〼 IN JUNE OF THIS YEAR CRYPTOME.ORG TURNS 20 YEARS OF RELEASING DOCUMENTS ONLINE. THE DEFINITIONS FOUND IN THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA DOESN'T NECESSARILY UNDERSTAND THE WIDE SCOPE THAT CRYPTOME HAS ESTABLISHED THROUGH THE YEARS.
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE FUNCTIONS OF THIS EXTENSIVE PLATFORM?
CRYPTOME: Cryptome's mission statement confirms we spend a lot of time poking holes in the exceptional privileges granted to the cult of security at the scale of the nation-state. Our tactics are as varied as can be expected when artists confront such a formidable juggernaut. Initiatives range from hosting and archiving an eponymous online library in the name of banned information, to engaging networked
Embedded in Cryptome's synergism is the understanding that privileging security at the nationalist scale is usually achieved at the expense of policy commitments to security at the scale of the individual. Dual-use technologies with military and civilian applications offer a false rapprochement between two incommensurable scales. Security at the scale of the person is built upon the right to privacy that endows autonomous personhood in all those relational social dimensions David Lyon reminds us of. Privacy's relational dimensions are vital predicates for engagement in social space, and, not least for a robust democracy, the risky but crucial public space of protest and dissent. Self-knowledge and self-rule go hand in hand.
It's been noted that at the same time as the State increasingly demands the individual be totally visible to it (through mass surveillance) the State increasingly demands that it be invisible to the individual (through secrecy). Cryptome's incremental daily practices of reverse-engineering these asymmetric visualizations are small-scale acts of public service in support of the information equality we believe undergirds self-rule. Cryptome Eyeball Series taps into open-source satellite imagery to flip the national security gaze back against itself.
Each raw document offered by the Cryptome library is thought of as a public good invested at the scale of informed individual agency. This is meant to counter the anomic scales of Big Data algorithmics and analytics. Communities of engaged readers complete the collection's circadian feedback circuits 'from below' with ongoing contributions cycling via Twitter and other non-hierarchical platforms for exchange. Our generic A. signifies the contributor who requests anonymity. Some contributors have been forwarding material for twenty years. We think citizen declassification initiatives like those triggered by Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden are welcome exemplars of robust fair use and the reclamation of information on behalf of the public domain and an equitable information ecosystem.
Cryptome's archive of around 101,000 files spanning 1996-2016 is currently backed up on a diminutive 64 gigabyte USB flash drive weighing around 4 grams, measuring 38.9mm X 12.3mm X 4.5mm. Authenticated drives are occasionally shipped by snail mail across the material time and space of global postal supply chains to supporters throughout the lived world. Recipients provide offshore backup and redundancy by mirroring the library through the lens of their active engagement with the information, no questions asked.
As licensed architects based in New York City, John Young and I are mandated by code to give precedence to issues of public Health, public Safety and public Welfare (HSW). What does this public mandate really mean when deployed in the free-markets of the ascendant global city? HSW's infrastructure of public goods, embodied at the visceral scale of the individual, are devalued by some ranks of our profession because of the relative cultural invisibility of backgrounded infrastructure. We regret starchitecture's penchant of market-driven, scenographic branding. That glitzy approach perpetuates an inherently supply-side, trickle-down theory of consumption of public goods as a kind of non-renewable resource. The eye devours and exhausts the supply during repeated acts of false consciousness. Glossy brochures -- the industry standard for marketing architectural services -- are unintended chronicles of this unfortunate depletion. When asked for our brochure, we likely pay a heavy professional price by occasionally directing inquiries to Cryptome.org.
We like to think of HSW infrastructures, like those constituted in the public library, as underground wedges for insurgent opportunity. This is especially the case in the context of the production of code-compliant places of assembly, which, like the library, should be fundamentally democratic sites. Issues of personal security and insecurity in the lived urban world, informed by HSW values invested in over 400 low-profile architectural interventions we've consulted on in the metropolitan NYC area (including some brick-and-mortar libraries) provide Cryptome's ethical point of reference against the inflation of national security power and privilege.
As a youngster, John transited through 35 or more towns and rural locales of Central and West Texas while his father followed seasonal work as an itinerant laborer in cotton agriculture, rock quarrying and oil rig construction. They lived in the rough or in migrant worker sheds. They challenged foremen who tried to undercut wages by under- weighing 100-lb and 50-lb burlap sacks of cotton father and son dragged behind them while hand-picking along the rows. Rural elementary schools were accustomed to the episodic comings and goings of such transient child labor. John was taken out of school at 14 to help support the family full time, and by 17, like many young men from similar backgrounds, gained entry into the US Army. His construction skills placed him in the Army Corps of Engineers and he was abruptly transported 5000 miles away to the divided Germany of the Cold War era.
My own childhood border-crossings intersected the Cold War in capital cities of Europe, Asia and South America with a parent who served as cold warrior during what is referred to, with irony in some cases, as the Pax Americana. We occupied the more clandestine enclaves of diplomatic corps extraterritoriality being negotiated by the era's East-West polarizations. Secrecy was the lingua franca of my childhood experiences of the putative Pax. At the same time, our Greek ancestry admitted us into displaced communities of the worldwide Greek Diaspora. This overlaying of covert and diasporic geographies camouflaged nomadic terrain that was continuously shifting.
I keep a stained, typewritten leaflet as reminder of the tar bomb thrown at our house in Buenos Aires that reads in part: “Fuera politica del imperialismo YANQUI de intervencion en los paises de LATINOAMERICA.” Even after the rout of the French at the battle of Dien Bien Phu, the French colonial convent school in Saigon where I began my education continued to teach the pedagogy of French Empire. Nuns were stunned when one of their star Vietnamese schoolgirls abandoned her subject position in the imperial schema to join Ho Chi Minh's anti-French Viêt-minh liberation movement.
The Cryptome library makes pretty clear John Young's and my youthful itinerancy did not end up producing a genre of leisure literature devoted to the consumption of world travel. Instead, Cryptome dedicates itself to bottom-up strategies for borderless information equality. We address issues of security and insecurity at the scales of larger worlds compressed into New York City's heterogeneous metropolitan milieux. We explore more insurgently democratic trajectories of information access than we ourselves experienced during somewhat furtive upbringings.
