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Announcement: "CYPHERNOMICON" FAQ available

[I haven't received Cypherpunks list mail since Friday. I don't know
if the list is down or if Netcom is simply not delivering mail...it's
been having severe problems. So I'm sending this blind to the list,
and copying Hugh Daniel and Eric Hughes, to make sure it at least gets
to _somebody_.]

Greetings Cypherpunks,

The FAQ I've been working on for many months is now available by
anonymous ftp, details below.

Because there is no "official" Cypherpunks group, there shouldn't be
an "official" Cypherpunks FAQ, as I see it. Thus, others can write
their own FAQs as they see fit. Cypherpunks write FAQs?

I've decided to give my FAQ a name, to prevent confusion. "THE
CYPHERNOMICON" is what I call it. (If the reference is obscure, I can

The main file is 1.3 MB. It takes about 12-15 minutes to transfer
with a 14.4 modem, proportionately slower with a slower modem. And of
course very fast if you're already on Netcom or on a T1 connection. (I
may split the 20 chapters into pieces, later, but this could add
unwelcome confusion. And I'm holding off on gzip compressing the
file(s) right now, for similar reasons.)

Yes, the FAQ is very long. Yes, it is not what others may have wanted
(the MFAQ, described below, is the "short" version that newcomers can
get, or have mailed to them if they lack anonymous ftp access). It is
the FAQ I _wanted_ to write, which is reason enough for the form it's

The CYPHERNOMICON is especially detailed in the areas that have gotten
little coverage in existing books: crypto anarchy, reputations, black
merkets, and the uses of digital cash. The crypto and PGP sections are
fairly long, but not nearly as long as they could be, given the vast
amount of material out there already. (I didn't see the need to cover
these areas in great detail.) The "anonymity and remailers" chapter is
also very long, and is the most disorganized, in my opinion. The
plethora of sites, URLs, various remailers, features, ideas, issues,
and miscellaneous cruft is just overwhelming....I hope I've made some
order out of it.

(The "Release-Notes" and "README" docs have more explanations of the
form and rationale, including the meta-FAQ question of why this FAQ is
not a Web doc.)


anonymous ftp site: ftp.netcom.com   

cd to pub/tcmay

"get" the files in the standard anonymous ftp way

(feel free to move it to other sites, but for now it may be best to
leave it here; I think the files are all reasonably OK, with no fatal
flaws (Harry Bartholomew helped test the access), but wider
distribution should perhaps be slowed for several days, to make
corrections of serious flaws easier to make)

The following 6 files are included:

Contents-Long   (A detailed table of contents, about 10 KB)

CP-FAQ    (The complete CYPHERNOMICON, uncompressed for the time
           being, about 1.3 MB)

Contents-Short   (A brief table of contents)

MFAQ    (One of the chapters, the "Most Frequently Asked Questions")

Release-Notes   (Some comments on the FAQ.)

README    (Much more detailed comments, also included as the final

Here is the Contents-Short:


1. Introduction

2. MFAQ--Most Frequently Asked Questions

3. Cypherpunks -- History, Organization, Agenda

4. Goals and Ideology -- Privacy, Freedom, New Approaches

5. Cryptology

6. The Need For Strong Crypto

7. PGP --  Pretty Good Privacy

8. Anonymity, Digital Mixes, and Remailers

9. Policy: Clipper,Key Escrow, and Digital Telephony

10. Legal Issues

11. Surveillance, Privacy, And Intelligence Agencies

12. Digital Cash and Net Commerce

13. Activism and Projects

14. Other Advanced Crypto Applications

15. Reputations and Credentials

16. Crypto Anarchy

17. The Future

18. Loose Ends and Miscellaneous Topics

19. Appendices


Comments should be sent to me. Future releases will be coming.


--Tim May

Timothy C. May         | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,  
[email protected]       | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
408-688-5409           | knowledge, reputations, information markets, 
W.A.S.T.E.: Aptos, CA  | black markets, collapse of governments.
Higher Power: 2^859433 | Public Key: PGP and MailSafe available.
"National borders are just speed bumps on the information superhighway."