by J.M. Porup (@toholdaquill)


95 Theses of Cyber


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95 Theses of Cyber

a no-bullshit guide to power and politics on the internet

Cyber changes everything.

“In real life” we used to “go online.” No longer. The two worlds are merging. The human race has moved online, and soon “IRL” will be gone. Forever.

Cyber disrupts society – politics – the economy. Who wins? Who loses? How will it affect your life? The rules are different here. But our expectations of how the world works remain stuck in the past.

Natural laws govern the cyber domain. Laws that explain in simple terms the complex and bewildering changes we now witness. Understand these natural laws and profit. Fail to learn these lessons at your peril.

here i stand, i cannot do otherwise


  1. imperfect human beings are incapable of creating perfectly-secure computers
  1. corrupt human beings will create security flaws on purpose in order to gain power over others

  2. flawed computer security is a political and economic problem, not a technical problem

  3. the human race no longer lives “in the real world.” we now live online, in the cyber domain

  4. Two columns of power dominate the cyber domain: mass surveillance and targeted hacking.

  5. Given a large enough set of people and a long enough span of time, power always corrupts.

  6. Technology writes constitutional law.

  7. Mass surveillance disrupts democracy and redistributes power to the secret police.

  8. “intelligence community” is a euphemism for the secret police

  9. The secret police exist to enforce conformity and suppress dissent.

  10. Hacking disrupts democracy and redistributes power to spies and gangsters (but I repeat myself).

  11. Any sufficiently-corrupt intelligence agency is indistinguishable from the mafia.

  12. The secret police have seized power in a silent coup.

  13. The US Constitution described a balance of power between the people and the state at the time of its drafting.

  14. The US Constitution is a technology-specific set of constitutional laws based on the personal firearm and the printing press.

  15. The personal firearm and the printing press are obsolete.

  16. The US Constitution is obsolete.

  17. America today faces a constitutional crisis.

  18. A “right” is a power that can be defended by force. (See: divine right of kings).

  19. Rights that can no longer be defended by force wither and die.

  20. The cornerstones of democracy in the cyber domain are unbreakable e2e encryption, anonymity, and end-point security.

  21. The cyber domain today is not a democracy.

  22. The cyber domain favors totalitarian dictatorship by the secret police.

  23. Perfect democracy in the cyber domain is not possible (See: theses 1 & 2).

  24. In the cyber domain, we each now live next door to every corrupt cop, gangster, spy, secret police force, and script kiddie on the planet.

  25. In the cyber domain, attack is cheap and defense expensive.

  26. You can prove something is insecure (by breaking it), but you can’t prove something is secure.

  27. Democracy exists when offensive military power rests in the hands of the people. (See: ancient Athens, 18th-century America.)

  28. Tyranny exists when the people fear the state. Liberty exists when the state fears the people.

  29. The more people willing and able to hack, the more the state will fear the people.

  30. Cybersecurity talent is rare and does not scale.

  31. Software scales.

  32. Both perfect and very imperfect computer security favor democracy.

  33. An easily-exploitable cyber domain enables Robin Hood hackers to check the power of the secret police.

  34. Governments today want the power to surveil and to hack.

  35. Governments today want nobody else to be able to surveil and to hack.

  36. Turnkey tyranny will inevitably have its key turned.

  37. A world where only the state can hack would be a nightmare dystopia of totalitarian dictatorship.

  38. Any effort to improve computer security that does not address the secret police as its primary threat is doomed to serve the interests of the secret police.

  39. surveillance is not about watching. it’s about interfering. it’s about control.

  40. Machine learning automates oppression.

  41. “Big Data” is a corporate euphemism for mass surveillance.

  42. Humans no longer program computers. Computers program humans.

  43. To pwn is to own.

  44. Mass surveillance owns our virtual selves.

  45. Our virtual selves are more real than our flesh and blood in meatspace.

  46. With every year that passes, our virtual selves grow more and more complete.

  47. To own someone is a modern form of slavery.

  48. To own a nation’s data is to enslave that nation.

  49. Extracting a nation’s data is a modern form of imperial conquest.

  50. Silicon Valley surveillance capitalists are privateers for empire engaged in global data plunder (See: British East India Company).

  51. Surveillance capitalists, such as Google and Facebook, offer gaslighting as a service (GaaS)

  52. Governments around the world will inevitably commandeer technology companies.

  53. The US government has commandeered Silicon Valley.

  54. The US government owns everyone subject to Silicon Valley surveillance capitalism.

  55. The greatest threat to human liberty in the cyber domain is the government of the United States of America.

  56. The US secret police have declared martial law in the cyber domain and pre-emptively seized control of the internet’s civilian infrastructure.

  57. Members of the US secret police (“IC”) who participate in the military occupation of the cyber domain are gangsters for capitalism.

  58. The secret police will always be able to exploit security flaws.

  59. Security nihilism is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  60. Technical innovation has the power to asymmetrically challenge the power of the secret police.

  61. Defending against nation-state adversaries requires us to raise both the political and economic cost of exploitation.

  62. Playing defense against nation-state APTs is a game few, in any, can win.

  63. The best defense on the internet is a good offense. (See: thesis 26.)

  64. Ending the tyranny of the secret police requires us to hold them accountable for their treason against democracy. (See: thesis 13.)

  65. The secret police are state-sponsored criminals and terrorists who engage in violence against civilians to achieve political ends.

  66. Journalists are the last line of defense before the secret police complete their destruction of human freedom on the cyber domain.

  67. The secret police seek to replace journalists as the Fourth Estate.

  68. Journalists and the secret police are bitter enemies. There can be only one.

  69. The job of journalism today is to expose and destroy the secret police.

  70. Making it easy and safe for whistleblowers to come forward is essential to exposing the crimes of the secret police.

  71. Naming and shaming individual members of the secret police is the first step to holding them accountable for their crimes.

  72. Destroying morale in the secret police is an effective way to provoke resignations and leaks.

  73. ostracizing the secret police will deprive them of the tech talent they need

  74. The American secret police are a symptom of a late-stage empire that has betrayed its founding values.

  75. Tyranny abroad means tyranny at home.

  76. Empires exist by force of faith, not force of arms.

  77. Exposing American hypocrisy is the most effective way to ending the empire, and restoring democracy to the cyber domain.

  78. Cyberwar means controlling the narrative to prevent that loss of faith.

  79. In the empire of lies, the only enemy is the truth.

  80. Economic and political innovation is more important than technical innovation to restoring democracy in the cyber domain.

  81. Free market capitalism is a major contributor to rampant computer insecurity.

  82. The curse of the “minimally-viable product” is the primary cause of poor IoT security.

  83. The “ship it and forget it” business model of most Android OEMs has turned Android users into second-class citizens.

  84. The biggest mistake the Germans made during re-unification was letting the Stasi live.

  85. The United States needs a truth and reconciliation commission to publicly address the crimes of the secret police.

  86. No truth and reconciliation commission is complete without severe punishment for the secret police.

  87. The secret police pose an existential threat to the human race.

  88. Innovation happens at the fringes of society.

  89. The secret police are unable to distinguish between criminal deviance and artistic/scientific deviance.

  90. The planet is a mess. Without more innovation, civilization is doomed.

  91. The secret police have no business policing art, literature, music, science, or technology in a democracy.

  92. Either we are all free and secure, or we are none of us free and secure.

  93. Let the state stand naked before the people, and the people cloaked before the state. Of this democracy consists.

  94. Security without freedom is worthless.

    theses[introduction] >>