Cypherpunk Bitstream 0x05: Security I

   |   8 minute read   |   Using 1539 words

We talk about security and the current state of the security system (police, intelligence services, and the military).


Show Notes

What is security

  • 00:02:05 What is security: Security VS Safety.
    • Security: unexpected events that go back to an actor,
    • Safety: maintaining a status.
  • 00:07:20 Entropy: things decay. Security is not a natural state, but must be maintained.
  • 00:09:10 Evil people: psychpaths, predators.
  • 00:09:50 Circumstances: acting irrationally.
  • 00:10:25 Hackers: Red Hats, joy of overcoming security systems.
  • 00:11:11 WASP Privilege: no exposure to threats, stuff works most of the time, no incentive to learn about security.


  • 00:12:29 High trust society VS low trust society: Low trust comes with high cost and less functional societies.
  • 00:16:16 Symptoms of societies with low trust: different environments are what make them.
  • 00:16:50 Universal core values of humans: self-preservation, protecting family and friends, private zones, no drama.
  • 00:18:05 High trust society needs maintenance, will get eroded quickly by few “bad actors”.
  • 00:19:05 How can you turn a low security, low trust environment into a high security, high trust environment? Parallel developments also possible: high security, low trust societies.
  • 00:19:40 Trust builds from history of interactions.
  • 00:20:13 To change, bad memories must die (social memory). See Thomas Kuhn (1962): The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
  • 00:22:10 Western states want to make people dependent on security (stateism) and increase state control. Thus, individuals externalize security, and state is presented as the White Knight.
  • 00:25:15 Are we being played/gamed/manipulated by the state and state actors?
  • 00:27:38 Just doing our jobs.
  • 00:29:50 Machiavellianism: concepts how states can work.
  • 00:31:20 Hegelian concepts: totalist and collectivist states and politics.
  • 00:33:20 Look at systemic issues.


  • 00:33:30 Inspecting institutions: 1) Police.
  • 00:39:00 Policemen’s selection bias: everyone is a potential criminal or at least a suspect.
  • 00:40:20 Documentation work of police activity by example of firing weapons.
  • 00:42:30 Bureaucracy can work.
  • 00:47:30 Police in uniform VS civilian police: both are for peace preservation.
  • 00:48:00 Military is directed outwards.
  • 00:49:00 Carl von Clausewitz: war is the extension of politics [original: war is the continuation of politics by other means].
  • 00:49:39 Border guards are the middle layer between military and police (control of territorial boundaries VS maintaining territorial integrity VS maintain security within the borders).

Intelligence services

  • 00:50:00 Intelligence services:
  • Classification: Intelligence service for proper and covert action
  • 00:51:00 Similarities and differences to Journalism: Are intelligence services also ad-driven?
  • 00:51:48 Intelligence Agencies report only news that can be actionable.
  • 00:53:40 Domestic and Foreign Intelligence Services.
  • 00:54:20 Objective reporting: Not mission driven, but report driven.
  • 00:54:41 Two classes of intelligence services: Report requests coming out of intelligence circle, or mission driven services (Bundesverfassungsschutz, for example).
  • 00:56:30 FBI: police organization plus intelligence aspect.
  • 00:57:05 Intelligence services are about information, other services are about action.
  • 00:57:40 Staatsschutz and German Intelligence: police is for prevent and investigate crimes.
  • 00:59:05 Forensics is for police, subversive or maybe illegal actions are for intelligence work. In Germany, it’s clearly seperated; in USA, not so much.
  • 01:02:15 CIA: Considered as Intelligence Agency. Gather information is their mandate, not catch criminals.
  • 01:05:10 Sending in intelligence to change things: huge toolkit to act available.
  • 01:05:50 Intelligence and Military Covert Actions are not Security, but political action. However, it‘s a security issue for the other side.

International organisations

  • 01:06:47 International Security Organizations (Europol, Interpol). No police powers, limited investigation powers.
  • 01:08:45 Working groups: example SIS (communicating warrants in EU).
  • 01:09:58 Organizations: example Le Circle (high-ranking intelligence chiefs), Munich Security Forum (conference with high-level security chiefs).
  • 01:15:00 Why is their image so skewed in the public? (The „Spy Story“)
  • 01:18:00 Rubicon Series (2010)
  • 01:19:25 CSI Series (2000) - all about forensic analysis of crime scenes, but in reality it‘s not the dominant part, only few questions can be answered.
  • 01:21:28 Playbook crime following the standard model VS outliers.
  • 01:22:55 Being secretive about methods means keeping the advantage from opponents: intelligence agencies VS intelligence agencies from other countries; police VS criminals.
  • 01:23:40 Sources 1) Scientific Fields: Criminalistics, Criminology. (Education Material for people that train police, manuals and coursework can be brought on Amazon, also check out libraries).
  • 01:25:34 Sources 2) Reports: Indictments, Warrants (a lot are public, depending on country). Caveat: contains successes and legal processes only.
  • 01:27:08 Sources 3) Private Conversation with Policemen, Investigators, Intelligence People to get a more accurate picture about their work.

