Transparency is impossible

From: John Clark (
Date: Mon Apr 03 2000 - 00:08:53 MDT

Zero Powers <> Wrote:

> What I do predict is that this surveillance will lead, in baby steps, to
> what I predict will be one of the ultimate effects of transparency, a
> reduction in illegal behavior.

Only if the transparency works both ways and the people doing the
surveillance are themselves under surveillance, but of course that's
impossible. The President would never agree to have a camera in
the oval office so all the world could see what he's doing, and besides
I can always use encryption for things I don't want you to know about.

What about cameras, if I can see what you're typing cryptography does no good.

I'll find the camera, splice into the video line, and play back a recording of me
reading the Bible, saluting the flag, and generally being a good little boy.
Now I can do what I want.

But cameras can be very small nowadays, how will you find it?

I'll just march down to Big Brother's Ministry Of Truth and ask.

They'll see you splice into the line.

There are far too many cameras for somebody to be watching all of them all
of the time, I'll do it when nobody is watching.

How will you know when nobody is watching?

I'll ask.

What if they make recordings?

Now that I have a little privacy I'll take my time, hack into the system and
alter the recording. This only has to be done one time by one person because
now I'm in a position to help my friends.

How will you know how to get around network security?

I'll ask.

What if there is a secret camera you don't know about?

Then I'm in trouble, but Big Brother is in worse trouble. Think of the
scandal! Big Brother, the very apostle of transparency has a secret, what
other secrets does he have? How can anybody ever trust him again?

                John K Clark

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:09:00 MDT