Ross Ulbricht

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pages: 349 words: 109,304

American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road by Nick Bilton

bitcoin, blockchain, crack epidemic, Edward Snowden, mandatory minimum, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Ross Ulbricht, Rubik’s Cube, Satoshi Nakamoto, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Ted Kaczynski, the market place, trade route, Travis Kalanick, white picket fence, WikiLeaks

But as Gary dug further, he discovered that the Altoid username had another e-mail address associated with it that had since been deleted but still existed in the forum’s database. The account, he discovered, belonged to a “” Another search showed that Ross Ulbricht was a white male from the suburbs of Texas in his late twenties. But there was something missing from the profile of this new suspect: Ross Ulbricht had no computer science background. Of course, being the first person to ever post about the Silk Road online by no means meant that this was the man who had created the Amazon of drugs. For all Gary knew, dozens or even hundreds of people might have already been discussing the site in private chats, or on unsearchable areas of the Internet, before “Altoid” wrote about it on those forums. But it was enough to add Ross Ulbricht’s name to a handful of other suspects Gary had been collecting, all people who might be, in some way or another, involved with the Silk Road.

He spun around in his chair, looked directly at another detective on the Silk Road task force, and with vexation in his voice proclaimed, “I think I’m right. You know? I think it’s him.” “What are you talking about?” “It’s him. Ross Ulbricht,” Gary said. “You really think you’re going to find him from a Google search?” Gary’s coworker said. Gary had suspected that Ross Ulbricht might be in some way involved with the Silk Road and had mentioned it to his coworkers months earlier, but the lead had gone nowhere. They couldn’t pursue a case against someone based on the mere fact that they had posted about the Silk Road on the Internet. But after Gary had seen the IP address from a café in San Francisco on the wall at the FBI office, the city where this Ross Ulbricht character apparently lived, he had become convinced that he was at least involved, if not actually the Dread Pirate Roberts.

Plus, Jared had an entire office full of fake IDs and people admitting they had gotten them from the Silk Road, and they certainly weren’t DPR. But Gary continued to talk. “And then I found a question posted on Stack Overflow, where a user by the name of Ross Ulbricht had asked about coding help with Tor. You know?” Gary said. “And then, a minute after he had posted the question on Stack Overflow, he went in and changed his username from Ross Ulbricht to Frosty, and then—” “What did you say?” Tarbell interrupted, sitting up in his bed. Gary was caught off guard by the question but answered anyway. “Stack Overflow. It’s a site where you can post programming questions—” “No, not that,” Tarbell said, his tone coming across as aggressive. “What did you say after that?” Gary explained that Ross Ulbricht had signed up for an account on Stack Overflow with his real e-mail as his username, but a minute after asking a question on the site, he had changed the username to Frosty.

pages: 387 words: 112,868

Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money by Nathaniel Popper

4chan, Airbnb, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, banking crisis, Ben Horowitz, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, buy and hold, capital controls, Colonization of Mars, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Extropian, fiat currency, Fractional reserve banking, Jeff Bezos, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, life extension, litecoin, lone genius, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Occupy movement, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, price stability, QR code, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Startup school, stealth mode startup, the payments system, transaction costs, tulip mania, WikiLeaks

CHAPTER 22 218federal prosecutors arrested the operators of Liberty Reserve: Information on the arrest is available at releases/May13/LibertyReservePR.php. 218the top financial regulator in California sent the Bitcoin Foundation: The letter was posted by the executive director of the foundation at 224announced a few days after Charlie shut down BitInstant: Erik Voorhees to BTCF, July 17, 2013. 225one-millionth registered account: Eileen Ormsby, Silk Road (Sydney: Pan Macmillan Australia, 2014). 225commissions collected by the site often approached over $10,000 a day: RUTE GX 250. 225Ross agreed to pay $100,000 up front: RUTE GX 241. 226“Don’t want to be a pain here”: Sealed complaint against Ross Ulbricht filed by FBI Special Agent Christopher Tarbell, September 27, 2013. 226paid for with 3,000 Bitcoins, or roughly $500,000: Letter opposing Ross Ulbricht’s release on bail, filed by Assistant United States Attorney Serrin Turner, November 20, 2013. These alleged murders and the chats between Ross and redandwhite were discussed during Ross Ulbricht’s trial, but Ross was not charged with any counts of murder for hire and Canadian police never found any evidence of any suspicious deaths during this time that might be tied to Ross. 227He moved out of his friend’s apartment in June: Sealed complaint against Ross Ulbricht filed by FBI Special Agent Christopher Tarbell, September 27, 2013. 227“encrypt and backup important files”: Letter opposing Ross Ulbricht’s release on bail, filed by Assistant United States Attorney Serrin Turner, November 20, 2013. 228“Without going into details, the stress of being”: Dread Pirate Roberts to Silk Road forum, September 20, 2013. 228Ross assigned Variety Jones: RUTE GX 241. 228When agents knocked on the door: Sealed complaint against Ross Ulbricht filed by FBI Special Agent Christopher Tarbell, September 27, 2013. 229Ross changed apartments: Thomas Kiernan, RUTT, January 22, 2013.

On Silk Road, there are two remarkable online efforts to gather and catalog all available information, including legal documents and postings from the now defunct marketplace. One is available at The other is at Many of the details in the book came from the Silk Road’s forums and Ross Ulbricht’s trial, which will be referred to in the notes by the following abbreviations: SRF: Silk Road forum archives, RUTT: Ross Ulbricht trial transcripts, United States of America v. Ross William Ulbricht. United States District Court Southern District of New York. 14 CR 68 (KBF). RUTE: Ross Ulbricht trial exhibits, United States of America v. Ross William Ulbricht. United States District Court Southern District of New York. 14 CR 68 (KBF). The notes below will not contain citations for material from the sources above when it is obvious in the text where the material came from.

CHAPTER 16 167Some $1.2 million worth of Bitcoin: Nicolas Christin, “Traveling the Silk Road: A Measurement Analysis of a Large Anonymous Online Marketplace,” Working Paper, November 28, 2012. 167seventy thousand different topics on Silk Road’s forum: Eileen Ormsby, Silk Road (Sydney: Pan Macmillan Australia, 2014). 168His work on Silk Road was done at an Internet café around the corner: Sealed complaint against Ross Ulbricht filed by FBI Special Agent Christopher Tarbell, September 27, 2013. 168Over the summer, a Silk Road user had managed to follow a series of transactions: Ormsby. 169paying the attacker $25,000: RUTE GX 250. 169Ross explained that he was changing his writing style: Ormsby. 169In November, Ross flew to Dominica: RUTE GX 291. 169“put yourself in the shoes of a prosecutor”: RUTE GX 225B. 170Ross decided to help nob sell his kilogram: Superseding indictment against Ross Ulbricht filed by the Grand Jury for the District of Maryland, October 1, 2013. 171Ross had always been somewhat skeptical: RUTE GX240B. 171“beat up, then forced to send the Bitcoins he stole back”: Superseding indictment against Ross Ulbricht filed by the Grand Jury for the District of Maryland, October 1, 2013.

pages: 269 words: 79,285

Silk Road by Eileen Ormsby

4chan, bitcoin, blockchain, Brian Krebs, corporate governance, cryptocurrency, Edward Snowden, fiat currency, Firefox, Julian Assange, litecoin, Mark Zuckerberg, Network effects, peer-to-peer, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, Right to Buy, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, stealth mode startup, Ted Nelson, trade route, Turing test, web application, WikiLeaks

He was learning as he went along and because he couldn’t have known at the start how popular his idea would become he initially underestimated the resources of the opponents he was facing. The authorities chasing him could make a thousand mistakes but he only had to make one tiny slip up and it could be his downfall. I am really interested to see what happens next! Interests: trading, economics, physics, virtual worlds, liberty. – Ross Ulbricht’s LinkedIn profile Meet Ross Ulbricht At his bail hearing in November 2013, Ross Ulbricht’s lawyers submitted a total of sixty-three letters from family, friends and others attesting to his character and integrity. They described his reputation for charity and generosity and praised his gentle and peace-loving nature. Bail was denied, however, when the authorities countered with four more murder-for-hire charges to add to the two that had already been laid.

They had also noted a March 2013 question on technical website Stack Overflow about connecting to a hidden Tor site using computer language Curl, suggesting someone who was programming a hidden site. A minute after posting the question the user changed their name from ‘Ross Ulbricht’ to ‘frosty’. And they’d had undercover agents on the inside for over a year. Ulbricht, who had an advanced degree in chemical engineering and who had allegedly developed a cult-like following among the Silk Road users as Dread Pirate Roberts, a supposed criminal mastermind, was apparently caught in a public place logged into every incriminating site he had access to. This was the same Ross Ulbricht who had been visited by Homeland Security in July 2013 in relation to the package containing multiple counterfeit identification documents all bearing his photo. This had occurred at the same time that DPR was known to have been seeking such documents on Silk Road.

