Cryptopolitik and the Darknet

“Cryptopolitik and the Darknet,” with Daniel Moore, Survival, 2016, February/March, vol 57, iss 1, 7–38, DOI 10.1080/00396338.2016.1142085

Encryption policy is becoming a crucial test of the values of liberal democracy in the twenty-first century. The trigger is a dilemma: the power of ciphers protects citizens when they read, bank and shop online — and the power of ciphers protects foreign spies, terrorists and criminals when they pry, plot and steal. Encryption bears directly on today’s two top threats, militant extremism and computer-network breaches — yet it enables prosperity and privacy. Should the state limit and regulate the fast-growing use of cryptography? If so, how?

[…] Crypto systems are not politically neutral; they embody political choices. In some cases, the costs incurred by establishing a specific cryptographically enabled service may outweigh the benefits. We test and establish this argument by critically assessing one of the most sophisticated and controversial encryption platforms today: the Tor Project. If there is a line that demarcates liberal from illiberal cryptographic architectures, it runs right through Tor. To be more precise, it runs right through hidden services.

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Technical annex and discussion on Tor Hidden Services (requires Tor Browser) at http://35oktenzdrt2v4o5.onion

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Launched at IISS on 3 February.

Covered in Motherboard, TelegraphSüddeutsche Zeitung, Tecmundo, Fars, BBC Newsday, Naked Security, Schneier on Security, BBC 5 Live, BBC World Service, Sky News, Die Zeit, Herald Sun, The Telegraph (Australia), Quartz, Nextgov, more