In the information age, of course, all pathways to the information-rich lived world run through the gauntlet of the politics of information. That gauntlet is populated along either side by an alliance of aggressive corporate and government agents who stake interlinked claims on informational property. High value is given to national security information. As with running all gauntlets, Cryptome finds evasive mobility is key to emerging reasonably intact. Tecno|Grafía[s] is right to conclude that media efforts to pin down or define Cryptome miss the mark of what we hope is a moving target. Cryptome seldom cooperates with mediated attempts to fix our evasive travel itineraries along well-marked, more heavily surveilled routes of a branding economy that captures identity in order to fix valuations for media products within well-exploited markets.
We recently produced an animated scroll of the full Cryptome index 1996-2016 for a talk on information policies and politics at Pratt Institute School of Information in NYC. With its 50-minute runtime, the scrolling index is a decidedly non-wayfinding map. Instead, it recapitulates the flowing time and space of two decades of Cryptome's information politics as a kind of borderless textual liquifaction that is hard to pin down.
Cryptome continues weaving youthful narratives that became formally problematized during our respective undergraduate educations. We each ended up at graduate architecture schools, but before that, John completed an undergraduate philosophy degree with a thesis on existentialism that proposed an aesthetic theory grounded in Sartre's work. Sartre's notion of the authentic project is arguably present in the Cryptome library.
And I, after becoming engrossed in the contrarian frameworks of non-Euclidean geometry, completed a mathematics major with research on transfinite numbers, an area of set theory that considers the meta-finite continuum. Negating Euclid's fifth parallel postulate and recognizing many infinities were very liberating logics.
John and my problematiques somehow touched on ontological and epistemological aspects of childhood fugitivity that cast doubt on certainty, finiteness, fixity and a priori essentialist categories. These challenges to traditions of taxonomic diagnosis that fix nomenclature and classification continue to resonate in Cryptome's critiques of rigidly abusive classification regimes.
- Eyeballing Lake Kickapoo Space Surveillance Sta. June 12, 2003
- Eyeballing the National Security Agency | April 25, 2002
- Afghanistan Airports and Bases Eyeball February 21, 2009
- Eyeballing the Hidden Oil Patch July 3, 2002
MANY PRIVATE CORPORATIONS LIKE MICROSOFT, VERIO OR YAHOO, NEED TO CENSOR CONTENTS THAT PROVIDE IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE USER'S PERSONAL DATA AND ESPIONAGE STRATEGIES, WHICH ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN GOVERNMENT STRUCTURES AND PRIVATE CORPORATIONS INTERESTS?
A public domain for information equality has no place in the information economy's highly proprietary circuits of corporate production and consumption. Instead, the rise of government-corporate alliances means the surveillance state has successfully colonized the information economy's most prized natural resource: endless corporate feeds of proprietary data and metadata that track the minutiae of consumer desire.
Corporate privacy policies bundled with “free” apps and services lure consumers into willingly relinquishing their most vital and valuable flows.
Authorities may access these private flows illegally, through court order or both in the name of a national security state of emergency. Corporate compliance guides have become standard office manuals to instruct staff on how to cooperate with law- enforcement subpoenas that demand consumer data and metadata. What are the prospects for viable democratic practice when the private citizen is displaced from public space and reconstructed at national scale as a fictive cipher populating the government database or watch list? Your watchlisted selfie is an inherently corrupted file.
Cryptome's intensive mobility as pedestrian architects traveling New York City streets always yields compelling local knowledge of HSW components embedded in dense urban infrastructures. Such visceral experiences of the lived city revitalize personhood and challenge the digital colonizing of our selves being captured by database analytics and the carceral watch list. We highly recommend such pedestrian constitutionals – in every sense of that freighted word. Tactical mobility reconstitutes our reading of the city as a public library evolving in 4D time and space. The city as historical archive of public knowledge provides dynamic foundations for collective memory, information equality and innovation towards future outcomes.
The materiality of our urban archive announces itself in resilient narratives of concrete, brick, glass, steel, brownstone and, more recently, fiber optic cabling. Songbirds broadcast vigorous signals from branches of oak, callery pear and cellphone antennae. Engaging a politics of personhood on the street requires vigilance and tactical mobility. Pay attention to the planned 10,000 sidewalk kiosks that are supplanting NYC payphone infrastructure with Wi-Fi offering free high-speed Internet service to anyone within 45 meters. This city-wide grid of ubiquitous sensors has the privacy-invasive technological and political capability to siphon and archive ambient data streams without citizen consent. Civil liberties may be suspended during states of emergency. The grocery list called into your 'butcher' may contain actionable keywords.
In recent decades, John and my local ambulations in NYC have provided stark views onto the near-completion of the market-driven project to erase public space. We don't keep a car, and I never learned to drive. When not being swept along mass transit as members of the metropolitan throng, we reconnoiter kilometer after kilometer of the lived city intimately as peripatetics of the street, as walkers of the parkland and evolving waterfront.
From our perspective on the street, we can confirm public access is being categorically denied by sovereign and neoliberal spaces of exclusion. Paywalls and curtain-walls enforce prohibitions. Once affordable 19th century immigrant tenements on the Lower East Side are now out of reach to other than upscale occupants. The university's elite classrooms are increasingly available only to those with the deepest pockets. Luxury developers forced by the city to provide minimum units of affordable housing in new high-end towers design separate “poor doors” to relieve the moneyed class from having to share entrance lobbies and elevators with lower-income neighbors.
The public may be granted access to private amenities like Zuccotti Park in exchange for increased for-profit development densities, as during the Occupy movement. But these spaces are policed by private security officers and highly restrictive rules of behavior. Token public art installed in privatized plazas are anodyne substitutes for prohibited political speech and agitated assembly.
