Who are the French cypherpunks fighting for your freedoms?

It could be your neighbor – If you’ve been around cryptocurrency for a while, you’ve probably heard of Cypherpunksthis group of individuals and this intellectual movement to which belonged pAtoshi Nakamotothe creator of Bitcoin.

Who are the cypherpunks?

In our society is now ultra-connected and increasingly transparent, anyone who cares a bit about their privacy could almost be considered one. But what separates the average user from privacy tools like a VPN (to some extent) or the TOR network and a cypherpunk iscommitment and activism is proved by this last.

The cypherpunks write code, they use their knowledge to disseminate computing tools intended for the general public to allow the latter to get out of the clutches of big companies and other modern GAFAMthrough the use of data encryption methods.

But cypherpunks don’t just write code. They are also the cause of some famous tests in the world of cryptography (the famous encryption of data that we just mentioned) such as ” manifesto of a cypherpunk ” written by Eric Hughes in 1993 or ” Cyberpunk Manifesto » revealed by Christian As. Kirtchev in 1997. These writings about the development of society and the increasingly important role that the digital life of every individual on the planet will play proved to be quasi-prophetic.

No doubt about itEdward Snowdenwho sacrificed his professional and family life to expose the US government’s mass surveillance after the attacks of September 11, 2001, is also a cypherpunk. Julian Assange (founder of Wikileaks) is another famous example.

Cypherpunks don’t just protect themselves, they fight for all our freedoms. If you want to know more about the history of cypherpunks, I invite you to consult this very complete article written by Ludovic Lars.

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Satoshi Nakamoto was a cypherpunk

By creating Bitcoin, Satoshi set up an autonomous, peer-to-peer and decentralized monetary model that will be based on mathematical encryption processes that allow preserve the privacy of network users.

Nakamoto’s will was clear. It was necessary to do away with the banks to prevent the public from falling again into the nets of the financial elites who monopolize the profits and make the poorest pay. We needed access to money without an intermediarya protocol that would not be administered by government entities.

These simple principles, which are the very origin of Bitcoin, found particular resonance after the bankruptcy of FTX and the many misfortunes suffered by cryptocurrency users during the year 2022.

But while crowds, driven by greed, make the same mistakes over and over again, some people stand up to defend our individual freedoms. And this, even in France.

But who are these people? Although it is impossible to list them exhaustively, it seems to me important to do so highlight certain collective initiatives who work for the common good.

Framasoft

Framasoft logo

Framasoft is an association founded in 2004. It fights for social and digital justice and encourages its members (as well as curious visitors) to free themselves from the dictates of GAFAM and surveillance capitalism.

I invite you to visit their website to discover the countless initiatives that make it possible to use alternative tools to those from Google and Microsoft to little by little find control over your privacy on the Internet.

From the calendar manager, forms or shared documents, it’s hard not to find a tool that meets your needs.

The installation of these tools was carried out within the framework of an action plan that the association had boldly called “Degooglison’s Internet”. This initiative was based on a simple principle, The Internet is surrounded by tools put online for free by GAFAM to vampirize as much personal data as possible, all with the honest participation of users.

It was therefore crucial to develop alternatives that could help the most concerned escape the gaze of Silicon Valley companies.

Map of France invaded by GAFAM.  A small village of cypherpunks and Framasofts resists the attacker again and again.
Map of France surrounded by GAFAM in 2016 – Illustration by Simon Giraudot

If you have some time ahead of you, the conference posted online on this topic evokes many initiatives taken by GAFAM or governments that will send shivers down your spine (citizen result, misuse of biometric and facial recognition data, etc.). This presentation will surely encourage you to be more careful in your daily activities on the Internet.

Backed by the implementation of qualitative tools, the association has decided on a new action plan for the next 3 years, to make it easier todigital liberation for associations. This will involve creating an ethical cloud and personal support.

But Framasoft is not alone in defending your privacy in France.

Squaring the net

Logo for La Quadrature du Net, an association that fights to defend freedoms on the Internet.

You may have heard of it if you’ve been hanging around the web for a while, but La Quadrature du Net (LQDN), the association for the defense of freedom rights on the Internetalso performs its share of actions to fight against mass surveillance.

It is difficult to make an exhaustive list of these actions here, but:

  • La Quadrature obtained withdrawal of a monitoring program for students during exams taken remotely;
  • The association is also fighting the ranking algorithms used by CAF to “rate” the recipients of public aid;
  • Finally, the fight against technopolice and mass surveillance is one of the spearheads of La Quadrature. The association won its case at the Council of State on 18 May 2020, when the state had been summoned to immediately stop shooting with drones.
Fight against mass surveillance.  one of the main struggles of cypherpunks.
Prevention poster about the excesses of the techno police

As the well-informed reader that you are now, you should ask yourself the question of your hygiene and your digital footprint. But also on the efforts you are prepared to make to protect your data and your privacy.

If you worry about the use of your personal data and find that the web giants know too much about you, then the tools from Framasoft may be useful to you.
If you are concerned about the freedom-killing excesses that the use of certain technologies can cause (always presented as useful for the common good), then the work done by LQDN will surely find favor in your eyes.

Asking yourself about these topics is never a waste of time. And even if you don’t want to get involved in these projects, it can’t be a bad thing to use alternative tools that don’t gobble up all your personal data. The best way to prevent your data from staying pirated or redirectedis, to begin with, to exercise caution in regard to their distribution.

In crypto, do not skimp on caution! So to keep your crypto assets safe, the best solution is still a personal hardware wallet. At Ledger, there is something for all profiles and all cryptos. Don’t wait to secure your capital (commercial link)!

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