The best way to change a government is to change the minds of the governed, however. To that end, I am creating an economic simulation to give people a first-hand experience of what it would be like to live in a world without the systemic use of force. – Ross Ulbricht’s LinkedIn profile An administrator of the Silk Road website, Curtis Green, a/k/a ‘Flush’, and ‘chronicpain’, age 47, of Utah, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to distribute and possess with attempt to distribute cocaine. … According to his plea agreement, beginning in November 2012, Green worked for the creator and operator of Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht, whom Green only knew by his alias, ‘Dread Pirate Roberts.’ Silk Road was an online, international marketplace that allowed users to anonymously buy and sell illegal drugs, false identifications, and other contraband over the internet.

pages: 296 words: 86,610

The Bitcoin Guidebook: How to Obtain, Invest, and Spend the World's First Decentralized Cryptocurrency by Ian Demartino

3D printing, AltaVista, altcoin, bitcoin, blockchain, buy low sell high, capital controls, cloud computing, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, distributed ledger, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, Firefox, forensic accounting, global village, GnuPG, Google Earth, Haight Ashbury, Jacob Appelbaum, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, litecoin, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, Oculus Rift, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, QR code, ransomware, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, Skype, smart contracts, Steven Levy, the medium is the message, underbanked, WikiLeaks, Zimmermann PGP

Further, Force allegedly sent an unauthorized Justice Department subpoena to an online payment service directing that it unfreeze his personal account. Essentially, Ross Ulbricht was denied bail and painted as a murderer in the media because the online persona Dread Pirate Roberts allegedly hired a fictional hitman to kill two people who didn’t exist in retaliation for acts that either never happened or were acts of government agents themselves. The two agents primarily responsible for his arrest were—by the government’s own admission—completely corrupt and actively working to hide evidence in the case. The murder-for-hire charges were never proven in court but nonetheless affected the opinion of both the supposedly impartial judge and the public. On the day that he was apprehended in October 2013, Ross Ulbricht was sitting in the San Francisco library with his laptop open. Authorities had figured out that if he were allowed to close it, it would encrypt the data and they would be unable to access it.

“Exclusive: NSA Infiltrated RSA Security More Deeply than Thought - Study.” Reuters. March 31, 2014. Accessed November 12, 2015. 7 Deep Web. Directed by Alex Winter. Performed by Cindy Cohn, Andy Greenberg. Epix, 2015. VoD. 8 “Ross Ulbricht, aka Dread Pirate Roberts, Sentenced in Manhattan Federal Court to Life in Prison.” FBI. May 29, 2015. Accessed June 22, 2015. 9 Kelion, Leo. “NSA and GCHQ Agents ‘leak Tor Bugs’, Alleges Developer - BBC News.” BBC News. August 22, 2014. Accessed June 22, 2015. 10 “Schumer Pushes to Shut Down Online Drug Marketplace.”

Gox, cofounder of Ripple, and cofounder of Stellar. Satoshi Nakamoto: The anonymous creator of Bitcoin, suspected to be one person or several people. Dread Pirate Roberts: The leader of the infamous Silk Road underground marketplace. May be a group of people or a name passed from person to person. Amir Taaki: Dark Wallet co-creator and lead developer of Darkmarket, later forked to Open Bazaar. Peter Todd: Bitcoin core developer. Ross Ulbricht: Was accused and convicted of being Dread Pirate Roberts; his case is under appeal. Roger Ver: Angel investor and Bitcoin evangelist; CEO of, one of the first sites to accept Bitcoin, and founder of the company Blockchain. Cody Wilson: Dark Wallet co-creator and 3D-printed gun designer. Craig Wright: A recent addition to the search for Satoshi Nakamoto. Wired magazine recently reported he was “probably” the creator of Bitcoin (or wanted the world to think he was).

pages: 233 words: 66,446

Bitcoin: The Future of Money? by Dominic Frisby

3D printing, altcoin, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, capital controls, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, computer age, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, fixed income, friendly fire, game design, Isaac Newton, Julian Assange, land value tax, litecoin, M-Pesa, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Occupy movement, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price stability, QR code, quantitative easing, railway mania, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Snapchat, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Ted Nelson, too big to fail, transaction costs, Turing complete, War on Poverty, web application, WikiLeaks

,’ GeekoSystem, accessed February 10, 2014, How a Computer Nerd became the FBI’s Most Wanted Drug Dealer 54 David Kushner, ‘Dead End on Silk Road: Internet Crime Kingpin Ross Ulbricht’s Big Fall,’ Rolling Stone, February 4, 2014, accessed March 1, 2014, 55 Patrick Howell O’Neill, ‘How big is the Internet’s most notorious black market?,’ The Daily Dot, July 30, 2013, accessed May 14, 2014, 56 Fran Berkman, ‘Alleged Silk Road Mastermind Was a Dirty Hippie, Best Friend Says,’ Mashable, November 4, 2013, accessed March 1, 2014, 57 Ibid. 58 Ross Ulbricht, ‘Thoughts on Freedom,’ July 6, 2010, accessed March 1, 2014, 59 Adam Taylor, ‘Alleged Founder Of Silk Road Posted LinkedIn Manifesto About Using Economic Theory To Change The World,’ Business Insider, October 2, 2013, accessed March 1, 2014, 60 Fran Berkman, ‘Alleged Silk Road Mastermind Was a Dirty Hippie, Best Friend Says,’ Mashable, November 4, 2013, accessed March 1, 2014, 61 ‘Anonymous market online?

The library staff heard a crash. Poking their heads round the shelves, they saw him being pressed up against the window and handcuffed. He was, the FBI said, the Dread Pirate Roberts, reported to own over $30 million worth of bitcoins, to earn about $20,000 a day and to have amassed an $80 million fortune in 18 months. But he was in the Glen Park Library for the free wifi. The man they arrested was Ross Ulbricht, a 29-year-old from Austin, Texas. He is hardly the millionaire kingpin of the Hollywood variety. Rather, he’s a handsome nerd, a former physics student, living in a sub-let San Francisco room for $1,200 a month, for whom, according to an old college buddy, ‘bathing is optional’.56 ‘He’s a hippie. That’s the best way I can describe him,’ said his friend Jaspreet Sidhu. ‘Ross was the guy who had stinky feet, that wore shorts – a shirt if you were lucky.

I’m writing this in March 2014. The attempted murder charges relating to Redandwhite have been dropped, presumably because it is obvious Ulbricht was being scammed. But the Curtis Green charges are still live, as are charges of large-scale criminal enterprise, drug trafficking, hacking and money laundering. Ulbricht has pleaded not guilty. A campaign has begun to help him raise the money to fight his case, Free Ross Ulbricht – Why Bitcoin will end the war on drugs The FBI congratulated themselves. Over a year’s work and they had got their man. It was a great victory. The bitcoin price fell from $140 to $110 in just a few hours. The Silk Road had been busted. FBI agent Christopher Tarbell was hailed as the ‘Elliott Ness of cyberspace’.70 Many libertarians saw it as a loss. They need not have been despondent.

pages: 309 words: 54,839

Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain: Bitcoin, Blockchain, Ethereum & Smart Contracts by David Gerard

altcoin, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, blockchain, Blythe Masters, Bretton Woods, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cryptocurrency, distributed ledger, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Extropian, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, index fund, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Kickstarter, litecoin, M-Pesa, margin call, Network effects, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel,, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, prediction markets, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, Ross Ulbricht, Ruby on Rails, Satoshi Nakamoto, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Singularitarianism, slashdot, smart contracts, South Sea Bubble, tulip mania, Turing complete, Turing machine, WikiLeaks

Drugs and the Darknet: The Silk Road Both Anne Frank, and Ross Ulbricht created dark markets to help people hide from violent oppressors who were trying to hurt peaceful people. – Roger Ver108 Anonymous or pseudonymous cryptocurrency has one obvious application: paying for things you’d rather not be caught buying or selling. Drug users take to new communication channels as soon as they’re invented; the first known e-commerce was the sale of marijuana between Stanford and MIT students over email in 1971 or 1972.109 Nakamoto noted in September 2010:110 Bitcoin would be convenient for people who don’t have a credit card or don’t want to use the cards they have, either don’t want the spouse to see it on the bill or don’t trust giving their number to “porn guys”, or afraid of recurring billing. Ross Ulbricht grew up in Austin, Texas, born to a well-off family.

And that’s before even considering bad user security, or exchanges written in dodgy PHP. Bitcoin’s cryptography is solid, but it’s a bit like putting a six inch thick steel vault door in a cardboard frame. Anonymous! Bitcoin was widely touted early on as anonymous – on the blockchain, nobody knows you’re a dog. Of course, with every confirmed transaction logged in the blockchain forever, it’s pseudonymous at best; as the case of Ross Ulbricht and the Silk Road showed (see Chapter 4), law enforcement will happily do the tedious legwork of tracing your transactions if you motivate them sufficiently. There are ways to increase your anonymity, such as mixers – send coins to an address, they shuffle them with other people’s coins, and you get them back later minus a percentage. (Assuming the mixer isn’t a scam that just takes your coins.)

O’Hagan didn’t take their money and refused to sign a nondisclosure agreement, but instead pursued the story as an embedded but independent journalist. He eventually published a book-length article on Wright in the London Review of Books.163 (Matthews told O’Hagan that Wright had shown him the 2008 Bitcoin white paper before publication, though Wright’s February 2011 blog post makes it seem startlingly unlikely that Wright had heard of Bitcoin that early. Wright had also told Matthews he had met with Ross Ulbricht of the Silk Road in Sydney. O’Hagan notes: “MacGregor later told me he was convinced because Wright had shown Matthews the draft Satoshi white paper. ‘I always had that,’ MacGregor said.”) In November 2015, an anonymous source began sending documents about Wright and Bitcoin to Gwern Branwen. Branwen provided the documents to Andy Greenberg at Wired.164 A similar document stash was sent to journalists at Gizmodo.

pages: 305 words: 93,091

The Art of Invisibility: The World's Most Famous Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data by Kevin Mitnick, Mikko Hypponen, Robert Vamosi

4chan, big-box store, bitcoin, blockchain, connected car, crowdsourcing, Edward Snowden,, Firefox, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Internet of things, Kickstarter, license plate recognition, Mark Zuckerberg, MITM: man-in-the-middle, pattern recognition, ransomware, Ross Ulbricht, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, speech recognition, Tesla Model S, web application, WikiLeaks, zero day, Zimmermann PGP

Now, armed with prepaid gift cards and a personal hotspot with a prepaid data plan—both purchased anonymously by two very different people who wouldn’t have any information about you to identify you to the police—we’re almost set. Almost. From this point on, the Tor browser should always be used to create and access all online accounts because it constantly changes your IP address. One of the first steps is to set up a couple of anonymous e-mail accounts using Tor. This was something that Ross Ulbricht neglected to do. As we saw in the previous chapter, he used his personal e-mail account more than once while conducting his Silk Road business on the Dark Web. These unintentional crossovers from Dread Pirate Roberts to Ross Ulbricht and back again helped investigators confirm that the two names were associated with one person. To prevent abuse, most e-mail providers—such as Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook, and Yahoo—require mobile phone verification. That means you have to provide your mobile number and, immediately during the sign-up process, a text message is sent to that device to confirm your identity.

