From hackers and cipher -tunes to the defenders of freedom online – five programmatic manifestos of the Internet

According to the recent report by Freedom House, the Pandemia of Coronavirus negatively affected global freedom on the Internet. For 10 consecutive years, users have been faced with the general infringement of their rights, and this phenomenon contributes to the crisis of democracy around the world.

Experts identified three trends that indicate a decrease in the level of freedom on the network:

  • Governments use pandemia as a preposition to limit access to information.
  • Under the same pretext, the authority to observe and implement new technologies aimed at digitizing, collecting and analyzing personal data of people without proper protection against abuse.
  • Cyber ​​Superhenititis race – countries introduce their own Internet rules in order to limit the flow of information through national borders.

As you know, any action causes counteraction. This is especially relevant for the Internet, for many users of which the principles of unhindered access to information and free expression of opinions are the fundamental foundation for the development of civil society and the achievement of economic prosperity.

The history of the World Wide Web is also the history of the struggle for the basic human rights, the possibilities for the achievement of which with the development of technology have immeasurably grew.

We have collected the five most famous software documents published on the network that still do not lose their relevance, including for supporters of cryptocurrencies.

Hacker’s manifesto

The first significant attempt to explain the philosophy of hackers was written in January 1986 and later published in the Electronic journal Phrack Essay called “Conscience of Hacker” (The Conscience of a Hacker). It was written under the pseudonym The Mentor (Mentor) Hacker from Texas Lide Blankenschip.

At the time of writing a document, which is also often called the Hacker Manifesto, Blancenship was only 20 years old, and shortly before he was arrested by the FBI. The reasons for the arrest are unknown to the end, Blankenschip himself claimed that “he did nothing bad – he just went into a computer that he should not go into”. The most likely explanation is the participation of the author of the essay in the cult hacker group Legion of Doom, which is considered one of the most influential organizations of this kind in the history of technology and was the most active in the period from 1984 to 1991.

Turning to the gathering image of the world of adults, including to the teachers who are familiar to the usual templates, Blankenschip writes:

“You, with your three-element psychology and technicomity of the 50s, you looked someday in the eyes of a hacker? Have you ever wondered what makes him move, what forces formed him?””

“Today I made a discovery. I opened the computer. For a second … it’s great! He does what I want. If he makes a mistake, this is because I have shut down. Not because he doesn’t like me … or he is frightened by me … or thinks that I am too smart … or does not like to study and should not be here … “

“You are ready to swear your ass that we are all the same. At school, we were all fed with baby food from a spoon, while we wanted a steak … Those pieces of meat that we got were chewed and tasteless ”.

“Now this is our world … the world of electrons and switches, the world of beauty of the invoice. We use existing systems without paying for what could be cheaper than dirt if it were not controlled by dirty speculators, and you call us criminals. We study, and you call us criminals. We are looking for knowledge … and you call us criminals. We exist without skin color, without nationality, without religious strife … and you call us criminals. You are building atomic bombs, you unleashing wars, killing, cheating and lying to us, trying to make us believe that all this is for our own good ”.

“Yes, I’m a criminal. My crime is curiosity. My crime is that I judge people not by the way they look, but by what they say and think. My crime is that I am much smarter than you. This is that you never forgive me.

“I’m a hacker. And this is my manifesto. You can stop one of us, but you will not stop us all … In the end, we are all the same “.

The work of Blankenschip is often called the beginning of the history of the confrontation between online activists and the real world as a whole, which later grew into the fight against governments. It was noted by the creators of the film “Hackers” with Angelina Jolie in one of the roles, including an excerpt from the processed editorial office of “Manifesto”.

Lide Blankenship about the history of the writing “Hacker Manifesto”. Conference H2K2 in 2002.

Blankenship himself later worked in the Steve Jackson Games, which develops board role and card games. He was the author of Gurps Cyberpunk, a set of rules for cyberpunk-worlds, which the US secret service in 1990 removed from the company’s office after the raid, calling it “leadership for cybercriminals”.

