〼 IN JUNE OF THIS YEAR CRYPTOME.ORG TURNS 20 YEARS OF RELEASING DOCUMENTS ONLINE. THE DEFINITIONS FOUND IN THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA DOESN'T NECESSARILY UNDERSTAND THE WIDE SCOPE THAT CRYPTOME HAS ESTABLISHED THROUGH THE YEARS.
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE FUNCTIONS OF THIS EXTENSIVE PLATFORM?
CRYPTOME: Cryptome's mission statement confirms we spend a lot of time poking holes in the exceptional privileges granted to the cult of security at the scale of the nation-state. Our tactics are as varied as can be expected when artists confront such a formidable juggernaut. Initiatives range from hosting and archiving an eponymous online library in the name of banned information, to engaging networked
debates, to practicing a critical cartography and a counter-market approach to licensed architecture. These shifting maneuvers are synergetic rather than reductive. Wry humor and irreverence sometimes help set the tone. We happen to hold political satire in high esteem.
Embedded in Cryptome's synergism is the understanding that privileging security at the nationalist scale is usually achieved at the expense of policy commitments to security at the scale of the individual. Dual-use technologies with military and civilian applications offer a false rapprochement between two incommensurable scales. Security at the scale of the person is built upon the right to privacy that endows autonomous personhood in all those relational social dimensions David Lyon reminds us of. Privacy's relational dimensions are vital predicates for engagement in social space, and, not least for a robust democracy, the risky but crucial public space of protest and dissent. Self-knowledge and self-rule go hand in hand.
It's been noted that at the same time as the State increasingly demands the individual be totally visible to it (through mass surveillance) the State increasingly demands that it be invisible to the individual (through secrecy). Cryptome's incremental daily practices of reverse-engineering these asymmetric visualizations are small-scale acts of public service in support of the information equality we believe undergirds self-rule. Cryptome Eyeball Series taps into open-source satellite imagery to flip the national security gaze back against itself.
Each raw document offered by the Cryptome library is thought of as a public good invested at the scale of informed individual agency. This is meant to counter the anomic scales of Big Data algorithmics and analytics. Communities of engaged readers complete the collection's circadian feedback circuits 'from below' with ongoing contributions cycling via Twitter and other non-hierarchical platforms for exchange. Our generic A. signifies the contributor who requests anonymity. Some contributors have been forwarding material for twenty years. We think citizen declassification initiatives like those triggered by Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden are welcome exemplars of robust fair use and the reclamation of information on behalf of the public domain and an equitable information ecosystem.
Cryptome's archive of around 101,000 files spanning 1996-2016 is currently backed up on a diminutive 64 gigabyte USB flash drive weighing around 4 grams, measuring 38.9mm X 12.3mm X 4.5mm. Authenticated drives are occasionally shipped by snail mail across the material time and space of global postal supply chains to supporters throughout the lived world. Recipients provide offshore backup and redundancy by mirroring the library through the lens of their active engagement with the information, no questions asked.
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