WikiLeaks mastermind Julian Assange explains the necessity of “A Call to Cryptographic Arms” in his book of international political philosophy, “Cypherpunks.” He defines cypherpunks as people who write and solve secret codes to help achieve sociopolitical change and do so because of the rising fear that in the near future “global civilization will be a postmodern surveillance dystopia.” Assange calls for a widespread adoption of cryptography, or the protective coding of language, in all of our online and telecommunications in order to defend what he sees as the three basic human freedom rights of physical mobility, free speech and and free economic interaction.

In the opening pages, Assange warns that “like sailors smelling the breeze, we rarely contemplate how our surface world is propped up from below by darkness.” In eloquent simile, Assange explains that through his personal experiences he has learned that our world is riddled with more censorship, surveillance and corruption than we can imagine. Much still lies in secret beneath the surface.

In an expository nonfictional dialogue, Assange engages in an intellectual discussion with WikiLeaks supporters and fellow cryptographers Jacob Appelbaum, Andy Muller-Maguhn and Jeremie Zimmermann. Over the course of “Cypherpunk’s” 150 pages, the four men analyze and interpret various political events such as the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt from a progressive outlook. By structuring “Cypherpunks” in an endless-dialogue format, Assange evokes earlier philosophical works of the same structure such as philosopher George Berkeley’s “Three Dialogues.” The four cypherpunks explicate and support their ideas in a formal, informative manner and evoke the didactic prose style of philosophers, but with a modern technological twist.

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