This Survival seminar addressed the questions raised in Thomas Rid and Daniel Moore’s article in the upcoming February–March 2016 issue of Survival, ‘Cryptopolitik and the Darknet’.

The Crypto Wars are back, with Silicon Valley companies and privacy activists again pitched against governments and law enforcement in a fierce ideological standoff. In the 1990s, the rift over encryption policy was often abstract; in the mid-2010s, such debates have a life-or-death urgency and often traumatising practical consequences. This means highbrow questions can be put to an empirical test: is there a difference between liberal and illiberal cryptographic architectures? 

To reveal actual patterns of use, Rid and Moore examined a high-profile application of cryptography, carrying out an in-depth scan of the so-called ‘darknet’ – the Tor Project’s hidden services. Informed by hard facts and history, their article suggests a way to draw a line between good and bad encryption, urging a sober and analytical approach they call ‘cryptopolitik’.

Thomas Rid is a professor in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London. His new book, Rise of the Machines: A Cybernetic History will be published in 2016 by W.W. Norton.

Daniel Moore is a cyber-threat intelligence engineer and a PhD candidate in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London.

The meeting was chaired by Dr Dana Allin, Editor of Survival  and Senior Fellow for US Foreign Policy and Transatlantic Affairs. It took place in the fifth-floor Lee Kuan Yew Conference Room at Arundel House, 13-15 Arundel Street, Temple Place, London WC2R 3X.

About Survival

Survival: Global Politics and Strategy is one of the world’s leading forums for analysis and debate of international and strategic affairs. Shaped by its editors to be both timely and forward thinking, the journal encourages writers to challenge conventional wisdom and bring fresh, often controversial, perspectives to bear on the strategic issues of the moment. With a diverse range of authors, Survival aims to be scholarly in depth while vivid, well written and policy-relevant in approach. Through commentary, analytical articles, case studies, forums, review essays, reviews and letters to the editor, the journal promotes lively, critical debate on issues of international politics and strategy.

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Event details

Discussion Meeting
Thomas Rid, Professor in Security Studies, Department of War Studies, King’s College London
Daniel Moore, PhD Candidate, Department of War Studies, King’s College London
Arundel House, London
Wednesday 3 February 2016, 1.30-2.30pm

Survival: Global Politics and Strategy

August–September 2016

This issue of Survival features Kristin Ven Bruusgaard on Russia's approach to strategic deterrence, James E. Doyle critiquing US plans to modernise the country's nuclear arsenal, and much more.