As most readers of this blog know, I spend part of my time teaching IT security for different people, from initiation and basics to post-master’s degree education. For 2010, I’ll be giving more than two full weeks of training, not including conferences, articles and papers. That means one of my duties is to stay well informed and gather a lot of recent information related to IT security, in order to dispense a good quality and accurate training to people counting no me.
The Freedom of Information Act
Amongst the different sources I use to prepare my lectures, I sometimes count on unofficial information. The US website Cryptome is well suited for this, as it’s founder John Young, an architect (!) from New-York, wants to promote freedom of information and since 1996 gathers a tremendous amount of information from semi-open sources, to help people better understand how much information is valuable, and also how it is controled from time to time.
He has made a tremendous work not only by collecting, sorting and making all this available online, but also had to cope with a lot of legal issues and pressure from different parties, who were not happy to see all of this made public. In the US, the first amendment of the Constitution ables liberty of speech and freedom of thinking, which helps initatives like this. The Freedom of Information Act is also an important and legal way to ask for sensitive or classified information : Most US departments, including Justice, Defense or even the CIA and FBI have been declassifying part of their old files to comply to the Freedom of Information Act.
Assasination attempts on Cryptome… will it survive ?
Cryptome has been dealing with a lot of legal issues. Last month, the entire domain cryptome.org was shut down by the domain registrar, on behalf of Microsoft which wasn’t ok with some of its documentation being published by the website. Support from other important actors like EFF helped and the domain name was reopened… Today, I learn that PayPal suspended John Young’s account that helped him to get financial support for his website. Here is an excerpt fron his website :
The Cryptome account has been shut down by PayPal. All DVDs requested through PayPal have been mailed and email confirmation sent. If you didn’t get an email confirmation send a note to cryptome[at]earthlink.net.
PayPal shutdown shenanigans are amply and angrily covered on Google (a poster says, « look, it’s a banking service, expect to get screwed, first open-arms welcome, then back-stab treatment; » another says « the shutdown reason is always secret if its government. ») and the matter is recounted in line with Cryptome’s public information on gov-com censorship topics.
The DVDs were and are intended to get the archive widely distributed as beneficial public information and partial protection against the shutdown of the site. Donations are welcome but not essential to continued operation — Natsios Young Architects has been since 1996 the primary funding source. Shortly the PayPal topic will sink into the archive swamp.
Consider using cash, check or money order until other online payment has been arranged. Or just email a shipping address, forget about pay, Pal.
I really don’t know how John Young, an architect, can handle all those legal and troublesome issues, but he deserves respect !
If you think that the works he has done deserves support, I would just ask you to help by advertizing its website and the troubles he has.
Some other interesting english sites which defends and promotes liberty of information, freedom and privacy are :