Daily Archives: 28/01/2011

(Human Rights Watch) Dakar – A deadly spate of sectarian violence in Nigeria’s central Plateau State since December 24, 2010, has killed more than 200 people, Human Rights Watch said today. The victims, including children, have been hacked to death, burned alive, “disappeared,” or dragged off buses and murdered in tit-for-tat killings.

The Nigerian government should act swiftly to protect civilians of all ethnicities at risk of further attacks or reprisal killings, and allow the United Nations secretary-general’s special adviser on the prevention of genocide, Francis Deng, to visit the state, Human Rights Watch said.

“These waves of senseless killings risk spreading and have taken a terrible toll on the people of Plateau State,” said Corinne Dufka, senior West Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The state and federal governments should urgently enlist anyone who can help break this cycle of violence, including Mr. Deng.”

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(Wikipedia) Cyphernomicon is a document written by Timothy C. May in 1994 for the cypherpunks mailing list. It outlines some ideas behind, and the effects of crypto-anarchism,[1] and constitutes one of the philosophy’s founding documents.

The document is written and formatted as a lengthy FAQ. It contains many short notes on ideas, questions and claims ordered in sections. It also contains the crypto anarchist manifesto, in paragraph 16.4.2. …

            The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto

            Timothy  C.  May

            A specter is haunting the modern world, the specter of crypto

            Computer technology is on the verge of providing the ability
            for individuals and groups to communicate and interact with
            each other in a totally anonymous manner. Two persons may
            exchange messages, conduct business, and negotiate electronic
            contracts without ever knowing the True Name, or legal
            identity, of the other. Interactions over networks will be
            untraceable, via extensive re-routing of encrypted packets
            and tamper-proof boxes which implement cryptographic
            protocols with nearly perfect assurance against any
            tampering. Reputations will be of central importance, far
            more important in dealings than even the credit ratings of
            today. These developments will alter completely the nature of
            government regulation, the ability to tax and control
            economic interactions, the ability to keep information
            secret, and will even alter the nature of trust and

            The technology for this revolution--and it surely will be
            both a social and economic revolution--has existed in theory
            for the past decade. The methods are based upon public-key
            encryption, zero-knowledge interactive proof systems, and
            various software protocols for interaction, authentication,
            and verification. The focus has until now been on academic
            conferences in Europe and the U.S., conferences monitored
            closely by the National Security Agency. But only recently
            have computer networks and  personal computers attained
            sufficient speed to make the ideas practically realizable.
            And the next ten years will bring enough additional speed to
            make the ideas economically feasible and essentially
            unstoppable. High-speed networks, ISDN, tamper-proof boxes,
            smart cards, satellites,  Ku-band transmitters, multi-MIPS
            personal computers, and encryption chips now under
            development will be some of the enabling technologies.

            The State will of course try to slow or halt the spread of
            this technology, citing national security concerns, use of
            the technology by drug dealers and tax evaders, and fears of
            societal disintegration. Many of these concerns will be
            valid; crypto anarchy will allow national secrets to be trade
            freely and will allow illicit and stolen materials to be
            traded. An anonymous computerized market will even make
            possible abhorrent markets for assassinations and extortion.
            Various criminal and foreign elements will be active users of
            CryptoNet. But this will not halt the spread of crypto

            Just as the technology of printing altered and reduced the
            power of medieval guilds and the social power structure, so
            too will cryptologic methods fundamentally alter the nature
            of corporations
            and of government interference in economic transactions.
            Combined with emerging information markets, crypto anarchy
            will create a liquid market for any and all material which
            can be put into words and pictures. And just as a seemingly
            minor invention like barbed wire made possible the fencing-
            off of vast ranches and farms, thus altering forever the
            concepts of land and property rights in the frontier West, so
            too will the seemingly minor discovery out of an
            arcane branch of mathematics come to be the wire clippers
            which dismantle the barbed wire around intellectual property.

            Arise, you have nothing to lose but your barbed wire fences!

Read Cyphernomicon:

(McClatchy Newspapers) By Mark Seibel January 27, 2010

WASHINGTON — The FBI said Thursday that it had served more than 40 search warrants throughout the United States as part of an investigation into computer attacks on websites of businesses that stopped providing services in December to WikiLeaks.

