Interview with Paul Rosenberg – Cryptohippie
Bobby: Hi Paul, thanks for joining me today. I appreciate you taking the time to share with me and my readers. Let’s get started, shall we?
Ok, I am very familiar with your company, Cryptohippie. I am a devoted customer of yours and find this product to be a necessity in today’s world where privacy has become long forgotten human right. I also want to thank you for offering my readers a free 7 day trial. Can you tell me a bit about the product and what makes it so important?
Paul: Sure. You have a firewall to protect the data on your computer, and that’s a good idea, but then you send that data through the internet and a wide variety of thieves just pick it up in transit. It’s actually easier for them that way. And those thieves include governments, mafia-type groups, advertisers and many others. We stop all that with encryption, multi-jurisdictional routing, and so on. Essentially, we make you anonymous on the Internet, with no pain or strain.
Bobby: How would someone pick up my data in transit?
Paul: By capturing the traffic at your ISP, or at any the routers that connect to your ISP, or by comprising major Internet routers, or by tapping a cable, or by cutting a cable and forcing traffic through a router you control, or…
Governments simply force telephone companies to feed all their traffic to them. It has been known for years that the NSA has offices in AT&T facilities and that they simply scoop up all their traffic; it’s easy to do with a fiber optic splitter. [http://www.zdnet.com/blog/ip-telephony/these-photos-illustrate-at-ts-phone-internet-tracking-activities-for-nsa/1103] It’s foolish to think that all the others are heroically defying the state.
Beside all that, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Hotmail and all the rest grab everything they can, whenever they can. Then, data consolidators take hundreds of these databases and cross-reference them.
Bobby: Why in the world would someone be interested in my data? Why is it bad for someone to get their hands on it?
Paul: Because there’s big money in it… as in many, many billions. They scam credit cards all the time; you get paid back, but the credit card companies don’t. Other times they use people’s information to setup bank accounts and move stolen money or criminal proceeds. Even knowing who communicates with whom can be very profitable when it comes to commercial espionage. Of course, governments save every email you send, records of every web site you visit, and so on.
They are also getting very good at searching all that data and assembling it. And, they can use that information against you whenever they like. Do you remember Nixon’s enemies file or Hillary Clinton’s 900 FBI files? Those were microscopic, compared to what these guys have now. By the way, “these guys” includes thousands or millions of bureaucrats.
Bobby: I think I told you that I recently bought your book, “A Lodging for Wayfaring Men”. Ironically I bought the book as a recommendation from one of my readers (thanks Jason). I did not bother looking at the author’s name and didn’t actually realize you were the author until just a couple of days ago. I have to say, this book was eye opening for me. I am a huge fan of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead” and your book almost seems like a modern day version. Were you influenced by Rand?
Paul: Oh yes. I think almost everyone who writes seriously on liberty is influenced by Rand in one way or another. There are areas of disagreement between the two of us, but she brought many excellent ideas to me and I am deeply grateful for her contribution.
Bobby: One of the things I enjoyed most about this book was the philosophical aspect of being completely unwilling to accept the status quo. The characters in the book are all bound by their own morality, but that clearly doesn’t seem to fit with society’s definition of good and evil. Can you expand a bit on the philosophy in the book?
Paul: Glad to. Any type of morality that is imposed from without is a cheap replacement for the real thing. If we are to be moral, it has to come from within us. That’s why a man like Jesus always talked about ‘planting seeds’ or ‘cleaning the inside of the cup’. He knew that the only legitimate goodness is that which grows organically within us. Following external rules is second-hand morality at best, and very often a tool of manipulation.
Bobby: Interesting concept – ‘morality imposed from without’. Can you further explain what you mean here? Also, you talk about Jesus, but from reading your book it seems you are not a very religious person, at least not in the traditional sense. Can you also discuss this along with your idea that ‘second hand morality is often a tool of manipulation’?
Paul: Sure. Morality imposed from without demotes you; it degrades you. To be a moral person, you must learn to judge rightly, to learn to choose the good, to hold to it even when you will suffer for it, and to spread that way of life. It sets YOU as the decider, as the moral actor. An imposed morality says that you are fit to be ordered around and nothing more. It’s an insult.