Social stratification in the city of cognitive-cultural capitalism described by Allen Scott has exacerbated New York City's segregated zones of absentee oligarchs and decimated working and middle classes. The architectural profession at large, and formalist starchitects in particular, are heavily implicated in these polarizing activities. At the same time that risk assessments privilege some urban systems as Critical Infrastructures within the states of emergency promoted in national security frameworks – often camouflaging data spies like Wi-Fi kiosks – systems that support urgent HSW needs are devalued and defunded. Who are the real beneficiaries of privacy-busting 'smart-city' urban data capture initiatives?
The profound asymmetry between personal security and national security is the skewed calculus that drives us to challenge pernicious acts of spatial closure through Cryptome's ongoing support of prohibited documents and support of prohibited acts of conscientious disclosure. Public access to the library of decrypted information relating to all phases of predatory urban and nationalist processes described above are imperative to develop effective counterstrategies at all scales.
Corporate-government collaborations drafted the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), forging a cudgel now used to silence discourse in “incorrect” public spaces like the Cryptome library. We are a frequent recipient of DMCA take-down notices that reflect corporate enthusiasm for lucrative government contracts, and government reliance on outsourcing national security projects to corporate contractors. The corporate-government alliance otherwise known as Microsoft succeeded in shutting down Cryptome with a DMCA claim in 2010 – but only temporarily. Only relentless critique by watchdogs advocating for information equality can hope to expose the excesses of censorious business models that drive the enterprises of urban predation or national security wealth.
The processes of colonizing public space recall the enclosures that diminished England's agrarian commons in the 17th and 18th centuries. Parliamentary dicta evicted landless peasantry, rescinding their access to the commonweal of shared landscape and ushered in the key role of the modern nation state: defining and regulating private property rights, from fixed property as in real estate, mobile property –- that is, capital -– to intellectual property, and most recently, digital intellectual property, digital copyright, and so on. The sovereign classifications of national security State secrecy are in effect the most extreme categories of intellectual property's proprietary spectrum.
New York City reminds us every day how the corporate world has lustily collaborated in supplanting the public sphere with public-private partnerships that promote a dubious market model to interconnect philanthropy, non-profits, cultural products, tax law and offshore pre- and post-positioning of wealth. The Highline went from gritty relic of labor and manufacturing history to playground for a luxury-fixated quarter of the city whose cultural institutions are sleekly-saddled stalking horses for the global leisure class. One of our small educational clients and their modest lending library of books and pamphlets advocating against labor exploitation was driven out by rising rents.
It's mystifying that Laura Poitras should agree to commodify her so-called 'political' work in such a contaminated frame as the Highline district's new Whitney Museum with its $22 admissions fee, without problematizing the context. Similarly, First Look Media will be funding her new documentary projects under its banner of “smart, provocative entertainment.”
Cryptome continues looking to the urban street and online spaces of political sociality from below, where, as in the public library, no obligatory admission fee per se is demanded.
A Transboundary Peace Park for the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) (2002)
"This series of digital mapworks explores the changing cartographic identity of the Cold-War's last prominent relic: the Korean DMZ, an ideological boundary established by the Korean War's 1953 Armistice Agreement whose uninhabited no-man's-landscapes have unexpectedly reverted to a de facto nature sanctuary in the past 50 years -- harboring rare flora and fauna, including some of Northeast Asia's most endangered migratory species, despite the prevalence of antipersonnel land mines, razorwire and tank bunkers.
While the DMZ continues to be a centerpiece of US security preoccupations -- framed by one million anti-personnel land mines and two million battle-ready troops -- inaccessibility has allowed the 4-km wide, 243-km-long corridor's damaged ecosystems to rehabilitate and flourish.
Recent proposals by international biodiversity specialists are competing with the DMZ's rhetoric of violence, calling for the transformation the fortified corridor into a system of protected transboundary bioreserves. With eventual reconciliation between North and South Korea anticipated, scientists and artists are proposing that commercial and industrial development of the DMZ be forestalled, and instead, measures be taken to preserve the corridor as a regional environmental and civic amenity to be jointly managed by the two Koreas.
As a public memorial, the park would acknowledge its unique geopolitical history, and look to the future by welcoming both innovators and conservators from the life sciences, arts and culture. ‘Peace parks’ promoting conflict resolution and reconciliation through cooperative environmental programs, tourism, education and recreation are already in development along once-contested military borders of Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, as well as Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
New mappings of the DMZ offer unique insights into the production of contemporary narratives about nature and culture. Parallel Atlas surveys transboundary conditions underpinning the DMZ's disputed cartographic status -- hybrid sites whose evolving biogeographic identities are threaded with the narrative text of competing map legends: the interwoven discourses of geopolitics, entomology, culture, memory."
MANY OF THESE MEDIA OUTLETS SEEM TO EMBRACE THE IMPORTANCE OF TECHNOLOGICAL POWER THAT INTERNET PROVIDES TO DISCOVER GOVERNMENT ESPIONAGE TACTICS.
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ABOUT THE WAY IN WHICH INTERNET AS A "FREEDOM OF SPEECH TOOL" HAS BEEN USED BY JOURNALISM IN THE LAST 10 YEARS? IS JOURNALISM AS A WHOLE STRUCTURE, AN ACCURATE PLATFORM TO RELEASE INFORMATION TO THE PUBLIC?
New technologies may provide potential new tools in support of civil liberties like freedom of speech, but The New York Times will not relinquish its intimately symbiotic relations with chummy sources in the national security state. The Times sustains its support for civil liberties and freedom of speech with incongruously lurid advertising for luxury products: “Harry Winston, Rare Jewels of the World”; “Dior, Be-Dior bag in beige calfskin, details in goji pink patent calfskin”; “Come Home to Glenwood: Manhattan's Finest Luxury Rentals -- white glove service, magnificent lobbies, near the best NYC schools.”
We note Columbia Journalism School reports the 2016 cost of its prestigious 10-month Master of Science degree, including living expenses, is $97,603: “As a student in our Master of Science program, you'll learn how to think critically and be both ethical and street smart.” By embracing business best-practices, the corporatized elite university caters to the student as a luxury consumer, just as it improves its institutional bottom line by exploiting a just-in-time army of underpaid adjunct instructors.