CHAPTER FIFTEEN The FBI Always Gets Its Man In the science fiction section of the Glen Park branch of the San Francisco Public Library, not far from his apartment, Ross William Ulbricht was engaged in an online customer-support chat for the company he owned. At the time—October of 2013—the person on the other end of the Internet chat thought he was talking to the site’s admin, who went by the Internet name of Dread Pirate Roberts, a name taken from the movie The Princess Bride. Roberts, also known as DPR, was in fact Ross Ulbricht—not only the admin but also the owner of Silk Road, an online drug emporium, and as such was the subject of a federal manhunt.1 Ulbricht frequently used public Wi-Fi locations such as the library for his work, perhaps under the mistaken impression that the FBI, should it ever identify him as DPR, would never conduct a raid in a public place. On that day, however, the person with whom Ulbricht was chatting happened to be an undercover FBI agent.

So even if the feds or someone else convinced Caudill that his talk was not in the interests of national security, it seemed likely that someone else would create a new device. And that’s exactly what happened. ProxyHam is a very remote access point. Using it is much like putting a Wi-Fi transmitter in your home or office. Except that the person using and controlling ProxyHam could be up to a mile away. The Wi-Fi transmitter uses a 900 MHz radio to connect to an antenna dongle on a computer as far as 2.5 miles away. So in the case of Ross Ulbricht, the FBI could have been amassing outside the Glen Park library while he was in someone’s basement doing laundry several blocks away. The need for such devices is clear if you live in an oppressed country. Contacting the outside world through Tor is a risk many take. This kind of device would add another layer of security by masking the geolocation of the requester. Except someone didn’t want Caudill to speak about it at DEF CON.

pages: 282 words: 81,873

Live Work Work Work Die: A Journey Into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley by Corey Pein

23andMe, 4chan, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Anne Wojcicki, artificial general intelligence, bank run, barriers to entry, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Build a better mousetrap, California gold rush, cashless society, colonial rule, computer age, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, Extropian, gig economy, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, hacker house, hive mind, illegal immigration, immigration reform, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, Lyft, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, mutually assured destruction, obamacare, passive income, patent troll, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer lending, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, platform as a service, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-work, Ray Kurzweil, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, RFID, Robert Mercer, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Scientific racism, self-driving car, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, Skype, Snapchat, social software, software as a service, source of truth, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, telepresence, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, tulip mania, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, X Prize, Y Combinator

spent nearly $2 million on lobbying Senate Office of Public Records via The Zuckerberg-backed group Joshio Meronek, “Mark Zuckerberg’s Immigration Hustle,” March 12, 2015,; Matt Smith, Jennifer Gollan, and Adithya Sambamurthy, “Job Brokers Steal Wages, Entrap Indian Tech Workers in US,” October 27, 2014, Ross Ulbricht Benjamin Weiser, “Ross Ulbricht, Creator of Silk Road Website, Is Sentenced to Life in Prison,” May 29, 2015,; Joe Mullin, “Sunk: How Ross Ulbricht Ended Up in Prison for Life,” May 29, 2015,; US v. Carl Mark Force IV et al., March 25, 2015, US District Court, Northern California Circuit, Case No. 3-15-70370. Blake Benthall Evan Sernoffsky, Henry K. Lee, and Bob Egelko, “San Francisco Techie Is ‘Silk Road 2.0’ Mastermind, Feds Say,” November 6, 2014,

“Just like the prostitution ads on Craigslist.” “You could always pay people in Bitcoin, too!” one curious Weekender interjected. “That’s right!” I said. People got it. Mercenary attitudes were so common in Silicon Valley that no one lectured me about propriety. People mainly wanted to know how I intended to get away with a patently unlawful conspiracy. This was a reasonable concern. One of my inspirations, Ross Ulbricht, was sentenced to life in prison for operating an illegal drug market called Silk Road. Accessible only through the Pentagon-funded Tor network—also known as the Dark Web—Silk Road allegedly processed more than one million transactions comprising $1.2 billion in revenue over two years. Ulbricht, a former Eagle Scout, was just about my age. He’d built Silk Road at the Glen Park public library in San Francisco, where I sometimes worked.

One former employee Michael Anissimov, writing on a blog subsequently removed from the Internet. Nick Land “Premises of Neoreaction,” February 3, 2014, Yarvin claimed to have watched Joseph Bernstein, “Alt-White,” October 5, 2017, For its targets, Gamergate My interviews with Zoe Quinn and Randi Lee Harper; “Game of Fear,” May 2015, Boston Magazine. Katherine Bolan Forrest Yannick Losbar, “Ross Ulbricht Silk Road Trial Judge Facing Death Threats on Dark Net,” October 20, 2014,; Rich Calder, “Judge in Silk Road Case Gets Death Threats,” October 24, 2014, His name became more familiar J. Lester Feder, “This Is How Steve Bannon Sees the Entire World,” November 15, 2016,; Jason Horowitz, “Steve Bannon Cited Italian Thinker Who Inspired Fascists,” February 10, 2017,

pages: 222 words: 70,132

Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy by Jonathan Taplin

1960s counterculture, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, American Legislative Exchange Council, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, basic income, battle of ideas, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, bitcoin, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, data is the new oil, David Brooks, David Graeber, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, equal pay for equal work, Erik Brynjolfsson, future of journalism, future of work, George Akerlof, George Gilder, Google bus, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, labor-force participation, life extension, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, packet switching, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, revision control, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, smart grid, Snapchat, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, The Chicago School, The Market for Lemons, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, transfer pricing, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, unpaid internship, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, Y Combinator

He started looking for other postings by altoid and came upon a curious request from earlier in 2013. In that post, altoid asked for some programming help and gave his email address: Searching the web for Ross Ulbricht led to a young man from Texas who, just like Dread Pirate Roberts, admired Ludwig von Mises and Ron Paul. Alford was pretty sure he had the proprietor of Silk Road, but it took him more than three months to convince the FBI that this was their man. Two months after Ross Ulbricht was arrested, the notorious cyberanarchist Cody Wilson, inventor of the world’s first 3-D-printed handgun, stood onstage in London at the MIT Bitcoin Expo and castigated his colleagues: “Ross Ulbricht is alleged to be the founder and operator of Silk Road, the glittering jewel of all things libertarian, black market, and wonderful. And it’s a severe indictment of the modern libertarian conscience that he can’t get any support at all.”

Fight for the Future boasted to TorrentFreak, “The flood of new submissions over the last several hours appears to have repeatedly crashed the website that the government set up to receive feedback.” In a sad postscript to Pallente’s efforts to change the DMCA, Google and their ally Public Knowledge created a campaign to push Pallante out of the office that controls copyright policy. Pallante was fired in October of 2016. 5. The final tale of the pirates of the Internet concerns Dread Pirate Roberts, a.k.a. Ross Ulbricht, founder of Silk Road, the Internet drug marketplace that the FBI claimed grossed more than $1 billion between 2011 and 2013. Ulbricht’s life had been changed by reading Ayn Rand, and the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, the oracle of the modern American libertarian movement. According to Mises, a citizen must have economic freedom in order to be politically and morally free. Ulbricht wrote on his LinkedIn page that he wanted to “use [Mises’s] economic theory as a means to abolish the use of coercion and aggression amongst mankind.”

pages: 304 words: 91,566

Bitcoin Billionaires: A True Story of Genius, Betrayal, and Redemption by Ben Mezrich

"side hustle", airport security, Albert Einstein, bank run, Ben Horowitz, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, buttonwood tree, cryptocurrency, East Village, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, family office, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial innovation, game design, Isaac Newton, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, new economy, offshore financial centre, paypal mafia, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, QR code, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Sand Hill Road, Satoshi Nakamoto, Schrödinger's Cat, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, transaction costs, zero-sum game

So many people, and almost all of them under the age of thirty, recent grads from Harvard, Yale, Columbia, NYU, Berkeley, Stanford, and so on. All of them eager to be there, gravitating toward the twins as they worked to turn Bitcoin into something respectable. And up until today, fighting that fight had meant Silk Road was hanging around their neck every day like a drug-addled albatross. And now suddenly, just like that, it was gone: cooked, just like Ross Ulbricht, the twenty-nine-year-old who had been IDed as the mogul behind the biggest illegal drug bazaar in history. “Dread Pirate Roberts is going to jail.” Dread Pirate Roberts was the online name Ulbricht had given himself, after the Cary Elwes character in the movie The Princess Bride. In the movie, he’s a mythic character who, it turned out, is actually multiple pirates, the name being handed down from generation to generation.

