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Cryptome logo.jpg
Web address
Commercial? Yes
Registration None
Owners John Young, Deborah Natsios
Editor Deborah Natsios
Launched June 1996; 19 years ago (1996-06)
Current status Active

Cryptome is a digital library created in 1996 by architects John Young and his wife Deborah Natsios.[1] The site aggregates information about freedom of information, cryptography, spying, and surveillance.[2]

Hosted documents[edit]

Cryptome hosts over 86,000 reprinted news articles, Google Maps images and other public documents including a list of Stasi workers at the time of its dissolution on December 8, 1989.[3] According to the website, "Documents are removed from this site only by order served directly by a US court having jurisdiction. No court order has ever been served; any order served will be published here – or elsewhere if gagged by order."[2] Documents are removed regularly from the site at the request of law enforcement, individuals and corporations.[4][5][6][7]

Recent events[edit]

On April 20, 2007, the website received notice from its hosting company, Verio, that it would be evicted on May 4 for unspecified breaches of their acceptable use policy.[8][9]

In February 2010, Cryptome was briefly shut down by Network Solutions for alleged DMCA violations after it posted a "Microsoft legal spy manual".[4][5][10] Microsoft withdrew the complaint 3 days later and the website was restored.[11] In March 2010, PayPal stopped processing donations to Cryptome and froze the account's funds.[12][13]

In October 2013, the website was blocked by 크린아이("clean eye") content-control software, used for domestic internet connections by South Korea's main telecom operator KT. Cryptome was classified as a "bad site" featuring "pornography, violence, gambling etc."[citation needed]

Governmental investigation[edit]

John Young, the creator of Cryptome, claims that the website has attracted the attention of various government agencies.[14]

In December 2002, the Attorney General issued a subpoena requiring that John Young appear before a Grand Jury and turn over "all logs recording the I.P. addresses and/or users" who visited Cryptome. John Young posted a notice online declaring that visitor logs are deleted daily.[15] Later he revealed that Cryptome keeps detailed user logs for years.[16]

He reports being visited by two FBI agents from a counter-terrorism office.[17] He claims that on another occasion, two FBI agents spoke with him on the phone.[18] In June 2013, two US Secret Service agents visited Cryptome to request removal of a former presidential Bush family email allegedly hacked by Guccifer.[13] In September 2015, a GCHQ slide leaked by Edward Snowden revealed that the agency was monitoring Cryptome's visitors.[19]


According to an article written by John Cook in Radar, "the closest Young comes to explaining to me why he created Cryptome is this: 'I'm a pretty fucking angry guy'."[20]

A 2004 New York Times article said Cryptome was advising the public and tipping off terrorists. The article quoted John Young as acknowledging that New York City to take down warning signs around gas mains after Cryptome posted pictures of their locations because they thought someone would blow them up.[21]

The March 2005 issue of Reader's Digest focused on Cryptome in its regular "That's Outrageous" feature, relying on an interview with Young. It was highly critical of the site, asserting that it is an "invitation to terrorists" and claiming that Young "may well have put lives at risk".[22][23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Deborah Natsios and John Young Bibliography". 2011-10-16. Retrieved 2013-03-09. 
  2. ^ a b "Cryptome: Email". Cryptome. 
  3. ^ Bruce, Gary (2010). The Firm: The Inside Story of the Stasi. Oxford University Press. p. 32. ISBN 9780195392050. 
  4. ^ a b Quigley, Robert (2010-02-24). "Site Leaks Microsoft Online Surveillance Guide, MS Demands Takedown Under Copyright Law (UPDATE 6)". Geekosystem. Retrieved 2013-03-09. 
  5. ^ a b Diaz, Jesus (2010-02-24). "The Secret Government Surveillance Document Microsoft Doesn’t Want You To See". Gizmodo. Retrieved 2013-03-09. 
  6. ^ "Microsoft Online Services Global Criminal Compliance Handbook" (PDF). Wired. 2010-02-24. Retrieved 2013-03-09. 
  7. ^ (PDF)  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ "Cryptome Shut by Network Solutions". 2012-03-14. Retrieved 2013-03-09. 
  9. ^ Gohring, Nancy (2007-04-30). "Verio dumps controversial Cryptome site". Computerworld. Retrieved 2013-03-09. 
  10. ^ "Microsoft Online Services Global Criminal Compliance Handbook" (PDF). Wired. 2010-02-24. Retrieved 2013-03-09. 
  11. ^ "Microsoft Demands Takedown of Microsoft Spy Guide". Cryptome. 2010-02-26. Retrieved 2013-03-09. 
  12. ^ "Now PayPal Goes for Cryptome, Suspends Account". Fast Company. 2010-03-08. Retrieved 2013-05-14. 
  13. ^ a b "A Discussion With Cryptome". Gawker. 2013-06-19. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  14. ^ McCullagh, Declan (2000-07-21). "FBI Pressuring Spy Archivist". Wired. Retrieved 2013-03-09. 
  15. ^ "Subpoena for Cryptome's logs". 
  16. ^ "Cryptome". Archived from the original on 26 September 2015. Retrieved 5 October 2015. 
  17. ^ "FBI Visits Cryptome". 2003-11-08. Retrieved 2013-03-09. 
  18. ^ "FBI Requests PSIA Lists Removal". 2000-07-22. Retrieved 2013-03-09. 
  19. ^ "From Radio to Porn, British Spies Track Web Users’ Online Identities". The Intercept. Retrieved 2015-10-03. 
  20. ^ "Secrets and Lies". 2008-03-24. 
  21. ^ "Mapping Natural Gas Lines: Advise the Public, Tip Off the Terrorists". New York Times. 2004-08-29. Retrieved 2015-10-03. 
  22. ^ Crowley, Michael. "That's Outrageous – Let's Shut These Websites Down". Reader's Digest. Retrieved 2013-03-09. [dead link]
  23. ^ Young, John; Crowley, Michael; Natsios, Deborah. "Let's Shut Down Dangerous Websites". Cryptome. Cryptome. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 

External links[edit]