Crypto Rebels

It’s the FBIs, NSAs, and Equifaxes of the world versus a swelling movement of Cypherpunks , civil libertarians, and millionaire hackers. At stake: Whether privacy will exist in the 21st century.

  1. The office atmosphere of Cygnus Support , a fast-growing Silicon Valley company that earns its dollars by providing support to users of free software, seems like a time warp to the days when hackers ran free. Though Cygnus is located in a mall-like business park within earshot of US 101, it features a spacious cathedral ceiling overhanging a cluttered warren of workstation cubicles arranged in an irregular spherical configuration. A mattress is nestled in the rafters. In a hallway behind the reception desk is a kitchen laden with snack food and soft drinks.

    Today, a Saturday, only a few show up for work. The action instead is in a small conference room overlooking the back of the complex - a "physical meeting" of a group whose members most often gather in the corridors of cyberspace. Their mutual interest is the arcane field of cryptography - the study of secret codes and cyphers. The very fact that this group exists, however, is indication that the field is about to shift into overdr...

The complete text of “Crypto Rebels ” is not in the Byliner library, but we love it so much we included an excerpt and a link to the full story on

Originally published in Wired, May 1993

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