Even so, he’d knocked his speech out of the park; he could still hear the applause that had come from the audience of hundreds of European Bitcoin enthusiasts. And Amsterdam had just been one stop on what he’d begun to think of as his Comeback Tour: a multiweek, globe-trotting excursion, filled with speaking gigs, meet-ups, and sit-downs. Everyone wanted to talk about Bitcoin. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the price had skyrocketed since Silk Road had gone down, actually reaching $1,000 a coin within one month of Ross Ulbricht’s arrest. The tenfold rise was incredible to fathom: the Winklevoss twins alone were now sitting on $200 million in Bitcoin. And though BitInstant might have been down—temporarily closed, momentarily shuttered—Charlie certainly wasn’t; he was still one of the main faces of Bitcoin. Even if the twins weren’t taking his calls, even if they were really trying to move past him, even if his site was technically down, he would return, bigger and brasher than ever.

Charlie could only imagine how many degenerates—murderers, arsonists, rapists, bankers—had been sitting exactly where he was sitting, on an uncomfortable chair next to his lawyer in the defendant’s galley. Over to his right, about five yards away, he could see the prosecuting team. Serrin Turner, the assistant U.S. Attorney who had been the front man on the case since before Charlie had agreed to settle, and Turner’s various assistants. Fitting, since Turner had also led the prosecution against Silk Road that had sent Ross Ulbricht to prison for life. Next to them, Preet Bharara himself, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, the famous prosecutor who had taken down too many white-collar criminals and Wall Street bankers to count. And somewhere behind them, the IRS agent who had first arrested Charlie at JFK, Gary Alford, there to witness the results of all his hard work. And directly ahead, on the bench, was Judge Rakoff, a kindly-looking man in glasses.

pages: 474 words: 130,575

Surveillance Valley: The Rise of the Military-Digital Complex by Yasha Levine

23andMe, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, Anne Wojcicki, anti-communist, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, bitcoin, borderless world, British Empire, call centre, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, collaborative editing, colonial rule, computer age, computerized markets, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, digital map, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, Edward Snowden, El Camino Real, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, George Gilder, ghettoisation, global village, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Hangouts, Howard Zinn, hypertext link, IBM and the Holocaust, index card, Jacob Appelbaum, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, life extension, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, plutocrats, Plutocrats, private military company, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, slashdot, Snapchat, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Hackers Conference, uber lyft, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks

And OTF promised that this was just a start: “By leveraging social network effects, we expect to expand to a billion regular users taking advantage of OTF-supported tools and Internet Freedom technologies by 2015.”132 False Sense of Security While accolades for the Tor Project, Signal, and other crypto apps funded by the US government rolled in, a deeper look showed that they were not as secure or as impervious to government penetration as their proponents claimed. Perhaps no story better exemplifies the flaws in impenetrable crypto security than that of Ross Ulbricht, otherwise known as Dread Pirate Roberts, the architect of Silk Road. After its founding in 2012, Silk Road grew rapidly and appeared to be a place where organized criminals could hide in plain sight—until it wasn’t. In October 2013, four months after Edward Snowden came out of hiding and endorsed Tor, a twenty-nine-year-old native Texan by the name of Ross Ulbricht was arrested in a public library in San Francisco. He was accused of being Dread Pirate Roberts and was charged with multiple counts of money laundering, narcotics trafficking, hacking, and, on top of it all, murder.

If it was so frail that it needed academic researchers to abide by an ethical honor code to avoid deanonymizing users without their consent, how could it hold up to the FBI or NSA or the scores of foreign intelligence agencies from Russia to China to Australia that might want to punch through its anonymity systems? In 2015, when I first read these statements from the Tor Project, I was shocked. This was nothing less than a veiled admission that Tor was useless at guaranteeing anonymity and that it required attackers to behave “ethically” in order for it to remain secure. It must have come as an even greater shock to the cypherpunk believers like Ross Ulbricht, who trusted Tor to run his highly illegal Internet business and who is now in jail for the rest of his life. Tor’s spat with the researchers at Carnegie Mellon University revealed another confusing dynamic. Whereas one part of the federal government—which included the Pentagon, State Department, and the Broadcasting Board of Governors—funded the ongoing development of the Tor Project, another wing of this same federal government—which included the Pentagon, the FBI, and possibly other agencies—was working just as hard to crack it.

David Golumbia, The Politics of Bitcoin: Software as Right-Wing Extremism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016); Andy Greenberg, This Machine Kills Secrets: How WikiLeakers, Cypherpunks, and Hacktivists Aim to Free the World’s Information (New York: Dutton, 2012). 57. Timothy C. May, Crypto Anarchy and Virtual Communities (December 1994), 58. Dread Pirate Roberts, message on the Silk Road Forum, March 20, 2012 (United States of America v. Ross Ulbricht, Exhibit 4, filed April 16, 2015). 59. Aaron Sankin, “Searching for a Hitman in the Deep Web,” Daily Dot, October 10, 2013, 60. Gary Brecher and Mark Ames, “Interview with Gunnar Hrafn Jonsson,” Radio War Nerd, episode 28, April 7, 2016, /radio-war-nerd-7–5106280. 61. To communicate with Sandvik, Snowden used the same anonymous email address——that he used a couple of weeks later to unsuccessfully attempt to contact Greenwald.

Bit by Bit: How P2P Is Freeing the World by Jeffrey Tucker

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, altcoin, bank run, bitcoin, blockchain, business cycle, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, distributed ledger, Fractional reserve banking, George Gilder, Google Hangouts, informal economy, invisible hand, Kickstarter, litecoin, Lyft, obamacare, Occupy movement, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, QR code, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, TaskRabbit, the payments system, uber lyft

This innovation was epic, solving a problem that began the first day that one government decided to control what people could or could not do with their own bodies. Governments have never been able to achieve their prohibitionist aims but they do create conditions that lead to massive carnage. So far as I’m concerned, the site founder and administrator who called himself the “Dread Pirate Roberts” should get the Nobel Peace Prize. The person alleged to hold this title is Ross Ulbricht, with whom I corresponded as the site was being conceived. It was obvious to me that he loved human liberty and explicitly so. He stuck his neck out to make progress in human affairs possible, just as every great entrepreneur in history. Governments have expended trillions of dollars, caused a million deaths, and shredded every civilized liberty in the name of the war on drugs. The key to the Silk Road is that it found a solution to the violence that did not rely on political reform.

Suddenly, while surfing with my eyes popping out, it finally occurred to me: drugs are just things people make and people take. Some people abuse them, as with anything else. Lots of people just use them recreationally. There’s really nothing more to say. But instead of thanking the Silk Road for doing for society what needs to be done—a brilliant and peaceful alternative to ghastly war—the State shut it down, arrested the alleged mastermind. That man, who is now in jail, is my friend Ross Ulbricht, and he is a brilliant and wonderful person, as is his mother who works every day for real justice for her son. In the meantime, what has happened? Silk Road 2.0 came up. It was doing booming business, more than ever, for a full year. The old products were all back. The user reviews were back. The vendor reviews were back. Most importantly, people are engaging with each other peacefully. No war!

pages: 457 words: 128,838

The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money Are Challenging the Global Economic Order by Paul Vigna, Michael J. Casey

Airbnb, altcoin, bank run, banking crisis, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, buy and hold, California gold rush, capital controls, carbon footprint, clean water, collaborative economy, collapse of Lehman Brothers, Columbine, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, disintermediation, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, hacker house, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, informal economy, intangible asset, Internet of things, inventory management, Joi Ito, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, litecoin, Long Term Capital Management, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, means of production, Menlo Park, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, new economy, new new economy, Nixon shock, offshore financial centre, payday loans, Pearl River Delta, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending,, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price stability, profit motive, QR code, RAND corporation, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, seigniorage, shareholder value, sharing economy, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart contracts, special drawing rights, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, Ted Nelson, The Great Moderation, the market place, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, Turing complete, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, underbanked, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, Y2K, zero-sum game, Zimmermann PGP

In August 2012, Forbes’s Andy Greenberg estimated that it was doing $22 million in annual sales, double that of six months earlier. The FBI estimated that between February 6, 2011, and July 23, 2013, over 1.2 million transactions on the site generated sales of 9.5 million bitcoins. (Given the wild fluctuations in price during that time, it’s hard to extrapolate how much that is in dollars.) It would come to an end in October 2013 when the FBI arrested a Texas native named Ross Ulbricht in a San Francisco library. The agency charged him with money laundering and conspiracy to traffic narcotics—to which Ulbricht has, as of the time of writing, pleaded not guilty; his lawyer has said he is not Dread Pirate Roberts. The agency also said he solicited six murders-for-hire, though there was no evidence anybody was killed. It also seized tens of thousands of bitcoins worth millions of dollars, turning the FBI into a bitcoin wallet holder, one of the biggest and most unlikely new members of the bitcoin “community.”

Moneyed investors came, following in the footsteps of Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss—the twin brothers famous for their legal tussles with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg—who had announced back in April that they had acquired a massive stock of bitcoin then worth $11 million. As bitcoin’s price began to rise, rise, and rise further, the twins’ investment started looking well timed indeed. Not even the dramatic October 2 news that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had arrested Ross Ulbricht, the alleged Dread Pirate Roberts mastermind of the Silk Road site, and had seized 26,000 bitcoins, then worth $3.6 million, would pose much of a setback. The price went from $125 at the end of September to $198 a month later, even as word spread on October 26 that the FBI had hauled in an additional 144,000 bitcoins (then $28 million) from its Silk Road operation. But then in November, things really went bananas, prompted by the outcome of some anxiously anticipated Senate hearings.