Second-hand morality is almost the same, but is made to look better. Some person or group claims to have a higher moral standing than anyone else and convinces people to take them on as an intellectual and moral partner. They want you to adopt their moral standard, and they ALWAYS make that standard work in their favor. That’s how they get people to willingly turn over their income and that’s how they get young men to willingly die for them.
As for Jesus, you are quite right: I hold him in the highest esteem, although I’m certainly not religious in the traditional, systemic fashion.
Bobby: Obviously with your company, Cryptohippie and your book, “A Lodging for Wayfaring Men”, this was not exactly a fairy tale fiction story. There is an element of truth behind your writing. You obviously believe strongly about this. I tend to agree and see huge danger on the horizon for the world, but as an eternal optimist, I also see huge opportunity.
Today we have nearly every major world government spending more than it makes in tax revenue and borrowing the balance. We are clearly on a path to some of the superpowers imploding due to their own socialist policies. Nearly every day we are hearing news stories about the European Union countries, the US and Japan having significant budgetary issues and wanting to raise taxes on the wealthy – because they should pay more – in order to fund their agendas. It seems like the “Atlas Shrugged” predictions are coming true. But in today’s globalized economy, the solution seems to be ‘Gamma’ (from “A Lodging of Wayfaring Men”) instead of ‘Galt’s Gulch’. What are your thoughts on this?
Paul: Yes, I do think the Gamma solution – invisible commerce, communication and identity on the Internet – is our greatest tool. Encryption is nearly free and it provides superb protection. It can’t protect everything, but it seriously tips the balance in our favor. That’s why governments world-over are promoting reasons to capture and regulate the Internet. They massively screwed-up by allowing it to get started in the 90s.
Bobby: So Cryptohippie is essentially someone’s entry point into Gamma as discussed in your book, correct? And if so, what would you recommend for someone who is just becoming enlightened to this world of private digital commerce?
Paul: Yes, Cryptohippie would function much that way. I definitely recommend that people learn about digital currencies. The best starting point is DGCMagazine.com. There’s a lot of good information to pickup there. People have to start using encryption, if they haven’t already. Many types are free, for goodness sake, and they are not that hard to use. Mostly, however, I want people to start doing something. Talk is cheap. People must act if they want the world to change. Waiting for someone else to do it is a waste of life – we must act. I barely care where they get started, so long as they do get started – pick a spot and start exerting your will in the world.
Bobby: As I stated before, I am an eternal optimist. I truly believe that we are living in a pivotal time in history. Imagine the opportunities available in Russia in the early 1990’s. They emerged from communist rule and within just a few years entrepreneurship flourished. I personally have some friends and clients there who have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams due to the turmoil during this era. I see a similar situation today, but on a grander, more global scale.
Those that are intelligent, hard working, and opportunistic will be alert to new opportunities and will drive the world economy forward from the doldrums we have been experiencing over the past few years. With technology advancing at such a rapid rate, there is no reason why people cannot live, work and play wherever they chose. We aren’t shackled by geographical boundaries anymore, but many people are still afraid of change so they stick to the old norms. Tell me your thoughts on where you see the opportunities of the future.
Paul: The future is absolutely golden, if we can get through this next passage without global tyranny taking hold. The situation is actually much, much better than people understand already. But we’ll have to go through a very dangerous passage. I actually wrote a long piece on this in my newsletter this month. If you look at the right economic data, you’ll see that scarcity is slowly dying in the Western world – we just don’t feel it because our prosperity has been skimmed away from us even faster. We stand at the edge of a tremendous economic boom; far bigger and better than anything in history. We have just a few insanities to reject and a few simple virtues to return to.
Bobby: Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers that we haven’t already covered?
Paul: Hmmm… I guess not, but I would like to elaborate on something we discussed earlier:
Live your life. Most of this world is designed to keep you within limits that other people have drawn. Even good people will try to keep you within pre-defined limits. Ignore all of that. Live your life. Yes, get the best input you can find, ask advice of people who are able to provide it, live peaceably, live reasonably, live with kindness, but live your way. Step outside the prescribed paths. Try new things. If you make mistakes (and you will), figure out why and avoid them next time. Take some risks, accept pain when you must, and refuse to merely exist. Live.
Bobby: I want to thank you again for your time and willingness to share. Take care.
Paul: Thanks for having me.