In 2014, after work, a programmer, technical writer and gam designer in various companies, Blankenschip became a private consultant in the field of information security, and since 2016, according to his profile in LinkedIn, has been working in McAfee, where he heads the design of user application interfaces and corporate products.

Cryptoanarchist’s manifesto

In the 1970s, when the first working prototypes of the Internet appeared, the issue of data protection in an open environment became relevant.

In 1978, American cryptograph David Chaum developed a method of blind digital signature – an open key encryption model. It made it possible to create a database of people who could maintain anonymity, while guaranteeing the reliability of the information they reported.

Chaum also dreamed of a digital vote, the process of which can be verified without revealing the identity of the voter, but first of all, about digital cash.

In the mid-1980s, he managed to create a model in which users made payments, maintaining anonymity and guaranteeing the reality of funds. Based on these developments, the movement of cryptographers who advocated computer technologies as a means of destroying the state was born.

The main ideologist of this movement was the former leading researcher Intel Timothy May.

Inspired by Chauma written in 1985 in the article “Safety without identification: a transaction system that will make a big brother an anachronism”, which described the system, with cryptographic methods hiding the identity of the buyer, May began to study cryptographic protection with an open key. He was firmly convinced that in combination with network calculations, this technology can “destroy the structures of social power”.

In 1988, May published the “Cryptoanarchist Manifesto”, an essay written by him based on the “Communist Manifesto” by Karl Marx:

“The ghost wanders around the modern world, the ghost of the cryptoanarchy”.

It says that information technology will allow people to manage their lives without governments, and with the help of cryptography, digital currencies and other decentralized tools. The anonymity that these tools bring should become a catalyst for deep social changes.

“Computer technologies have come close to providing individuals or groups of people with the opportunity to communicate and interact in a completely anonymous way … This will completely change the nature of government regulation, the ability to collect taxes and control economic interaction, the ability to keep information a secret and even change the nature of confidence and reputation “, – wrote Timothy May.

According to May, the ideological foundation of the “cryptoanarchist manifesto” was anarcho-catapitalism, a variety of anarchism, where emphasis is on voluntary transactions and a free market.

His essay partially became a source of inspiration when creating the first prototypes of bitcoin, and many supporters of cryptocurrencies consider Timothy May to be one of those people who made a huge contribution to her ideological foundation.

However, in 2018, when it turned 10 since the publication of the White Paper Bitcoin, May said that, observing what was happening, he experiences “some interest, known surprise and severe disappointment,” and that “Satoshi would have been in the way” if he saw the whole hype and screams in “to heaven” and “hodl”, as well as increasingly tough regulation.

“I can’t know how Satoshi wanted to see his creation, but I don’t think that his vision included cryptocurrency exchanges with their dragon laws on verification of personality and combating money laundering, freezing accounts and mandatory cooperation with“ suspicious activity ”. It is highly likely that all this chatter about management, regulation and blockchain will result in the creation of a society of total supervision and control, where they will lead a personal file for everyone, ”said Timothy May then.

In his conviction, attempts to “be friends” with regulators are likely to kill key scenarios for using cryptocurrencies that should not be variations on PayPal or Visa.

Timothy May was the author of the term “four horsemen of infocalypse”, which means drug trafficking, money laundering, terrorism and pedophilia used by governments to intimidate and justify restrictions in the field of cryptography and, as a result, restrictions on privacy and anonymity.

In December 2018, at the age of 66, Timothy May died for natural reasons in his house in California.

Cipher -punch manifesto

Timothy Mei also stood at the origins of the movement of the cipher -tunes, founded by him in 1992, together with John Gilmor and Eric Hugues and defending the ideals of the privacy of each person and the openness of technology. It is believed that the movement was born at one of the unofficial meetings with close friends organized by May, Hughes and Gilmore.