The response on the Bitcoin Forum was mixed: Post by FatherMcGruder and others, “Silk Road: Anonymous Marketplace. Feedback Requested,” Bitcoin Forum, In August 2012, Forbes’s Andy Greenberg: Andy Greenberg, “Black Market Drug Site ‘Silk Road’ Booming: $22 Million in Annual Sales,” Forbes, August 6, 2012. The FBI estimated that between February 6, 2011: From the FBI complaint against Ross Ulbricht, September 27, 2013, Trading platforms for bitcoin started appearing: Various developments in 2011–12 taken from the timeline at Charlie Shrem, a Brooklyn-based twenty-one-year-old: Adrianne Jeffries, “Bored with Bitcoin? BitInstant Is About to Goose the Market by Making Trading Faster,” BetaBeat, August 23, 2011,

pages: 375 words: 88,306

The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowd-Based Capitalism by Arun Sundararajan

additive manufacturing, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, call centre, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, distributed ledger, employer provided health coverage, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, future of work, George Akerlof, gig economy, housing crisis, Howard Rheingold, information asymmetry, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, job automation, job-hopping, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kula ring, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, megacity, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, moral panic, Network effects, new economy, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, peer-to-peer model, peer-to-peer rental, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, regulatory arbitrage, rent control, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ross Ulbricht, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, Snapchat, social software, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, The Nature of the Firm, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transportation-network company, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, Zipcar

In the abstract, this may seem like a flimsy justification for why tech companies are valuable; when thinking about something that represents billions of dollars of value, one naturally expects that value to be backed up by something tangible like physical resources or government force, not just some ethereal instantiation of the fact that it’s hard for large groups of people to suddenly move from one social configuration to another.19 “Fortunately,” concludes Buterik in the blog post, “we still have many decades to go in seeing exactly how the decentralized protocol ecosystem is going to play out.” It looks like an interesting future indeed. Notes 1. See the link to OB1 at 2. The video is posted on YouTube and available at 3. Benjamin Weiser, “Ross Ulbricht, Creator of Silk Road Website, Is Sentenced to Life in Prison,” New York Times, May 29, 2015. 4. Andy Greenberg, “Inside the ‘DarkMarket’ Prototype, a Silk Road the FRI Can Never Seize,” Wired, April 24, 2014. 5. Brad Burnham, “Introducing OB1,” USV Blog, June 11, 2015. 6.

It’s time to take control back.” A look at OpenBazaar’s history is hardly reassuring. It evolved from a prototype peer-to-peer market called DarkMarket developed in April 2014 by Amir Taaki, the founder of the Internet anarchist group unSYSTEM. Taaki created DarkMarket following the shuttering of a market called the Silk Road, best known for facilitating the sales of illegal drugs, and whose founder Ross Ulbricht is currently serving a life sentence in a US prison.3 “Like a hydra, those of us in the community that push for individual empowerment are in an arms race to equip the people with the tools needed for the next generation of digital black markets,” Taaki explained to Wired reporter Andy Greenberg in 2014.4 On its website, OpenBazaar commits to “zero fees,” indicating that because there are no parties in the middle of the transactions, there are no fees to pay.

pages: 254 words: 76,064

Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future by Joi Ito, Jeff Howe

3D printing, Albert Michelson, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Burning Man, buy low sell high, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, Computer Numeric Control, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, double helix, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Ferguson, Missouri, fiat currency, financial innovation, Flash crash, frictionless, game design, Gerolamo Cardano, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, microbiome, Nate Silver, Network effects, neurotypical, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, pirate software, pre–internet, prisoner's dilemma, Productivity paradox, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Coase, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Singh, Singularitarianism, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, universal basic income, unpaid internship, uranium enrichment, urban planning, WikiLeaks

Gox’s Missing Bitcoins,” Computerworld, December 31, 2014, 24 “MtGox Bitcoin Chief Mark Karpeles Charged in Japan,” BBC News, September 11, 2015, 25 Adrian Chen, “The Underground Website Where You Can Buy Any Drug Imaginable,” Gawker, June 1, 2011, 26 Sarah Jeong, “The DHS Agent Who Infiltrated Silk Road to Take Down Its Kingpin,” Forbes, January 14, 2015, 27 Andy Greenberg, “Silk Road Mastermind Ross Ulbricht Convicted of All 7 Charges,” WIRED, February 4, 2015, 28 Riley Snyder, “California Investor Wins Federal Government’s Bitcoin Auction,” Los Angeles Times, July 2, 2014, 29 John Biggs, “US Marshals to Sell 44,000 BTC at Auction in November,” TechCrunch, October 5, 2015, 30 “FAQ—Bitcoin,”, accessed May 29, 2016, 31 Eric Hughes, “A Cypherpunk’s Manifesto,” Electronic Frontier Foundation, March 9, 1993, 32 Joichi Ito, “Shenzhen Trip Report—Visiting the World’s Manufacturing Ecosystem,” Joi Ito’s Web, September 1, 2014, 33 “Phantom Series—Intelligent Drones,” DJI, 34 “The World’s First and Largest Hardware Accelerator,” HAX,

pages: 267 words: 82,580

The Dark Net by Jamie Bartlett

3D printing, 4chan, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, carbon footprint, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, deindustrialization, Edward Snowden, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, Google Chrome, Howard Rheingold, Internet of things, invention of writing, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Julian Assange, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, life extension, litecoin, longitudinal study, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, moral hazard, moral panic, Occupy movement, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, Skype, slashdot, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, The Coming Technological Singularity, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, WikiLeaks, Zimmermann PGP

‘Users and sellers alike can have the freedom to be open and express themselves in ways that are impossible in real life.’ Everything changed in autumn 2013. Despite the efforts of site administrators and the Silk Road communities, undercover FBI agents had been making purchases on Silk Road from November 2011, and had been closely tracking DPR and other key vendors and site admins. On 1 October 2013, they arrested twenty-nine-year-old Ross Ulbricht in a San Francisco library on suspicion of drug trafficking, soliciting murder, facilitating computer hacking and money laundering.fn2 They believed that they had found the Dread Pirate Roberts. Ulbricht was a university graduate and self-confessed libertarian who, until his arrest, had been living under the name Joshua Terrey in a small shared flat near to the library. He had told his housemates that he was a currency trader, recently returned from Australia.

I truly feel and believe that if communities like this continue to thrive that we will someday change the opinions of those around us the same way my opinion has been altered. Perhaps someday even the “war on drugs” will end because the masses will understand us instead of fearing us. To sum up the entirety of this post and to answer your question, the Silk Road, to me, means hope.’ p.138 ‘On 1 October 2013 . . .’, see also and p.138 ‘He had told his housemates . . .’ The FBI’s investigation was led by Christopher Tarbell, the agent responsible for the 2011 New York sting that caught LulzSec hacker Hector Monsegur (aka Sabu).

pages: 416 words: 106,532

Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor's Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond: The Innovative Investor's Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond by Chris Burniske, Jack Tatar

Airbnb, altcoin, asset allocation, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, bitcoin, blockchain, Blythe Masters, business cycle, business process, buy and hold, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, correlation coefficient, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, distributed ledger, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Elon Musk,, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, financial innovation, fixed income, George Gilder, Google Hangouts, high net worth, Jeff Bezos, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, Leonard Kleinrock, litecoin, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, Network effects, packet switching, passive investing, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel,, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, Sharpe ratio, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Skype, smart contracts, social web, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, transaction costs, tulip mania, Turing complete, Uber for X, Vanguard fund, WikiLeaks, Y2K

We recommend orienting with this tool even beyond cryptoassets, as it’s a fascinating window into the global mesh of minds. At this point, bitcoin’s spike captured the attention of the People’s Bank of China, which promptly implemented restrictions on bitcoin’s use, declaring it was “not a currency in the real meaning of the word.”5 The China ruling, combined with the FBI’s capture of the creator of the Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht,6 and soon thereafter the collapse of the biggest exchange at the time, Mt. Gox,7 put many bitcoin investors on edge as to its long-term viability in the face of government and law enforcement crackdowns.8 Bitcoin’s subsequent price descent through all of 2014, bottoming in January 2015, was volatile, prolonged, and dispiriting for many early adopters who had been drawn to the new concept. While bitcoin’s price was declining, its developers plowed forward with improving the protocol and building applications atop it.

CoinDesk BPI. 3. 4.; 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Bitcoiner refers to an advocate of Bitcoin. 10. We’ll describe wallets in detail in Chapter 14. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.

pages: 436 words: 125,809

The Way of the Gun: A Bloody Journey Into the World of Firearms by Iain Overton

air freight, airport security, back-to-the-land, British Empire, Chelsea Manning, clean water, Columbine, David Attenborough, Etonian, Ferguson, Missouri, gender pay gap, gun show loophole, illegal immigration, interchangeable parts, Julian Assange, knowledge economy, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, More Guns, Less Crime, offshore financial centre, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, WikiLeaks, Y2K, Yom Kippur War

It could just be some fat guy called Bob sitting in his underpants in his mother’s loft in Illinois. Or a cop. After all, the US’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has acknowledged it runs agents who pose as fake hit men, men who wear the jewellery, sleeveless tank tops and facial hair of biker gangs, entrapping those who seek guns for hire.35 In a twist of irony, it was even alleged that Ross Ulbricht, the supposed founder of Silk Road – a TOR portal that sells all manner of narcotics, drugs and illegal services – commissioned the murder of six people through hitmen he had contacted on the internet.36 Nobody was actually murdered, although the FBI did say they had faked the death of one former employee of Silk Road and claimed they had convinced Ulbricht the murder had taken place. Ulbricht reportedly wired $80,000 to pay for the hit,37 and was sentenced to life in prison.

