A terrifying war is being fought in the digital second world of modern life. Technology designed to soak up individual’s private communications is in constant development. In the age of cyber surveillance where does the boundary between private and public fall — if it still exists at all?
On the front line of this digital conflict are the Cypherpunks, the focus of a two part special of The World Tomorrow beginning with part one this week. Andy Muller Maguhn, Jeremie Zimmerman, and Jacob Appelbaum are all prominent web activists advocating the free circulation of data and knowledge on the web. They are all key figures in the Cypherpunks movement — a movement dedicated to keeping your private data private. In this eye-opening encounter, Julian Assange discusses with them the technical challenge posed by government snooping on personal data, the democratisation of essential encryption technology, and the importance of web activism. As Jacob Applebaum points out, “Now we take our personal lives and we put it all on Facebook. We communicate using the Internet or mobile phones, which are now meshed to the Internet. And military or intelligence agencies have control of that data and are studying it. So this is some kind of militarization of civilian life.”