Such meetings began to be held regularly, and in order to involve other people who share the interests and basic values ​​of the movement to work, an electronic postal mailing called “Shifropank” was created. In a short time, she scored hundreds of subscribers who tested the ciphers, exchanged ideas and discussed new developments. Correspondence was conducted using the latest encryption methods at that time, such as PGP.

The members of the group conducted hot discussions on the topics of politics and philosophy, which, in combination with the study of computer science, cryptography and mathematics, led to the emergence of the “manifesto of the cipher -punch”. A document containing the main ideological provisions of this movement published in 1993 the above Eric Hughes.

“Cipher -pants write code. We know that someone must continue to write code in order to protect information, and since we do not see another way to protect our data, we continue to write code. […] Our code is available to any person on earth. We are not too concerned that some do not like what we do. We know that our programs cannot be destroyed, and the growing network can no longer be stopped. “.

“Confidentiality is necessary for a digital age open to society. […] Privacy in an open society requires the use of cryptography. […] We, ciphers, are designed to create anonymous systems. We protect our confidentiality through cryptography, anonymous email forwarding systems, digital signatures and electronic money. […] Cryptography will inevitably spread around the world, and with it the systems of anonymous transactions, the existence of which it makes it possible ”.

The manifesto emphasized that privacy and secrecy are not the same thing.

“A private business is what, according to a person, the whole world does not need to know, no one should know about the secret case at all. Privacy is an opportunity to choose what information about yourself to open to the world “.

The ideas of ciphylards were subsequently implemented to one degree or another in cryptocurrencies. Participants in the newsletter were the creator of the Proof-OF-WORK algorithm Adam Back, The authors of the proposals of B-Money Wei give and Bitgold Nick Sabo, The movement also had a significant impact on the creator of ZCASH Zuko Wilcox.

And it was precisely in the newsletter of cipher -tunes in October 2008 that someone under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto published the famous White Paper “Bitcoin: System of Digital Piriving Cash”.

The declaration of independence of cyberspace

In February 1996, the founder of the public organization Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) John Perry Barlow Published a cult document called “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace), and is still considered a classic of Internet libertarianism.

The document consisted of strict and unprincipled statements to the world governments and was a response to the US Clinton President “Act on Decision in Telecommunications”, with the help of which the authorities tried to introduce censorship on the Internet.

Barlow’s goal was to show that if states were still able to establish restrictions on the spread of “seditious” ideas in traditional media, then in the World Wide Web they are powerless and such attempts are doomed to failure. He did not set the task of “freeing the Internet” because the Internet was and remains free, and cyberspace has innate immunity to the supreme power.

“The governments of the industrial world, you are weary giants of flesh and steel; My homeland is cyberspace, a new house of consciousness. On behalf of the future, I ask you, who have everything in the past, leave us alone. You are superfluous among us. You do not have the supreme power where we gathered “.

“We have not chosen government, and it is unlikely that we will ever have it, so I turn to you, having power not more than the one with which freedom itself speaks. I declare that the global public space that we build, by nature, regardless of the tyranny that you strive to impose on us. You have no moral right to rule us, nor methods of coercion, which could really frighten us “.

“True power gives the governments the consent of those whom they rule. […] You say that we have problems that you must solve. […] Many of these problems do not exist. Where there are real conflicts and shortcomings, we will identify and eliminate them with our own means. We establish our own public contract. This method of government will arise according to the conditions of our world, and not your world. Our world is different “.

“You are horrified by your own children, because they feel at home in a world in which you will always be immigrants. Since you are afraid of them, you cowardly shift your parental duties to the bureaucratic apparatus. […] Your more and more obsolete information industry would like to perpetuate your dominance by putting forward laws – both in America and in other countries – requiring ownership of the very world. ”.