The FBI statement announcing the search warrants was the first indication that the U.S. intends to prosecute the so-called “hacktivists” for their actions in support of WikiLeaks.

The search warrants were executed on the same day authorities in Great Britain announced that they had arrested five people in connection with the attacks, which temporarily crippled the websites of, PaylPal, MasterCard, Visa, the Swiss bank PostFinance and others.

FBI officials were unavailable for comment, and the statement did not say who was served or where the searches were conducted. The statement noted that attacks, known as distributed denial of service attacks and which use easily available software to shutdown a computer network by flooding it with millions of requests for information (see comments – TA), violate federal law and are punishable by a prison sentence of 10 years. Read full article…

via infoshop:


( As we’ve seen in Iran and Tunisia, social networking tools have given activists in authoritarian regimes a powerful voice, which can be heard well beyond their own country. But the use of social networking tools has also given their governments ways to identify and retaliate against them. This week we are watching the same dynamic play out in Egypt. This is why it is critical that all activists —in Egypt and elsewhere—take precautions to protect their anonymity and freedom of expression. The protests in Egypt this week also highlight another important point: authoritarian governments can block access to social media websites, but determined, tech-savvy activists are likely to find ways to circumvent censorship to communicate with the rest of the world.

In an attempt to clamp down on Egyptian protesters, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s government is intermittently blocking websites and arresting bloggers, journalists, and dissidents. Like the Tunisians, Egyptian protesters have made heavy use of social media websites to share information about the protests with the outside world and with each other. In spite of the Egyptian government’s blocking of Twitter, tweets from the Egyptian protests in Suez and Cairo provided up-to-the-minute reports about protest activity, the movements of police, deaths and injuries, links to photos on Twitpic, and videos on YouTube. Cooperation amongst protesting citizens has kept communications resilient so far. When protestors in Cario’s Tahir Square experienced an outage in cell phone data service, nearby residents reportedly opened their home Wi-Fii networks to allow protesters to get online.

On the first day of protests, the Egyptian government blocked several websites, including Twitter and Bambuser, a Swedish website which allows users to stream live video from their cell phones. By the second day, the government’s blocking of Twitter was sparse and intermittent, but there were reports of blocking Facebook and YouTube. It is unclear whether or not the Egyptian government will continue to expand its list of blocked sites in the coming days. Even the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was conspicuously silent during the protests leading up to the Tunisian revolution, has called on the Mubarak government to respect freedom of expression and urged them “not to…block communications, including on social media sites.”

The other dangerous aspect of the Mubarak government’s shameful campaign of silence and censorship has been the arrest and detention of bloggers, journalists, and activists. The Committee to Protect Journalists has reported that the Egyptian government has shut down at least two independent news websites: Al-Dustour and El-Badil. Police beat Al-Jazeeracorrespondent Mustafa Kafifi and Guardian reporter Jack Shenker, who posted an audio recording of the incident. Policemen have attacked and arrested cameramen covering the protests and onlookers recording the protests with cell phones.

Egypt is no stranger to the arrest of bloggers. Egyptian blogger Kareem Amer was sentenced to four years in prison for “disparaging religion” and “defaming the president” in 2007. In 2009, web forum founder Karim Al-Bukheiri was arrested, tortured, and subject to constant government surveillance. Just last year, the Islamic Human Rights Foundation reported that Egyptian Security Forces arrested “at least 29 activists, including bloggers, lawyers, and human rights activists.” The concern here is clear—if the street protests subside, the Mubarak government could initiate a campaign of retaliation and oppression, arresting and harassing the very bloggers and activists who have been chronicling the protests online. Some countries have gone even further. In Iran two opposition activists were hanged this week for taking pictures and video of the Green Revolution protests and posting them online.

Given the potential dangers, it is absolutely critical that Egyptian protesters take precautions when communicating online. To reiterate, social networking tools have given activists a powerful voice, which can be heard well beyond Egypt, but activists should also remember that the Egyptian government could use these same tools to identify and retaliate against them. We recommend that political activists look at our Surveillance Self Defense International report for information on how to use technology defensively to better protect their anonymity and freedom of expression in Egypt and other authoritarian regimes.

by Eva Galperin