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20 August 2012

Quixotic Anonymity, Privacy and Security

04:28 PM 7/31/2012:

Hi, Cryptome-

My name is Chris Clayton and I’m a writer-editor at Sky, Delta’s in-flight magazine. I’m writing a feature on the quest (however quixotic) for online anonymity ­- with a special focus on who needs/wants it and why, as well as how various individuals are attempting to get it.

Given that Cryptome’s quest is somewhat at odds with the idea of a faceless, nameless web presence, I thought it might be interesting to get your take on the topic. Would you have time tomorrow or Thursday of this week for a short phone interview?




Chris Clayton
Deputy Editor, Delta Sky magazine

That would be a pleasure. Tomorrow about 10AM work for you?

If not suggest a time tomorrow, excluding 11AM-2PM.

John Young

At 09:12 AM 8/1/2012:

10 am works for me, John. I’ll call you in about 45 minutes. Thanks very much.



The gist of the Cryptome interview comments:

1. Online anonymity, privacy and security are technically and programmatically impossible, but misleading illusions can be obtained through deceptive anonymizing services, privacy policies and security promises.

2. The better anonymity services, privacy promises and security promises are known and publicized as trustworthy, the greater the illusion of branding and reputation.

3. Anonymizing services, privacy policies and security promises are illusory by design to induce unjustified trust for gathering private data for undisclosed venal purposes -- official, commercial, educational, organizational.

4. Online users should learn to protect themselves and to never rely upon providers of anonymity, privacy and security -- whether online, offline, national or personal.

5. URLs for reference:

Cryptome background, foreground:


At 12:02 PM 8/6/2012:

Hi, John-

One more question: What was your involvement with WikiLeaks? CNET called you a "co-founder," others mention that you were a consultant and a board member. Wanted to get a straight answer from you before I reference that in the piece. Thanks.



My WL role was limited to serving as the public name to register Then to receive univited email on a private WL mail list before WL went public. During the email receipt period of a few weeks I criticized WL's overly ambitious fundraisng goals and was booted, then booted again under another email address when I published the emails. Described here:

This might be considered a founder role and I would not deny the honor of "founder" as well as being the first Wikileaks dissenter fired. Firing, "plonking," happened a lot on the Cypherpunk mail list, so nothing unusual.

Cryptome has offered WL back-up mirrors in emergencies, and vice versa. Though any conspiracy is not to be believed.