This Machine Kills Secrets

This Machine Kills Secrets

How WikiLeakers, Cypherpunks and Hacktivists Aim to Free the World's Information

Book - 2012
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At last, the first full account of the cypherpunks who aim to free the world's institutional secrets, by Forbes journalist Andy Greenberg who has traced their shadowy history from the cryptography revolution of the 1970s to Wikileaks founding hacker Julian Assange, Anonymous, and beyond.

WikiLeaks brought to light a new form of whistleblowing, using powerful cryptographic code to hide leakers' identities while they spill the private data of government agencies and corporations. But that technology has been evolving for decades in the hands of hackers and radical activists, from the libertarian enclaves of Northern California to Berlin to the Balkans. And the secret-killing machine continues to evolve beyond WikiLeaks, as a movement of hacktivists aims to obliterate the world's institutional secrecy.

This is the story of the code and the characters--idealists, anarchists, extremists--who are transforming the next generation's notion of what activism can be.

With unrivaled access to such major players as Julian Assange, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, and WikiLeaks' shadowy engineer known as the Architect, never before interviewed, reporter Andy Greenberg unveils the world of politically-motivated hackers--who they are and how they operate.
Publisher: New York : Dutton, 2012.
ISBN: 9780525953203
Characteristics: 370 p. ; 24 cm.


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redban Aug 27, 2014

This book provides an enthralling and well-balanced look into the recent history of transparency and freedom of information in the age of information. Presents the story in an easy-to-read and engaging manner. Great follow-up books would be Cypherpunks (Assange) and No Place to Hide (Greenwald, on Snowden).

Oct 04, 2012

From the reviewer at Publishers Weekly: "According to national security officials, the rise of the cypherpunks and other high-tech activists now pose the greatest threat to this country's defense..." Well, the whistleblower Edward Snowden and his vast leaks on NSA programs certainly alters that thesis! A truly extraordinary book. If you understand why, when a French firm sells spyware to the Ghaddafi government to uncover activists for torture and death, when a British firm sells spyware to Muburak's Egyptian regime to uncover pro-democracy activists for torture and death, or why an American firm, Narus (subsidiary of Boeing), sells spyware to China to uncover pro-democracy activists to be disappeared in that country, you'll begin to understand the importance of Greenberg's book --- he gets everything right! Andy covers the salient, and correct, facts underlying WikiLeaks, the cypherpunk movement, and how privacy on the Internet can have deadly outcomes when it is breeched. This book is the best of the best (and I normally don't say positive things about Forbes' writers). [FYI: Julian Assange and Jacob Appelbaum are basically street kids, Jacob's father was a heroin junkie, and he grew up on the streets of NYC and LA, a self-taught technoid genius, and Assange had a minimal existence in Australia, another self-taught tech genius - - neither one a highly advantaged youth, like the authors covering their stories!]


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