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Young men and women who grew up in the digital age are expressing their dissatisfaction with governments, the military and corporations in a radically new way. They are building machines - writing cryptographic software codes - that are designed to protect the individual in a cloak of anonymity, while institutional secrets are uploaded for public consumption. This movement is shining a light on governments' classified documents and exposing abuses of power like never before.
From Australia to Iceland - organisations like Wikileaks, Openleaks, and Anonymous are just some of the more familiar groups that are enabling whistleblowers and transforming the next generation's notion of what activism can be. The revolution won't be televised. It'll be online.
Andy Greenberg, technology writer for Forbes magazine, has interviewed all the major players in this new era of activism including Julian Assange - and blows the cover of a key activist, previously only presumed to exist, named The Architect who accomplished for at least two leak sites exactly what his name implies.
In This Machine Kills Secrets, Greenberg offers a vision of a world in which institutional secrecy no longer protects those in power - from big banks to dysfunctional governments. A world that digital technology has made all but inevitable.
According to national security officials, the rise of the cypherpunks and other high-tech activists now pose the greatest threat to this country s defense, a principal theme in this detailed look into superhackers by Greenberg, a staff writer for Forbes magazine. Greenberg includes a rogues list of the hackers and cypherpunks who have decided to reveal classified materials and confront the might of the U.S. government, including Pentagon Papers Daniel Ellsberg, leaker U.S. Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, code visionaries Tim May and Phil Zimmerman, cypherpunk cofounder Eric Hughes, and Wikileaks cofounder Julian Assange. Leaked secrets have covered such things as dark military secrets, Wall Street mishaps, personal moral defects, and executive coverups. While somewhat focusing on Assange and the inner workings of the secretive Wikileaks, he fully examines the historic development of cryptographic code and online whistle-blowing, along with the ongoing skirmish of NSA vs. the dedicated hackers over the years. With complete access to many of the key hackers and leakers, Greenberg delves eloquently into the magicians of the all-powerful technology that shatters the confidentiality of any and all state secrets while tapping into issues of personal privacy.