The Story of Cryptome

By Deane Barker on August 14, 2004

Does Web Information Help Terrorists?: Here’s a news story about how the government was interested in the owner of a site called Cryptome (found via Boing Boing) which specializes in shining a spotlight on publicly available information.

Officials questioned Young about information he had posted about the 2004 Democratic National Convention, including satellite photos of the convention site and the location of specific police barricades referred to on the site as “a complete joke.”

[…] When asked how he would respond to those who consider his Web site unpatriotic since it could provide useful information for those who seek to harm the United States, Young said, “If this is not done, more Americans are going to die. More harm is going to come to the United States. It is more patriotic to get information out than to withhold it.”

Officials acknowledge there is not much they can do; Young has not broken any laws.

This discussion reminds me of the controversy surrounding the fight over strong crypto.



  1. There is a distinct difference between freedom of speech and public endangerment. John Young happily goes out of his way to cross the line at any opportunity. His widespread, overseas distribution of sensitive materials, disclosure of information which endangers our national security and extensive personally-identifying materials on the internet is something to be admonished. When (we) show irresponsibility and recklessness with our freedoms, they will be the first to go. John Young thinks he is a Freedom Fighter but in reality he is endangering those very freedoms. We can only hope that one day he realizes his consequences and finds a new hobby. For all our sake. Oh, and shame on Verio, his ISP, for turning a blind eye to (almost) daily requests from the public to remove inappropriate materials from their machines.

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