Any consideration of professional journalism as a whole structure, as Tecno|Grafia[s] refer to it, would have to include this astonishing price tag for entry level access, and the substantial student debt incurred. What career choices will the debt-laden young journalist -– or architect, lawyer, physician -- be forced to make going forward? Can such a precariously front-loaded platform offer stable support to the public commonweal? It is well documented that student debt suppresses risk-taking by increasingly compliant young practitioners.
DEBORAH NATSIOS, JOHN YOUNG
"Jerusalem SKY is a web-based project being developed by Natsios Young Architects that supports migratory bird conservation efforts by extending the transparency of "open skies" initiatives to the project's own information architecture. The digital image-maps presented below are proposed new birds-eye views of Jerusalem -- in the form of graphical user interfaces that are orientation maps for SKY's open architecture. The synthetic image-maps are hypermedia portals accessible to the growing online public worldwide -- the student, amateur, refugee, scientist, detainee or citizen with access to the world wide web. Icons embedded within SKY's digital image-map narratives are hyperlinked to allow connective access to myriad online knowledge systems relating to bird migration, geospatial imaging, and conflict resolution -- including databases, metadata, multimedia presentations of sound video, and image"
We once overhead a Columbia journo student on the Broadway M104 local bus insistently remind a companion who was touting a rival journalism program that Columbia was, after all, “the Pulitzer school!”
Sadly, Pulitzer prestige seems to play a seductive role inducing student to incur debilitating debt to gain privileged admission into a competitive profession.
Vigorous investigative reporting by definition must bite the hand that feeds it. In the front-loaded platform described above, the feeding hand gets the upper hand when threatening retaliation against a vulnerable reporter. Investigative journalists like Seymour Hersh are accused of 'going too far' within corporate journalism that draws a cautious bottom line around what constitutes practices of critical investigation.
Given these constraints, can the public trust the journalism or any profession, even independent journalism, to be the fair broker of the commonweal it claims to be? It's no surprise that both the DocumentCloud and the New York Police Department office that issues press cards refused Cryptome's application for press credentials on grounds of ineligibility.
ARE THOSE STRATEGIES THE MAIN RESOURCE FROM MEDIA CORPORATIONS AND NGOS TO MAKE PROFITS AND REPUTATION FROM DOCUMENT LEAKS? IS NAIVE TO PRETEND THAT EFFECTIVE ALTERNATIVES AND TECHNOLOGIES TO KNOW HOW POWER SPHERES SPY ON US ARE POSSIBLE?
The 2016 US presidential election season demonstrates yet again that dramatizing rivalry is an effective media tactic as well as fundraising tool. Sports-saturated American culture responds to competition metaphors and racecourse similes. On the campaign trail, fundraising letters are issued immediately following a manufactured fracas and the tally of monies received within 24, 48 or 72 hours breathlessly announced as if a triumphal box-office take.
On the other hand, when Cryptome was briefly shut down by Microsoft's DMCA claim in 2010, the unexpected surge of donations from supporters that suddenly came pouring in was summarily confiscated by Paypal –- under their red flag alert for suspicious or terror-related financing. Cryptome subsequently instructed that all monies be returned to donors.
A few weeks before 9/11, we gave an invited talk in Washington DC at the 10th Security Symposium of USENIX, the Advanced Computing Systems Association. Our talk Reversing the Panopticon introduced for the first time the concept of reverse-engineering Bentham's iconic socio- political architectonic. (Others have since adopted our locution.) The technical and cultural skills required for the architect to decrypt and integrate complex building codes, contract documents, architectural drawings and detailed material specifications within the negotiated practicum of the construction field provide an operational toolkit for Cryptome's incremental project of small scale reverse-engineering towards the goal of the information equality library. Others can experiment with different toolkits towards similarly creative outcomes.
THE CITY LIVED IN A RENEWED AND CONSTANT SURVEILLANCE STATE ACHIEVED THROUGH AGGRESSIVE POLICING TECHNOLOGIES OF BIO-TRACKING, INFORMATIONAL INTERFERENCE, ETC. WHAT IS THE NEXUS THAT ATTACH THE USE OF POLICING TECHNOLOGIES, YOUR RESEARCH ON THE NYPD RING OF STEEL AND THE COLD WAR? HOW 9/11 AFFECTED CRYPTOME AND YOUR PRACTICE AS ARCHITECTS BASED IN NEW YORK?
DEBORAH NATSIOS, JOHN YOUNG
"Cryptome’s digital multimedia presentation of original cartography, animations, video, and architectural documentation will explore the urban implications of the NYPD One Police Plaza Security Plan - a.k.a. Ring of Steel - which locked down Lower Manhattan after 9/11, transforming its Civic Center into a threatscape centered on NYPD headquarters. With its militarized jurisdiction mobilizing through technologies of command, control, communications, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, the Ring of Steel has declared itself an iconic public space for our time."
HOPE Number Nine (2012) | Hackers on Planet Earth
The late African-American US Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, for whom one of these courthouses is named, 'suggested that unrepresentative juries not only cast doubt on system legitimacy but also influence deliberations and verdicts.' A 2007 study by Citizen Action of NY concluded racial and ethnic disparity in Manhattan jury pools calls into question the fairness of verdicts. Voir Dire asks whether democratic processes can flow unimpeded across a juridical landscape dominated by aggressive policing technologies and iconography – when the viability of such democratic processes urgently require the participation of underrepresented jurors from marginal communities already subject to hostile policing.
At the heart of this question is our critique of the extrajuridical practices which make Guantanamo an opaque doppelganger of New York's juridical city. Some Guantanamo prisoners would have faced prosecution within the due processes of NYC courts had they not – under exceptional claims of a national security state of emergency – been displaced to the untested legal procedures of that extraterritorial, blackened site. The adjudicative chaos surrounding Guantanamo is intimately connected to the Ring of Steel apparatus as interlocking features of a failed civic architecture.
Jurors from New York City's global South immigrant communities are among underrepresented communities of the jury pool locked in cross hairs of the NYPD Intelligence Division. The Division was hardened after 9/11 into the largest and best funded police intelligence branch in the US. NYPD is always searching for a Molenbeek lurking in the city's Muslim neighborhoods.