Public private partnerships

  • 01:29:39 Private Security Services.
  • 01:30:45 Cybercrime Investigations: Takedown of Cyberpunker 2 (200 servers in a German bunker).
  • 01:32:25 Private Companies helping the police in Cybercrime Investigation.
  • 01:32:40 Analyzing digital evidence: Given to a lab from a private company. (Cyberforensics, not done by police)
  • 01:34:18 White-Collar Crime: Fraud, Commercial Fraud cases etc. Corporate Investigators for hire: Forensic Accountants, etc. (Police work only for special investigator power, or force powers.)
  • 01:37:10 Corporations can use private security services when police are bound legally (for example, in bribing), then sanatize the data and give it to the police.
  • 01:41:28 Informal communication lines… like in every other industry. (But with special privileges: Police, Military, Intelligence)
  • 01:43:04 Presumably Cardinal Richelieu: „If you give me (three, or two) six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find (seven reasons) something in them which will hang him.“, this quote might be originated by memorialist Françoise Bertraut de Motteville (1723), and was later paraphrased.
  • 01:44:46 Real-life cases have a lot of ambiguity going on. It‘s a work of probabilities, not a binary process.
  • 01:45:45 Can you cover up a crime as a non-corrupt policeman?
  • 01:46:50 Private Security Services exploit the ambiguity of policework (someone bringing you from outside a full case, only verification needed, negative evidence often gets lost).
  • 01:48:21 Political Aspect: which crimes are deemed important?
  • 01:49:20 Lobbying and capital power: Intellectual Property Crimes.
  • 01:50:44 Industry identifies perpretators and delivers them to police.
  • 01:50:58 Filesharing: Machine investigating and filing reports, backchanneling, automated sting operation (example, IP-Echelon).
  • 01:56:08 Private Agencies provide: Analysis of evidence, production of leads, investigation.
  • 01:56:26 Money Laundering: not based on investigative results, but on information provided by for example NGOs (example, Transparency International).
  • 01:59:28 Chain Analysis Companies produce risk scores for Cryptocurrency Adresses (public keys).
  • 02:01:05 Face recognition to identify suspects: example, Clearview AI (finding people software)
  • 02:02:20 Police relies on outside, unchecked influence: Private Actors (non-illegmitate).

Private Intelligence

  • 02:03:25 Recap of Episode:
    • What outside input is influencing the police
    • Policy definition
    • Intelligence field
  • 02:04:22 Tax crimes: special investigators who actively try to find criminals.
  • 02:04:39 Organized Crime: preventitive task of police (dismantling organizations, Staatsschutz).
  • 02:05:35 Civil Disobedience: infiltration by police and private companies.
  • 02:07:00 Private Security: 3 categories
    • private intelligence services
    • private security services
    • private military contractors.
  • 02:09:38 Private Intelligence is information gathering.
  • 02:09:53 Private Intelligence VS corporate espionage.
  • 02:11:11 First example.
  • 02:15:00 Why is there so much cheap spy tech for sale?
  • 02:19:53 Second example: credit suisse incident.
  • 02:21:12 Some serious health concerns for the operators and middlemen (in-betweens).
  • 02:24:05 Birds of a feather flock together: blurry lines of corporate, state, and private decision makers (different sides of the law).
  • 02:26:29 Book/Thesis: Stephan Blancke (2011): Geheimdienstliche Aktivitäten nicht-staatlicher Akteure (private intelligence activities by non-state actors)
  • 02:27:11 Private inflitrators, informants and agent provocateurs.
  • 02:28:10 Extinction rebellion and very active activists.
  • 02:30:30 Capture bounties.
  • 02:32:45 A quiet business: private infiltration intelligence services (IMSI-catchers) are often ex police, ex military etc.
  • 02:34:40 Sharing information services between intelligence: 4 eyes, 14 eyes.
  • 02:38:05 HCPP and game theory: will the cryptoanarchists ever get something done?
  • 02:39:00 Today’s security system is like antique byzantine, easy to understand from outside, inside not easy to understand- even for the players themselves.
  • 02:40:25 Ross Ulbricht and Silk Road made agents run with money—is it the only case, only in this direction?
  • 02:42:00 State systems’ marketing: “protect and serve” by angels? But, ACAB is also wrong.
  • 02:45:55 Take personal responsibility for own security.


  • 02:48:40 Developments/outlook: technologies that make globalization possible, organizational technologies, reporting and communication.
  • 02:50:25 Old days: reporting was sampling (today: big data, AI).
  • 02:51:00 New incentive structures: financial markets. Old: financial markets were not global, slow. Today: Global financial markets mean indirect profit from activities like war, markets can be complex, distributed, longer reach.
  • 02:52:50 Even dumb criminals can use smart technologies (Dropgangs).
  • 02:54:00 The mastermind/ intelligent criminals VS random criminals: attribution becomes problematic (witness problem, no review pointers).
  • 02:57:24 Book: Evan Ratliff (2019): The Mastermind. Drugs. Empire. Murder. Betrayal. (Paul LeRoux)

Wrap up

  • 03:00:59 Donation Report

Reading Recommendations

  • Thomas Kuhn (1962): The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
  • Machiavelli
  • Hegel
  • Carl von Clausewitz
  • Rubicon Series (2010)
  • Stephan Blancke (2011): Geheimdienstliche Aktivitäten nicht-staatlicher Akteure (private intelligence activities by non-state actors)
  • Evan Ratliff (2019): The Mastermind. Drugs. Empire. Murder. Betrayal. (Paul LeRoux)


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