Re: Transparency is impossible

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Mon Apr 03 2000 - 15:45:03 MDT

Zero Powers wrote:

> >From: "John Clark" <>
> >
> >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,
> The President might not agree to have a tape recorder in the Oval Office
> either (remember Nixon?) and he might not agree to have reporters all over
> the world digging into his background to bring all his dusty skeletons to
> the light of day (remember Clinton?), but the fact of the matter is that the
> President does not make the laws, that is the job of Congress. And once a
> law is passed, the President (last I checked) is just as subject to it as
> you and me (remember Clinton again?).

Only if the President signs the law. If he vetos it, his veto needs to be
overridden, and even if congress overrides it, the president can sue the
congress through the supreme court, justly claiming not only a violation of
privacy, but an infringement of congress upon the integrity and independence of
the executive branch from the congress.

> >and besides
> >I can always use encryption for things I don't want you to know about.
> No encryption is unbreakable, that is just a fact. Further, if such
> cypherpunk activities are criminalized, the very act of attempting to use
> encryption for the purpose of tampering with the public record would likely
> be construed to be a forfeiture of your rights.

No encryption is unbreakable, however, there is plenty of encryption that is
only breakable if you are willing to work on it until the end of the universe.
If you encrypt your own data, that is YOUR record, not the public record. Once
you've encrypted and looped in counterfeit data, you are free of the system, and
the system doesn't know you are free of it. Once you've done it for yourself,
you can do it for others.

> >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.
> Until you are caught (which will probably be quite likely) and then you will
> be sorry.

Oh, now thats effective. Criminals commit crimes fully aware of their chances of
getting caught. They do what they do anyways, and they have no regard for penny
ante threats of 'you'll be sorry'...

> >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.
> I imagine that the video will be monitored by AI (or very powerful
> unintelligent computers) for suspicious activity.

Now you are getting into processing, which you earlier claimed would not be

> Yeah, yeah I know this
> takes a lot more computational ability than is possible in 2000 a.d., right?
> Well, I ain't talking about a system that will be put in place this year.
> Computers that can automatically search through telephone traffic for
> keywords have existed since at least the 1970s.

Echelon originally dealt only with telegraph/telex data. Voice keyword
technology, so far as I know, wasn't available until the NSA put its main
facility online in the 1980s, with several hundred supercomputers, and at that
point dealt only with satellite phone traffic, and they had to prioritize
certain regions, because they couldn't handle all calls made everywhere, and so
far as I know, with the explosion of the number of phone lines and the different
types of data being sent, they still don't have the capability to filter all
data all the time.

This is why I think your claims are so unreasonable. Your system would mandate
that every person on the planet have the same capaiblities that the NSA still
doesn't have (openness and mutuality is useless unless everyone has the same
capaiblities to use the system).

> I don't think it is much of
> a stretch to extrapolate this technology to inclulde video feeds in the next
> 10-20 years.h

As the capability to analyse data increases, the amount of data needed to be
processed also increases. Since the system is open, everyone will know the
surveillance algorythms, and so those algorythms will be outmoded almost
instantly, at least as quickly as people here keep poking holes in your ideas.
As the amount of information being processed doubles at least as quickly as
Moore's Law increases the capaiblities of the processors, you are dealing with a
queen's race that you will never win.

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