We remind readers that David Cohen, the powerful first post-9/11 NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence (2002-2013), was a former senior official of the CIA responsible for its world wide operations. Cohen actively maintained insider links to the CIA during his NYPD tenure. Consistent with the trend to militarize policing described by geographer Stephen Graham, the NYPD Intelligence Division and NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau recruit officers with military and intelligence backgrounds.
The culture of the CIA, with origins in Cold War technologies of secrecy, surveillance and proxy warfare are part of the legacy Cohen infiltrated into the policing of a global city whose regulation has in many ways superseded the scale of the national. The International Liaison Program supports policing at global scale by placing NYPD intelligence officers in 11 overseas cities. The liaison program evades robust public oversight by securing funding from private business, individuals and philanthropic partners laundered through a public-private partnership, The New York City Police Foundation.
Voir Dire advocates for the underrepresented juror we refer to as 'the barely juror' as a key actor in public space urgently required to reverse these increasingly redacted processes of public oversight and public adjudication. Such public reversals reinforce the bedrock of information equality.
DEBORAH NATSIOS, JOHN YOUNG
"Following 9/11, the NYDP surrounded Lower Manhattan and its Civic Center with a security architecture popularized by the local media as the Ring of Steel.
The encrypted zone has become a signature anti-public space
Cryptome charts new pathways to penetrate civic space hardened by command, contra, communications, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance technologies.
New pathways are critical for prospective jurors summoned to the Civic Center to participate in juridical processes
Open pathways into the juridical city are needed for those underrepresented in the jury pool - the prospective juror for a marginalized community subject to intimidation by NYPD security theater
This 'barely-juror' plays a key role in the production of justice and production of a just city"
WHICH ARE THE MOST COMMON TECHNOLOGIES TO SPY AND HOW THEY CHANGED WITH THE ARISE OF COMMERCIAL STRATEGIES LIKE THE INTERNET OF THINGS?
A recent article in the New York Times confirms that “companies are becoming adept at identifying wealthy customers and marketing to them, creating a money-based caste system”. Pointing out that such social and economic stratification has been unseen in America since the Gilded Age of industrial robber-barons at the turn of the 19th century, the Times notes “the goal is to create extravagance and exclusivity for the select few, even if it stirs up resentment elsewhere. In fact, research has shown, a little envy can be good for the bottom line.” The 2016 US presidential election cycle has exposed the impacts of stirring up long-simmering resentment about income inequality.
With its rigorous tracking of consumer desire, the omniscient Internet of Things cannot avoid functioning as a commercial tool for pernicious social sorting. Data from ubiquitous IoT sensors have become the red ink of redlining practices writ large. Another NY Times article reports “self-segregation of a privileged fifth of the population is changing the American social order and the American political system, creating a self-perpetuating class at the top, which is ever more difficult to break into.” IoT technologies self-perpetuate inequality while accelerating self-segregating geographies of global wealth as their sensors report minute spatio-temporal data from high-end automobiles, stainless steel refrigerators, in-ground swimming pool gadgetry and personal tablets used by luxury households to communicate via satellite with other family members who are ensconced in private bedrooms just a few meters away.
We reject the curator-marketer and instead hope to nurture reader autonomy, self- awareness and choice we believe integral to the dyad of self-knowledge and self-rule. The reader's activist participation encourages a state of becoming through self-guided learning and networked feedback loops.
John and I used to teach occasionally in graduate architecture programs but withdrew as corporatization colonized the American university and began crushing students into the penury of massive student debt discussed above. We prefer modest, self-guided DIY cultures of repair to shiny new institutional packaging. Cryptome's anti-curated online collection is still formatted in the original raggedy columnar structure and generic Courier font of 1996, authored on a thoroughly obsolete AOL Press html platform. We hope this arte povera approach encourages others to contribute universal DIY tools for achieving information equality and an expanded public domain.
What would have become of the Snowden material had NSAdisclosures.com launched as an independent experimental platform for robust archiving and distribution? This question reminds us that Cincinnatus was one of Snowden's chosen aliases during his initial contacts with media, referencing a Roman who, we're told, used political power in the public interest. How vigorously has the public interest been served by the journalistic strategy implemented to validate and regulate the NSA disclosures, from early Guardian articles to the waning output at The Intercept and the rising First Look Media entertainment complex?
Greenwald claims Snowden “stressed that it was vital to publish the documents journalistically – meaning working with the media and writing articles that provided the context for the materials, rather than just publishing them in bulk.” We're told Snowden believed this would be the more orderly, more rational approach. After all, he was to have stated, he could have published the NSA material en masse himself. Finally, Snowden felt journalistic responsibility would minimize risk of harm to innocents caused by the revelations.
Journalism's status as the “responsible” sine qua non of public interest needs to be vigorously debated as long as Snowden continues to make demands for proprietary control of 'his' taxpayer-funded trove, including through instructions to media proxies.
"BINNEY, ALWAYS THE HUMORIST, REMINDED ME OF A NOTORIOUS STATEMENT MADE BY SAM VISNER, A SENIOR NSA OFFICIAL, TO A GROUP OF CONTRACTORS A DAY AFTER THE 9/11 ATTACKS: “WE CAN MILK THIS THING ALL THE WAY TO 2015.” HERE’S BINNEY’S EMAIL TO ME ABOUT THE ARGUMENTS FROM YOUNG AND NATSIOS: “AS SAM SAID, ‘WE CAN MILK THIS COW FOR 15 YEARS.’ IT’S JUST BUSINESS."
CRYPTOME_SNOWDEN TALLY PROJECT
42 Years to Release Snowden Docs
"OUT OF REPORTED 15,000 PAGES, THE GUARDIAN HAS PUBLISHED 192 PAGES IN FOURTEEN RELEASES OVER FOUR MONTHS, AN AVERAGE OF 48 PAGES PER MONTH, OR 1.28% OF THE TOTAL. AT THIS RATE IT WILL TAKE 26 YEARS FOR FULL RELEASE."
