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I created this by copying the Wikipedia article and then editing rather extensively. I also borrowed some text from the FreeS/WAN docs which I wrote and which we have permission to reuse. Sandy Harris 12:30, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

Needs some structure and more introduction

I'm not as familiar as you are with the list and hangers-on, but I have the feeling that some of this makes sense because I know some of the people and issues, and a new reader might not. While there are many Jon Callas stories, I still cherish the time he, in magic-user robes, shot a fireball over the head of an inattentive waitress at the Balticon science fiction and fantasy convention.

As you know, I prefer to minimize external links in the body of articles. Things like archives are legitimate external links for the external links subpage.

Isn't the main section a subset of privacy in general, and the cypherpunk view of it? It definitely could use some subsection headings for things such as financial privacy and anonymity. Perhaps I can start on privacy.--Howard C. Berkowitz 14:25, 23 May 2010 (UTC)

  • I have rewritten some and re-ordered fairly extensively, shifting the emphasis from the mailing list to the ideas and the activism, and adding sub-headings. Sandy Harris 04:18, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
    • I've made many more changes. I think it may now be ready for approval. Sandy Harris 15:22, 5 June 2010 (UTC)


This is currently in Computers, Law and Sociology. Should it be in History? Since I think we have a limit of three, what could that replace? Sandy Harris 02:38, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

I'd probably replace Law with History. You might want to mention that to User: Russell D. Jones, as his field is history of technology; there's CZ:History of Technology Subgroup. --Howard C. Berkowitz 03:55, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
I did remove Law and add History. It actually has four groups, though, with Politics as 4th. Is that allowed? Does it need a further change? Sandy Harris 02:53, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
My advice would be to use either History or Politics. In Internet terms, this is historical, but I personally would say Politics if I have to choose. This is convincing me even more that we are going to need > 3 subgroups fairly soon; the workgroup level is too arbitrary. Howard C. Berkowitz 23:53, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
Now Sociology, Computers & Politics, with subgroups Security & History of technology Sandy Harris 00:16, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Toward approval

Some of the items below are really trivial, but I don't want to cause chaos with what I think is a copy edit and someone else does not.

  • (Not a copy edit) The mention of libertarianism in the lede is tantalizing, but there's not much about cypherpunk-libertarian interactions. It may be that the more extreme anarcho-libertarians won't fit, because they won't conform to even technical standards.
I'm not sure evidence of actual CP-L interactions would be relevant here. The statement says CPs are influenced by libertarian ideas, and that seems fairly straightforward. Roger Lohmann 15:28, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Crypto Anarchist Manifesto and the Cypherpunk Manifesto should be italic, to be consistent with Levy above.
  • Link to privacy when it first comes up. We probably need definitions/articles on privacy, privacy vs. security, etc. The "Privacy" subsection would be a little less essay-flavored with some news or other examples. Unsaid in this section is any mention of what is called a universal identification card in other forums. (Silly aside, but I knew someone who, in the late seventies, was a technical standards representative from NSA to a number of other Federal agencies. He had so many specialized badges that he had built a Rolodex-like holder that he wore around his neck. He liked that he could look down at the back of the current badge to remember where he was.)
  • Since this is cypherpunks specific, as oppose to societal, in the section on cybercash and anonymity, was counterterrorism funds tracking even an issue? I suspect drugs would fall under the general libertarian model, but, in reality, a LOT of terrorist hits came through such things as wire transfers (both bank and small-scale such as Western Union)
The link to privacy is appropriate, and I concur that we need an article. Legally, this topic and privacy appear to relate to both the U.S. First Amendment and articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I've added both to the Related Articles page.
  • anonymity, pseudonymity and reputation: I know what these are. You know what these are. A lot of people won't know the nuances among them; at least redlink for now. Also, you use "nym" without making it clear that it's a contraction of pseudonym.
  • Crypto out of the closet -- well, maybe on a wide scale. I don't have the reference at hand, but Freud wrote about the typical interest in secrecy that came with male puberty. Basic crypto certainly was common enough. I think you'll find a few niche applications, mostly financial, before 1970, usually proprietary. DES is significant because it could bring moderately strong crypto (for the time) to the mass market.
  • Again, avoid inline external references at the Approval stage.