A licence is required to own a gun, and the owner must give a statement as to why they want one. Many categories of guns, including automatics and some handguns, are banned from sale altogether. 34. A ban on semi-automatic rifles was introduced in September 2011, but it was lifted at the end of February 2013. 35. 36. 37. 38. The assassination of Abraham Lincoln was not the original plan. John Wilkes Booth and a group of co-conspirators were meant to kidnap the president and hold him hostage in exchange for prisoners.

pages: 170 words: 49,193

The People vs Tech: How the Internet Is Killing Democracy (And How We Save It) by Jamie Bartlett

Ada Lovelace, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, Boris Johnson, central bank independence, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, computer vision, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, future of work, gig economy, global village, Google bus, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Julian Assange, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mittelstand, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, off grid, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, payday loans, Peter Thiel, prediction markets, QR code, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Mercer, Ross Ulbricht, Sam Altman, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, smart contracts, smart meter, Snapchat, Stanford prison experiment, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, strong AI, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, too big to fail, ultimatum game, universal basic income, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Y Combinator

In fact, what would be the point of having representatives at all if there was no money to spend? One way to understand the fundamental nature of the crypto-anarchist challenge to the state is to consider how the authorities are responding. There is exactly zero chance that governments of the world will give up on taxation or censorship – they will try to crush crypto-anarchy first. When the founder of Silk Road Ross Ulbricht, also known by the pseudonym ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’, was finally caught, he was sentenced to multiple life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. On delivering this draconian sentence in 2015, Judge Forrest told the court that Silk Road’s very existence was ‘. . . deeply troubling, terribly misguided, and very dangerous’. The reason he was given such an exemplary punishment is because a functioning anonymous online marketplace is a direct threat to the state’s authority.

pages: 598 words: 134,339

Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World by Bruce Schneier

23andMe, Airbnb, airport security, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, augmented reality, Benjamin Mako Hill, Black Swan, Boris Johnson, Brewster Kahle, Brian Krebs, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, congestion charging, disintermediation, drone strike, Edward Snowden, experimental subject, failed state, fault tolerance, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, Firefox, friendly fire, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hindsight bias, informal economy, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, license plate recognition, lifelogging, linked data, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, moral panic, Nash equilibrium, Nate Silver, national security letter, Network effects, Occupy movement, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, payday loans, pre–internet, price discrimination, profit motive, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, RFID, Ross Ulbricht, self-driving car, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, South China Sea, stealth mode startup, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, TaskRabbit, telemarketer, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, undersea cable, urban planning, WikiLeaks, zero day

In 2011, the NSA was given authority to conduct surveillance against drug smugglers in addition to its traditional national security concerns. DEA staff were instructed to lie in court to conceal that the NSA passed data to the agency. The NSA’s term is “parallel construction.” The agency receiving the NSA information must invent some other way of getting at it, one that is admissible in court. The FBI probably got the evidence needed to arrest the hacker Ross Ulbricht, aka Dread Pirate Roberts, who ran the anonymous Silk Road website where people could buy drugs and more, in this way. Mission creep is also happening in the UK, where surveillance intended to nab terrorists is being used against political protesters, and in all sorts of minor criminal cases: against people who violate a smoking ban, falsify their address, and fail to clean up after their dogs.