· New York Times_9 December 2013: Spying on Games
· O Globo Fantastico_3 September 2013:
NSA Spied Presidents of Brazil and Mexico
· NRC Handelsblad_12 March 2014: NSA Aids Dutch Anti-Piracy
· Washington Post_9 July 2014: NSA Emails NSA Emails
· Washington Post_11 December 2013: GHOSTMACHINE
· Der Spiegel_31 August 2014:NSA GCHQ Spy Turkey
NSA GCHQ Spy Turkey
· Der Spiegel_9 September 2013: Smartphones
· O Globo Fantastico_8 September 2013: Petrobas
· Huffington post_27 November 2013: Muslim Porn Viewing
· L'Espresso_6 December 2013: NSA Spies Italy
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ABOUT THIS MODE OF NARRATIVE-INCLUSION THAT OBEYS TO A DESIRE TO BE LEGITIMIZED AND RECOGNIZED INSTITUTIONALLY? (AGAIN, MAYBE IS UNNECESSARY TO SUGGEST A DISCUSSION BASED IN THE ALWAYS- RECURRENT GREENWALD/POITRAS CASE AS A MODEL.)
Cryptome sees ample display of the media churning the marketplace of trending narratives to skim commissions off the top, including in the leak reporting industry that has sprung up in the hopes of fostering a lucrative niche market. While perhaps not illegal, this practice illustrates the losses suffered by robust investigative journalism against the rising tide of click-baited infotainment.
Whenever Cryptome has been even tangentially implicated in a rising narrative or a cannily mediated product rollout such as “the Wikileaks story” for example, a flood of press inquiries of shallow, repetitive banality is unleashed on us. Substantive public education is not a goal of the bottom line. Rather, media outlets churn the account of narrative tsunamis to artificially amplify wave effects and capture hoped-for revenue streams. Has this pattern as currently built into protocols for conducting a successful leak in the so-called public interest run its course? Can alternative platforms be advanced?
WHAT DIAGNOSIS YOU EXPERIENCED ABOUT THE CURRENT STATE OF SURVEILLANCE WITH THIS EXCHANGE OF IDEAS AND WORKSHOPS? DID YOU CONSIDER THAT THE INTENTION OF ±FALSE TALLIES - THE PRISONER’S DILEMMA? WAS UNDERSTOOD BY THE AUDIENCE?
〼 CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE REASONS TO CHOOSE NIKOLAI KHOKHLOV & EDWARD SNOWDEN AND THEIR GEOPOLITICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL CONTEXTS DEVELOPED IN FALSE TALLIES - THE PRISONER’S DILEMMA?
Transmediale premiered our 20 minute visualization ± False Tallies: The Prisoner's Dilemma a narrative work that introduces an historical context for Cryptome's Snowden Tally, which, since October 2013, has been keeping tabs on the media's proprietary roll-out of the Snowden archive.
We believed Snowden and Khokhlov make an interesting game theoretic partnership. Each underwent ruptures of their respective national identities as highly mobile, multiply-aliased engineers of nation-state border control. Each ended up exercising autonomy, agency and dissent – and shed the authority of state aliases for post- national identities constructed within private spaces of their personhood. ± False Tallies considers the dilemmic choices unfolding within their respective historical and technological cartographies of nation-state border rupture, from Khokhlov's East-West territorializations to Snowden's role regulating nation-state sovereignty in the 21st century's increasingly borderless world.
"(±) False Tallies: The Prisoner's Dilemma? Source Authenticity from Cold War to Surveillance State Fugitive defectors and whistleblowers evade sovereignty, territory, citizenship and the inchoate metrics of global political space... Premiere: Thursday 4 February 2016, 21:00 hrs
Tacit Futures: Building Snowden Archives Transmediale - Anxious to Secure Auditorium, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, BERLIN 2016.transmediale.de/content/deborah-natsios-john-young Vauban's masterful engineering of militarized borders in defense of the emerging 17th century nation-state provokes our genealogical tracking of Nikolai Evgenievich Khokhlov (b.1922, USSR) and Edward Joseph Snowden (b.1983, USA). These two mobile, highly aliased agents of modern state militaries are insurgent territorial engineers in their own right. Deploying in shifting geopolitical and technological contexts 60 years apart, each eventually ruptures from his boundary maintenance agency, fracturing within post-Vaubanian archipelagoes of Berlin in the case of Khokhlov, and Hawaii in the case of Snowden. Khokhlov and Snowden play the sovereignty game to exhaustion along the 60 year continuum of an inexorably debordering world order. Eventually, their state-imposed aliases, legends and false citizenships collapse into the contingent identities and private fictions of diasporic personhood and the Prisoner's Dilemma. In 1954, Nikolai Evgenievich Khokhlov renounces NKVD/KGB scripts that cast him as a border-crossing state assassin. So too, NSA efforts to re-territorialize sovereignty in response to the 21st century crisis of the national border could not have fallen to a less compliant subject than a placeless, fugitive, dilemmic identity: a.k.a. TheTrueHOOHAH, Verax, Cincinnatus and Citizenfour -- who re-brands himself in May 2013 as Edward Joseph Snowden. Thus unmoored from the engineering of its militarized border, the state archive disclosed by Snowden eschews the sovereignty demanded by all proprietary regimes and seeks full reconstitution within a borderless public domain."
More subversively, however, we link the engineering of this former Kongresshalle to what we dub an architecture écoutante of signals intelligence technology engineered during the tenure of that diplomat's clandestine brother, Allen Welsh Dulles, director of CIA (1952-1961). We detect Snowden and Khokhlov's post-national, performative selves as rogue emanations escaping covert streams of clandestine signals intelligence. Cryptome will support any effort to rename the boulevard Allen-Welsh- Dulles-Allee, certainly whenever the annual Transmediale is in session.
〼 A COMPANION SITE OF CRYPTOME, TITLED CARTOME (ADMINISTRATED BY DEBORAH NATSIOS) FOCUS ON ARTWORKS THROUGH CRITICAL AND INTERACTIVE CARTOGRAPHIC DEVICES. AESTHETICALLY IS ONE OF THE MOST INTERESTING NON-BOUNDARIES STRUCTURES THAT CO-EXISTS IN THE SITE, ADDRESSING MULTILAYERED GEOPOLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY TOPICS.
