SCIENCES

This Machine Kills Secrets: How Wikileakers, Cypherpunks, and Hacktivists Aim to Free the World's Information

Dutton. 2012. c.384p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780525953203. $27.95. TECH
COPY ISBN
OrangeReviewStarIn this compelling work of long-form journalism, Greenberg (staff writer, Forbes) offers a timely overview of the cypherpunk and Wikileaks movements. Relating history through a focus on the personalities involved, he opens with a description of Daniel Ellsberg's release of the Pentagon Papers to news organizations as an act of conscience and proceeds to outline the interactions between computer scientists, cryptographers, privacy-rights advocates, whistleblowers, and computer hackers that evolved into the Wikileaks organization. His portrayals of Bradley Manning and Julian Assange, while less flattering than his description of Ellsberg, offer valuable perspective on current developments. Though his focus is more on the political and social aspects of these movements than on the technical, Greenberg's explanation of the concepts behind private-key encryption technology is exceedingly clear.
VERDICT Highly recommended. This book will have a broad appeal to political and policy wonks, newshounds, and to those interested in technology, law enforcement, and freedom of the press.

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