., 230 business models, surveillance-based, 50, 56, 113–14, 206 Buzzfeed, 28–29 cable companies, surveillance by, 47–48 CALEA (Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act; 1994), 83, 120, 165 need for repeal of, 182 Callahan, Mary Ellen, 162–63 Cameron, David, 222, 228 Canada, in international intelligence partnerships, 76 Caproni, Valerie, 83 Carnegie Mellon University, 41 Carter, Jimmy, 230 cash registers, as computers, 14 cell phone metadata: NSA collection of, 20–21, 36, 37, 62, 138, 339 Stanford University experiment on, 21–22 cell phones: GPS-enabled, 3, 14 multiple functions of, 46 NSA’s remote activation of, 30 as surveillance devices, 1–3, 14, 28, 39, 46–47, 62, 100, 216–17, 219, 339 wiretapping of, 148 censorship, 94–95, 106–7, 187–88 self-, 95, 96 Census Bureau, US, 197 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), 67 in domestic surveillance operations, 104 Senate Intelligence Committee hacked by, 102 Chambers, John, 122 Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, 232, 364 chat services, 13, 83, 119, 226 government surveillance of, 29, 62, 81 checks and balances: oversight and, 175 secrecy and, 100 Chicago Police Department, 160 China: censorship in, 94, 95, 150–51, 187, 237 cyberattacks from, 42, 73, 132, 142, 148, 149, 180 50 Cent Party in, 114 mass surveillance by, 70, 86, 140, 209 Uighur terrorists in, 219, 287 ChoicePoint, 79, 116 Christie, Chris, 102 Church committee, 176 Cisco, 85, 122 Clapper, James, 129, 130, 336 Clinton, Hillary, 101, 106 Clinton administration, 120 Clipper Chip, 120–21 cloud computing, 5, 59, 60 consumer rights and, 60, 221 government surveillance and, 122 incriminating materials and, 59, 272 CNET, 125 Cobham, 3, 244 Code of Fair Information Practices (1973), 194 Code Pink, 104 Cohen, Jared, 4 COINTELPRO, 103 Cold War, 63, 71, 75, 207, 229 “collect,” NSA’s use of term, 129 Comcast, 358 as information middleman, 57 surveillance by, 48–49 commons, as lacking on Internet, 188–89 communication: computers as devices for, 13–14 ephemeral vs. recorded, 127–29 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act see CALEA Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), 40–41 Communists, Communism, 92–93 fall of, 63 complexity, as enemy of security, 141 Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, 69 computers, computing: cash registers as, 14 as communication devices, 13–14 cost of, 24 data as by-product of, 3–4, 5, 13–19 increasing power of, 35 smartphones as, 14 see also electronic devices Computer Security Act (1987), 187 COMSEC (communications security), 164–65 Congress, US, 237 NSA oversight by, 172–76 privacy laws and, 198–99 secrecy and, 100 “connect-the-dots” metaphor, 136, 139, 322 consent, as lacking in mass surveillance, 5, 20, 51 Consent of the Networked (MacKinnon), 210, 212 Constitution, US: Bill of Rights of, 210 First Amendment of, 189 Fourth Amendment of, 67, 156, 170 warrant process and, 92, 179, 184 Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights (proposed), 201, 202 consumer rights: cloud computing and, 30 data collection and, 192–93, 200–203, 211 convenience, surveillance exchanged for, 4, 49, 51, 58–59, 60–61 cookies, 47–48, 49 correlation of, 49 correlation, of data sets, 40–45, 49, 133, 263–64 Counterintelligence Field Activity, 69, 104 counterterrorism: excessive secrecy in, 171 as FBI mission, 184, 186 fear and, 222, 226, 227–30 mass surveillance as ineffective tool in, 137–40, 228 as NSA mission, 63, 65–66, 184, 222 NSA’s claimed successes in, 325 Creative Cloud, 60 credit bureaus, as data brokers, 52 credit card companies, data collected by, 14, 23–24 credit card fraud, 116, 313 data mining and, 136–37 credit cards, RFID chips on, 29 credit scores, 112–13, 159, 196 Credit Suisse, 35–36 CREDO Mobile, 207 Cryptocat, 215 cryptography, see encryption cultural change: systemic imperfection and, 163–64 transparency and, 161 Customer Relations Management (CRM), 51–52 customer scores, 110–11 Cyber Command, US, 75, 146, 180–81, 186, 187 cybercrime, increasing scale of, 116–19, 142 cyber sovereignty, 187–88 cyberwarfare, 74–75, 81, 132, 220 arms race in, 180–81 attack vs. defense in, 140–43 collateral damage from, 150–51 military role in, 185–86 NIST’s proposed defensive role in, 186–87 see also Cyber Command, US Dalai Lama, 72 Daniel, Jon, 101 data: analysis of, see data mining as by-product of computing, 3–4, 5, 13–19 historical, 35–37 increasing amount of, 18–19 see also metadata data broker industry, 2, 5, 41, 48, 51–53, 79, 234 correction of errors in, 269 customer scores in, 110–11 lack of consent in, 5, 51 data collection, 234 accountability and, 193, 196, 197–99 benefits of, 8, 190 fiduciary responsibility and, 204–5 government regulation and, 197–99 harms from, 8 health and, 16 limits on, 191, 192, 199–200, 202, 206 NSA definition of, 129, 320 opt-in vs. opt-out consent in, 198 respect for context in, 201 rights of individuals in, 192–93, 200–203, 211, 232 salience of, 203–4 security safeguards in, 192, 193–95, 202, 211 from social networking sites, 200–201 specification of purpose in, 192 see also mass surveillance Dataium, 195–96 data mining, 33–45 adversarial relationships and, 138–39 algorithmic-based, 129–31, 136–37, 159, 196 anonymity and, 42–45 correlation of data sets in, 40–45, 49, 133 credit card fraud and, 136–37 of historical data, 35–37 inferences from, see inferences, from data mining limits on uses of, 191, 192, 195–97, 206 personalized advertising and, 33, 35, 38 political campaigns and, 33, 54 quality assurance and, 34, 54, 136–37, 192, 194, 202 relationship mapping in, 37–38 security threats and, 136–40 tax fraud and, 137 data storage: capacity for, 18–19 cloud-based, 5, 59 limits on, 191, 199–200, 206 low cost of, 5, 18, 24, 144, 206 “save everything” model of, 34 Datensparsamkeit, 200 de-anonymizing, by correlation of data sets, 43–44, 263–64 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, 210 Defense Department, US: Counterintelligence Field Activity of, 69, 104 Cyber Command of, 75 domestic surveillance by, 69, 184 Defentek, 3 delete, right to, 201–2 democracy: government surveillance and, 6, 95, 97–99, 161–62, 172–73 whistleblowers as essential to, 178 demographic information, data brokers and, 52 denial-of-service attacks, 75 Department of Homeland Security, US, 27, 162–63, 295–96 deportation, discrimination and, 93 DigiNotar, hacking of, 71–72 direct marketing, 52 discrimination: corporate surveillance and, 109–13 government surveillance and, 4, 6, 93, 103–4 in pricing, 109–10 DNA sequencing, 16 de-anonymizing of, 44 DNS injection, 150–51 Doctorow, Cory, 217 “Do Not Track” debate, 80 Do Not Track law, California, 233 DoNotTrackMe, 49 “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy, 197 DoubleClick, 48 Drake, Thomas, 101 Dread Pirate Roberts (Ross Ulbricht), 105 drone helicopters, 25, 29 micro-, 253 drone strikes, mass surveillance and, 94 Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), 104, 105 Dubai, 27, 43 DuckDuckGo, 124 due process, 168, 184 Duffy, Tim, 227 East Germany, 23 eBay, 57–58 Economist, 91 EDGEHILL, 85 education, collection of data and, 8 Eisenhower, Dwight D., 230 Elbit Systems, 81 Elcomsoft, 150 electronic devices, vendor control of, 59–60 Ello, 124 Ellsberg, Daniel, 101 e-mail, 119, 226 local vs. cloud storage of, 31 Emanuel, Rahm, 234 encryption, 85–86, 224, 344 backdoors and, 86, 120–21, 123, 147–48, 169, 182, 314 business competitiveness and, 119–24 increased corporate use of, 208, 224 individual use of, 215 key length in, 143 NIST and, 186–87 NSA and, 144, 186 NSA undermining of standards for, 148–49 secrecy and, 171 value of, 143–44 Engel, Tobias, 3 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), pollution regulation by, 194–95 ephemerality, of communication, 127–29 Epsilon, 41 Equifax, 53 error rates, in data mining, 34, 54, 136–37, 269 espionage, 63, 73, 74, 76, 158 surveillance vs., 170, 183–84 Espionage Act (1917), 101 Estonia, cyberattacks on, 75, 132 Ethiopia, 73 European Charter, 169 European Court of Justice, 202, 222 European Parliament, 76 European Union (EU), 195, 200, 202, 226, 238 Charter of Fundamental Rights of, 232, 364 Data Protection Directive of, 19, 79, 80, 159, 191, 209 data retention rules in, 222 Exact Data, 42 executive branch: abuses of power by, 234–35 secrecy of, 100, 170 Executive Order 12333, 65, 173 Facebook, 58, 59, 93, 198 customer scores and, 111 data collection by, 19, 31, 41, 123, 200, 201, 204 as information middleman, 57 manipulation of posts on, 115 paid placements on, 114 real name policy of, 49 Facebook, surveillance by: data-based inferences of, 34, 258 Like button and, 48 relationship mapping by, 37–38 tagged photo database of, 41 face recognition, automatic, 27, 29, 31, 41, 211 fair information practices, 194, 211 fair lending laws, 196 false positives, 137, 138, 140, 323–24 Farrell, Henry, 60 FASCIA, 3 fatalism, mass surveillance and, 224–25 fear: government surveillance and, 4, 7, 95–97, 135, 156–57, 182–83, 222, 226, 227–30 media and, 229 politicians and, 222, 228 privacy trumped by, 228 social norms and, 227–30 Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI): CALEA and, 83, 120 COINTELPRO program of, 103 cost to business of surveillance by, 121–22 counterterrorism as mission of, 184, 186 data mining by, 42 GPS tracking by, 26, 95 historical data stored by, 36 illegal spying by, 175 IMSI-catchers used by, 165 legitimate surveillance by, 184 Muslim Americans surveilled by, 103 PATRIOT Act and, 173–74 phone company databases demanded by, 27, 67 surveillance of all communications as goal of, 83 warrantless surveillance by, 67–68, 209 wiretapping by, 24, 27, 83, 171 Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 198 Federal Trade Commission, US (FTC), 46–47, 53, 117, 198 Feinstein, Diane, 172 Ferguson, Mo., 160 fiduciary responsibility, data collection and, 204–5 50 Cent Party, 114 FileVault, 215 filter bubble, 114–15 FinFisher, 81 First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles, 91 FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act; 1978), 273 FISA Amendments Act (2008), 171, 273, 275–76 Section 702 of, 65–66, 173, 174–75, 261 FISA Court, 122, 171 NSA misrepresentations to, 172, 337 secret warrants of, 174, 175–76, 177 transparency needed in, 177 fishing expeditions, 92, 93 Fitbit, 16, 112 Five Eyes, 76 Flame, 72 FlashBlock, 49 flash cookies, 49 Ford Motor Company, GPS data collected by, 29 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA; 1978), 273 see also FISA Amendments Act Forrester Research, 122 Fortinet, 82 Fox-IT, 72 France, government surveillance in, 79 France Télécom, 79 free association, government surveillance and, 2, 39, 96 freedom, see liberty Freeh, Louis, 314 free services: overvaluing of, 50 surveillance exchanged for, 4, 49–51, 58–59, 60–61, 226, 235 free speech: as constitutional right, 189, 344 government surveillance and, 6, 94–95, 96, 97–99 Internet and, 189 frequent flyer miles, 219 Froomkin, Michael, 198 FTC, see Federal Trade Commission, US fusion centers, 69, 104 gag orders, 100, 122 Gamma Group, 81 Gandy, Oscar, 111 Gates, Bill, 128 gay rights, 97 GCHQ, see Government Communications Headquarters Geer, Dan, 205 genetic data, 36 geofencing, 39–40 geopolitical conflicts, and need for surveillance, 219–20 Georgia, Republic of, cyberattacks on, 75 Germany: Internet control and, 188 NSA surveillance of, 76, 77, 122–23, 151, 160–61, 183, 184 surveillance of citizens by, 350 US relations with, 151, 234 Ghafoor, Asim, 103 GhostNet, 72 Gill, Faisal, 103 Gmail, 31, 38, 50, 58, 219 context-sensitive advertising in, 129–30, 142–43 encryption of, 215, 216 government surveillance of, 62, 83, 148 GoldenShores Technologies, 46–47 Goldsmith, Jack, 165, 228 Google, 15, 27, 44, 48, 54, 221, 235, 272 customer loyalty to, 58 data mining by, 38 data storage capacity of, 18 government demands for data from, 208 impermissible search ad policy of, 55 increased encryption by, 208 as information middleman, 57 linked data sets of, 50 NSA hacking of, 85, 208 PageRank algorithm of, 196 paid search results on, 113–14 search data collected by, 22–23, 31, 123, 202 transparency reports of, 207 see also Gmail Google Analytics, 31, 48, 233 Google Calendar, 58 Google Docs, 58 Google Glass, 16, 27, 41 Google Plus, 50 real name policy of, 49 surveillance by, 48 Google stalking, 230 Gore, Al, 53 government: checks and balances in, 100, 175 surveillance by, see mass surveillance, government Government Accountability Office, 30 Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ): cyberattacks by, 149 encryption programs and, 85 location data used by, 3 mass surveillance by, 69, 79, 175, 182, 234 government databases, hacking of, 73, 117, 313 GPS: automobile companies’ use of, 29–30 FBI use of, 26, 95 police use of, 26 in smart phones, 3, 14 Grayson, Alan, 172 Great Firewall (Golden Shield), 94, 95, 150–51, 187, 237 Greece, wiretapping of government cell phones in, 148 greenhouse gas emissions, 17 Greenwald, Glenn, 20 Grindr, 259 Guardian, Snowden documents published by, 20, 67, 149 habeas corpus, 229 hackers, hacking, 42–43, 71–74, 216, 313 of government databases, 73, 117, 313 by NSA, 85 privately-made technology for, 73, 81 see also cyberwarfare Hacking Team, 73, 81, 149–50 HAPPYFOOT, 3 Harris Corporation, 68 Harris Poll, 96 Hayden, Michael, 23, 147, 162 health: effect of constant surveillance on, 127 mass surveillance and, 16, 41–42 healthcare data, privacy of, 193 HelloSpy, 3, 245 Hewlett-Packard, 112 Hill, Raquel, 44 hindsight bias, 322 Hobbes, Thomas, 210 Home Depot, 110, 116 homosexuality, 97 Hoover, J.

pages: 218 words: 62,889

Sabotage: The Financial System's Nasty Business by Anastasia Nesvetailova, Ronen Palan

algorithmic trading, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Basel III, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, bitcoin, Black-Scholes formula, blockchain, Blythe Masters, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, business process, collateralized debt obligation, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cryptocurrency, distributed ledger, diversification, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich,, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial innovation, financial intermediation, financial repression, fixed income, gig economy, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, Hyman Minsky, information asymmetry, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, litecoin, London Interbank Offered Rate, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market fundamentalism, mortgage debt, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer lending, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Ross Ulbricht, shareholder value, short selling, smart contracts, sovereign wealth fund, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail

Jia, ‘Collapse of Chinese peer-to-peer lenders sparks investor flight’, Financial Times, 22 July 2018, 15. I. Kaminska, ‘Fintech’s security/access paradox problem’, Financial Times, ‘Alphaville’, 3 October 2016, 16. Until 2013 the so-called Silk Road (DEF) was the primary e-commerce platform on the dark web. After its founder, Dread Pirate Roberts, or Ross Ulbricht, went down, it was succeeded by AlphaBay and many other dark marketplaces. Dread Pirate Roberts is now in prison serving a life sentence. The authorities still can’t get their hands on most of his bitcoins. 17. L. Katz, ‘Criminals may ditch bitcoin for Litecoin, Dash, study says’, Bloomberg, 8 February 2018, 18.