Sandy, I'm really not trying to do WP-style citation needed, and my own experience confirms much of what is said, but a few more refs and links outside strict cypherpunk would avoid later suggestions of original research. Original synthesis, which is a Good Thing, would link Cypherpunk to non-Cypherpunk activities. This could be as minimal as looking at diffusion of privacy concerns among Cypherpunks, EFF, and then broader concerns such as ACLU. Since the Cypherpunk days, there's more hard evidence of surveillance. There are also tricky areas, such as privacy of call records (Smith v. Maryland). --Howard C. Berkowitz 14:50, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

A few other potentially useful links: financial intelligence and Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies. Were either discussed? They probably belong in Related articles.
Out of curiosity, was there any particular sentiment toward the IETF? The "write code" imperatives reminds me of IETF vs. ISO.
We're very close now. Howard C. Berkowitz 20:09, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
I'd say IETF rather than ISO approaches were just assumed rather than needing discussion. Gilmore worked for Sun, wrote RFC 951 defining bootp. People like Bellovin and Phil Karn were on the list and active in IETF. Sandy Harris 01:10, 7 June 2010 (UTC)
I've made quite a few more changes. I think I'm done. Have a re-read, tell me what you think. Sandy Harris 22:32, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Toward Approval

Currently this article is nominated for approval by User:Howard C. Berkowitz as a single editor approval and is on track for locking this version of the article on June 19, 2010. If subsequent edits are made after that version, please rememebr to update the ToApprove template section. D. Matt Innis 12:48, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

This article is still on track for a single editor approval. I consider these 6 edits to be copy type edits and will include them in the approval unless otherwise instructed by the editor by the end of the day. D. Matt Innis 12:59, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
I removed a sentence. Stephenson's CypherFAQ [1] has
It has been pointed out that the word "Cryptonomicon" bears obvious similarities to "Cyphernomicon," which is the title of a cypherpunk FAQ document by Tim May. This leads to the question of am I committing some form of plagiarism, or rendering homage, or what? The answer, strangely enough, is neither. I was completely unaware of the existence of Tim May's Cyphernomicon at the time I came up with "Cryptonomicon."
So I deleted a sentence pointing out the relation. Sandy Harris 08:15, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
Okay, we will need Howard's endorsement for that change, especially since there might be a copyright issue if we lock the article on the old version. Howard, can you update the version? We'll also need Roger to let us know that he agrees for his name to stay in the template. D. Matt Innis 22:42, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
I'm confused. What is the copyright issue? If it's the similarity between Cryptonomicon and Cypernomicon, titles alone can't be copyrighted, and simple comments on them even less so. I must be missing something. Howard C. Berkowitz 23:21, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

(unindent) There was no need to remove the sentence about the title. It is better to use it to clarify the situation. I have inserted a remark. --Peter Schmitt 23:29, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

That's fine, as long as Howard is okay with it. Roger would have to agree in order to keep his name on the template, but the article can still be approved as is with the single editor process. D. Matt Innis 00:04, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
PS. Howard, if you want it to be approved tonight, just put today's date in the template and that will signal me that you're fine with it. Otherwise, put a later date that might give Roger a chance to check in. Thanks, D. Matt Innis 00:06, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
I do agree that the deleted comment about the title should go back. Let me take this slowly. Matt, which date did you want me to change? The "now" or "approve" date? Does the URL need to change?
Peter, should I revert the text where you have the note? Howard C. Berkowitz 00:35, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
You misunderstand, Howard. I inserted a revised note using the new information mentioned above. No need to revert if you agree with my text. --Peter Schmitt 00:49, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
The "approve date" is the one that needs to be updated. While you're at it, change the version number to the one that you want to endorse. D. Matt Innis 01:41, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
I see and agree with what Peter did on the note. Now, let me try to make the updates. Approve date is easy. I'm crossing my fingers on getting the right URL for the current version. Howard C. Berkowitz 01:44, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
You got it! I'll wait till Roger has a chance to see the changes before I'll lock the version with his name on it. Since he won't see this until tomorrow, I'll give it another day. The other option is to remove his name for now and let him replace it, but I'd rather let him join in on the original if he wants. D. Matt Innis 02:29, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
Peter, were you going to join? Howard C. Berkowitz 02:33, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
No, it is not needed. (And "Computers" is already represented). But Sandy corrected a mistake of mine. (I have to learn that it is "in spite" and not "inspite" ...) --Peter Schmitt 12:37, 22 June 2010 (UTC)


Wikipedia has "Approximately two hundred messages a day was typical for the mailing list", without a supporting citation. Our article currently cites a John Gilmore (owner of the list host) email saying 30 a day for the period of logs he analyzed (a couple of years) and suggesting it was likely higher earlier.

