t byfield on Tue, 7 Dec 2010 07:45:25 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> FW: [IP] WikiLeaks sold classified intel, claims website's co-founder

almost@riseup.net (Mon 12/06/10 at 10:13 AM +0100):

> Also I didn't realize Cryptome was ever the first to leak anything.  They
> typically just linked to stuff that was already out there - and I thought
> that was the point.  Show how damaging publicly available information can
> be.

The 'first' to leak anything is a needlessly huge claim, but Cryptome was 
very early and very focused. It began in the context of the Cypherpunks 
list, which served that time as a kind of coordination point for, amidst
lots of ravings, efforts to make cryptography more 'open' (I'm ever-more
reluctant to use that word, and in the context of 'opening' techniques 
that primarily serve to *close* things the irony becomes very poignant). 
This mainly consisted of challenging its militarization (and consequent 
criminalization by anyone not sanctioned by the ~military), but it led 
to some other astounding projects -- for example distributed-computing 
projects like SETI@home[1] can all trace their origins to Lucky Green's 
wish that he could exploit all the CPU cycles wasted worldwide running 
Windows screensavers.

   [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_distributed_computing_projects

...though Vernor Vinge's name was regularly invoked on the list (esp _True 
Names_), so even then the issue wasn't 'F1RST!!!'. Rather, the ethic of 
the list was something more like the IETF's 'rough consensus and running 
code,' just without the consensus bit. Let's just say it wouldn't take 
long to come up with a "How many cypherpunks does it take to screw in a
lightbulb?" joke.

Your assumption that Cryptome typically linked to stuff is completely off,
but in a useful way, one that says a lot about where the net has drifted
over all these years: from a society of 'maintainer'-driven sites, to a 
delusional 'ecology' of eden where things magically just seem to 'be' there 
(until they're not!), to lately this mystified 'cloud' stuff (I'll merely
gesture in the direction the analogy points, toward an 'environment'). 
Actually storing the documents, rather than merely linking to them, has 
been central to Cryptome's logic from day one. Any fool can link to any
fool document, a truth that goes a long way toward unravel the mass of 
'clicktivist' rubbish; but physically possessing documents -- whatever 
that means -- involves much more serious risks. 

I should probably add that I'm not privy to Cryptome's inner workings 
in any way.


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