1993-06-08 - Getting on CERT’s “Most Dangerous” List

Header Data

From: tcmay@netcom.com (Timothy C. May)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: ac548161081ea05749a05c77dfebcd6a69b62765c7c9428882285b0b8f7b8752
Message ID: <9306081033.AA14809@netcom3.netcom.com>
Reply To: <9306081023.AA04054@metal.psu.edu>
UTC Datetime: 1993-06-08 10:34:30 UTC
Raw Date: Tue, 8 Jun 93 03:34:30 PDT

Raw message

From: tcmay@netcom.com (Timothy C. May)
Date: Tue, 8 Jun 93 03:34:30 PDT
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Getting on CERT's "Most Dangerous" List
In-Reply-To: <9306081023.AA04054@metal.psu.edu>
Message-ID: <9306081033.AA14809@netcom3.netcom.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Clark Reynard writes about CERT:

> I will assume, as you did not say otherwise, that you do not know
> the name of the CERT person who reported you, for whatever 
> ridiculous reason.  This is standard practice for CERT; it's
> customary for them to hide behind a shield of anonymity
> for the purpose of attacking people.
> My life was severely disturbed three years ago due to similar
> anonymous tips from CERT, and I have yet to discover the identity
> of the CERT person who tipped off the authorities to me.  CERT
> is yet another agency which is freed of Constitutional restraints
> for a vague and undefined 'public good.'  

My life wasn't affected in a serious way by CERT, so far as I know,
but I do have a funny story to tell.

At a Bay Area party for hacker types in December, 1988, I was talking
to a guy with longstanding computer security connections. He looked at
me strangely and said something like "Well, Tim, your name just came
up in Washington on a list of the most dangerous hackers in the
country." I laughed it off and asked him why--after all, I'm not
considered to much of a programmer by anyone _I_ know. He wouldn't
elaborate, just looked at me strangely.

(It was a funny story because I could other people at parties that I
was on a "Most Wanted" kind of list, and yet I knew they couldn't
actually pin anything on me as I literally hadn't done anything except
draw some obvious conclusions about the implications of modern crypto
techniques, such as Chaum's anonymous systems, and had written and
talked about it.)

This fellow had been in at the founding of CERT, and was at the first
D.C.  meeting in early December (shortly after the Morris worm). As
he'd also been at hackers gatherings where I had talked about digital
cash and "crypto anarchy" (my "Manifesto" was written earlier in 1988
and passed out to a few people), I had some suspicions that it was
*he* who had volunteered my name for this list they were compiling.

An obvious overstatement of my danger, and I never heard anything
more about it. But I've always thought about this, and the other lists
of subversives they must be generating. 

No, I won't give his name, as I can't prove anything and to speculate
would be "narcish" McCarthyism. Just keep in mind that even hackers
may have their own agendas and their own consulting arrangements with
crypto and security groups, both private and government-run.


Timothy C. May         | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,  
tcmay@netcom.com       | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
408-688-5409           | knowledge, reputations, information markets, 
W.A.S.T.E.: Aptos, CA  | black markets, collapse of governments.
Higher Power: 2^756839 | Public Key: PGP and MailSafe available.
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