keep up with what is happening in the online and non-online world. Enough so that I bought a copy for a friend who is taking computing courses in college. I felt he would be vitally interested in the content, given his college emphasis, and that he needs to know that content.

With books of this sort, which are really current history, accounts of "What's going on right now, with details," I always appreciate so conclusions on where all this secrecy verses "national security" tug-of-war is going. What are the implications for the future? And, there is some of that, but I would of liked to have read more along that line.

Recommended.
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on April 16, 2014
This is an amazing book that tells a story totally relevant and urgently necessary in order to understand the who-what-when-where-and-why things got to this point, here in 2014. What is even more interesting to me is that this book was published in 2012. I looked in the index the very first thing when I opened the book and there is not one reference to Edward Snowden! Everything we know about the NSA, hacking, leaking, spying and cyber warfare in the last two years isn't even included in the book because it hadn't happened yet! We are literally at the edge of it! The book has all the suspense of fiction, all the history of an encyclopedia and just enough technical background to be important without drowning in insider-jargon! A well put-together book that is a MUST READ for anyone interested in this subject. And the point of the book seems to be, whether you're interested or not, you're going to want to know this stuff!
PS Now that I've finished the book completely, I'm beginning to wonder "How much is true?" "Is it disinformation?" "What is the author's real intention?" "Can I trust it?" "Can I believe it?" "Is the book meant for me to ask myself all these questions?" So, in the end, I can say I liked it. I read it quickly, couldn't get through it fast enough. It was gripping, Compelling. Worth-while reading. But given the subject matter, I have to wonder about all the rest. And so will YOU!
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on September 14, 2012
A gripping read! Very well-told. And for the parts and personalities I am directly familiar with, accurate. (A few tiny errors, a few compressions of events, etc., but generally accurate.)

I had a copy on pre-order with Amazon, so it arrived on Sept. 13th. I took it to the County Fair with me and read big chunks of the book while sitting on a bench.

The style of telling parts of life stories (Ellsberg, Zimmerman, Assange, Manning, me, etc.) and then interleaving with the stories of others, gradually moving forward in time, was especially interesting. Almost like a novel, or a musical piece, with themes, counterpoint, fugue-like developments. It gave a panorama of the themes and (some of) the players from the 1960s to the present, with an underlying motif.

I haven't really gotten to the second half of the book, except by skipping around and peeking. It seems more disjointed. Perhaps because I wasn't active in those events, or perhaps because the outcome just hasn't been written yet. Or maybe it's those crazy kids! The level of back-stabbing in Cypherpunks was not a fraction of what seems to have happened in the Wikileaks denouement.

Well done! It reminds me of Tracy Kidder's "The Soul of a New Machine" in a lot of ways.
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on November 13, 2012
This book is an extremely well written piece of journalism on whistle-blowers and leaking. It explores the culture that promotes openness and leaks in the information age as well as the courageous individuals who take the risks and why. This book is truly a product of stellar journalism; Greenberg traveled personally to follow each lead and talk to each source, spending time getting to know the people to write this book. All this effort really shows and the result is a refreshing change from the dull report that is sometimes delivered by people who research everything online and never come to really know the culture, people, and movement.
Highly recommended to anyone interested in groups such as wikileaks and anonymous, whistle-blowers and leakers, or the struggle of people against governments and corporations.
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on March 25, 2013
One of the best technical books I have read in a long time. The author does a fantastic job of explaining how we got to where we are in the crypto debates and gives some scary hints where we could end up. This is not a black and white issue and it is way too nuanced and complicated to believe anything the main stream media reports on these issues. One thing is clear, people need to get educated on these issues because the lines are being drawn between those who advocate the free flow of information and accountability and those who want to close off those things even more. Gov ts and content providers are running scared and their sometime draconian efforts are proof of that. It is clear they currently have no idea how to incorporate the free flow of information into a new business/governing paradigm.
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on August 29, 2013
The book is well written and places Wiki Leaks in context with other whistle blowers in the 20th century, like Daniel Ellsberg. The author writes succinctly, but with outstanding observation about the leveling of secrecy throughout the world at the end of the 20th Century and beginning of the 21st. Century.
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on September 12, 2013
I had heard a little of Bradley Manning, and more recently, Snowden and the leaks of classified government material. This book put it all in a context that I was able to understand. Giving insight on the history of digital intelligence gathering and such, the book clarifies the newspaper and other articles I read.
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on April 23, 2015
Great.
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on April 9, 2014
This is a great essay on the history of many of the famous figures and movements involved in computer security today. It can be a bit dry at times, but it is worth listening to several times.
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on November 16, 2013
The topic of this book is very timely. That's a big plus. I don't know that there is another book better right now on this subject. I wish there were.

This is a long-form work of journalism that's reads like a cross between People magazine and Wired. Based on a lot of original interviews and drawing also from information that's already public, Andy Greenberg sensationalizes a set of prime mover type people in the history of leaking. The book is heavy on biographic details -- too much so, in my opinion. The quantity of biographic details is all out of proportion, too many pages, and too often tangled in ho-hum squabbles and politics among prominent hackers and leakers.

Greenberg's book also describes a lot of the technological tension and innovation that enables hackers to pierce the secrets of governments and businesses, often while they maintain secretive control over their own operations. The technogical description is too much information, though, for a general reader like me.

What's missing is a view from society. Are the hackers and leakers achieving social value on balance? Are they doing more than entertaining themselves? How about the risks they pose to people's lives, state-level diplomacy, and commercial private property? What about considerations of ethics, the rule of law, and holding people accountable for spreading private information? Such questions mostly get sidestepped in this book without acknowledgment. To me, it's half a book, but all the page count.
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