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Welcome to cypherpunks
Welcome to the cypherpunks mailing list!
If you ever want to remove yourself from this mailing list,
you can send mail to "[email protected]" with the following command
in the body of your email message:
unsubscribe cypherpunks [email protected]
Here's the general information for the list you've
subscribed to, in case you don't already have it:
I. Administrivia (please read, boring though it may be)
The cypherpunks list is a forum for discussing personal defenses for
privacy in the digital domain. It is a high volume mailing list. If
you don't know how to do something, like unsubscribe, send mail to
and the software robot which answers that address will send you back
instructions on how to do what you want. If you don't know the
majordomo syntax, an empty message to this address will get you a help
file, as will a command 'help' in the body. Even with all this
automated help, you may still encounter problems. If you get really
stuck, please feel free to contact me directly at the address I use
for mailing list management:
Please use this address for all mailing list management issues. Hint:
if you try to unsubscribe yourself from a different account than you
signed up for, it likely won't work. Log back into your old account
and try again. If you no longer have access to that account, mail me
at the list management address above.
For other questions, my list management address is not the best place,
since I don't read it every day. To reach me otherwise, send mail to
This address is appropriate for emergencies (and wanting to get off
the list is never an emergency), such as the list continuously spewing
articles. Please don't send me mail to my regular mailbox asking to
be removed; I'll just send you back a form letter.
Do not mail to the whole list asking to be removed. It's rude. The
-request address is made exactly for this purpose.
To post to the whole list, send mail to
If your mail bounces repeatedly, you will be removed from the list.
Nothing personal, but I have to look at all the bounce messages.
There is no digest version available.
There is an announcements list which is moderated and has low volume.
Announcements for physical cypherpunks meetings, new software and
important developments will be posted there. Mail to
if you want to be added or removed to the announce list. All
announcements also go out to the full cypherpunks list, so there is no
need to subscribe to both.
II. About cypherpunks
The cypherpunks list is not designed for beginners, although they are
welcome. If you are totally new to crypto, please get and read the
crypto FAQ referenced below. This document is a good introduction,
although not short. Crypto is a subtle field and a good understanding
will not come without some study. Please, as a courtesy to all, do
some reading to make sure that your question is not already frequently
There are other forums to use on the subject of cryptography. The
Usenet group sci.crypt deals with technical cryptography; cypherpunks
deals with technical details but slants the discussion toward their
social implications. The Usenet group talk.politics.crypto, as is
says, is for political theorizing, and cypherpunks gets its share of
that, but cypherpunks is all pro-crypto; the debates on this list are
about how to best get crypto out there. The Usenet group
alt.security.pgp is a pgp-specific group, and questions about pgp as
such are likely better asked there than here. Ditto for
The cypherpunks list has its very own net.loon, a fellow named L.
Detweiler. The history is too long for here, but he thinks that
cypherpunks are evil incarnate. If you see a densely worded rant
featuring characteristic words such as "medusa", "pseudospoofing",
"treachery", "poison", or "black lies", it's probably him, no matter
what the From: line says. The policy is to ignore these postings.
Replies have never, ever, not even once resulted in anything
constructive and usually create huge flamewars on the list. Please,
please, don't feed the animals.
A. The sci.crypt FAQ
anonymous ftp to rtfm.mit.edu:pub/usenet-by-group/sci.crypt
The cryptography FAQ is good online intro to crypto. Very much worth
reading. Last I looked, it was in ten parts.
B. cypherpunks ftp site
anonymous ftp to ftp.csua.berkeley.edu:pub/cypherpunks
This site contains code, information, rants, and other miscellany.
There is a glossary there that all new members should download and
read. Also recommended for all users are Hal Finney's instructions on
how to use the anonymous remailer system; the remailer sources are
there for the perl-literate.
C. Bruce Schneier's _Applied Cryptography_, published by Wiley
This is required reading for any serious technical cypherpunk. An
excellent overview of the field, it describes many of the basic
algorithms and protocols with their mathematical descriptions. Some
of the stuff at the edges of the scope of the book is a little
incomplete, so short descriptions in here should lead to library
research for the latest papers, or to the list for the current
thinking. All in all, a solid and valuable book. It's even got
the cypherpunks-request address.
IV. Famous last words
My preferred email address for list maintenance topics only is
[email protected] All other mail, including emergency mail, should go
to [email protected], where I read mail much more regularly.
Enjoy and deploy.
Cypherpunks assume privacy is a good thing and wish there were more
of it. Cypherpunks acknowledge that those who want privacy must
create it for themselves and not expect governments, corporations, or
other large, faceless organizations to grant them privacy out of
beneficence. Cypherpunks know that people have been creating their
own privacy for centuries with whispers, envelopes, closed doors, and
couriers. Cypherpunks do not seek to prevent other people from
speaking about their experiences or their opinions.
The most important means to the defense of privacy is encryption. To
encrypt is to indicate the desire for privacy. But to encrypt with
weak cryptography is to indicate not too much desire for privacy.
Cypherpunks hope that all people desiring privacy will learn how best
to defend it.
Cypherpunks are therefore devoted to cryptography. Cypherpunks wish
to learn about it, to teach it, to implement it, and to make more of
it. Cypherpunks know that cryptographic protocols make social
structures. Cypherpunks know how to attack a system and how to
defend it. Cypherpunks know just how hard it is to make good
Cypherpunks love to practice. They love to play with public key
cryptography. They love to play with anonymous and pseudonymous mail
forwarding and delivery. They love to play with DC-nets. They love
to play with secure communications of all kinds.
Cypherpunks write code. They know that someone has to write code to
defend privacy, and since it's their privacy, they're going to write
it. Cypherpunks publish their code so that their fellow cypherpunks
may practice and play with it. Cypherpunks realize that security is
not built in a day and are patient with incremental progress.
Cypherpunks don't care if you don't like the software they write.
Cypherpunks know that software can't be destroyed. Cypherpunks know
that a widely dispersed system can't be shut down.
Cypherpunks will make the networks safe for privacy.
[Last updated Mon Feb 21 13:18:25 1994]