“These increasingly hostile colonial measures put us in a position in which at one time adherents of freedom and self -determination were forced to reject the authority of a remote uniform power. We must proclaim the freedom of our virtual “I” from your rule, even if we agree that you continue to rule over our bodies. We will distribute our “I” throughout the planet so that no one can arrest our thoughts ”.

“We will create a civilization of consciousness in cyberspace. Let it be more humane and honest than the world that your governments created before “.

Despite the fact that the act signed by Bill Clinton later in the same 1996 by the decision of the federal court was recognized as anti -constitutional, the struggle of supporters of freedom on the Internet continues, and the “declaration” of Barlow will remain relevant for a long time.

Governments to this day continue the practice of resource blocking, seizure of servers and even physical arrests, but the cyberspace confronts this and this. New encryption tools, anonymization tools and bypassing of locks appear.

“I can speak completely freely with Edward Snowden at any time when I want, despite the fact that the guys from the NSA would like to know when and what we are talking about,” John Barlow said in 2016 in an interview with Wired, naming this Another evidence that governments from the physical world do not have real power on the Internet.

On February 7, 2018, John Barlow, who also wrote words for the songs of the legendary Rock band GratEful Dead, died at the age of 70 in his house in San Francisco. As the Wired Reporter Steven Levy, a Bard of the Internet, has been written in the necrologist, the Wired Reporter Steven Levy.

Partisan open access manifesto

Time as water flows and changes. The history of the struggle for fundamental rights on the Internet confirmed this when in 2008 the world saw the “partisan manifesto of open information” Aaron Schwartz.

According to the manifesto of Schwartz:

“Information is power. But, as is usually the case with the authorities, there are those who want to possess it alone. All world scientific and cultural heritage, published over a century in various books and magazines, is rapidly digitized and closed from extra eyes with a handful of private corporations ”.

“I agree,” many say, “but what can we do? Companies own copyright and they earn a lot of money. And this is completely legal. We cannot stop them in any way “.

“But all these actions take place in a dark underground. This is called theft or piracy. […] But sharing information is not immoral. This is a moral imperative. Only blinded by greed do not agree with this. “.

“Big corporations are undoubtedly blinded by greed. This requires the laws according to which they function. Their shareholders will rebel if the profits are not counted. And politicians purchased by corporations cover them, inventing the laws they need. “.

“We need to take information wherever it is stored, make our copies and share them with the world. We need to take materials that do not apply copyrights, and add them to the archive. We need to buy secret databases and upload it to free access. We need to download scientific journals and upload them to file -sharing networks. We must fight for “partisan open access”.

“With sufficient number of us around the world, we will not only send a convincing message opposing the privatization of knowledge, we will leave this system in the past”.

Schwartz born in 1986 in Chicago lived a short but exceptionally bright life, bursting, like Jim Morrison in the 1960s, on the other side of the information space.

At the age of 14, he became the co -author of the RSS 1 specification.0, after which he worked under the leadership of the Internet creator Tim Berners-bw3c. Schwartz got to the first Y Combinator program with the Infogami startup, which subsequently merged with the popular Reddit site, and later worked on projects such as Open Library, Creative Commons and Watchdog.Net.

Another contribution of the Internet legend is the creation of Deaddrop, later renamed Securp, platforms for anonymous discharge of information used by the world’s largest media. The list of projects to which Schwartz has attached a hand can be listed endlessly.

January 11, 2013 at the age of 26 Aaron Schwartz committed suicide. Shortly before this, he was charged with hacking the computer network of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which was the totality of which he was threatened with up to 35 years in prison.

Recently, it is often said that due to Pandemia of Coronavirus, life will never be the same. Probably partly so. But one thing will remain unchanged – the need of a person for basic rights and especially in the global network, where the main activity is now taking place.

This means the inevitability of the emergence of new technologies, and with them – and new attempts by the state machine to crush them for yourself.

And the appearance of new manifestos outlining the agenda of the future remains only a matter of time. However, they are already appearing.

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