Please encrypt

A Cypherpunk’s Manifesto

by Eric Hughes
Privacy is necessary for an open society in the electronic age. Privacy is not secrecy. A private matter is something one doesn’t want the whole world to know, but a secret matter is something one doesn’t want anybody to know. Privacy is the power to selectively reveal oneself to the world.

If two parties have some sort of dealings, then each has a memory of their interaction. Each party can speak about their own memory of this; how could anyone prevent it? One could pass laws against it, but the freedom of speech, even more than privacy, is fundamental to an open society; we seek not to restrict any speech at all. If many parties speak together in the same forum, each can speak to all the others and aggregate together knowledge about individuals and other parties. The power of electronic communications has enabled such group speech, and it will not go away merely because we might want it to.

Since we desire privacy, we must ensure that each party to a transaction have knowledge only of that which is directly necessary for that transaction. Since any information can be spoken of, we must ensure that we reveal as little as possible. In most cases personal identity is not salient. When I purchase a magazine at a store and hand cash to the clerk, there is no need to know who I am. When I ask my electronic mail provider to send and receive messages, my provider need not know to whom I am speaking or what I am saying or what others are saying to me; my provider only need know how to get the message there and how much I owe them in fees. When my identity is revealed by the underlying mechanism of the transaction, I have no privacy. I cannot here selectively reveal myself; I must always reveal myself.

Therefore, privacy in an open society requires anonymous transaction systems. Until now, cash has been the primary such system. An anonymous transaction system is not a secret transaction system. An anonymous system empowers individuals to reveal their identity when desired and only when desired; this is the essence of privacy.

Privacy in an open society also requires cryptography. If I say something, I want it heard only by those for whom I intend it. If the content of my speech is available to the world, I have no privacy. To encrypt is to indicate the desire for privacy, and to encrypt with weak cryptography is to indicate not too much desire for privacy. Furthermore, to reveal one’s identity with assurance when the default is anonymity requires the cryptographic signature.

We cannot expect governments, corporations, or other large, faceless organizations to grant us privacy out of their beneficence. It is to their advantage to speak of us, and we should expect that they will speak. To try to prevent their speech is to fight against the realities of information. Information does not just want to be free, it longs to be free. Information expands to fill the available storage space. Information is Rumor’s younger, stronger cousin; Information is fleeter of foot, has more eyes, knows more, and understands less than Rumor.

We must defend our own privacy if we expect to have any. We must come together and create systems which allow anonymous transactions to take place. People have been defending their own privacy for centuries with whispers, darkness, envelopes, closed doors, secret handshakes, and couriers. The technologies of the past did not allow for strong privacy, but electronic technologies do.

We the Cypherpunks are dedicated to building anonymous systems. We are defending our privacy with cryptography, with anonymous mail forwarding systems, with digital signatures, and with electronic money.

Cypherpunks write code. We know that someone has to write software to defend privacy, and since we can’t get privacy unless we all do, we’re going to write it. We publish our code so that our fellow Cypherpunks may practice and play with it. Our code is free for all to use, worldwide. We don’t much care if you don’t approve of the software we write. We know that software can’t be destroyed and that a widely dispersed system can’t be shut down.

Cypherpunks deplore regulations on cryptography, for encryption is fundamentally a private act. The act of encryption, in fact, removes information from the public realm. Even laws against cryptography reach only so far as a nation’s border and the arm of its violence. Cryptography will ineluctably spread over the whole globe, and with it the anonymous transactions systems that it makes possible.

For privacy to be widespread it must be part of a social contract. People must come and together deploy these systems for the common good. Privacy only extends so far as the cooperation of one’s fellows in society. We the Cypherpunks seek your questions and your concerns and hope we may engage you so that we do not deceive ourselves. We will not, however, be moved out of our course because some may disagree with our goals.

The Cypherpunks are actively engaged in making the networks safer for privacy. Let us proceed together apace.


Eric Hughes <>

9 March 1993

Up to my ?#@$ in projects

I have been pursuing a couple of different projects at the same time. Not a wise way to run things, but hey it works for me. One of the projects I need to work on is updating the site with all the new stuff going on, I thought I would take a minute tonight and at least post a teaser page and fill in the details as more time is freed up.

My main pursuit has been my quest for my ApplePi. This is one of those projects that kicks around in one’s mellon for a spell. I have pulled some parts I have from my bins and put them in the case I am going to use; but a couple of weeks ago I pull out the Pi 3 B I am going to use and started to work on getting the Mac emulation working.


Once I started with that I was off to the races. It is slowly coming together. Some of the parts I had don’t work and replacements are on order. And then there were a couple of ideas that I couldn’t turn down and have cost a little more than anticipated. Audio with speakers, ethernet extender for Mac OS networking cross my fingers, and a Mac keyboard to USB adaptor for the real Mac experience, or as close as one will get with this exercise.

ApplePi Test Rig both the working and barely working screens shown.

I was going to try and save a little money to get an ARM motherboard and do a little work/testing/reviewing with it, but that is going to have to be for another time down the road, this project took the budget!

Of course in the course of working on the ApplePi I was in the need of some more light for the lab. This was pretty easy as when I order the 50W LED panel for the work light upgrade, I tacked on a roll of 5050 LEDs. I wasn’t really sure what I was going to use them for at the time. Silly ideas but nothing concrete.

Wiring is silly easy, but what to mount them on? They do get a bit warm. It took a day of stewing over what to use and rummaging through my bins. Then I came upon it, an old door jam. Aluminum, nice heat sink, about the right length, and a nice bend on one side. Bingo!

Let there be light.

I am still working on a better mounting solution, but for now, it is serving its’ purpose.

I also have the Cactus the Bearded Lizard Environmental Monitor that I need to finish up. I have the prototype all done, but I have to take some pictures and finish up the final mounting box.

Say “Hi” to Cactus.