EVEN WHEN THE PROJECTS CONTAINED IN CARTOME HAVE THEIR OWN MICRO-ANALYSIS, EVERY ONE OF THEM SHARE SIMILAR LINES ON “SPATIAL / GEOGRAPHIC DOCUMENTS ON PRIVACY, CRYPTOGRAPHY, DUAL-USE TECHNOLOGIES, NATIONAL SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE -- COMMUNICATED BY IMAGERY SYSTEMS: CARTOGRAPHY, PHOTOGRAPHY, PHOTOGRAMMETRY, STEGANOGRAPHY, CAMOUFLAGE, MAPS, IMAGES, DRAWINGS, CHARTS, DIAGRAMS, IMINT AND THEIR REVERSE-PANOPTICON AND COUNTER-DECEPTION POTENTIAL...”
MANY OF YOUR PROJECTS ARE RELATED WITH THE GLOBAL USE AND DISTRIBUTION OF TECHNOLOGIES SINCE THE COLD WAR.
〼 WHAT IS THE EVOLUTION OF DUAL-USE TECHNOLOGIES AND WHAT IS THEIR ACTUAL IMPACT ON INDIVIDUAL’S CONSCIENCE ABOUT SURVEILLANCE? WHY YOU DECIDED TO OPEN AND EXPAND THIS AUTO(BIO)GEOGRAPHIC SPHERE? WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO TAKE AESTHETIC AND POLITICAL RISKS WITH THIS PRACTICES?
〼 HOW DIFFICULT WAS THE RESEARCH PROCESS FOR CITY OF REDACTIONS? CAN YOU EXPLAIN HOW THE NEOLIBERAL CITY OPERATES IN THE VISUALIZATION OF NON-CITIZENS?
CRYPTOME: It's somewhat amusing that Cartome's interest in reverse-panopticon and counter- deception mapping has its origins in beetles I started collecting at architecture school as coleopteran proxies for my past and future geolocations. The presence of fantastical exoskeleta in the architecture atelier distressed more than a few entomophobic classmates and instructors.
Highly adaptive species native to the politicized landscapes traveled during my childhood became carapaced alter egos offering myriad chitinous aliases for exploring the space of world politics. Beetle avatars helped structure a geographic information system to orient the Entomofilia Atlas,an aliased autobio(geo)graphy of taxonomic borders investigated in pencil, charcoal and cut paper. Before going underground and vanishing altogether, coleoptera continued to occupy later digital mappingworks like Parallel Atlas 39°N and L'Empire des Oiseaux.Textual fragments embedded in these later micro-histories are map legends written 'from below' to unlock auto(bio)geographic codes as guides for diasporas swarming across heavily regulated childhood borders in Cold War Greece, Korea and Vietnam. The decryptions of Parallel Atlas 39°N informed our work in support of The DMZ Forum, an international group advocating for the peaceful preservation of the Korean Peninsula's biodiverse Demilitarized Zone, an iconic Cold War relic, as a transboundary conservation park.
"This version with soundtrack was screened during an exhibit by Deborah Natsios, Cryptome: "City of Redactions: Decrypting the Border Atlas", Dem Passwords Gallery, Los Angeles, March 21 - April 25, 2015."
The Cold War border series provide an historical context for more recent investigations of nation-state border security being litigated around the crisis of the borderless state. As you can see from its index page, Cartome was archiving geospatial documents largely related to the militarized aspects of this research during 2001-2002. After 9/11we shifted focus to authoring longer-term, integrative cartographic projects.
Our most recent integrative projects investigate risk management tools that have replaced containment doctrine to anticipate surges that are flooding borders in military and policing contexts as well as in marketplaces of the neoliberal city. The crossover efficacy of dual-use technologies (with military and civilian applications) reflects the current neoliberal symbiosis of military and commercial interests.
Cold War doctrines and technologies of bipolar containment explored in earlier maps have yielded to 21st century states of emergency, doctrines of preemption and anticipatory governance that rely on ubiquitous mass surveillance and Big Data analytics to regulate risk for future outcomes. Discrete personhood is risky when it projects dissenting self-rule into a future that Long War theory declares will surely be dystopian.
MEET-ME at your Riser (2013) visualizes post-national regulation of the political border as displacements from the nation-state's traditional geographical boundary to telecom colocation centers where transborder flows of global communications are managed. Global networks exchange data in New York City's colocated meet-me rooms at 32 Avenue of the Americas (32 AoA) by physically interconnecting fiber optic lines routed from transatlantic cables into the underground conduits that are telecom backbones of the city. MEET-ME at your Riser considers a legal case that exposed NSA secure rooms installed in telecom hub buildings to illegally intercept internet traffic. As the state of emergency's displaced border control booths, these militarized secure rooms defend the sovereignty of the nation-state by interdicting presumably risky cross-border communications – in legal disregard of fundamental civil liberties.
Cryptome's toolkit as architects was instrumental in this example of reverse-engineering the current status of 32 AoA, a landmark communications building originally completed in 1932 for use in then state-of-the-art long line telephony.
"An exploration of Cold War geopolitics on the Korean Peninsula"
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ABOUT THE WAY IN WHICH GLOBAL ART INSTITUTIONS OPERATE IN THE ECONOMICAL RE-DESIGN OF A CITY?
Mounted at the invitation of the venerable rescue mission that has served homeless and hungry New Yorkers since 1879, the work examined the relationship between the two adjacent institutions by posing questions about hunger, housing insecurity, colonization, the criminalization of urban loitering vs. the sanctification of art viewing, and the false consciousness of the museum experience.
The incident offers a useful case study to expand our prior observations about pedestrian mobility as tool of urban investigation. New York City's public street offers critical vantage points for documenting market encroachments on what remains of urban public space understood as intensely social places, including of potential democratic dissent. The censoring of our street-front critique of culture from a festival that invites ideas about “the future of cities with culture as a driving force” is a case in point.
