David Mandl on Fri, 14 Apr 2000 21:13:46 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> twilight of the crypto-geeks

Zimmermann was never really a Libertarian.  He was much more of a
Liberal.  (In fact, if I recall correctly, his background was
mainstream-leftish: environmental causes, anti-nuke, etc.)  No way was
he ever in the same category as people like Tim May, much less the
more lunatic fringe of the Cypherpunks.  I'd say he was mostly bemused
by the more extreme manifestoes and positions that came out of the
C'punks.  "Staunchly against laws, rules, regulations"?  I don't think
so.  He was just a well-meaning guy who wanted people to have the
ability to protect their privacy.


> Twilight of the crypto-geeks
> By Ellen Ullman


> After the speech, Zimmermann puts up his hand, and of course Stephenson
> calls on him. It's clear Zimmermann has "gotten" the speech. He doesn't go
> so far as to endorse anything like "social structures," communities of
> trust, neighborhoods of understanding -- no, of course not. Zimmermann has
> been staunchly against laws, rules, regulations: anything that could be
> considered a form of social coercion. But he does admit that perhaps code
> is not enough, that he never intended encryption, by itself, to work. "I
> never meant PGP to be the defense of a lone libertarian," he says. 
> It is a huge admission, in its way, from a programmer who has championed
> code as a way to save us. But if this libertarian is not "lone," he is
> with some other libertarians, presumably. And what are these more-than-one
> libertarians doing? Organizing? Petitioning their government? Creating
> zones of social trust? Zimmermann is a man who defines the word "loner";
> he has a tight manner; one doesn't imagine he's spent a lot of time
> working on his empathy or inner doubts. He probably doesn't even let
> himself realize the implications of what he's just said. 

Dave Mandl

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