Re: Fwd: Secrecy foe scrubs data on Interne

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Fri Oct 12 2001 - 05:50:30 MDT

On Fri, Oct 12, 2001 at 08:06:05AM +0800, Chen Yixiong, Eric wrote:
> This illustrates one of the main problems with a society deploying open information systems - Their enemies may use such information
> against themselves.
> ------------
> Secrecy foe scrubs data on Internet
> Federation of American Scientists yanks 200 Web pages

I would say the main problem is that our current society is far to eager
to sacrifice hard won freedoms in the face of a small risk. FAS has
consistently been a great source of information and part of the defense
against censorship, but now they cave in for the current state of
security hysteria. It is very sad.

To be honest their website is not particularly up to date in many
respects, and the information is from public sources; the benefits of
any information there to terrorists is likely extremely minor. If they
start doing self-censorship, what next? Revealing bad practices of the
US government might weaken its power in legitimate pursuits too - should
such information be self-censored in the interests of national security?
I don't think so. I think the current "patriotic" bias in media is
extremely dangerous, and highlights the need for free information
channels that can promote their own viewpoints, how impopular or
subversive they may be.

An open society might give information to its enemies, but the benefits
seem to vastly outweigh the risks. For every terrorist using the
information there are thousands to millions of people using the
information to better the open society and fight the terrorists. The
open society cannot be protected by closing it.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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