For over a year leading up to The New Museum festival we had been involved as professional architects for the Bowery Mission, reconstructing underground vaults to provide structural support for its landmark nineteenth century facade and public sidewalk. The project advanced our commitment to public health, public safety and public welfare (HSW) values invested in behind-the-scenes rehabilitation of decaying urban infrastructure. One of our areas of expertise demonstrated in this project was the control of leaks –- that is, leaks in the moisture-protection sense!
"The Cryptome series was installed for a street festival along the Bowery on May 4, but not affiliated with "IDEAS CITY-Untapped Capital" sponsored by The New Museum and funded by Goldman Sachs and Brookfield Properties (owner of Zuccotti Park). "
The Bowery's transformation in recent years from notorious quarter of derelict rooming houses into an exclusive residential zone for high-end cultural thrill-seekers threatens to censor the queue's narrative act, however. Squeezed by a new boutique hotel to its south and The New Museum to its north, the Bowery Mission queue as embodied performance of lives lived under duress -– as political speech -– may have no future on a sidewalk being privatized as a consumer delivery system to access luxury retail stores, posh residences and expansionary cultural institutions. The queue is already invisible to hip museum-goers rushing to legitimate their cultural credentials at the next blockbuster show.
The city of cognitive-cultural capitalism regulates products in its cultural marketplace with nuanced intimidation. We learned that one veiled phone call from a New Museum IDEASCITY organizer to The Bowery Mission questioning the Party Wall installation was enough to cow the fragile welfare institution into neighborly capitulation. Gentrification relies on such iron-fist-in-velvet-glove acts of oblique persuasion.
In May 2016, a notorious landlord specializing in illegally evicting rent-regulated tenants from gentrifying buildings of the Lower East Side neighborhood the museum calls home was indicted on 20 felony criminal counts. How many hipsters on the membership rolls of The New Museum are among new tenants who gladly paid higher rents, no questions asked, for apartments illegally vacated by needy, long-term occupants and subsequently deregulated from rent-stabilized status as a result of criminally destructive acts?
The digital take-down of the Cryptome site in 2010 by Microsoft's DMCA notice provoked waves of support by information activists. Following the take-down of Party Wall, however, many culture workers fully dominated by high-profile cultural institutions looked the other way. A spokesman for the New Museum officially denied any role in the incident.
At the same time, the New Museum announced in May 2016 it will double its footprint by expanding into an adjacent building, and also plans to expand its IDEASCITY support space. The museum bloat smacks of a cultural lebensraum that justifies all invasive prerogatives. Information activism offers strategies to challenge predatory urban “driving force” whether self-described as cultural or not.
DEBORAH NATSIOS, JOHN YOUNG
"The artwork series, titled Party Wall, presented a dialogue between the Bowery Mission and New Museum posing questions of potential cooperation:
Have You Been Colonized?
What's Your Worth?
Are You Being Curated?
Have You Been Loitering?
Are You Hungry?
Where Will You Sleep?
Will You Go Underground?
The works, installed on April 30 and removed on May 2, may be seen online here: http://www.cryptome.org/partywall/index.html The Cryptome series was installed for a street festival along the Bowery on May 4, but not affiliated with "IDEAS CITY-Untapped Capital" sponsored by The New Museum and funded by Goldman Sachs and Brookfield Properties (owner of Zuccotti Park)."
TO PUT MORE EMPHASIS, THE ORIGIN OF THIS QUESTION IS ROOTED IN AN EXCHANGE OF TWEETS BETWEEN JACOB APPELBAUM AND JOHN YOUNG, DISCUSSING ABOUT THE RELIABILITY OF TOR.
Any insights we contribute to next-generation encryption debates in the 21st century are informed by a timeline that begins with the US government launch of a three year investigation targeting Phil Zimmermann, the coder of PGP encryption software he made available for general use in 1991. Before the investigation was dropped in 1996, the government invoked the Arms Export Controls Act against Zimmerman after PGP began to be distributed online to worldwide users.
Interestingly, John took the forward-looking step in 1995 of nominating Zimmerman's coding of PGP for a Chrysler Award granted by the automotive corporation to innovators in more cultural contexts like architecture or industrial design. Radical coding was hardly considered to be cultural production at the time. John's argument was evidently persuasive and Zimmerman was indeed awarded a $10,000 prize while still under government investigation.
More conventional definitions of culturally innovative design are evident in another Chrysler Award that happened to be given out that same year to Frank Ghery, the architect whose Guggenheim Bilbao would be inaugurated in 1997. The contrast between the radical utility of PGP deployed worldwide -- often in liberatory contexts -- Zimmerman's own personal risk, and the scenographic starchitecture that is Ghery's Bilbao could not be a more stark.
Cryptome's questions about possible security conflicts in Tor's anonymizing onion routing, given its origins at the US Naval Research Laboratory and its current government funding, continues our preference for robust inquiry provoked by pragmatic skepticism and doubt. Our interest in forensic detail evolved during the 1990s when the so-called Crypto Wars were vigorously litigated, when we attended those seminal trials held in New York City's jurisdiction, and more broadly, began the habit of purchasing court documents related to landmark crypto and digital intellectual property cases at our own expense and making these available online. Cases like Bernstein v. United States (1995), Junger v. Daley (1996), The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (1996) and MPAA v. 2600 (2000) helped establish the slowly-accruing legal basis for the HSW infrastructure of Cryptome's modest public library for information equality.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THE INTENTIONS AND IMPACT OF THE PANAMA PAPERS? YOU ALREADY KNEW ABOUT OTHER SIMILAR CASES OF HACKING ELECTIONS LIKE THE CASE OF ANDRES SEPULVEDA?, AND IF SO, THIS ARE OLD STRATEGIES TO MODIFY THE COURSE OF AN ELECTION?
/ MULTIMEDIA CONTENT (PHOTOGRAPHY+DIGITAL IMAGE+VIDEO): COURTESY OF CRYPTOME.ORG
/ AUDIO: DEM PASSWORDS | BERLINER GAZETTE | TRANSMEDIALE
/ EDITION: H. C-M + CRYPTOME.ORG