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John Gilmore is an entrepreneur and civil libertarian. He was an early Sun employee, early open source author, and co-created Cygnus Solutions, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the Cypherpunks, The Little Garden ISP, and the Internet’s “alt” newsgroups. He developed the Deep Crack, a $250.000 machine that was capable of cracking the 56-bit DES key in a few days. The resulting discussion influenced the public opinion and policy about the definition of secure communication, privacy and data security.
He has spent thirty years doing programming (pdtar, now GNU Tar; GNU UUCP), hardware and software design (SUN sendmail, GDB and Kerberos), management, philosophy, philanthropy, and investment. He promotes the public understanding of technology for privacy and accountability in open societies and tries to establish an intellectual property policy that creates equilibrium between the rights of creators, readers, middlemen, critics, competitors, and archivists.
John Gilmore served on the boards or is a board member of EFF, Cygnus, the Sun User Group, USENIX, CodeWeavers, ReQuest, and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies.
In his 2001 article Gilmore argues against laws (DMCA) that prohibit to bypass copy protection mechanisms and therefore override constitutional freedoms such as the possibility of fair use.