Has anyone got better data? Sandy Harris 13:29, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

RSA in perl hack

I couldn't get this code to run under OS X, though I think it should work still if it worked fine under what I suppose was Unix. Also, several links in reference 15 have died, so the original may be a better option (though it did not work for me either), possibly along with this explanation (which may also be useful for the Perl article). --Daniel Mietchen 00:44, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

Problem might not be OS X vs Unix, but versions of Perl. The code's over 10 years old.
I think we should keep ref 15, since that's Adam's page on the topic. Adding your link to his original seems good. A link to Hal's reply is not neded; the reply is on the original page too. Sandy Harris 04:04, 19 June 2010 (UTC)


Not before approval, but at some point we might add some references to RFCs written by cypherpunks, or more generally IETF activity. We mention Photuris, but I just noticed RFC 1851 on Triple DES in ESP has three list participants as authors; the two Photuris guys & Perry Metzger. Perry moderates the cryptography list, which we mention as a cypherpunk descendant. Sandy Harris 14:04, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

Approved Version 1.0

I've approved this with the version that Howard has in the template and it includes a copy edit that was performed after the approval. Did not hear from Roger A. Lohmann, so removed his name, but he is welcome to put it in if he finds that he approves of the changes since his last endorsement. D. Matt Innis 00:40, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

Interesting article

This is a great job, Sandy. I want to be a cypherpunk! Except not the assassination politics guys... they seem to get caught ;-) Oh, how I long for the days of cash and anonymity!

I guess there isn't any information on anti-cypherpunking, is there? D. Matt Innis 03:06, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

There are some arguments on the other side in politics of cryptography, but that article is so far woefully incomplete. Sandy Harris 03:24, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

Approval Process: Approval certified

Call for review: Anthony.Sebastian 17:39, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

Call for Approval: Anthony.Sebastian 16:44, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Approval Notice: version dated 06:11 9 March 2012 Anthony.Sebastian 23:23, 17 March 2012 (UTC) Updated: Revision 07:50, 22 March 2012 15:44, 24 March 2012 Anthony.Sebastian

Certification of Approval: " Version dated 07:50 22 March 2012.  Anthony.Sebastian 20:29, 3 April 2012 (UTC)

Please discuss the article below, Cypherpunk/Approval is for brief official referee's only!


Except for one where Matt fixed some clumsy wording, all changes since approval are mine. Most are minor re-wordings, text polishing.

I think the only important changes were adding the large Gilmore quote in the "cypherpunk issues" section and adding people, notably Julian Assange, in the "Well-known list participants" section. Sandy Harris 05:39, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

Changes since previous approval [2] Sandy Harris 05:45, 9 March 2012 (UTC)


The link in reference 11 does not work. References 24 and 25 do not work. (And the links on the page of ref.26 do not work.) --Peter Schmitt 14:00, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

I m busy with other things, unlikely to do anything about this soon. Sandy Harris 05:10, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
Sandy, I will extend the date for final approval, two weeks. If you fix the links sooner, let me know and I will accelerate the process. Anthony.Sebastian 16:15, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
I removed the link for 11 since I cannot now find the document online and fixed 24. Link 25 works for me. The page link 26 points to is there, but none of its links work. I've emailed the site maintainer about that. Sandy Harris 03:06, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
Link 25 works for me. Links in ref 26 do not; let me know when/if fixed. Anthony.Sebastian 04:11, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
I replaced 26 with two working links, one each for the Bell & Johnson cases. Sandy Harris 05:52, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
Our ref 26 now points elsewhere, but meanwhile I have had email from John saying the original links are fixed. Sandy Harris 00:18, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Matt Blaze

Pat Palmer asked about including Matt Blaze among the well-known cypherpunks list; she wants verification, which is fair enough. First, note that I was a bit careful introducing that section. I describe the people listed as "... list participants... Not all were list regulars, and not all would call themselves "cypherpunks"."

Matt was a list participant. I've just added a link to a (large, zipped) archive of the list 1992-98. One way to verify is to download that, unzip & search. Matt's posts start in '93.

Other ways to verfiy include looking at Cryptome's archive of Julian Assange's posts (link in article); one of them comments on one of Matt's posts. Another is to look at one of Peter Gutmann's papers [3] which cites one of Matt's cypherpunks list posts. Sandy Harris 02:58, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

I extracted email address lines from the archive and, based on that, added several more people among the well-known participants. Sandy Harris 05:11, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

Ready to go?

I think all the problems pointed out are now fixed. Along the way, I noticed some additional interesting list participants and another report, so I added those. I think it is now ready. Sandy Harris 07:59, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

I just checked the Wikipedia article[4], which was largely imported from here[5]. Their list of well-known cypherpunks is much longer than ours, When I have time, I'll try to confirm some of those from the archive. Not soon, though. Sandy Harris 03:30, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Approved Version 2.0

Cypherpunks, the book

Due out about now. Julian Assange is one of the authors.[6] The same publisher has a book on Bradley Manning.[7] Sandy Harris 21:13, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

Turns out the book is based on an episode 8 of Julian's TV show.[8] Sandy Harris 21:36, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

Example for privacy & self-revelation section

Complaints in Brazil that taxi apps revealing phone numbers & other info to drivers have led to sexual harrassment in some cases. Sandy Harris (talk) 02:26, 21 March 2015 (UTC)