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The CypherPunk mailing list was originally made up of a group of people with mathematical and programming skills who sought to make strong encryption ubiquitous in an effort to ensure privacy of conversations and a reduction in government surveillance powers through purely technical means.

The group reached its apogee in the wake of the SkipJack? / ClipperChip? initiative pushed by the U.S. white house c. 1995. Much of the group's goal was reached through the widespread use of SSL for credit card transactions, and the worldwide availability of PGP.

The mailing list makes an interesting early case study in the life cycle of on-line communities. It was among the first of the wholly unmoderated communities with a tradition of encouraging anonymous participation.



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