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  • Timothy May's preemptive protection prophecy

    • Posts
    • by Jacob Riggs
    • 16-12-2019
    4.18 of 11 votes

    In the 1980s, as advanced fields of mathematics evolved and cryptography developed, a number of privacy advocates troubled by growing state surveillance capabilities recognised the radical potentiality of strong encryption. On the horizon of their vision existed an equilibrium, where the same standard of cryptographic measures abused by the state to invade privacy could be transformed into instruments that protect it. They labelled themselves the Cypherpunks, and their co-founder, Timothy May, authored what would forever set the benchmark for crypto discourse online, The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto. “A specter is haunting the modern world, the specter of crypto anarchy.”This prophetic document, penned over three decades ago, accurately predicted phenomenon such as Tor, WikiLeaks, the Bitcoin economy, and Anonymous. To this day, May’s manifesto offers critical insight into how encryption allows for anonymity, decentralised economies, and the subversion of autocratic power. For many crypto enthusiasts today, his words remain an ongoing guide, an omen, and a timeless legacy, with each of his remarkable predictions now firmly cemented within the vanguard of crypto advocacy. What is crypto anarchism?Crypto anarchism is a virtual implementation of anarchy that originates from a form of political discourse. It is a set of Internet practices that aims to combine the use of the Internet with modern cryptography to enable individual empowerment and undermine traditional state control. Crypto-anarchists leverage encryption tools and technologies to circumvent censorship, protect privacy, and safeguard important political freedoms. Their methods can be confrontational, and often wrestle directly with a number of the social constructs seen as fundamental components to the operating system of society (such as currency, identity, territory, and law). One of May's lesser known predictions was that crypto, like guns, could offer an individual ‟preemptive protection”. Ironically, this parallel was symbolic of how Western governments in the late '70s classified encryption as a munition. While the Cypherpunks at the time were keen to expand encryption tools and technologies, Western governments saw crypto as something that threatened their monopoly on its use and desperataly sought to outlaw public adoption. This conflict, the famous battle over encryption, became known as the Crypto Wars. History has taught us that the term ‘national security’ commonly defines the trajectory of modern state intervention. Whilst the Cypherpunk movement ultimately prevailed (which is why encryption is so widely used today), the controversial struggle for society to balance national security needs against the individual's right to privacy continues. As state-sanctioned offensive measures evolve to erode fundamental rights, so too does the arsenal of defensive tools the crypto community relies on developing to protect them. It seems clear that any individual driven by an earnest will to expose wrongdoing and corruption is now at greater risk than ever. Journalists and whistleblowers are beginning to recognise the profound importance of secure practice, but it’s clear that some still need our support. The public conscience is beginning to understand that the punitive posture of the state threatens more than just liberty, it also threatens the public interest. The bar for preemptive protection is being raised, and I believe that it's here — somewhere in the raw and turbulent nature of Internet autonomy, that the purest forms of the revolutionary Cypherpunk agenda can be revived. Arise, you have nothing to lose but your barbed wire fences.

  • Announcing our rebrand to Deadswitch

    • Updates
    • by Deadswitch Team
    • 03-11-2019
    4.33 of 9 votes

    Today, we announced in an email to our customers that we’re rebranding! As part of our rebranding strategy, we will be changing our name from Elpis to Deadswitch. We’re excited to finally be able to share this update and our rationale behind the change. Why the change? Over time we’ve noticed some ambiguity surrounding the dead man’s switch label. This often prompts the question of what one is, how it works, and why one might be needed. Admittedly, the Elpis name does little to simplify context. Whilst Elpis attached a symbolic backstory to the services we offer, we felt it lacked the necessary relevance to present that meaning in a straightforward and understandable way. Deadswitch is a clipping of the polysyllabic word Dead Man’s Switch. We believe this conveys a simpler representation of the services we offer, which in turn enables us to penetrate a wider market, reach a larger audience, and resonate better with those that need our services most. What happens now? For the most part, business as usual. Our services will continue running normally. Any branded assets pointing at elpis.org.uk have already been migrated to deadswitch.com and our DNS records have been updated to reflect this. The former elpis.org.uk (and elp.is shortlinks) will continue to operate as redirects until 25/12/2019. If you have previously shared an active switch URL, we recommend you update these before then. This is particularly important if you aim to extend your switch expiry time beyond the redirect expiry deadline, as we cannot guarantee availability of Elpis URLs after this time. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out via our contact form.

  • Our private beta is under way!

    • Updates
    • by Deadswitch Team
    • 13-06-2019
    4.20 of 20 votes

    For those of you patiently following our hard work, we’re happy to announce that our first private beta has now launched. This testing phase is driven by hand-picked beta participants and aims to help us identify any performance related issues with our web app prior to public release. The feedback we gather during this stage will be crucial in enabling us to further our project development in a safe and secure way. Once we've had an opportunity to identify and fix any potential bugs on our platform, we will be ready to launch the public beta. When ready, this version will naturally contain a plethora of new features. Besides being able to create your own dead man’s switches and deploying them in the cloud, you can also look forward to iOS and Android mobile apps for receiving notifications, a fully functional web API, and a few other useful tools made by the Deadswitch team, to follow and deploy right away. We’re happy that Deadswitch continues to progress every day and look forward to opening our platform for future adoption by those that need it most. Our goal from the outset has been to protect data custodians and improve the availability of factual information within the public space. Launching our private beta is the first of many steps in that journey. If you would like to pre-register your interest and receive updates regarding the platform, please consider subscribing here.