pages: 245 words: 83,272

Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World by Meredith Broussard

1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, availability heuristic, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Buckminster Fuller, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer vision, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, digital map, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, Firefox, gig economy, global supply chain, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Hacker Ethic, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, John von Neumann, Joi Ito, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, life extension, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, mass incarceration, Minecraft, minimum viable product, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, natural language processing, PageRank, payday loans, paypal mafia, performance metric, Peter Thiel, price discrimination, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ross Ulbricht, Saturday Night Live, school choice, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Tesla Model S, the High Line, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, theory of mind, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, Uber for X, uber lyft, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce

Drug use is represented equally across all racial groups, as Michelle Alexander writes in the New Jim Crow.10 However, while poor communities and communities of color are surveilled aggressively to enforce compliance with drug laws, the technology elites who build the surveillance systems seem to be free from scrutiny. Silk Road, an eBay-like marketplace for drugs, flourished openly online from 2011 to 2013. After its founder, Ross Ulbricht, was sentenced to prison, others stepped in to fill the gap. Alex Hern wrote in the Guardian in 2014: “DarkMarket, a system aiming to create a decentralised alternative to online drugs marketplace Silk Road, has rebranded as ‘OpenBazaar’ to improve its image online. OpenBazaar exists as little more than a proof of concept: the plan was sketched out by a group of hackers in Toronto in mid-April, where they won the $20,000 first prize for their idea.”11 Two years later, an entrepreneur named Brian Hoffman took the OpenBazaar code, commercialized it, and got a $3 million investment from venture capital firms Union Square Ventures and Andreesen Horowitz to run the marketplace using Bitcoin, an alternative digital currency.

pages: 348 words: 97,277

The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything by Paul Vigna, Michael J. Casey

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, altcoin, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, blockchain, blood diamonds, Blythe Masters, business process, buy and hold, carbon footprint, cashless society, cloud computing, computer age, computerized trading, conceptual framework, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, cyber-physical system, dematerialisation, disintermediation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, failed state, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial intermediation, global supply chain, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, informal economy, intangible asset, Internet of things, Joi Ito, Kickstarter, linked data, litecoin, longitudinal study, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, market clearing, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Network effects, off grid,, prediction markets, pre–internet, price mechanism, profit maximization, profit motive, ransomware, rent-seeking, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, smart meter, Snapchat, social web, software is eating the world, supply-chain management, Ted Nelson, the market place, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Turing complete, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, universal basic income, web of trust, zero-sum game

As Zooko Wilcox-O’Hearn, founder of a new cryptocurrency called Zcash, explains, it’s all about ensuring a currency’s “fungibility”—the principle that “if you’re going to pay someone with something, and you have two of them, it doesn’t matter which one you give them.” In other words, every dollar, or yen, or pound is worth the same regardless of the serial number on the relevant banknote. This isn’t always the case with bitcoin. When the FBI auctioned the 144,000 bitcoins (worth $1.4 billion as of late November 2017) that it seized from Ross Ulbricht, the convicted mastermind of the Silk Road illicit goods marketplace, those coins fetched a significantly higher price than others in the market. The notion was that they had now been “whitewashed” by the U.S. government. In comparison, other bitcoins with a potentially shady past should be worth less because of the risk of future seizure. That’s hardly fair: imagine if the dollar notes in your wallet were hit with a 10 percent tax because the merchant knew that five years ago, unbeknownst to you, they had been handled by a drug dealer.

pages: 349 words: 114,038

Culture & Empire: Digital Revolution by Pieter Hintjens

4chan, airport security, AltaVista, anti-communist, anti-pattern, barriers to entry, Bill Duvall, bitcoin, blockchain, business climate, business intelligence, business process, Chelsea Manning, clean water, commoditize, congestion charging, Corn Laws, correlation does not imply causation, cryptocurrency, Debian, Edward Snowden, failed state, financial independence, Firefox, full text search, German hyperinflation, global village, GnuPG, Google Chrome, greed is good, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, informal economy, intangible asset, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Rulifson, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, M-Pesa, mass immigration, mass incarceration, mega-rich, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, national security letter, Nelson Mandela, new economy, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, packet switching, patent troll, peak oil, pre–internet, private military company, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, reserve currency, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, security theater, selection bias, Skype, slashdot, software patent, spectrum auction, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, trade route, transaction costs, twin studies, union organizing, wealth creators, web application, WikiLeaks, Y2K, zero day, Zipf's Law

It made sense, since Silk Road was a major attraction for newcomers to Tor. As long as it existed, people would trust and invest in Tor, and work around any tactics the authorities invent. Taking down Silk Road would hurt Tor's growth and future badly. In theory, a Deep website like Silk Road cannot be found and shut down by the authorities. However in October 2013, the FBI arrested its operator, Ross Ulbricht, aka "Dread Pirate Roberts", and seized the Silk Road servers. The first death of Silk Road -- for I'm sure it will be resurrected -- and subsequent worldwide prosecution of dealers who used it puts a large question mark over Tor. The FBI's explanations of how they tracked Ulbricht through his clumsy on-line activity smells of "parallel construction", aka "intelligence laundering," and the NSA's handy set of Internet spy tools.

pages: 390 words: 109,870

Radicals Chasing Utopia: Inside the Rogue Movements Trying to Change the World by Jamie Bartlett

Andrew Keen, back-to-the-land, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, blue-collar work, Boris Johnson, brain emulation, centre right, clean water, cryptocurrency, Donald Trump, drone strike, Elon Musk, energy security, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, failed state, gig economy, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, life extension, Occupy movement, off grid, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, postnationalism / post nation state, precariat, QR code, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Rosa Parks, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart contracts, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, technoutopianism

Paul Bradbury from the website Total Croatia News, sitting next to me all morning, said it was one of the most peculiar things he’d ever seen and wrote an article about it all called ‘Liberland conference: Reflections on a weekend in Alice in LiberWonderLand’. 13. He gives a lot of money to various libertarian causes, including offering US senator Bernie Sanders $100,000 to debate with him about socialism versus libertarianism. More controversially he donates money to a fund set up to help Ross Ulbricht, the man who founded the notorious darknet market, the Silk Road. 14. Back in the 1990s Timothy May imagined a world where virtual regions called ‘cybersteads’, protected by powerful encryption, could be created online, leaving individuals free to make consensual economic arrangements among themselves with no state at all—a world of online communities of interest interacting directly with each other, as the ‘meat world’ of mediocre, inefficient governments watched helplessly on the side.

pages: 448 words: 117,325

Click Here to Kill Everybody: Security and Survival in a Hyper-Connected World by Bruce Schneier

23andMe, 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Brian Krebs, business process, cloud computing, cognitive bias, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Heinemeier Hansson, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, Firefox, Flash crash, George Akerlof, industrial robot, information asymmetry, Internet of things, invention of radio, job automation, job satisfaction, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, license plate recognition, loose coupling, market design, medical malpractice, Minecraft, MITM: man-in-the-middle, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, national security letter, Network effects, pattern recognition, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, ransomware, Rodney Brooks, Ross Ulbricht, security theater, self-driving car, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart transportation, Snapchat, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Stuxnet, The Market for Lemons, too big to fail, Uber for X, Unsafe at Any Speed, uranium enrichment, Valery Gerasimov, web application, WikiLeaks, zero day

If the person is using an account associated with his credit card number, or his real name, or his phone number, attribution is simply a matter of getting that information from whatever service provider has it. There might be legal hurdles—law enforcement might have to get a warrant, or might be stymied by jurisdictional issues because the information is in another country—but there are no technical hurdles. Sometimes, attribution is difficult but still possible. Even people who deliberately take pains to hide their identity find that they slip up. Ross Ulbricht was “Dread Pirate Roberts,” the American man behind the Silk Road e-commerce site for illegal goods and services. He was found by a dogged FBI agent who pieced together a years-old chat room post, an old e-mail address, and a chance interview with FBI agents investigating something else. Pedophiles have been arrested after being identified from background details in photos: a camping spot in Minnesota, a blurry logo on a sweatshirt, or a package of potato chips.

pages: 677 words: 206,548

Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It by Marc Goodman

23andMe, 3D printing, active measures, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, data is the new oil, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, don't be evil, double helix, Downton Abbey, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, future of work, game design, global pandemic, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, High speed trading, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, illegal immigration, impulse control, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, license plate recognition, lifelogging, litecoin, low earth orbit, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, national security letter, natural language processing, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, off grid, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, Parag Khanna, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, security theater, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, uranium enrichment, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Wave and Pay, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, Westphalian system, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, zero day

When Ulbricht reportedly paid the sums demanded by the would-be assassin, the FBI knew he was dead serious and intervened to save those targeted. The Feds obtained the cooperation of all those who were to be “whacked” and took staged photographs of the alleged victims covered in fake blood and wearing the ashen face makeup of a dead body that they forwarded to DPR as the proof of killings he demanded. Who was this criminal mastermind behind Silk Road? Not at all whom you would expect. Ross Ulbricht was the kind of kid any parent would be proud of, an Eagle Scout from Austin, Texas, who had earned a master’s degree in science and engineering. In grad school, Ulbricht eventually lost interest in science in favor of a new passion for libertarianism. He wrote on his LinkedIn profile that he now wished to “use economic theory to abolish the widespread and systemic use of force by institutions and government against mankind.”