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Germany's Pirate Party is willing to lose some crypto battles to win the crypto war

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Founded during an escalating conflict between anti-piracy groups and online civil liberties advocates in 2006, the German Pirate Party has since taken upon itself to fight against what it sees as growing indifference to digital privacy. The Atlantic speaks to American privacy activist Jacob Appelbaum, Pirate Party lawmaker Alexander Morlang, and others about their attempts to bring encryption into the German mainstream. "Many people think you must have something to hide if you're encrypting your email," says fellow activist Anne Roth, whose partner caught the government's eye as a suspicious person in part because of such encryption.

But at teaching sessions known as cryptoparties they try to buck this perception, giving anyone they can the tools to protect their identity. Morlang admits that in the short term, these efforts could make his constituents seem suspicious as well. But that, he says, "is the price we pay to win the crypto war." Raising the number of encryption-users will raise eyebrows, but over time, it will also make it more inconvenient to run the dragnets we've seen described in leaked documents.